Blog Archives

Basement Brigade presents BLACK & RED NIGHT on October 28th vs. Dallas

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Sabres fans, we know this year is going to be rough. We knew this going in, and it’s only October. We’re gonna have to make the best of this.

The Sabres don’t exactly go out of their way to do anything special game-to-game, and a Monday night against Dallas might not pop out on the calendar, but this one does. It’s going to be memorable. We can make it more memorable.

Former coach Lindy Ruff makes his first return visit to the rink he coached our team for 16 years. They apparently are going to honor him (unlike a certain former captain) but this might be the best excuse to do something ourselves.

Ruff stepped behind our bench in 1997, with the Sabres wearing sharp black and red uniforms unveiled a year earlier. He coached all but one season of the decade the Sabres wore those colors, including 3 trips to the conference finals and a trip to the Stanley Cup in 1999. If we ever wanted to pick a night to break our black and red out again, this is it.

So let’s do it.

On Monday, October 28, wear black and red Sabres gear to the game against Dallas.

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The Sabres don’t do throwback nights like the Ducks did recently, and even Kings fans do a Burger King jersey appreciation night on their own. We can do it  ourselves. Not everyone loved the black and red or the “goat head” logo, but it’s still what our team wore. Even if the Sabres wear blue and gold now, black and red will always be a part of Sabres history.

Key disclaimer: WE ARE NOT PROTESTING ANYTHING. This isn’t about Ruff, or Regier, or the terrible new third jersey or anything else. This is just a fun way to pay tribute to ten years of the team’s history that no matter what colors or logo they wore before or after, were some of the best years we’ve seen. The Sabres’ organization doesn’t need to organize this. We all have jerseys that sit in the closet and don’t get pulled out enough. So let’s dust them off together. If you don’t want to, don’t. But honestly, why not?

Going to the game? Wear your black and red. It’ll be fun. Don’t have tickets? Well, they’re probably cheap on StubHub, so go for it.

WHO: You.
WHAT: Wear your old black and red colored Sabres gear
WHERE: First Niagara Center
WHEN: Monday, October 28 at 7:00pm
WHY: Why not?

On Pominville’s return to Buffalo

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I’m sure you guys are past arguing about whether or not the Sabres should’ve done anything for former Sabres captain Jason Pominville when he came back to Buffalo on Monday. Don’t care, I didn’t really get my two cents in yet, so deal with it.

In his first game back with his new team, the Minnesota Wild, Pominville was the storyline, before and after the game, earning the first star and notching the game winning goal in a 2-1 Sabres loss. The Sabres organization decided not to do anything special, didn’t bother to recognize him during the game, just went about it like any other game.

And the great part? They got killed for it afterwards. The Buffalo News got in on the action, as Mike Harrington tore the decisionArtvoice’s Puck Stop just did another piece about it.

From Harrington:

Pominville was different. His trade was a good deal for both sides. He didn’t ask out at all. Fans understood. It would have taken a quick PA announcement welcoming him back to Buffalo and thanking him for his years of service, a quick Jumbotron clip of his famous overtime goal in Ottawa. Let the fans applaud. Thirty seconds. Done.

From Kulyk & Farrell:

Jeers to the Sabres front office and game ops crew for not giving their former Sabres captain any love on the HD board. The script was simple: first TV timeout you run the highlight reel of the overtime series clinching goal against Ottawa in 2006 (“Now do you believe! These guys are good! Scary good!”), then show Pommers on the bench and let the fans do the rest. A goose bump moment stolen from the fans. But hey! The kiss cam and dancing recycling bins sequences were epic.

Or, the team could’ve taken a history lesson and did something really nice. Like they did in November 1997, when former captain Pat LaFontaine made his first appearance in Buffalo since being traded to the New York Rangers. Read the rest of this entry

Turning the record over: Sabres finally part ways with Lindy Ruff

Lindy RuffIt’s more than nine hours since the news came across the wire and it’s still a bit hard to grasp: Lindy Ruff is no longer the coach of the Buffalo Sabres.

I’ve been sitting here for at least the last two of those eight trying to put words together to assess what today means… coherently, at least.  It’s not just a hockey move that we can accurately analyze and come to a consensus before moving on. This is a big one.

As soon as the story broke, the lines about the amount of coaching changes and ownership changes and whatever else has happened since Lindy stepped behind the bench in Buffalo came flooding out. It was tired, but almost necessary. It’s hard to really gain perspective on how things have changed since he came in without making it a joke. But he’s been here forever.

