First quarter report: What’s up with the Dallas Stars and what’s wrong with Sidney Crosby?

Jamie Benn (left) and Tyler Seguin have been on some kind of tear this season. Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

Monday night’s NHL games marked the official passing of the first quarter of the season and like Nathan MacKinnon, time flies, doesn’t it? It seems like just yesterday we were waiting for the league to rubber stamp the Las Vegas expansion application and allow Bill Foley into the annual owners’ croquet game. We’re still waiting on that and, if Jeremy Jacobs’ comments have any merit – and they do – we’ll be waiting a lot longer.

Off the ice, that was one of the big surprises of the season so far. Between the boards, here are some of the others that have surfaced after the first quarter:

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Chad Johnson makes diving, desperation save to rob Nikita Kucherov

Jared Clinton
Nikita Kucherov (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Buffalo Sabres are still waiting for goaltender Robin Lehner to return to the lineup, but Chad Johnson’s Superman impression Tuesday night is going to help ease that pain.

In the second frame of the Sabres’ outing against Tampa Bay, Johnson absolutely robbed Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov. After the puck was curled around the net by Alex Killorn and Kucherov found himself open to the side of the net, Johnson dove back in front, reached out and snagged Kucherov’s shot with his glove: Read more

Watch Sabres tribute to Ryan Miller in his first game back in Buffalo

Jared Clinton
Ryan Miller (via Buffalo Sabres/Twitter)

For 11 seasons, goaltender Ryan Miller was the backbone of the Buffalo Sabres.

No goaltender in the history of the franchise has played more games between the pipes, not even the outstanding Dominik Hasek. And Miller, with 284 wins, is the winningest netminders to ever suit up in Buffalo. Few in upstate New York will forget Miller’s 2009-10 season, either, when he led the Sabres to a Northwest Division title with a Vezina Trophy-winning performance between the pipes.

But since leaving Buffalo at the trade deadline in 2014, Miller hasn’t returned to face the Sabres. That is until Saturday afternoon, when he took the net for the Canucks. As it was Miller’s first game back, the Sabres prepared a touching tribute for their longtime netminder which is filled with unforgettable calls by the unbeatable Rick Jeanneret. Take a look: Read more

Jack Eichel undresses two Lightning defensemen, scores another highlight-reel goal

Jared Clinton
Jack Eichel (Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

Hockey fans missing the smooth skating and silky hands of Edmonton Oilers rookie Connor McDavid, have no fear. There’s still another rookie dynamo making opposition defensemen look silly, and that’s 2015 second-overall Jack Eichel.

Thursday night, the young Buffalo Sabres center had his third crack at facing off against Tampa Bay. Eichel had been held scoreless in both of his first two contests against the Lightning, but that wasn’t the case in his third outing against the defending Eastern Conference champions. No, instead Eichel absolutely embarrassed a pair of defenders who were playing last June for the Stanley Cup.

The first move by Eichel is a simple one, but the grace with which he pulls it off is stunning. The second move, a quick slip between the legs and stick of Lightning blueliner Braydon Coburn, is something to behold. And, of course, the moves would be all for naught if Eichel didn’t make good on the finish: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Sabres join hunt for defensemen, while Flyers try to find home for Schenn

Lyle Richardson
(Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Early this NHL season, defensemen appear to be a hot commodity in the trade market. The Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets emerged as the first clubs reportedly seeking blueline depth, but the Buffalo Sabres apparently got in the hunt even sooner. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman cites an NHL GM claiming the Sabres search for a left-shooting rearguard stretches back to this year’s draft.

Two current possibilities for the Sabres could be found in Tampa Bay or Anaheim. A recent report out of Tampa Bay claims the Lightning could try moving Matt Carle, while the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Ducks are listening to offers for Cam Fowler.

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Sabres documentary from longtime ‘The Office’ staff member trying to get funding

Jared Clinton
Mary Wall films before a Sabres game. (via The Fan Connection/Kickstarter)

As the 2006 post-season approached, Mary Wall went on a nine-week hiatus from her position on the monster NBC sitcom The Office. Wall, who worked as an assistant to the executive producer on the show, grew up outside Buffalo, N.Y. and decided to head back home for the nine-week break. It just so happened that her trip back to Buffalo would coincide with one of the most memorable Sabres playoff runs in memory.

“It was sort of the magical Cup run that came out of nowhere for the Sabres,” Wall said. “It was so unifying. Everywhere we went, everyone was talking about it. Everyone was best friends because of the Sabres run. You felt like you knew everyone in the city. In the grocery store line, in the parking lots, people were just nice and they’d let you in. It was fantastic.”

The Sabres would fall short in the Eastern Conference final, losing a crushing seven-game series to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes, but the run by her hometown team planted a seed in Wall’s mind. The unification of Buffalonians was special, something she hadn’t witnessed while in Pittsburgh after a Steelers Super Bowl victory or in Los Angeles following a Lakers NBA title. The idea sat with Wall, though, and didn’t sprout into something bigger until 2011. Read more

Oilers’ McDavid headlines impressive rookie crop

Connor McDavid (Andy Devlin/Getty Images)

Most of the pre-season scuttlebutt pitted two so-called generational players, Edmonton Oilers center and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, in a duel for the Calder Trophy.

Advantage McDavid.

As the calendar flipped over to November, Eichel had racked up four goals in 11 games, putting him in a tie for 12th in rookie scoring. McDavid, meanwhile, sits atop the rookie race.

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