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Overreactions with 30 to go: Blues (good team) shutout Sabres (not good team) to kickstart new streak

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It had been a long two-plus weeks since the Sabres last graced the First Niagara Center ice with their presence. Coming off their first win of the calendar year, they faced a tough test in the visiting St. Louis Blues.

The result was predictable.

Despite a solid outing from goaltender Jhonas Enroth, the Blues jumped ahead on a second period Dmitrij Jaskin goal and that would be all they needed. St. Louis goaltender Jake Allen stopped all 23 shots he faced and picked up an assist as Sabres fell 3-0.

462811978_slideVladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz added third period goals to pad the final tally, but Buffalo was unable to cash anything. Buffalo’s Chris Stewart and Brian Flynn each had breakaways at points in the game that weren’t finished, as the Blues looked like an elite team as they moved into a temporary tie for the best point total in the National Hockey League.

Enroth would stop 27 shots to claim his 20th loss of the season.

The Sabres continue their homestand Saturday as Lindy Ruff and the Dallas Stars visit First Niagara Center.

  • Nice of the Sabres to do a little tribute to former captain Steve Ott in his first visit since being traded before last season’s deadline. Not everyone deserves a tribute, but he was the team’s captain. That honor deserves respect. Also, bonus points for having it say “Thank You Steve” not “Thank You Ott.”
  • Speaking of former Sabres, look at legendary defenseman Chris Butler getting on the scoresheet with an assist on the winner.
  • The time of game was officially 2 hours and 14 minutes. It went quick. Only three minor penalties, and only 49 total face-offs. Get in, get out, get a loss. Read the rest of this entry
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Robyn says ‘Yes’, Sabres acquire Regehr, Kotalik & pick

It’s official.

After word leaked out Thursday that Calgary Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr was asked to waive his no-trade clause to clear way for a trade to Buffalo, the wait for an answer has dominated Sabres talk. When it appeared early Friday evening that he wanted to explore other options, the deal appeared D.O.A.

But, now, it’s done.

Announced officially this morning, the Sabres have acquired Regehr, as well as former Sabre Ales Kotalik and a 2nd round pick in 2012 from Calgary in exchange for Chris Butler and Paul Byron.

Regehr finished with 17 points and a plus-2 rating in 79 games this season. The 31-year-old defenceman has 163 points in 11 seasons.

The 32-year-old Kotalik spent last season between Calgary and the Flames’ AHL affiliate Abbotsford, recording six points in 26 games in Calgary.

Big shoutout to Joe Pinzone over at Buffalo Wins for being the first to break the details of the deal, even when it looked like Regehr wasn’t going to waive.

Buffalo now has an elite shutdown defenseman in Regehr, something they lacked last season in the absence of Toni Lydman. With Tyler Myers on record as saying the former Canadian Olympian was his favorite player as a kid, one would have to think this will help the big guy grow as a player. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, Edition 79: Nothing could be finer.

In a defining moment, a bounce went Buffalo’s way.

A point shot from Marc-Andre Gragnani bounced past Carolina’s Cam Ward to give Buffalo a 2-1 overtime victory, and two points in possibly the most crucial game of the season.

The Sabres weathered a storm of sorts, as Jhonas Enroth was stellar in goal, making 35 saves, and the special teams killed off all six penalties, including over a minute at 5-on-3.

Of course, the Hurricanes probably felt they were lucky to get a point out of it, only beating Enroth on a fluke deflection that found its way over his head, right?

“It appeared to be going wide, and it got deflected off of something,” Ward said. “I’m not sure what it hit, but they got a lucky break.”

Right, guys.

In addition to Gragnani’s first NHL goal in the extra session, Chris Butler added his first goal of the season in the first period.

Carolina remains on the outside looking in, and the Sabres are a few points away from locking up a playoff spot. Buffalo sits in 7th place, just one point behind 6th place Montreal.

