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  1. I only post this because there are a few Sabres goalies in this and is a huge reason why we are so bad now
  2. https://buffalonews.com/2019/11/26/buffalo-sabres-tampa-bay-lightning-erik-cernak-rasmus-dahlin-nhl-news-2019/ The hit that concussed Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin in Amalie Arena on Monday night resulted in supplemental discipline from the NHL Department of Player Safety. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak, who was not penalized for knocking Dahlin out of the game with an elbow to the face at 17:26 into the second period, received a two-game suspension following a hearing Tuesday. Dahlin, 19, was holding his nose while following a trainer down the tunnel shortly before the intermission. Cernak also was fined $7,500. Sabres winger Jimmy Vesey said Dahlin was "cut open pretty good," though most of Dahlin's teammates told reporters they did not see the hit. Following the 5-2 loss to the Lightning, coach Ralph Krueger revealed that Dahlin was diagnosed with a concussion and said the Sabres' focus was on "getting him healthy and hoping it’s not a long-term injury." Krueger deferred to the department of player safety when asked if Cernak's elbow was the type of hit that should be eliminated from the National Hockey League. "I think it’s better for me not to judge it right now," Krueger said. "I know we have vehicles that will analyze and take a look at it. Let’s see what that judgment is because we’re emotionally connected to the situation and as wrong as it feels, that’s always from a bias viewpoint, which is ours. Let’s see the neutral bodies take a look at that." The Lightning unsuccessfully argued that Dahlin's glove drove Cernak's elbow up to cause the head contact. That judgment was handed down ahead of the Sabres' matchup against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday in KeyBank Center. That's little consolation, though. Buffalo (11-10-3) has fallen to sixth in the Atlantic Division as the result of a 2-8-1 record in November. Now, the Sabres could be without their top offensive defenseman and quarterback of the top power-play unit. Dahlin's 15 assists rank second on the team behind Jack Eichel, and his 18:59 average ice time ranks third among their defensemen. If Dahlin misses time, the Sabres will have seven healthy defensemen on their roster: Rasmus Ristolainen, Jake McCabe, Colin Miller, Henri Jokiharju, Marco Scandella, Zach Bogosian and Brandon Montour. Video and Explanation by the NHL
  3. The captain Jack Eichel gets Buffalo in the win column for first time in November Jack Eichel's second-career hat-trick, turned-four-goal-effort, helped vault the Buffalo Sabres back into the win column over the Ottawa Senators; 4-2 inside KeyBank Center. Linus Ullmark recorded the win for the blue and gold between the pipes; the first for the team since a 2-0 shutout back on October 25th against the Detroit Red Wings inside Little Caesars Arena. https://wgr550.radio.com/articles/radiocom/four-goals-eichel-leads-sabres-4-2-win-over-senators
  4. What's next for this Sabres team. Scoring Depth continues to be a problem. Additionally, they aren't able to play a heavy game when needed. I'm not sure on Sobotka's status, but whether he's healthy or not, he's not contributing at a top 6 level. Move him to the 3rd line and move up Mittlestadt or Sheary? If you want grit, try Okposo in his place? Go all in on the top line and swap Skinner for Olofsson? This team needs to find someone that can finish and more scoring depth. I understand the cap constraints but once this team is 100% healthy, they will need to move some $$ to get under the cap, why not make the shakeup now.
