Blog Archives

Instigator Podcast #16: New Developments (July 9, 2012)

No offseason for the “The Instigator Podcast” kids. We’re back with with me and Chris Ostrander of Two In the Box.

We talk about how Zach Parise didn’t sign here, the Derek Roy trade, Steve Ott, John Scott, whether Adam Pardy is of any value, development camp, and Plus/Minus.

If you have comments, let us know below or on twitter, @3rdManIn or @2ITB_Buffalo.

Derek Roy dealt to Dallas as Sabres pick up Steve Ott

Well, it was never a matter of if Derek Roy would ever be shown the door, but when. Turns out when was today.

The maligned center, who had spent his entire career in Buffalo, was sent to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Steve Ott and defenseman Adam Pardy.

Roy, 29, had been with the Sabres since being drafted in 2001. A pending unrestricted free agent next season, the team’s desire to move him was evident.

While saying he “can’t wait to get started” with his new team, Roy admitted during a conference call that he was shocked when learned of the deal.

“It’s weird because I’ve never been traded before,” he said. “It was a weird situation, very emotional. I’ve been playing here my whole career. It was an emotional day for me.”

In return, Buffalo added even more toughness in Steve Ott.

Ott, 29, is entering his 10th season in the NHL after spending his entire career in Dallas. Known for a physical presence and as more of an agitator than an offensive threat, the former 1st round pick has 1,170 penalty minutes in 566 career games. His career high in goals was 22 in 2009-2010. With two years remaining on his contract, Ott will be looked to for some edge.

“I think more than anything else we needed to move the balance of skill versus the physical nature of our game, and become a tougher team to play against,” said Regier, who made the deal one day after signing 6-foot-8 forward John Scott as a free agent. “Steve can play and complement the higher-skilled guys and contribute in a lot of different ways. I think that he will be very valuable for us.”

“You need a blend of skill and grit and we were heavy on the skill side. The adjustment we wanted to make was to add to the grit side.”

Ott was fourth in the NHL last season with 278 hits in 74 games.

Also included in the deal was Pardy, 28, who spent parts of three seasons with the Calgary Flames before playing for the Stars last season. He added three assists in 36 games for Dallas.

The fact that the Sabres were able to part with Roy and yield a significant return right now was somewhat surprising. I had written off the idea of a move being possible thanks to two numbers: 4 and 5.5. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, 80th Edition: Good thing the Leafs are awful, or this could’ve sucked.

It can’t ever be easy, can it?

Backs against the wall, playoff hopes on the line, hated rival in town, coming off a tough loss with chances to stay in the playoff picture fading faster than a Luke Schenn tee-shot, the Sabres were guaranteed to come out strong and make a statement.

There’s no guarantees, apparently. But who gives a shit if they come through at the end, right?

Spotting the clubhouse-bound Maple Leafs a 3-0 lead, the Buffalo Sabres made the most rousing of rousing comebacks, fighting back for a 6-5 overtime win. Derek Roy scored the game winner on a powerplay at 3:29 of overtime to tie Buffalo with Washington at 88 points for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

An epic goal by Jordan Leopold with 1:53 remaining in regulation tied the game at five, erasing a two goal deficit in the final ten minutes.

“Today was one of those days where we could’ve found ourselves losing that game 5-0,” Leopold said. “It didn’t work out that way, because we decided to dig in and push it all the way.”

Alexander Sulzer scored twice, Roy added another and Tyler Ennis also scored for Buffalo, who at one point or another, trailed 3-0, 4-2 and 5-3 before sending it to overtime.

Ryan Miller, despite the five goals allowed on the statline, made several phenomenal saves in stopping 20 of 25 shots he faced to get the win.

Buffalo’s scant playoff prospects remain alive until Thursday, when a matchup with the Flyers in Philadelphia and a Florida/Washington battle await. Until then…

…Wow.

