Archive for March, 2013

Trade Bait: Robyn Regehr

Posted: March 28, 2013 in Sports

Hate to say it, but there is not a safe player on the Sabres.

ProHockeyTalk

The NHL’s trade deadline is Wednesday, April 3. Following is a player that may be moved. For more “Trade Bait,” click here.

Robyn Regehr is about as likely a candidate to be traded as any.

The Buffalo Sabres chances of making the playoffs are pretty slim at this point and the 32-year-old defenseman will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Unless he decides to exercise his no-movement clause, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him finish the season in a different uniform.

Regehr was never a big contributor offensively, but he’s been even worse in that regard since he’s gotten to Buffalo. In 102 games with the Sabres, he has a single goal and six points.

Still, the Brazilian-born blueliner is likely to attract suitors because of his physical style of play. Going into the 2013 season, Regehr had recorded 352 hits and 254 blocked shots over his…

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ProHockeyTalk

The Buffalo Sabres presented some lineup updates on Wednesday as they prepare for Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

The first is that injury-cursed star Thomas Vanek is questionable for that game. He’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body issue. If that’s too vague, head coach Ron Rolston provided a little more detail, calling it “just a muscle strain.”

Moving on, the Sabres plan on dressing Drew Stafford after he sat out two games as a healthy scratch.

No doubt about it, the 2013 season’s been a rough one for the 27-year-old winger, although one can argue that bad luck has at least something to do with it. He’s connected on just 5.3 percent of the shots he’s fired, less than half of his career rate of 11.6 percent.

He’d still probably have mediocre numbers, but they’d at least look a little better if things were going normally.

The Sabres…

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bills need to get out of this

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Three teams eyeing Flynn?: Matt Flynn signed a big contract with the Seattle Seahawks before last season, expecting to be the team’s starting quarterback. Then Russell Wilson showed up and pushed Flynn to the bench. Now, there are reportedly three teams — the Bills, Jaguars and Raiders — interested in swinging a trade for the Seattle backup. Either one of these teams would proved Flynn an opportunity to compete for a starting job, which would increase his fantasy value. What that value is, however, would have to wait until a move is made … if a move is made.

Gronk underwent third surgery: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski admitted to having undergone a third surgery on his previously broken forearm, this time to clear up an infection. The dynamic pass-catcher originally suffered the injury in the Week 11 win over the Colts…

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Who’s the Fall Guy?

Posted: March 27, 2013 in Sports
Tags: ,

Pro Sports are an ugly business. Coaching a pro team may be one of the ugliest jobs around. Ron Rolston head coach of the Buffalo Sabres is coaching one of the ugliest teams in pro sports. Rolston who was the Rochester Americans coach up until Lindy Ruff’s firing; has had no better luck coaching the Sabres.
Rolston was the logical choice to keep the bench warm for the Sabres, and was only giving the interim tag. That tag is a lot like signing a one day contract so an athlete can finish his career with his old team. It’s not that Rolston is under qualified; it’s really just that he has no NHL experience. Rolston who did not play in the NHL was part of the USA Juniors program; where he won many, many times. In fact there are players on the Sabres roster that Rolston has coached while in the USA program. But, in his short tenure with the Sabres; Rolston has run out of answers.
After last night’s loss to the Lightning, it would seem as if Rolston will be the fall guy; a built in excuse for the back half of a truly horrible season. I feel sorry for him on some level; I’m, guessing Rolston truly thought he would have a chance to coach this team next year, and make it his own. Now, I can’t see that happening. Rolston does have the guts needed to coach a team. He is not scared to bench players. He doesn’t hold back during interviews, and defiantly has the knowledge. Sadly for Rolston; he was given the chance to coach a broken team. I hope his dream job, doesn’t turn his career into a nightmare.
Going into the trade deadline, the Sabres have a coach that may not be around next year, and a GM that seem like he is walking in the woods without a map. But, it doesn’t seem like the Sabres are in a hurry to change the front office. Someone needs to take the fall, and if it is not Darcy then it will be Rolston. Honestly it makes no sense to go into the trade deadline with this GM or head coach. Both men may be dead men walking.
My pick for the fall guy should be the owner. Where has Pegula been? The billionaire turned fantasy hockey owner has not been seen much during this mess. Ultimately all decisions should fall on his desk. But, he seems content letting his lackeys make the calls. Terry, this is your team and the fans want to see you. This is your GM and head coach. These are your players. Where are you? Forget about blaming Darcy, or Rolston. That ship has sailed. Terry could have stopped the bleeding months ago. But, he has done nothing. Most true fans know Darcy needs to go. Most fans know Rolston most likely will not be back next year, but why are we waiting? There is the trade deadline, and a draft coming up. You can’t run a team like this. All the money in the world does not make you a good owner. If you truly love this team, prove it.
The Blue and Gold are in some of the darkest times in history. I put this season up there with the having no owner, with are the Sabres going move, with Hasek leaving, and anything else in Sabres history. In fact this may be the worst thing in history. We seem to have no direction, no real GM, an unknown coach, and players who have checked out. Right not the Sabres are just a team in waiting. No team can win without leadership, and the Sabres are lacking leadership. Who the real fall guy? I say it’s the whole organization that’s who.
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NHL broken

