Category Archives: Buffalo Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres on Friday claimed center Zenon Konopka off waivers from the Minnesota Wild.
Regarded as one of the NHL’s better faceoff men, Konopka has won 65.7 percent of his faceoffs, most in the League for players to have taken at least 200 faceoffs. He also has one goal, two points and 55 penalty minutes in 36 games.
Leino was a healthy scratch Tuesday after loafing through practice Monday. More disturbing than his practice habits was his nonchalance over getting benched. He shrugged his shoulders and wondered aloud what Nolan expected, as if he needed things spelled out for him after going scoreless in his first 18 games
It’s not that difficult to understand. Nolan expects an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. He expects leadership from 30-year-old playing his seventh NHL season. He expects a little jam. He expects a goal every once in a while from a so-called top-six forward. Is that really asking for too much from a guy making $4.5 million?
Steve Ott is the only impending unrestricted free agent in the Buffalo Sabres dressing room willing to emphatically state that he’s prepared to wait out the rebuild. Yet the captain has no idea if he’ll be given that chance. “We had some negotiating going back and forth and (former GM) Darcy Regier kind of pulled the plug and said he was going to wait until training camp,” says Ott of some summer discussions. “Then training camp came and nothing was said.”
An NHL pro scout, after watching the Buffalo Sabres, said: “Ryan Miller is about all they’ve got. He’s playing unreal.” So where do the Sabres send the goalie at the trade deadline? Are the New York Islanders on his list of teams he’d play for? Are the Nashville Predators, if Pekka Rinne is out for longer than they thought?
The New York Islanders haven’t lived up to the expectations they made for themselves after pushing the Pittsburgh Penguins to the limit with a seven-game series last spring.
That has GM Garth Snow working the phones.
It’s public knowledge that Erat, owner of the penthouse in Capitals head coach Adam Oates’ doghouse, asked to be dealt. While there will be interest because Erat’s salary is $2.25 million lower than his cap hit next season, the fact that he’s now made two trade requests in less than 12 months hurts, even though no one could have predicted what’s happened in Washington.
Asked which team is the best he’s seen this season, McPhee said: “St. Louis. I didn’t realize some of their forwards are as good as they are.” He named Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Sobotka and Vladimir Tarasenko.
If Miller does decide he wants to move on — and the belief is he wants to go to the Western Conference — a league source says there’s a team that may interest Miller looking for a goalie: The Los Angeles Kings.
Miller, 33, is in the final year of a five-year, $31.3 million contract with Buffalo, which may be inclined to move the netminder, who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Blues are believed to be one of the teams that inquired about Miller last offseason, but it appears that that ship has sailed.
Pat LaFontaine has only been in his new role as president of hockey operations for the Buffalo Sabres a few days, but he’s already thinking of how he’ll improve the club. The biggest item on his to-do list is hiring a new general manager, but there’s work to be done in the interim.
Among the biggest decisions on the player personnel side is what to do with Ryan Miller. The star goaltender is due to become a free agent at the end of the season and is unlikely to want to be part of a rebuild in Buffalo, which could take some time.
The Buffalo Sabres dug into their past in a major front office shakeup on Wednesday, firing general manager Darcy Regier and head coach Ron Rolston and hiring former Sabre Pat LaFontaine as their new President of Hockey Operations and former Buffalo bench boss Ted Nolan as interim head coach.
Nov. 5. Hockey Central’s insiders report that changes will be coming in Edmonton, although they might not involve former No. 1 draft pick Nail Yakupov — who carries more value than New York Rangers defenceman Michael Del Zotto right now. Ales Hemsky, despite his hefty $5-million cap hit, is more likely to be dealt. Hemsky will be a UFA in July.
Colorado was considered a possible landing spot for Miller during the offseason, but Varlamov put those rumors down by starting 7-1 with a 1.76 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. The Avs appear to be legitimate Stanley Cup hopefuls — they lead the league in goals allowed per game at 1.46 and rank sixth in goals scored at 3.18 — and have 36-year-old J.S. Giguere as a backup.
Impending free-agents Steve Ott, Cody McCormick and Henrik Tallinder could be talked about, too. What the Vanek trade showed is that the Sabres are open for business, but Regier said it’s “too early” to know what value they’ll have in the coming months.