  • In the final 43:29 of the game (second, third, and overtime periods) Buffalo outshot Toronto 36-12. It shouldn’t have been as close as it was.
  • Marcus Foligno, the well deserved first star of the night, was an absolute force. Throwing huge hits, dropping the gloves, picking up assists and overall being a pain-in-the-ass for the Leafs. And remember, there was a debate over whether the team made a mistake giving up on Zack Kassian.
  • Alexander Sulzer came to the Sabres with the following career totals: 74 games played. One goal. Seven assists. In 15 games with Buffalo, three goals, five assists and a good chance to get a nice contract this offseason. Read the rest of this entry

3MI Roadtrip Recap: Washington

(In place of a traditional “Overreactions” post, which would be extremely tardy, this is 3MI Roadtrip Recap. A mix of what the postgame blogs usually look like and a look into the trip. Hope you like it. If you don’t, well, blow me.)

Preamble

Sometimes you gotta just say “Fuck it.

Having a few good friends living in the DC region, a trip to the Verizon Center had been on the docket as a possibility for a while. This week’s game had multiple arguments against the viability of the trip. Leading the way was the fact it was on a Tuesday. It was just something like “Alright, I’ll keep an eye on Southwest Airlines deals into BWI and see if there’s a good deal and then I’ll consider it…” until days kept creeping up on March 27 and all of a sudden the magnitude of the game became apparent. Just a week prior, I’m sitting at work texting a friend about maybe going and a song comes on and it’s time to show a cut from Sting’s new album.

So Monday after work, I hit the road for my friend’s place outside Baltimore. We and a couple of her friends got tickets for a somewhat reasonable price on StubHub over the weekend. So after a brief seven hour drive, it was a good night of sleep that stood between me and the day of the next biggest game of the season.

I had been to Washington and the area multiple times on various road trips over the past few years, including a trip last summer to catch a Nats game and a USMNT game. It’s a beautiful city, tons of stuff to do, a hell of a lot of fun. I had done the basic stops on the pilgrimage all Americans should make before, but it didn’t stop a return visit to the Museum of American History, which is always mind-blowing.

A few hours touring around downtown DC led to pre-game beers led to the game. Oddly, I had little to no stress about the game, mainly due to the fact it was such a mess finding my way down there and the looming overnight drive I had waiting for me. But here it was. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, 76th Edition: I thought I told you that we won’t stop

The wins just keep coming.

It wasn’t long ago that the Sabres looked at the standings and saw themselves sitting dead last in the East. It wasn’t long ago that they were talking lottery pick instead of playoffs. But tonight, the Sabres will go to sleep sitting in 8th place, in prime position to win the last spot in the playoffs.

(Well, whenever they go to bed, after they spend the night downtown at the bars…)

Fresh off a convincing 4-1 win over New York the night before, the Sabres rebounded from an early deficit and earned a 3-1 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild.

Thomas Vanek tied the game early in the second period, knocking in a loose puck in front of the net. Buffalo would carry play for most of the middle period, outshooting Minnesota 17-5.

The Sabres took the lead 1:45 into the third period, as Tyler Myers ripped a point shot that found the leg of Marcus Foligno before hitting the back of the net to give Buffalo a lead they would never relinquish. Cody Hodgson scored a buzzer-beating empty netter to add the insurance.

Ryan Miller turned aside 24 of 25 shots, earning his seventh win in his last nine games.

Buffalo moved past idle Washington with 84 points, with the Capitals holding a game in hand, which they’ll play tomorrow evening when they host these Wild. The Sabres travel to DC on Monday for Tuesday’s showdown with the Caps.

  • Corey Tropp was the well deserved second star. He made the play in the corner that paved the way for the Vanek goal. He was a physical presence all night. That line is developing some nice chemistry. They chipped in two goals tonight.
  • Can I copyright the “Travis Turnbull is Adam Mair” comparison? I was on that early. Spent five seconds more on the ice (5:05 TOI) than in the box (5 PIM) tonight.
  • Tyler Myers made the play on the Foligno goal with a good point shot, but I thought he was overall bad with the puck. Senseless giveaways, fumbling the puck at the blueline and making poor decisions. It didn’t kill them, but it didn’t help. He can be better. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, 75th Edition: Bandwagon seeing population growth, Sabres beat Rangers

For the doubters, this was a statement game. For the dreamers, this was just another step.

As the Buffalo Sabres have resurrected their playoff hopes, there have been many key victories to get them back into contention. It could be a Friday night win in New York City that may have allowed the team to escape the casket their season had been placed.

