The “Hockeyville” game was the first pre season game I was able to watch. I really like the way the new jerseys show up on TV. Mike Schopp from WGR said the jerseys reminded him of the Bruins; can’t disagree with that. Still, a huge improvement in my book from the goat and the slug. Just having the original logo back makes me happy.
Twoeightnine brought up a great point, and corrected me on something. I was under the impression Kassian could be brought up for a ten game trial at any point in the season. Twoeightnine says it must be from the start of the season. This makes sense, as it follows the agreements the NHL and AHL have in place to protect the Junior leagues. If for some reason this is wrong (I personally think twoeight is spot on though), please let us all know what the official rule actually is. Whichever way this rule falls could have an affect on how the Sabres line up opening night. For example…
If Kassian has to get the ten game call up from the start of the season, I think it’s a no-brainer to keep him. If that’s the only pro experience he can get this season (barring emergencies), then you have to give it to him. Keep him on the fourth line and let him get a taste of the NHL. Let him learn what he needs to work on before sending him back to juniors where he’ll log a ton of ice time as a first liner. If he stands out here, that’s great - keep him. There’s worse problems to have then figuring out how to fit a 6’3” 230 lb monster in your lineup.
To keep him would mean freeing up a roster spot. The obvious candidate is McCormick. Does he have to pass through waivers to go down to Portland though? I know he’s on a two way contract, which means he’ll be making a ton of loot in the AHL. If not, I’d say try and slide Ellis through. I doubt anyone picks him up. And if those two options are not good enough, just send Gerbe back for a few.
The last of those options is not a favorite of mine - I really like Gerbe and his potential, and I think he’s ready for the NHL. I’ve been wrong before (Paille) and I’ll be wrong again. Am I the only one who thinks he can be a “b” rate version of Theo Fluery?
Another option is to trade one of the three defensemen fighting for one spot on the ice - Butler, Weber, or Sekera. Personally, I don’t understand why Montador gets a free pass; me thinks he should be included in this congestion making it a four way fight for two spots on the ice. In the same way Paille was traded last season because of the forward depth, it wouldn’t surprise me to see one of these guys unloaded for a early/mid round pick before the opener. From what I’ve seen/read/heard/watched, the three of them all seem to be playing tight right now. It might be in the best interests of the team to bid adieu to one of them. The organization is loaded with prospects on the back end.
Speaking of defensemen, what happens to Gragnani? Where’s he in the rehab routine? Is it safe to assume he’ll be back in Portland once he gets healthy?
I spoke with someone last week who is truly “inside” the organization. He tells me it’s true - recent throat contusion aside - this will be the first time Rivet is healthy since he joined the team. How much of a contribution is he going to make this year? Is he still worthy of the “C”? I liked the signing two years ago, when he had legs that were two years younger than they are now. Don’t get me wrong - I like Rivet. I just don’t think he’ll be worth 3.5 this year.
Is Luke Adam bigger than anyone ever thought? I didn’t picture him to be that big on the ice. He definitely needs some skating work, but seems to be a keeper. I (we) can only hope he shows a nasty edge in Portland.
Anyone with any Corey Tropp musings? It’s absolutely pathetic that Portland had to cancel a game this upcoming weekend because they don’t have a goalie. Regier deserves a kick in the arse for not getting his farm team up and running on the right foot. Maybe Portland fans can take some umbrage knowing they’ll see Adam/Tropp together. That’s got to be a top young line in that league.
Ruff does a lot of juggling with his lines; always has, probably always will. How is he going to fit in Ennis, Gerbe, and Stafford; maybe even Kassian the first few weeks? The only thing as far as partial line combos I see as solid are these:
The team’s media/fan relations are hodge podge at best. Yesterday, I called the Sabre customer service line to see if the Hockeyville game was blacked out. I got an old guy on the phone, who told me “Well, the team already left, so I don’t know if it’ll be on TV or not. Maybe you should call Time Warner.” I called Time Warner; they had no idea - blamed it on MSG. Dude said he would’ve usually gotten an email by that time of day (noon-ish), but he wasn’t sure. Told me to call MSG, because they had the rights to the game. Called MSG; they said Time Warner should’ve had the info. I pressed. Dude did some legwork; told me game would be on at 7:30. I said “But the game starts at 7?” Told me to grab a seat on the couch at seven, and hope for the best by 7:30. Really now? This is allegedly one of the “top four” sports in the US, and yet they don’t know when and if their game will be on TV? Shame on the Sabres for this. No game should ever be blacked out here in Buffalo on MSG. Do they really think they get better ratings for a Madison Square Garden puff piece than they do a Sabre pre season here in WNY?
Here’s advice for you front office knuckleheads - start up your own TV station. Partner up with everybody and anybody (UB, Toronto, Buff State, WGR, WECK, SBNation). Why the hell Buffalo is associated with MSG is beyond me…
ESPN has NFL Breakdown, with Ron Jaworski. That’s a great show. Educational and informative to say the least. Why is there not an equivalent hockey show? WGR should push as an innovator here. Doesn’t have to be on TV; throw up a 5 minute spot after every game on your website. Just because you’re radio doesn’t mean you can’t be multi-media. Innovate my friends…innovate.
The World Junior U20 Tourney is a big thing, and it’s only a few months away. This will bring in millions of dollars to WNY. And yet, nary a peep. WNYers be aware - we will be overcome by Canadians and Euros the week after Xmas. You will not want to be anywhere near the Galleria Mall that week..