Posted: March 25, 2013 in Sports

The NHL has not changed much over the past 5 or 10 years; sure the league offices would lead you to believe it has. The officials still allow clutch and grab play, the Safety department, is still really inconstant. Let’s not forget the recent lockout.

It’s hard enough for the social fan to watch a hockey game on TV. But the league is hurting itself. It allows its officials to blow calls and make up calls. They say they care about player safety, and says it will suspend players that break rules. That is unless your name is Nash, Crosby, or any other big name. For a league to draw in new hard core fans, the game needs to flow. A hockey games is like poetry on ice. Everything should flow together, and move as one piece. But, in today’s NHL and the NHL of the late 90’s and early 2000’s the on ice product is a mess. The trap may be one of the biggest problems in the league. It plugs up the ice’ making the game slow down, and become unwatchable. Not to mention that the trap is a clutch and grab factory.

The NHL seems to always come back from lockouts and this last one while one of the longest ones is no exception; attendance, sales and viewing are all up from last years. Fan love this sport; which is why the mystery of players not caring about fans is so hard to solve.  The NHLPA and NHL seem always willing to roll the dice when it comes to hockey fans. From the outside of this it is hard to believe that fans and their money mean so little to these people. While work stoppages are not uncommon in sports hockey stoppages seem to happen more often than most. Some say it is how sports grow and progress. Others say just look at the NHL commissioner. Gary Bettman; Bettman has been running the NHL dating all the way back to February 1, 1993. Under his watch players, and most owners alike have watched thier bank accounts grow, and grow; while fans have needed to shell out more and more money to watch a product that is only getting worse by the year.

As for the players; they are unwilling to change anything. If they wanted to stop the grabbing they could. If they wanted to play and not fight about everything they could have. NHL players don’t even want the game to be safer. They hit, board high stick and do just about anything to win. Normally that is a good thing, but not when you cross that line, and injury another player, a coworker. That old saying it’s all fun and games until someone looses an eye; that could very well happen. Until it does the players won’t even wear a visor. What a joke. Is it better to keep your eye sight, or not play?

If the league truly cares about player safety change the rules, and stop flip flopping on the calls. I have loved NHL hockey for 31 years. Fewer things give me as much happiness as watching this game played, and managed correctly, but it is not. Until the players and league understand they need to change; hockey as we know it will never be true to its roots.

 

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Life as a Sabres fan

Posted: March 22, 2013 in Sports
Tags: ,

There is an internal battle raging in my head and heart. The battle of the fan side of me verse the logical best thing for the Sabres side of me. Last night’s game only heated up the battle. Last night the Sabres played hockey. They got the 2 points, but yet again I’m torn.