  5. Photo by Joe Hrycych/NHLI via Getty Images Sabres kick off a two-game road trip at Madison Square Garden tonigiht The Buffalo Sabres start a two-game road trip tonight when they visit the struggling New York Rangers. View the full article
  6. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Sabres’ power play has improved significantly If you’ve been watching the first 10 games of this Buffalo Sabres season, you’ve probably noticed: the team’s power play has been strong, and has improved immensely thus far from last season. Victor Olofsson, of course, has been a significant part of that rejuvenation. But just how good are the Sabres on the man advantage? As of writing, the Sabres lead the NHL in power-play goals this season, with 12 - in just 10 games played. By percent, the Sabres have the fourth-best power play in the league, at 30.8 percent. That includes seven goals scored on home ice (tied with Boston). Overall, the Sabres have had 39 power-play opportunities in this young season. Olofsson is tied for the league lead in power-play goals, with Edmonton’s James Neal, and third in power-play points (7), behind Connor McDavid (9) and David Pastrnak (8). Rasmus Dahlin also has seven power-play points, all assists. So, too, does captain Jack Eichel, with three goals and four assists. By and large, both as a team and at some individual levels, the Sabres are dominating on the man advantage. It’s impressive on its own, but it’s also impressive when comparing these results (in an admittedly-small sample size) to seasons past. Last season, through 10 games, the Sabres were hitting 21.1 percent on the power play. They were 16th in the league in that statistic and had eight power-play goals as a team. Conor Sheary led with three; Kyle Okposo had a pair, and Jason Pominville, Eichel and Rasmus Ristolainen each had one. Olofsson, of course, wasn’t on the NHL team at that point, and his impact is too significant to diminish. Dahlin’s impact on the power play has also been telling. Eichel was leading the team in power play time (48:12), while Reinhart (41:08) and Ristolainen (40:11) were also up there. Ristolainen has largely moved off the power play, at least the main unit, and Dahlin has seemingly slipped into that spot. Jeff Skinner and Olofsson are also seeing significant time on the man advantage, and it certainly appears to be working out well. Of course, we also have to mention the other significant difference between this season and last: a new head coach. Ralph Krueger has put new systems in place and is running this team differently than Phil Housley did, and as a result, we’re seeing changes in many areas. The power play is just one of those. Some suggest that the Sabres’ current 30.8 percent mark on the power play will eventually regress closer to 25 percent, and maybe that is the case in the end. But if players like Eichel, Skinner, Olofsson and Dahlin continue to see significant ice time on the man advantage, and can keep shaking things up and keep the puck moving (as the above NHL.com article notes, many of Olofsson’s goals came from a similar spot), there’s no telling just how good this power play unit can be. Olofsson isn’t just scoring on the power play, he’s shooting, too. His 15 power-play shots are near the top of the league, behind only Anthony Mantha (17 shots, 3 PPG) and Jonathan Marchessault (16 shots, 1 PPG). At any rate, it’s certainly something to keep an eye on as the team moves forward - and other teams would do well to stay out of the box and limit the Sabres’ PP chances. View the full article
  7. Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports Buffalo looks to continue their hot start with a stop at Madison Square Garden. Game 11 Buffalo Sabres (8-1-1) vs. New York Rangers (2-4-1) Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY TV: MSG-B Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Rangers Blog: Blueshirt Banter Know Your Opponent New York Rangers Record: 2-4-1 | 5 PTS Last 10: 2-4-1 Division Ranking: 8th in Metropolitan Division Conference Ranking: 15th in the Eastern Conference PP: 13th (20.8%) PK: 18th (77.4%) What to Watch 1. Riding the Hot Hand Winners of three straight, Buffalo looks to continue their hot start at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. The Sabres have dealt with adversity well - most recently confirmed by their 2-0 deficit that was overcome last game against the San Jose Sharks. There is not much that seems to shake this Sabres squad early on, which makes riding that hot hand a little easier. 2. Preying on Weaker Teams The New York Rangers most certainly would like to have started the season a little better - a current five-game losing streak certainly points to that thought. A record of 2-4-1 in their first seven games is not ideal for a team that was expected to struggle a little. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist even finds himself suffering a little out of the gate. In four starts, Lundqvist is 1-3-0 with 14 goals allowed (3.57 goals-allowed average) and a .906 save percentage. If Buffalo wants to continue to put distance between themselves and non-playoff teams early on, beating teams like the Rangers is incredibly important - even in October. 