  • Yes, Ryan Miller is still our number one goalie. Buffalo media, please stop making this an issue. Enroth’s presence only matters in this type of situation, where Miller is hurt. When Ryan returns, Jhonas will be going back to the bench. What about Lindy Ruff’s history with goaltenders makes you think he can balance them? If he can ride Miller, he will.
  • Congrats to Eric Staal for seamlessly claiming Mats Sundin’s title of “biggest dickhole in the NHL” for himself. Little shots behind the play, after the whistle, and holding enough star status to get away with it.
  • Cody McCormick seemed to throw his weight around a little more on Sunday than he has of late. I’m not complaining. He cleaned some people out.
  • The officiating wasn’t very good, both ways. Lots of things could’ve been called, especially away from the play. But that call on Ennis right after Carolina got away with two blatant crosschecks was atrocious.
  • With all the special teams work, the Sabres’ top line of Thomas Vanek-Tim Connolly-Jason Pominville didn’t get as many shifts together as I would like to see. They generated some good chances when they did get on the ice together though.
  • Speaking of McCormick, I’m still not sure I like Cody on Gaustad’s wing opposite Gerbe more than Mark Mancari. That line was rolling for a bit.
  • Matt Ellis gets points. 8-1-2 with him in the lineup.
  • Another officiating note… why the hell didn’t they blow that play dead sooner when Enroth lost his helmet? That’s gotta be automatic.

Sabres host Tampa Bay on Tuesday, and pending other results could clinch a ticket to the postseason with a win. That’d be swell.

Overreactions, Edition 67: Winning Ugly

They can’t all be pretty. But if it’s a win, it’ll do.

No one can say the Buffalo Sabres dazzled on Thursday night, but they managed to find a way to come out on top, earning a 4-3 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins.

Brad Boyes tapped home the winner in the extra period, as Nathan Gerbe grabbed his own rebound and sent it past Boston’s Tim Thomas to his teammate. The Sabres also got goals from Tyler Ennis, Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly, but despite their obvious offensive skill, they were gritty goals. With scrambles in the crease, all of them trickled over the goal line.

“Physically, we know they are good,” Gerbe said. “They are a top team and they have a lot of good players so we had to play them tough.”

Ryan Miller made 26 saves, and for the most part wasn’t exactly stellar but was good enough to get the win. He was beat by a shot from Rich Peverly in overtime, but was saved by the goal post.

  • Props to the officials tonight for being willing to make calls when necessary and not let things go. Yes, they made some mistakes (Marchand’s triple axle after running into Myers included), but for the most part, they called what was warranted. The Bruins may feel the referees were after them, but if you’re gonna play cheap, you deserve the calls. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, Edition 56: Blowing Opportunities

There’s only two things I hate in this world: people who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and losing to Toronto. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, Edition 55: Who’s #1?

It’s too bad the NHL couldn’t just end the charade they call a hockey game and just have shootout contests. In that case, the Buffalo Sabres may just be the best team in the NHL.

Swedish rookie sensation Jhonas Enroth picked up his third career shootout win as the Sabres rebounded from a 2-0 deficit in regulation and 2-0 deficit in the shootout to grab two points from Montreal at the Centre Bell with a 3-2 victory.

Buffalo got goals from Nick Pappagiorgio-hot Drew Stafford and American hero Jason Pominville to send it to overtime. In the shootout, it was clutch goals from Thomas Vanek and Tyler Ennis to send it past the first three shooters. After both teams failed to grab the win, it was Jochen Hecht in the 10th round of the shootout who ended it.

But the star of the night was the guy wearing the “uno” on his uni, Enroth, stopping 32 of 34 shots and coming up big in the shootout, making the saves he needed to make.

  • Very nice to see the Sabres come back and get the shootout win, but Buffalo had multiple chances to end it well before Hecht got to shoot. Jason Pominville, Tim Connolly, Tyler Myers, Paul Byron and Jordan Leopold all had the winner on their stick and didn’t convert. The team must have a better killer instinct there. You can’t rely on teams giving you that many chances. Read the rest of this entry

Defensive logjam becomes defensive logjam

Everyone saw it coming and here we are.

The Sabres are ready for it.

Barring a trade, which seems unlikely, coach Lindy Ruff confirmed this afternoon that the Sabres will start the season with eight defensemen on their roster. Mike Weber, Andrej Sekera and Chris Butler would all have to go through waivers and the Sabres aren’t likely to take that risk to get one of them back to Portland.

Based on the fact Sekera and Butler struggled to get in the lineup at the end of last season, the road is clear for Weber to be the No. 6 defenseman to join Tyler Myers, Craig Rivet, Steve Montador and newcomers Jordan Leopold and Shoane Morrisonn. Provided, of course, Weber doesn’t stub his toe in the exhibition season.

“You always look at it that you can never have enough defensemen,” Ruff said. “It’s always tough when you have extra around but you get one or two hurt and that makes it tough on the team.”

Well, if you’ve got a surplus, why don’t you move one? Not that easy.

Darcy Regier isn’t the type to make a move for the sake of making it, especially not unless he’s getting at least what he feels is fair value in exchange. And to give up on a player he drafted? Fat chance. Read the rest of this entry