With the playoffs looking like a dream, and the team scrapping and fighting; this battle is one that no one will win. As a fan I love seeing wins. That is the sole purpose of a hockey game. That is the sole reason fans are fans, we want our team to win. However, the logical side of my brain says draft, and trade. I know it is not just a Buffalo hockey thing, but it seems to happen every year. The Sabres have a way of creating internal battles among their many fans. How can you be a fan and not want a win? How can you be a fan and not want to see your team make the changes it needs to make?

The scarcest thing for me is if the Sabres do start putting points together there is the chance that Darcy pumps his chest and does nothing. Between last night and the trade deadline there are 7 games, 6 left to play. If Buffalo gets 10 points out of them we may be looking at the same team in April. The Sabres front office has been made to look out of touch so far this year. I believe some of the front office is having trouble with the same internal battle I and some fans are having. They are fans of the Sabres, but they also have a responsibility to the public to put the best team on the ice. If the Sabres start playing NHL hockey the front office may think this is the best team. GM’s and owners can have short memories when it come to trades and draft choices. In some way a fire sale is a GM’s way of saying I messed this up. It is a last minute, last ditch effort to save his job.

There seems to be battles all over hockey on ice, and off; within fans and within in a team’s Front Office. One problem is there is no way to win these battles. Everyone will score a blow, and everyone will taste defeat. It’s part of the draw; it’s what keeps some of us coming back. We will cry and cheer from one minute to the next. This year is more tears than cheers, but you have to love this game. At its purest level Sabres hockey is a way of life. Good or bad, hockey can give us an escape from real life, if only for a few hours. It can take our minds off of our troubles, and it can cheer us up when we are down. You’ve got to love this game, and as for this team? It’s not the players. Sure they win and lose, but once a Sabres fan always a Sabres fan. It doesn’t really matter what name is on the back. It’s the logo, it’s the colors, and it’s our team.

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Man up or skate off: Sabres

Posted: March 20, 2013 in Sports

What does a team do when nothing is working? The Buffalo Sabres are quickly finding out the answers don’t come easily. After watching some games and not rushing to bash them; they have given me no choice but to take a 2×4 and smack them again.

They are mess, a borderline joke. While they are only 6 point out of the playoff the Buffalo Sabres continue to shot themselves in the foot. Even when the Sabres play well enough to get ahead, they can’t finish. Year after year, and game after game this team has lacked the killer attitude needed to jump up in the standings. It seems they have more players that are content just skating around not caring, then players who show passion. The current Sabres under Rolston are no better than the old Ruff lead Sabres. For every one who thought firing a coach would fix this mess, you are all very wrong. One man standing on a bench cannot change this team. However, I do think that a serious attitude change is needed. The Sabres needs a coach that doesn’t care about anything other than getting the win, someone who has tasted victory, and understands a passionate fan base.

Not only is the front office continuing to fall; the Sabres have no true starting goaltender. Enroth is basically Miller minus $5 million or so. Enroth’s GAA and SV% are a wash when compared to Millers. (2.96 GAA for Miller, 2.99 GAA Enroth ,SV% Miller .909, Enroth .905) With numbers being so close there is no logical reason not to move Miller at this year’s trade deadline. There is no doubt that the Blue and Gold need to heal, and regroup. The Sabres have a few core players left hanging around, and they also have some players that just sit in the press box. Please, move them out. For an attitude change to work Buffalo needs to completely retool the entire team, not just pick one or two players, and hope that a new coach can fix this mess. I don’t care who the coach is, this team needs more than one trade, and one new coach.

Even when the Sabres get the 2 points, it is hard to be happy. In order for the Sabres to make the playoff they cannot keep giving up a point. I hate ties, and an overtime win right now is nothing more than a tie. Buffalo cannot make up ground by wining overtime games. They need the 2 points flat out; in regulation.  I don’t feel like I am asking too much here. If the playoffs are still the goal, and we have all been told they are still in play; than the Sabres need a full 60 minutes of work out of everyone. Yes, 60, not 65, not 65 and a shoot out. The Sabres need to get it done in 60. Get the points and skate away. Time is up, time has been up. Man up or skate off!

 

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