Seriously, just think about the goalies who’ve seen time since he came in: Ryan Miller, Jhonas Enroth, Drew MacIntyre, Patrick Lalime, Mikael Tellqvist, Jocelyn Thibault, Ty Conklin, Martin Biron, Mika Noronen, Bob Essensa, Peter Skudra, Dwayne Roloson, Steve Shields and Dominik Hasek.

Some of those guys were here for a long time, too.

Ruff was behind the bench for more than a third of the franchise’s history. Anyone in their mid-to-late-20’s or younger who has watched this team their whole lives spent their formative years watching their Sabres coached by Lindy Ruff. I was 10 years old when he came in, and I’ve watched an obscene amount of games where he’s behind the bench. I joked on twitter about it being upwards of 99%, but in reality, it’s probably somewhere in the 96-97% range. And he coached 1,165 games here. Do the math.

All that said, it was time, if not overdue. The team showed it. Things couldn’t stay the same. Everyone saw the need to change. The same song has kept repeating for years now. Even still, you’d be lying if you said it wasn’t jarring to hear the news. And that’s a good feeling whether you realize that yet or not. Read the rest of this entry

Instigator Podcast #23 featuring WGR’s Pat Malacaro (Jan. 29, 2013)

So me and Chris Ostrander of Two In the Box do this podcast sometimes, and we’re always trying to get guests. This episode, we have WGR 550’s Pat Malacaro joining us.

The topic of the day is Mikhail Grigorenko, what the Sabres should do and why. Beyond that, we have a solid version of Plus/Minus, talk Tyler Myers, faceoffs, The Bills Mafia and more.

If this is your first time experiencing the Instigator, thanks. Follow us on twitter, @3rdManIn or @2ITB_Buffalo. More importantly, follow Pat at @PatWGR.

Overreactions, 4/48 Edition: Vanek can’t do everything

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Well, the defense tightened up a bit at least.

After dropping a 6-3 decision the night before in Raleigh, the Buffalo Sabres again took one in the loss column, a 3-1 defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Thomas Vanek scored the lone goal for Buffalo, his third of the campaign, to open up a 1-0 second period lead. (AD: Click here to visit BetOnIt.org to learn more about betting online) Vanek has been on the ice for all 11 goals the Sabres have scored this season.

“Thomas is off to one hell of a start,” said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. “He’s played awesome.”

Unfortunately, that one goal wasn’t going to be enough, as Carolina tied it a few minutes later on Alexander Semin’s first goal as a Hurricane. Jay Harrison’s point shot at 15:10 of the 3rd found the back of the net behind Ryan Miller to give Carolina the lead, and Jeff Skinner’s empty netter sealed it.

Dan Ellis, yes, that’s right, Dan Ellis, was superb in goal for Carolina, stopping 40 of 41 shots.

“Coming into Buffalo and getting a win is not easy, and he was a big of a part of that win tonight,” Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said after the game.

The Sabres did get a solid night out of Ryan Miller, who stopped 39 of 41 shots. But when you don’t have goal support, it’s tough to put it on the goaltending.

“You need to win these games or at least get to overtime,” said Miller after the game. “I need to make one more save.”

Buffalo next heads to Washington for a Sunday matinee with the winless Capitals.

  • Lindy deemed Tyler Myers’ play tonight as “Okay” after the game, and while he did settle in and play decent defense at times, that’s irrelevant due to the egregious mistakes he made. The absolutely mindless play that created a 3-on-0 break for Carolina in the second period is completely unacceptable for what is expected of him. The only thing stopping me from saying he’s been Buffalo’s worst defenseman is the fact Robyn Regehr has possibly been worse.
  • I avoided mentioning it above, but what the fuck is the point of having Mikhail Grigorenko here? Ruff gave an acceptable reasoning as to why he tried putting other lines out for defense. You know what? Fine. But you just made a budding franchise-cornerstone-type offensive center prospect skate with John fucking Scott. This develops him how? Playing him 6:48 a night when your team can’t score goals helps you how? Send him back to Quebec and let him get relied on for 20+ minutes a night. Don’t make him play with fucking plugs.
  • Andrej Sekera: team leading 22:18 TOI. Most shots by a defenseman. Most takeaways. Most blocked shots. Best defenseman in a Buffalo uniform tonight. Was excellent jumping into the rush and busted his ass to get back. Read the rest of this entry

Instigator Podcast #8: No Answer

After an extended tour of Europe, Scandinavia and the sub-continent, we are back with the eighth version of “The Instigator Podcast” featuring Chris Ostrander of Two In the Box and myself.

