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
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.
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.
Noah Hanifin was a healthy scratch Tuesday night for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Detroit Red Wings and Sam Reinhart was not on the ice for practice Wednesday morning for the Buffalo Sabres. It’s enough to get a guy to thinking there’s a chance these guys might not be much longer for the NHL this season.
After all, Reinhart played in his ninth game of the season Sunday night and Hanifin had played eight before being scratched. Both are teenagers on entry-level deals and their teams must decide very soon whether it would be best to keep them in the NHL or send them to the minors so their contracts slide back a year.
When Buffalo netminder Robin Lehner went down with a high-ankle sprain, Sabres GM Tim Murray decided that rather than go out and mortgage the future for goaltending help, he would stand pat and see what the duo of Chad Johnson and Linus Ullmark could do.
Since Lehner’s injury, it’s been Johnson who has taken the bulk of the starts. Though he hasn’t been spectacular, he’s been good enough to warrant the Sabres continuing to run with him between the pipes.
And against the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night, Johnson was again steady, turning aside 30 of the 33 shots he faced, but his biggest stop came in overtime and helped the Sabres pick up their third win of the season: Read more
The Buffalo Sabres announced Monday that Evander Kane will be out four-to-six weeks with a strain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee, which will still leave him plenty of time to be back in the lineup for when the Sabres visit the Winnipeg Jets Jan. 10.
Do not expect the homecoming to be a sweet one after Kane’s comments about his time in Winnipeg for a profile in the Nov. 9 issue of The Hockey News, which is now on newsstands and available on-line. Kane recently came under some fire for hiring a helicopter to take him and some teammates to Toronto for Game 3 of the American League championship series and he responded to it by scoring the tying goal and being the first star in the Sabres shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs two nights later.
So the glare of the spotlight clearly does not bother this young man, even when that glare gets a little too hot. In fact, he embraces it.
Things were just starting to look up for Evander Kane in Buffalo, but the 24-year-old left winger may be sidelined following what looked like an apparent left leg injury.
With the Sabres trailing New Jersey 4-2 Saturday night, Kane chased his own dump in into the corner when he was hit by Devils defenseman David Schlemko. Immediately upon contact, Kane grimaced and went down in a heap on the ice: Read more
After stumbling from the gate with four consecutive losses, the Edmonton Oilers reeled off two wins in a row over the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. Those victories could quell some of the trade chatter churning in the midst of their earlier losing skid.
The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples cited TSN’s Craig Button’s belief that Oilers management should start moving out players instrumental in their struggles over the past half-dozen years. Button didn’t specify which players he had in mind, but Staples speculates he was referring to such notables as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz.
Long-suffering Edmonton Oiler fans will finally get a chance to see Connor McDavid in person in a real game that means something when the Oilers host the St. Louis Blues Thursday night. It will also give coach Todd McLellan a chance to get McDavid away from the likes of David Backes and perhaps have him experience some success in the faceoff circle.
There is no denying that McDavid has a stunning array of talents. Taking faceoffs at the NHL level is not one of them, at least not at the moment. After three games, McDavid is getting eaten alive in the faceoff circle, winning going just 8-for-33 in the dot for a 24.2 winning percentage. Of the 119 players who have taken at least 20 faceoffs so far this season, McDavid is dead last. The only player within shouting distance of him is fellow rookie Mattias Janmark of the Dallas Stars, who has won 29.6 percent of his draws.