3. Untouchable in Net Goaltender Carter Hutton has enjoyed a white-hot start to his 2019-20 campaign. In six starts, Hutton is 6-0-0 with a 1.65 goals-allowed-average, a .943 save percentage and two shutouts. While Hutton is expected to split starting duties with Linus Ullmark more than last season, a strong start might buy Hutton more playing time. Either way, Buffalo looks much stronger in net through their first ten games. Game Prediction Forwards Victor Olofsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart Jeff Skinner - Marcus Johansson - Vladimir Sobotka Jimmy Vesey - Casey Mittelstadt - Conor Sheary Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo Defense Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen Rasmus Dahlin - Colin Miller Marco Scandella - Henri Jokiharju Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton Game Prediction New York Rangers (projected) Forwards Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Kaapo Kakko Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Pavel Buchnevich Brendan Lemieux - Brett Howden - Jesper Fast Brendan Smith - Lias Andersson - Greg McKegg Defense Marc Staal - Adam Fox Libor Hajek - Jacob Trouba Brady Skjei - Anthony DeAngelo Starting Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist View the full article
  8. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images The Sabres’ netminders have performed well this season, thanks in large part to the team’s new approach on the blue line Leading up to the start of the 2019-20 season, fans of the Buffalo Sabres agreed that in order to experience meaningful progress, the team would need to show significant improvement between the pipes (among several other things). Through the first 10 games of the season, the Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark tandem has shown marked statistical improvement (Hutton in particular, but we’ll get to that in a moment) from last season. In terms of both base, and advanced statistics, they’ve so far out-performed the 2018-19 versions of themselves. That said, a lot of their early success has to do with Ralph Krueger’s new system, which has done a nice job of limiting high-danger opportunities, this season. We’ll start by looking at where, and in what concentration, the shots against both Hutton and Ullmark are coming from. During the 2018-19 campaign, the Sabres’ defensive corps was... well, bad. Not only did they allow a higher-than-average rate of shots per-60 with both of their goalies, but a heavy concentration of those opportunities-against were in prime scoring areas. While this isn’t really news to anyone, it does help explain their pedestrian save-percentages from last season. This isn’t to say that the defense was totally to blame, as both players posted sub-par GSAx metrics as well (Ullmark in particular), but the team’s general ineptitude on the blue line certainly didn’t help matters. Fast-forward to 2019-20, and Krueger has his blue line performing at a level that finally matches their pay scale. Not only are they doing a better job of limiting high-danger chances, but their newfound ability to exit the zone and subsequently limit their opponent’s sustained zone time, has been a breath of fresh air. Last season, under Phil Housley, the defensive group had a tendency to collapse in on themselves, presumably to try and take away cross-ice passes deep in the zone. Conversely, Krueger’s approach seems to be more interested in pressuring the puck and orchestrating timely exits (except when the team has a late lead, but that’s a topic for another time). Jason Botterill deserves a tip of the hat as well for pursuing players like Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju in the offseason. Neither one of these assets came at a particularly high cost on the trade market, and both of them have made an immediate positive impact. The general manager’s recognition of the fact that his club was devoid of capable puck-movers (not named Rasmus Dahlin), has given his new coach the tools required to engineer a competent defensive scheme in today’s NHL. As evidenced by the above charts, the team is currently playing their best defensive hockey in front of Hutton. Currently, the overall shot-delta per-60 is at 13 and while they’ve kept the front of the net relatively clear for both netminders, they’ve much done it to a greater extent in front of Hutton. With Ullmark between the pipes, the Sabres are allowing 7.32 high-danger chances per-60, which ranks 34th among goalies with at least 90 minutes played this season. For Hutton, that number is 5.89 under the same criteria. In looking at their own individual performances, both goalies are displaying a marked improvement on their own, beyond the defensive renovations that have taken place in front of them. Hutton currently holds a save-percentage of .943 (a vast uptick from the .908 mark he posted last season). He also leads the NHL with a 6-0-0 record. Through four games, Ullmark currently stands at .913, which again, repents an improvement (albeit somewhat modest) from his rookie campaign. From an analytics standpoint, the numbers confirm what we’ve already divulged from the heat maps above. Hutton has played under less difficult circumstances, however he is generating results that match his workload. Ullmark on the other hand, has certainly had more dangerous situations to deal with, but his adjusted saves above-average aren’t quite where they need to be at this point. Their respective high-danger save-percentages add another