The Buffalo Sabres announced today that they have resigned forward John Scott to a 1-year, $750,000 contract. The 6’8” 270 lbs. winger played in 34 games for the Sabres this year recording 0 points and 69 penalty minutes. It was Scott’s first full season as a forward in the NHL and averaged more than 5 minutes per game while recording 7 fighting majors.
Early in the season it seemed like Scott would soon be rendered useless under Head Coach Lindy Ruff. Scott served his time, playing less than 4 minutes a game; scraping and making sure he was always had good positioning.
With the midseason transition to Ron Rolston after Ruff’s firing Scott’s career in Buffalo got new life. Scott’s dedication to hard work and his team mates earned him extended ice time and Scott took advantage. He used intelligent play and surprising skating ability, for someone of his size, to establish himself as a serviceable fourth line, energy player.
Scott will once again serve as a depth player in the Sabres organization in 2013-2014. He will need to keep improving and showcasing his abilities as a forward if he hopes to stay in the lineup, but his play in 2012-2013 earned him another season to show that he deserves to be a part of the team moving forward.
Firstly, I apologize for the lack of activity on Sabres Everywhere these past couple of weeks. I have been frequently out of town and Nadia has been busy as well. Hopefully our activity will pick up again moving forward.
Now to the topic at hand. Buffalo has been eliminated from playoff contention following their 8-4 drubbing at the hands of the New York Rangers and their subsequent loss to Winnipeg Jets. Buffalo came out flat in both games and paid with their postseason lives on the line.
This season has been a bust for the Sabres and I will spend the next several weeks breaking down where Buffalo went wrong and where they will be going from here. Ultimately, though, a slow start and a lack of consistency cost the Sabres dearly in their quest to return to postseason play.
Here it is: Buffalo’s first game since the departure of Jason Pominville. Also missing are T.J. Brennan, Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr. Thomas Vanek, Alex Sulzer and Ville Leino are also out of the lineup; Leino and Sulzer likely for the season. This is a very different Buffalo team than we saw in game one, but they certainly seemed improved in their 4-2 win over the Sens.
Luke Adam doesn’t score much these days. The struggling Sabres prospect notched his first NHL goal in a long time and you could see the relief on his face when he got the goal. He was so freaking excited. He got a nice pass from Adam Pardy, but he fired a rocket to get the goal, one that he earned.
Ottawa got even with a bullet shot from Marc Methot. The shot deflected off either Cory Conacher or Mika Zibanejad on the way to the net and Miller couldn’t adjust to the change of direction. The play developed from a 3-on-2 and Buffalo’s wingers did not cover the trailing defenseman which allowed Methot to receive the drop pass and take a wide open shot.
Eric Gryba scored for Ottawa, marking a trend for defensemen whose first names end in “c” when they normally end in “k”. He managed to get a shot through on the rush after Tyler Ennis overcommitted on a shot block. It was a heads up play by the Sens defenseman and Ottawa had the lead.
Buffalo struck back quickly. Adam Pardy decided that he was going to be an offensive machine and passed the puck to Mark Pysyk. He put the puck on net and Steve Ott deflected it over the goaltender in his quest to be named team captain.
Mike Weber also had an offensive explosion and got a shot off the boards. Jochen Hecht threw it to the front of the net and Brian Flynn picked up the puck on the far side and tossed it home to give Buffalo the lead.
Oh, and then Hecht decided that he wanted a goal of his own. He took one of his famous, ridiculous angle shots on the net and it slipped through the goaltender’s wickets. It came 12 seconds after Flynn’s goal.
As I sit now I am sitting in my pajamas, which consist of some pants and my oversized Jason Pominville Slugallo jersey. It leads me to a melancholy moment. That moment when players move on from the team before we well and truly tire of them. I wouldn’t have much cared had Ryan Miller been cast aside, but to see Pommers head for Minnesota is a difficult moment for me and many other Sabres fans.
Pominville is far from a flawless player and yet Sabres fans have become quite fond of their former captain. He has consistently put the puck in the net. He was an all-star, a two time 30 goal scorer, and a Lady Byng candidate in his time in Buffalo besides being named captain.
Pominville was also a likeable individual off the ice. He was quiet and friendly. He was a French Canadian import taken in the second round with hardly a trace of accent. He was like Buffalo, both American and Canadian. He also worked hard and produced. Add that to memorable goal calls announcing a population increase and you have a player that leaves an indelible mark on a franchise.
That’s not all that Pominville will be remembered for. He will always be remembered for walking around Daniel Alfredsson in overtime for the game winning goal in the playoffs. He will be remembered for dominating Alexander Ovechkin before willing the Sabres back into playoff contention. He will be remembered for his unbelievable release and his intelligent, hard-working hockey.
