I figure it's time to catch up on some Buffalo Sabres news after taking a couple of days away doing other things. I can promise you that we will have plenty of really good Sabres content here throughout the summer. It has been a crazy couple of days with the Frozen Four going on at the same time as playoff hockey and don't forget the big press conference with the Sabres brass. This post will be an effort to catch up on what's going on.
It was my first opportunity to watch Nathan Gerbe in action, although I have heard great things about him. He was outstanding in leading his team to the Frozen Four title and an NCAA Championship. He had a hand in all four Boston College goals, helping them to a 4-1 victory over surprising Notre Dame. Gerbe had a two goals and two assists after netting a hat trick in Thursday's semifinal victory over North Dakota. It's apparent that not only is Gerbe talented but he is clutch as well.
It wasn't that long ago that another college star was helping his team win a NCAA Championship at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo. Thomas Vanek was a star for the Minnesota Golden Gophers and he had a huge hand in helping the Gophers win a National Championship in the tournament that took place in Buffalo. We all know what has happened to his career, leading the Sabres in goals the past two seasons. It would be nice to see Gerbe in a Sabres uniform sooner, rather than later.
I heard that there was a big press conference this week at the HSBC Arena. It seemed to be a pretty honest and sincere press conference, but I thought they have been honest all along. The general theme of the presser was the same as those in the past, they admitted to making some mistakes but promised that the future was bright. There were a couple of interesting tidbits that can be taken from the presser however.
- General Manager Darcy Regier acknowledged that it may be time to get a change of scenery for Max Afinogenov. I don't disagree with that assesment, in fact I'll be breaking down the roster in a couple of days and will acknowledge as much. I do take issue with them making that public knowledge. What good could possibly come from telling the world that Max Afinogenov is underachieving and no longer wanted in Buffalo? Why lower the guys stock when you can take advantage of his unbelievable talent? Ultimately it comes down to who wants him, if more than one team is in the sweepstakes it will immediately give the Sabres leverage but I still would have kept that information close to the vest. Has management become threatened by the media so much that they feel the need to tell them everything? Maybe it's just me but some things are better left unsaid.
- Darcy Regier also defended the decision to suspend Teppo Numminen despite receiving strong criticism. I am in complete agreement with Darcy Regier on the suspension. They signed the guy to a contract that he was not physically capable of living up to. The same would happen to each and every one of us in our everyday jobs, why do we defend a millionaire? The Sabres did what was right for the franchise and they have been criticized for doing that. The same people who complain about the Sabres being cheap and their negotiating tactics are the people who will complain if the Sabres move to another city.
The biggest criticism is that there is a double standard because of Tim Connolly. The two situations are completely different and should not be linked in any way. Connolly was injured while on the job, playing in a playoff game for the Sabres. He was signed with the knowledge that he was already injured and he would probably not be available for the beginning of the season. Numminen was signed under the assumption that he was healthy, during his pre-season physical it was discovered he would need heart surgery.
- We already knew that the Sabres were going to try to sign Jason Pominville and Ryan Miller in relatively short order but this time we heard it right from the horses mouth. The question is how much are they willing to spend? They acknowledged that it would be a heft contract and that they are prepared to negotiate. They keep talking about the term "Franchise Goalie" but most franchise goalies play 70-75 games without suffering from fatigue. I realize that the Sabres really have no goalie help in the organization but they should be really careful in how much they spend on a goalie who had a disappointing season.
- Finally they told us they need a new backup goalie. I'm glad they did because I had some trouble figuring that out myself
In the upcoming days the site will be active with plenty on tap. It is the off season but that doesn't mean we can't have a little bit of fun. In the near future we will talk about the World Championships, I will recap the roster from last season and we will breakdown the roster for next season. There is plenty more planned but that is the immediate future.