This week we talk about, well, rage about the fact there was no end of the season press conference, discuss what to do with Lindy Ruff since he’s staying, the team’s core, and where to go from here. Oh! Plus/minus too!

Comments, suggestions and insults can be directed to us. Let us know below or on twitter, @3rdManIn or @2ITB_Buffalo.

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

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

Overreactions, 63rd Edition: He dissed you bad, G!

Ryan Miller didn’t seem too happy yesterday. When pressed about his departed BFF Paul Gaustad, he seemed unsettled by not having the big guy around anymore. Never knowing how Miller will react mentally to things like this, it’d have been easy to have tenuous confidence about Wednesday night’s game in Anaheim.

Miller stepped up. Big time.

A sensational outing from the man in the crease propelled the Sabres to a scrappy 2-0 win over the Ducks at Honda Center. Miller made 43 saves for his fourth shutout of the season.

The first 40 minutes were a solid effort from the Sabres, jumping out to a two goal lead on a powerplay goal by Derek Roy in the first and a tip-in from Brad Boyes in the second.

For the Ducks, the roosters were crowing and cows were spinning circles in the pasture, as they came out flying in the third period. Anaheim outshot Buffalo 20-4 in the final frame, but couldn’t crack Miller.

Things got chippy at the end, as the Ducks’ frustration boiled over. Three scraps in the final minute, featuring Anaheim stars such as Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry marred the end of a solid night for the Sabres.

New acquisition Cody Hodgson looked sharp in his debut in blue and gold, earning a +1 in 16:04 of ice time while ripping four shots and winning 5-of-8 at the faceoff dot. Hodgson was centering Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford, and the line looked dangerous for most of the night.

The Sabres now fly directly to San Jose for the second half of the back-to-back against the Sharks.

  • Hodgson was as-advertised, despite not picking up a point. He was buzzing all over the ice and didn’t hesitate shooting. He had a nice opportunity on a 2-on-1 with Tyler Ennis, but couldn’t beat Jonas Hiller. A nice effort to settle into the lineup.
  • On Ennis, he had a good look at an empty net, but made what looked like an unselfish play to try to find Drew Stafford in the middle. One with a killer instinct would look for him to shoot. One looking for team play would be cool with that decision. One named Al Iafrate would think Tyler’s a good egg.
  • Corey Tropp’s name shows up here a lot. Tonight was another good effort. He drew a boarding penalty that led to the Boyes goal. He threw down with Matt Beleskey. Can’t hate on the kid, dude just brings it. Read the rest of this entry

For Luke Adam, season at a crossroads

While most of his Sabres teammates got a nice break from the grind this past weekend, rookie forward Luke Adam had an experience of a lifetime.

After being named to the list of rookies participating in the skills competition at NHL All-Star Weekend, Adam was amongst the game’s best for a few days in Ottawa. Adam was selected to participate in the hardest shot contest for Team Chara, and acquitted himself quite well.

The odd part of the whole thing was seen Luke out on the ice along side the game’s best in the showcase weekend for the league is quite atypical of his experiences in Buffalo of late.

Riding a strong start to the season, centering a line between All-Star Jason Pominville and superstar Thomas Vanek, Adam appeared to be filling that top line pivot spot well.

Obviously, Jochen Hecht’s injury woes to start the season certainly helped Adam earn his spot on the team. Many (including myself) had Adam pegged to start the season in Rochester. Without a healthy body down the middle and an expanded roster to go off to Europe, Luke got his chance to start the season with the Sabres and took advantage. With four points in the first two games, he looked the part. Soon after the Sabres’ hot start dissipated, Adam began a slide down the depth chart.

His surprising October led to a solid November, and after a couple good performances early on December, dropped off the radar completely.

As Buffalo slipped further and further away from the playoffs, and dropped to the basement of the Eastern Conference, Luke disappeared from the boxscores. His last goal was December 17 in Pittsburgh, a span of 17 games. He doesn’t even have an assist since December 7th, a span of 22 games. He’s been sequestered to the fourth line, surely a move that can rejuvenate his offense, spending time alongside snipers Matt Ellis and Cody McCormick.

In the team’s last game, a shootout win in New Jersey, Luke Adam played 4:39.

This begs the question: What purpose does it serve to have Adam on the roster? Read the rest of this entry

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