Drew Stafford scored twice, and Tyler Ennis added a goal and two assists to lead the Sabres to a 4-1 win over the East-leading New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

“We’ve put a lot of work into getting to the position where we’re at right now, but obviously we’re not there yet,” Stafford said. “We’re not worried about the other teams around us. We know if we play well, take care of our business and win the games, we’ll be sitting just fine. Right now we haven’t accomplished anything.”

Ryan Miller was spectacular in goal, stopping 26 shots and outdueling Hart-candidate Henrik Lundqvist at the other end. Miller stopped all 13 Rangers shots in the third, allowing the Sabres to pull away.

Travis Turnbull also scored his first NHL goal for Buffalo, who with the win, had briefly vaulted into 8th place before Washington picked up a point in an overtime loss to Winnipeg. The Capitals and Sabres are tied with 82 points, but Washington holds the tiebreaker.

  • Looking at the remaining schedule coming into this game, you could’ve justified saying this was a game the team would be alright not getting two points. The best team in the conference on the road? Maybe that’s asking too much. They went in and picked up bonus points.
  • Congrats to Travis Turnbull on his first NHL goal. Didn’t get a chance to do a recap of his debut Wednesday, but he made enough of an impact in the mere 3:27 he played Friday. The kid reminds me of Adam Mair. Shows a lot of hustle but too often looks lost. He let Brian Boyle drift to the front of the net undetected on the lone Rangers goal. Good for the kid to get rewarded for his hard work, but I don’t see him earning a spot in the lineup if the team is competitive. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, 73rd Edition: Sabres bolt ahead and beat Tampa

Games have tended to slip away from the Sabres lately.

There was the “give up a late goal to force overtime and lose in the shootout” one last Wednesday. And then the “come back to tie it and blow multiple chances to seal the win in a shootout” one in southern Florida on Saturday.

Tonight, the Sabres made sure that wasn’t happening again.

Holding a two goal lead after 20 minutes, Buffalo used a four-goal second period to pull away en route to a 7-3 win over Tampa Bay.

Jason Pominville and Marcus Foligno each scored twice for Buffalo, who kept pace with the victorious Washington Capitals and sit just two points behind them for the final playoff spot in the East.

“We were able to capitalize on a couple of rushes and made some good plays on our power play,” Pominville said. “When they have to change their game plan and open the game up, I think it falls into our style of play. We’ve got guys that have speed and can make you pay, and we did.”

Drew Stafford, Corey Tropp and Brad Boyes also scored, as the Sabres defeated the Lightning for the first time this season.

Ryan Miller made 24 saves to get the win, as his counterparts, starter Dustin Tokarski (four goals allowed on 15 shots) and Dwayne Roloson (three goals allowed on 23 shots) didn’t fare as well.

  • Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno are absolutely sublime right now. A combined three goals and four assists tonight, these guys look phenomenal together. Ennis’ move to center has singlehandedly rejuvenated Stafford, and Foligno has probably played his last AHL game, unless the Sabres miss the playoffs.
  • Good to see Jason Pominville pick up a couple nice goals, getting him to 27 on the year. He’s had a great season, and he should have a good look at breaking the 30-goal mark. Hey, somebody ought to be able to get that many.
  • Corey Tropp with an absolute beauty on a nice setup from Thomas Vanek. Tropp is the future of the bottom six on this roster. Decent size, good energy and solid hands. He’s developed into a hell of a player. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, 70th Edition: Tyler, Tyler, Tyler

This wasn’t just a game the Sabres need to win, it was a game they had to win. A simply dominating effort couldn’t go to waste. It almost did. But almost doesn’t matter.

Even after allowing a tying goal with just seconds left in regulation, the Buffalo Sabres rebounded quickly and thanks to a Tyler Myers goal 2:01 into the fourth period, defeated Montreal 3-2 in overtime.

Tyler Ennis was the star of the night, scoring both Sabres goals in regulation, including a dazzling marker to tie the game at 1-1 in the second period. Ennis would get credit for another in the third thanks to Montreal’s Alexei Emelin deflecting it past Peter Budaj.

Montreal would tie the game in the dying moments on a goal by David Desharnais, sending it to extra time. Two minutes in, it was Derek Roy finding a trailing Myers in the slot for the finish.

“I think it shows we’ve got good character,” Ennis said. “It can be deflating when you let in a goal with a few seconds left. And we bounce back and score right away in overtime.”

