Sunday was an off day for the Buffalo Sabres, but it didn’t come without some news.
Early Sunday evening, the team announced they have recalled forwards Tim Schaller and Phil Varone from the AHL’s Rochester Americans, while sending back center Johan Larsson.
Schaller has been having a phenomenal year, becoming a key player for the Amerks and earning multiple looks with the Sabres. On a team with more notable offensive prospects, he’s leading Rochester in goals (10) and notched his first NHL goal December 21st against Boston on his second of now three recalls.
Varone, on the other hand, gets his first recall of the season. Leading the Americans in scoring with 29 points in 35 games, the former Erie Otter collected a goal and an assist in a nine-game stint with the Sabres back in January and February 2014.
Both players are deserving of their respective recalls. Both players have shown capabilities beyond the AHL level. But the more interesting part of this roster shuffle is in regards to Johan Larsson, who’s drawn the ire of media, fans and, apparently, coaches due to his questionable play.
Larsson, 22, has one goal and one assist in 12 NHL games over two recalls this season. Apparently, that doesn’t seem to be enough output for a player whose game isn’t the type that exhibits buzzwords such as “grit” or “compete.”
In his most recent eight game stint with the Sabres, he added a goal and an assist with an even plus-minus rating as the team was outscored 36-14 and went 1-6-1. In a terrible stretch, Larsson was on the ice for as many goals for as goals against: two. Read the rest of this entry
You know, you figure since they decided to end the lockout, I figured it was time Chris Ostrander of Two In the Box and myself did another podcast.
In a brand new season premiere of the Instigator (new intro and everything!) we talk about the end of the lockout, where we go from here, the superpower that is USA Hockey, Canada being Canada, and we play Plus/Minus.
Hey look… there’s hockey in Buffalo! What a concept!
Before a record crowd of 19,070 at First Niagara Center, the Rochester Americans defeated the Lake Erie Monsters by a score of 4-1.
Thanks to two goals from Cody Hodgson and tallies by Mark Mancari and Nick Tarnasky, the Amerks never trailed and controlled most of the play. Brayden McNabb had two assists and Mancari, T.J. Brennan, and Max Legault also added helpers.
Despite the two meetings between the teams leading to a combined 13 goals in each matchup, David Leggio was solid in net for Rochester, stopping 36 of 37 Lake Erie shots, and as my man Marshawn Lynch said, “It don’t get no better than solid.”
Rochester moves to 15-11-2-1 on the season, good for 9th in the AHL’s Western Conference. They are a mere three points behind 4th place Abbotsford.
The Amerks head back to Rochester for another game tomorrow night against Binghamton. As for First Niagara Center, it goes back to darkness. For now.
- Excellent to be back in the building. There’s snow on the ground, and the five block walk from my car to the arena in bone-chilling cold was refreshing. Wouldn’t be mad at all if they could figure shit out and get a season going.
- Brayden McNabb picked up two assists, but for the majority of the game looked really shaky. Passes were off, just sloppy in general. He cleaned it up near the end, and made a nice play going to the net on Tarnasky’s goal. He was on the verge of a roster spot if there would’ve been a season, but I’m wondering how fast he’s slipping with Pysyk looking good and Brennan playing lights-out. Read the rest of this entry
First Niagara Center has been noticeably empty this October, but for at least one night, there was some hockey at the foot of Washington Street.
Buffalo’s AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans (the team also known as the Amerks) hosted the Hamilton Bulldogs in front of a content crowd announced of almost 11,000 at the Sabres’ home rink. Featuring young bucks who’d have likely been in blue and gold like Cody Hodgson and Marcus Foligno, the Amerks defeated the Bulldogs 3-1.
Hopping out to a first period lead on a bouncing shot from the point off the stick of the mighty Joe Finley, the Amerks surrendered the lead with about eight minutes left in the second on a goal by Hamilton’s Michael Bournival. Cody Hodgson answered right back to retake the lead at 2-1.
T.J. Brennan added an insurance goal with Rochester on a two-man advantage late in the third to secure the victory.
Williamsville native David Leggio had 36 saves in his hometown for the Americans.
While no other Amerks games are scheduled for First Niagara Center, pending the current labor situation with the big leagues, that can change.
- Cody Hodgson looked like the most polished player on the ice. Makes sense, but still. Hard to judge what the offseason training did for him because you don’t know what the talent disparity between leagues is, but he’s putting up numbers. Which is nice.
- Really impressed with Mark Pysyk, he seemed very mature for it being his sixth professional game. Smart with the puck.
- They announced the crowd at 10,896 or something like that, but from experience in minor league ticketing, good luck finding anywhere near that many in the building, staff included. Couldn’t have been more than 9,000 fans here. Read the rest of this entry
Yes, the lockout is still on, and I did another podcast with Chris Ostrander of Two In the Box.
Chris and I remind ourselves that the Bills suck, we talk about the lockout more (in a hopeful way even) and where we’re going, Rochester’s game in Buffalo, the Alumni Plaza and more in Plus/Minus.
Sure the lockout is well underway, but we’re still recording whether they’re playing or not. Chris Ostrander of Two In the Box and yours truly have another edition of the “Instigator” for you.
Chris and I work out the issues with the lockout into an easily comprehensible concept, we play some Gaslight Anthem (shocker) and talk about the new Alumni Plaza at First Niagara Center. Plus, some Plus/Minus!
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, feel free to move to the Congo.)
Not often that you get opportunities to see your team play twice in one day. Well, sort of.
Couple weeks ago a buddy of mine alerted me that the Rochester Americans were playing a weekday morning game in Toronto. He suggested we go for the 11am start. Oh, and the Sabres were hosting the Bruins the same night. What are the odds? Luckily, getting a day off work was feasible, and it worked out great. Easy drive Sabres game didn’t start until 7:30. Plenty of time.
So we hit the road early and headed up the QEW to Toronto to see the Sabres’ minor-league affiliate play the Leafs affiliate to start one hell of a day.
Rochester Americans @ Toronto Marlies
Viewed at: Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Amerks have had their struggles with injuries. With Joe Finley out with a lower body injury, facing a Toronto team they’ve had tough games against this season, things didn’t get much better.
Getting an early start in front of thousands of school kids, the Rochester Americans lost 4-3 to the Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum.
Rookie Zack Kassian scored twice for Rochester, who now sits 9th in the AHL’s Western Conference.
Max Legault scored the other goal for the Amerks. David Leggio made 21 saves in the loss.
Rochester struggled offensively for much of the game, generating just ten shots through two periods. Kassian’s second goal came with under four seconds left.
- Kassian looked like the Kassian we know. Wasn’t throwing his weight around, but strong physically and good around the net. He’s not going to be the player everyone wants him to be. He’ll be good though.
- Made an effort to watch Dennis Persson as much as I could. Seems like he’s slowly becoming a bit steadier. His selection was always assumed to be under the intention that he’d grow into a Henrik Tallinder-type, and I can see it. Tallinder took his sweet time developing. Persson is progressing slowly as well. Not ready to say “bust” yet. He was -2 on Wednesday.
- If you’re into roadtrips, I highly recommend heading up to Ricoh for a game. Beautiful little AHL arena. Very intimate environment.
- Travis Turnbull is a guy that can be a mainstay on the Amerks for a few years. A joy to watch. Plays with a lot of intensity and spunk. Had a nice scrap with Toronto’s Kelsey Wilson. Read the rest of this entry