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Out of the (juniors) and into the fire October 2, 2009

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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Well, it looks like Myers may be making Paetsch irrelevant. Good for him. I’m not a fan of Paetsch, which is not a secret. I think the Sabres shouldn’t waste a roster spot with him. Waive him. He’s had tons of chances to prove he belongs on this team, and he just hasn’t. It’s time for the new kids to get their shot. Congrats, Myers! Use your nine games well.

Preseason game #1 – 9/17/09 September 17, 2009

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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God, I missed Rick. Didn’t miss Harry.

The Sabres dressed an awful lot of their regulars. I’m a little confused about why, since they still have 48 players in training camp after sending a few of the kids back to their junior teams, including Zack Kassian. They also sent back Luke Adam, Marcus Foligno, Jacob Lagace, Nick Crawford, and Brayden McNabb.

I see two primary missions for the preseason – to evaluate the bubble players and to get your regular roster players ready for the season. The Sabres play several preseason games, so why are they playing Vanek, Pominville, Stafford, Roy, Hecht, etc? Is it because the delineation is more clear between Buffalo and Portland-bound players?

I guess we shall see…

Hey Daniel Paille just realized he’s a big guy!

This game is boring after two periods. I hope it gets better. I can’t handle another year of too-cute passes, no intensity. Let’s go, Sabres!

Training camp reflections: Lindy yells loudly September 13, 2009

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This post is reeeeaaalllyyy long. I apologize in advance, but I have a lot of opinions.

Well, I went to training camp today. I was there from 10:30-2:30 or so, and I saw the entire pre-scrimmage practice AND the whole scrimmage. Basically, they divided the guys into three teams – it was actually a draft that took place w/the coaches, the hockey department, and the business department. The guys in the practice group this morning (Stafford, Roy, Hecht, MacArthur, Tallinder, Lydman etc) were chosen by the coaches.

So, my impressions:

  • True to reports, the guys are all in shape and skating well. I only saw a rook or two who was sucking wind – the veterans were fine.
  • Lalime and Enroth, who were the goalies in the practice group, started out pretty shaky and I was getting worried. When they started the real drills, though, both of them rose to the occasion and played pretty well.
  • Miller looks great. I think the Olympic camp did him some good. Yes, it’s more work on his stick-thin body but he looks like he’s in mid-season form.
  • Tallinder, so far, doesn’t appear to suck. Let’s hope that continues. He and Lydman played together and looked pretty comfortable. Gerbe did smoke Tallinder once, but that little dude is FAST.
  • The nickname being bandied around for Gerbe is Mighty Mouse.
  • Roy, Stafford, and Hecht looked good together.
  • One guy, who I’m pretty sure was Cody McCormick, was very attentive whenever Lindy drew up plays on the white boards. For the most part the veterans hung back and let the rooks get in close but he was right there, staring at the board like it held the meaning of life. I like it.
  • When Lindy was drawing up plays the veterans didn’t bat an eyelash but I’m sorry to say some of the rooks looked positively baffled during some of the whiteboard sessions.
  • Tim Connolly looked really fast – he scored two out of five of his team’s goals, I think. He played with Vanek and some other dude.
  • Vanek yells at himself and slams his stick even during scrimmage. Kid could use a Valium or three.
  • Lindy can yell really loudly.
  • Myers is very tall. He got smoked a time or two, but it was by veterans, so I’ll forgive him.
  • Tim Kennedy could fit in my pocket, with room for my cell phone.
  • Paul Byron is even smaller than Tim Kennedy and Nathan Gerbe. I thought he was a coach’s kid or something. Not so.
  • Craig Rivet was yelling at his team. Again, I like it.
  • Steve Montador wasn’t someone I noticed, and that’s fine with me.
  • Chris Butler, Andrej Sekera (who broke two sticks during a 90-minute practice) and Mike Weber all look pretty confident.
  • Nathan Paetsch needs to find a new zip code, stat. There ain’t room in this town for the both of us (or the other eight guys he’s battling for a spot). On a related note, Marc-Andre Gragnani is coming along nicely in his development.
  • One reason Tyler Myers may not make the Sabres is because from what I can see he plays on the same side as Rivet, Montador, and Lydman. Who would he play with? I don’t want him with one of the other youngins. *shudder*
  • If Lindy goes with seven defensemen like usual I wouldn’t want to be the person who has to make the decision about who stays and goes. I would assume only Rivet and Lydman are locks for positions, based on what Lindy said about Tallinder recently. Probably Montador too, since he hasn’t been around long enough to piss anyone off.
  • I also do not envy the staff the decision about which snot-nosed brats stay with the team as forwards.

However, given all that, after the extensive analysis I did in one day at training camp, here’s my 23-man roster.

Vanek-Connolly-Pominville
Hecht-Roy-Stafford
Kaleta-Gaustad-Grier
Mair-Paille-Kennedy
MacArthur

Butler-Rivet
Sekera-Montador
Tallinder-Lydman
Myers

Miller
Lalime

I’m taking a flyer on Myers. Weber is more ready but leaving Myers in juniors doesn’t seem good for his development, while Weber hanging in Portland until the inevitable injury on defense doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

Sent to Portland (no roster limit): Gerbe, Ellis, Adam, Byron, McCormick, Cowan, Rank, Lagace, Legault, McCutcheon, Gogulla (or back to Europe), Ennis, Schutz, Turnbull, Whitmore, Gragnani, Weber, Persson, DiPenta, Kostka, Schiestel, Generous, Enroth, Lamoureaux
Total forwards in Portland: 14
Total defensemen in Portland: 8
Total goaltenders in Portland: 2

Sent to juniors: Crawford, Kassian, Brennan, McNabb
Waived: Paetsch, Larsen, Stokes

My job here is done. Your thoughts?

Demystifying NHL rules, part 1 September 9, 2009

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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I’ve been reading up on this whole “you can’t send a player to the AHL if he still has junior eligibility” thing. I’ve never understood why on earth a player had to go back to juniors – after all, if they were almost good enough to make an NHL team wouldn’t they benefit more from being in the NHL than yawning their way through another season in juniors?

Here’s the official rule: A junior-aged player with an NHL contract cannot be sent to a minor pro league like the AHL unless he has already played four seasons of junior hockey. He must either stay on the NHL roster or return to junior.

But what’s with the four seasons of junior hockey? According to About.com, the rule is in place to protect junior hockey players and junior teams, ensuring that NHL clubs will retain only those teenagers who are ready for the big leagues.

I buy that, but with the salary cap and the 23-man roster in effect, doesn’t this rule become kind of a moot point? No, not a mute point, a moot point. Your thoughts?

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