The win moved Buffalo past Winnipeg for 9th place in the East, and trail 8th place Washington by just two points.

Ryan Miller was solid in goal for the Sabres, stopping 26 shots.

  • Why was Marcus Foligno on the ice for the final shift that led to the tying goal? Great, the kid played well, reward him, but not right there. Don’t believe those three forwards (Foligno, Roy and Jason Pominville) played a shift together the whole game until then. It bit them.
  • Obligatory “Tyler Ennis is a superstar in the making whether you think so or not” bullet point. Gotta keep him at center.
  • After missing time with injury, Thomas Vanek had a good game and showed a lot of tenacity. Didn’t seem to me that he was laboring much at all. Came extremely close to getting himself on the scoresheet. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, 67th Edition: On to the next one

As game time approached Wednesday night at First Niagara Center, the signs of a “trap game” started popping up. Whether it was Lindy Ruff sticking Ryan Miller in net again, the dreaded “first game back after a road trip” game, a late scratch of Andrej Sekera due to illness… you could find your reasons.

Buffalo responded with an effort that got them the result they needed.

Before a surprisingly lively crowd, the Sabres came home and in the end, took care of business, knocking off the Carolina Hurricanes with a 3-2 overtime victory on the strength of captain Jason Pominville’s powerplay goal 56 seconds into the fourth period.

After falling into an early hole and facing a one goal deficit after one, the Sabres had grabbed a 2-1 lead just 1:02 into the second on goals by Tyler Myers and Thomas Vanek. Carolina would later tie it up and the teams remained deadlocked after 60 minutes until the American hero, Pominville, ended it.

Ryan Miller made 22 saves for Buffalo, moving to 7-1-2 in his last 10 starts.

The Sabres now sit 10th place in the Eastern Conference at 70 points, just two behind 8th place Winnipeg with 15 games to go.

  • Thomas Vanek’s ice time in his four-game streak without a point: 17:41, 17:45, 12:09, 16:20. Tonight: 19:47, two points. Likely due to the above-the-norm amount of powerplays, but noticeable.
  • Big ups to Carolina’s Jussi Jokinen for taking three, yes, three minor penalties tonight. The way they’re calling games, penalties don’t get called often. Takes a supreme effort to pull that off.
  • Alex Sulzer had a pretty solid game as a late replacement for the apparently sick Andrej Sekera. Three blocked shots, two shots on goal, and a snipe off the pipe that could’ve broken the tie in the second period. Looked good in his home debut. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, 66th Edition: Sabres lose game, win because they get to leave Winnipeg

Sure, looking at the standings, Monday night’s game in Winnipeg (a vacation destination listed somewhere between Sarajevo and Chernobyl on the countdown of “Most Desirable Places To Visit”) looked like a big game. The Sabres, just two points behind the 8th place Thrashers-at-heart, could’ve jumped ahead with a regulation win.

Had it not been at the conclusion of a roadtrip that helped resurrect the team’s season, it might’ve been a do-or-die situation. But thanks to wins at Anaheim, San Jose and Vancouver, arguably, they were already playing with house money. Four-for-four wasn’t in the cards. Oh well.

Buffalo surrendered a lead for the first time in more than two weeks and rarely looked threatening in a 3-1 loss to the team they renamed the Jets.

Ryan Miller, who was sublime for the first three games of the trip, looked solid, but his 28 saves on 31 shots was not enough to steal any points.

Corey Tropp scored for Buffalo.

The Sabres looked lifeless for most of the game, showing signs of wear after three hard-fought wins before getting sent to play in poor conditions against a rested team.

Buffalo now sits four points out of a playoff spot, while still maintaining a game in hand. Winnipeg, clearly a better team in their AHL-sized home rink, plays just six games there for the remainder of the season. They have the 25th best road record in the NHL. Needless to say, the 8th spot is there for the taking.

  • Pretty shocked Lindy Ruff didn’t juggle lines a bit to find something other than the fourth line that might’ve shown something. The top line of Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville looked atrocious. They were each -2 and played under 17 minutes. Your top line is supposed to step up. They didn’t.
  • Seriously, when you’re down two in the final minutes and Matt Ellis is on the ice, your team has problems. Read the rest of this entry
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