The Buffalo Sabres have traded Robyn Regehr to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for one 2nd round draft picks for each the 2014 and 2015 NHL entry draft. The deal is contingent upon Regehr passing a physical.
Buffalo acquired Regehr prior to the 2011-2012 season in a deal with the Calgary Flames that sent Chris Butler and Paul Byron to Calgary for Regehr, Ales Kotalik and a 2nd round draft pick. He went on to play 105 games with the Sabres, recording 1 goal, 7 points, 162 blocked shots and 237 hits.
Leopold scored in his last game as a Sabre.
But we have to. Goodbye, Leo. It was a sweet two years. I say two years, because this mini-season was neither a full season, nor sweet.
On Saturday evening, shortly prior to their tilt against the Caps, the Sabres announced the trade of Jordan Leopold to the St. Louis Blues for a 2nd round pick and a conditional 5th round pick, the condition being St. Louis making it past the first round of the playoffs, in which case it becomes a 4th round pick.
The question then becomes, "Could we have gotten more?" It's possible. Teams with a decent shot at the playoffs get desperate around this time, (see: Gaustad trade) but Leopold's play this season has not exactly been spectacular.
For two of his three* seasons with the Sabres, Leo was one of their best defensemen. Steady, point-producing, etc. I was a big Leo fan. I was all for keeping him around
, maybe even re-signing him next season. Things change, however. This season, Leo was not any of the things I grew to respect about him over the past few years. Though to be fair, most of the team wasn't.
Andrej Sekera's solid play, Christian Ehrhoff's offensive growth, and the quiet entrance of Mark Pysyk all combined with Leo's regression to make him a dispensable piece. Does this mark the beginning of a massive fire sale? Maybe, but keep in mind, the Sabres had around 20 NHL ready defensemen going into the season, and many thought some would be dealt before the season began. The team needs some kind of rebuild, although what kind the management will go for remains to be seen.
Further, despite a lack of performance, this move is not a drastic, like trying to ship out Drew Stafford with two years left on his contract while screaming "Shoulda scored more, jack*@!" Leo's contract is up July 1st. The team isn't working the way it is. We had too many defensemen. Darcy would've been crazy to not make a move. I don't think it takes away from what Leo did while he was here. And this season doesn't count.
In an uncharacteristically physical game for the Sabres, they still couldn’t get anything done. Anton Khudobin made some excellent saves en route to his 2nd career shutout as the Sabres could not get their offense going despite winning the physical battle. Boston got two goals in the third period to knock off the Sabres and send them plummeting back down the standings.
Buffalo still takes games with Boston to heart. I wonder if, before every Boston game, Miller says “Remember that time Lucic ran me and you [expletive deleted] did nothing.” They play a lot tougher when they play the Bruins and this was no exception. The first period was scoreless, but there were plenty of fireworks.
There was nothing to do in the second period either. After 10 minutes passed in the third frame it looked like there would be no offense at all. That all changed when Buffalo let Milan Lucic skate through three stick checks and throw the puck to the net. David Krejci tapped in the rebound as Andrej Sekera and Mark Pysyk stood around doing nothing.
Then Andrej Sekera decided that he was sick of being Buffalo’s best defenseman. He watched the puck and didn’t tie up his man when Lucic drove in and threw the puck across to Nathan Horton. Horton was surprised that no one was preventing him from scoring, but he didn’t complain too much when he pushed the Bruin lead to two with just a few minutes left in the game.
After a dismal start, Buffalo had won three straight games and was inching towards a playoff spot in the east. This inevitably meant that they would lose and fall back down into obscurity. It is the cycle of being a Sabres fan. Rest assured they will rise again, only to fall short.
This game had all the appeal of watching a newly married couple walk through IKEA. Nothing really happened. Neither team could generate much in terms of chances. No one really threw their weight around with the occasional exception of Nate Thompson, Patrick Kaleta and Steve Ott. It was just boring.
Tampa jumped out to a lead in the first when Jordan Leopold blew a tire and the Sabres couldn’t get to the man in the slot fast enough to take the man who should always be covered. Martin St. Louis slid the puck to Steven Stamkos in the slot. Stamkos fired a laser into the net to give the Bolts the lead and St. Louis moved into 100th all-time in points.
In period number two it was Buffalo’s discipline that cost them dearly. Robyn Regehr went to the box for elbowing and then Mike Weber joined him after a boarding call. Stamkos sent a pass to St. Louis who took an absolutely perfect shot to beat Ryan Miller. It was a great play by St. Louis and Buffalo just didn’t have enough players to defend against it.
In the middle of the second period Marcus Foligno dropped the mitts with Keith Aulie. It was a good fight for both men. Foligno had the upper hand early. He pummeled Aulie to the ice and it looked to be done there. Aulie got up, absorbed a few more punches and then as Foligno tired, he got in a few licks of his own.
The third period picked up a bit more as Buffalo became desperate to score. With less than five minutes remaining Jordan Leopold struck with his 2nd goal of the season. Marcus Foligno put the puck out front, Kevin Porter whiffed on it in the slot, but Leopold caught the unintentional pass and ripped it by Mathieu Garon to bring Buffalo within one.
That is as close as it would get. Tampa’s neutral zone defense was stifling in the final minutes and Buffalo struggled to gain the zone even after they pulled Miller in favor of the extra attacker. The Sabres return to action Thursday at 7:30 against the Florida Panthers.
The Sabres always play their best and most entertaining hockey against their rivals from down the QEW. That was on full display on Thursday night. It was a playoff-like atmosphere in the game and Buffalo continued to only win against Canadian teams with a 4-3 shootout victory.
At the 2:08 mark of the first period there were some fireworks. Fraser McLaren and John Scott engaged in what is probably the best scrap of Scott’s Sabre career. At the same time Colton Orr cold cocked Pat Kaleta and everyone in the league who isn’t a Sabres fan smiled.
Toronto then figure out the trick to getting a lead: score on all of your shots. First was a nasty misread by Ryan Miller. James Van Reimsdyk was in front and Miller didn’t think Tyler Bozak would shoot from the sidewall. Turns out he was really wrong and the score was 1-0.
Then a pretty passing play caught Buffalo’s defense backed off too much and their forwards not back far enough. All it took was four passes and shot to take the puck from deep in the Toronto end all the way to the back of Buffalo’s net. Nazem Kadri got the goal, further reducing the chances that Buffalo would be able to trade Miller for him straight up. (This is a dream that I and I alone have)
It took most of the rest of the first period for Buffalo to finally get on the board. It also took every single second of their power play opportunity. Steve Ott was pretty stumbly on the power play, but he managed to get the puck out to the front of the net and Nightcrawler…ehrm…Tyler “The Teleporter” Ennis tucked it past an exhausted James Reimer to cut the lead in half.
The Buffalo Sabres have made some roster moves in anticipation of the return of Patrick Kaleta from suspension and Ville Leino from injured reserve. This also gives them some flexibility to call up players and make moves with the upcoming, April 3rd, trading deadline. Mikhail Grigorenko has been returned to Quebec, T,J, Brennan has been traded to Florida for a 5th round draft pick and Alex Sulzer has been placed on LTIR with a season ending MCL injury.
This puts the Sabres at a roster of 22, one short of the 23-man limit. They still have rookie Brian Flynn on the roster as well. Flynn can be demoted at any time without having to clear waivers. What that means is that the Sabres can get to a 21 man roster any time they want to without having to trade or waive a player from the roster.
T.J. Brennan was drafted in the 2nd round (31st overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Sabres. Brennan has spent the time since honing his offensive and defensive game in Portland and Rochester. Brennan spent time with the Sabres for parts of the last two seasons playing a total of 21 games in blue & gold. Brennan has been traded to Florida for a 5th round draft pick.
This isn't a huge loss for the Sabres. Brennan isn't NHL ready yet. He still has potential, but it isn't that shocking to see the team move on from a prospect on his 5th year with the club. Brennan may always be a fringe NHL player at this point in his career. Brennan has a bullet shot and strong offensive instinct. He also isn't a massive defensive liability. He does struggle to play in the NHL, his positioning can be suspect and he has never look comfortable in the big leagues. Buffalo recouped a low round draft pick, which is better than the nothing they would have gotten had be been placed on waivers.
Mikhail Grigorenko played in 22 games for the Sabres this season after being drafted 12th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Grigorenko posted a goal and four assists in those 22 games while playing less than 10 minutes per game on average. The 18 year old played a bigger role early in the season, but defensive lapses and an inability to win faceoffs caused him to fall out of favor with the Sabres' coaches. He will return to the Quebec Remparts for the remainder of the season, but Buffalo has already begun his entry level contract due to the fact that the Russian native played more that 5 games in the NHL this season.
This was a good development step for Grigorenko. He has played in the NHL, he has hopefully learned what it takes to succeed and become the top-flight player everyone expects him to be. Now he gets a chance to go to Quebec and work on those things in a place where he will get plenty of ice time and opportunity. If Grigorenko doesn't pout about his demotion and applies his time in Quebec well, he will come back at a completely different level of play than he did this season.
Sulzer's second season in Buffalo ends in disappointment. He was playing fairly well before his injury. He will be a free agent in the summer and I don't find it that unbelievable to think that he may be resigned by Buffalo. It is unlikely that many other teams will look at the German native. Buffalo will likely lose Jordan Leopold and possibly Robyn Regehr this summer. Sulzer could be a cheap, low risk, high reward signing to fill out the Buffalo defense while they rebuild next season.