layer to the story. Hutton’s mark of .897 is good for 10th in the NHL. Ullmark’s rate of .727 (54th in the NHL) is significantly less impressive, compounding on the issue that the Sabres are allowing a higher rate of these opportunities while he’s in net. While Hutton currently sits one-hundredth of a percent below the league leaders in save percentage (a two-way tie between Tuukka Rask and Darcy Kuemper at .944), his adjusted GSAx currently sits fifth in the NHL among starting goaltenders. That’s still fantastic, and this is in no way meant to take anything away from his impressive numbers so far, but his base numbers to this point are perhaps a tad inflated. When compared to the same metric from last season, his uptick in performance is all the more evident. The graphs below outline the 2019-20 season (to date) and the 2018-19 campaign, respectively. In Ullmark’s case, the performance delta is undeniably significant. While that statement has a lot more to do with how bad he was in 2018-19, versus how good he’s been this year, he is no longer hovering among the worst goalies in the league, statistically. Further growth needs to take place if he plans on being part of the Sabres’ long-term plans, but he’s making progress. One of the biggest questions from Sabres fans pertains to sustainability. After watching the team squander a 10-game winning-streak and plummet to the bottom of the standings last season, that is a fair question to ponder. While nobody can predict the future, when you consider the performance of the defensemen in front of them, there is currently no reason to believe that Hutton and Ullmark cannot maintain their current pace. There’s no fools gold in these metrics. Both men are playing at a level that is at least consistent with the situational circumstances that they’ve been saddled with. This isn’t puck luck, folks. What we’re seeing appears to be the real deal. Goaltender metrics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick GSAx Charts courtesy of Charting Hockey Shot Heat Maps courtesy of Hockeyviz *Shot-distance metrics from the first five games of the season we’re found to have flaws. The issue had been corrected after that point. View the full article
  9. Since entering the NHL in 2008, Kyle Okposo has played for six head coaches. Ralph Krueger is his third one in four seasons with the Buffalo Sabres. What's different about him? "Uh ... a lot?" Okposo said. "Where do I start?" Krueger, a 60-year-old Canadian who played professional hockey in Germany, became a head coach in Austria and then with the Swiss national team that upset his home and native land in the 2006 Winter Olympics. After a brief stint in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers, he changed genres, left for the U.K. and became chairman of Southampton Football Club in the Premier League. He said that opportunity was less about soccer than it was about leadership, a virtue Krueger extolled during his time with the Geneva-based World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council, which focused on new models of leadership. He had a side gig in 2016 as head coach of Team Europe, a desperate collection of nationally unaffiliated NHL players whom he led to the championship round of the World Cup of Hockey. https://tv5.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/27905088/the-krueger-effect-how-new-buffalo-sabres-coach-led-turnaround
  10. Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports Sabres host the Sharks in the second half of a rare home and home Game 10 Bufalo Sabres (7-1-1) vs. San Jose Sharks (3-5-0) Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY TV: MSG-B Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Sharks Blog: Fear the Fin View the full article
  11. I’m still not convinced that they are legit. Especially with looking putrid against the only team to take it to them physically. But i’m starting to get a little more excited. Thankfully, tonight is their last west coast (10pm start) for a while.
  12. Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports Another episode of Sabres talk is up for your listening pleasure This week’s episode of Beyond The Blade is up for your listening pleasure. The Buffalo Sabres are coming off a strong western conference road trip and have won seven of their first nine games. We start off the podcast talking about the trip and how they were able to pull in four out six points. It wasn’t pretty the entire time, but wins are wins. The focus was on the impact of coaching and how the Sabres are getting a lot of things to go right to start the season. In the second half of the podcast we touch on a variety of topics from our fan questions. We discuss Rasmus Dahlin, the Eichel line, Henri Jokiharju, goaltending, Jeff Skinner, and we even spend a little time at the very end talking about a few prospects. You can listen to the full episode on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and at the link below. View the full article
  13. The Americans attempt at building momentum was stopped cold. The Rochester Americans rolled into their second weekend having won their first three of four games in the young season. With every season comes adversity, which is something the Americans got a college-level class in this past weekend. Two games were on the docket and both provided their different levels of adversity. Rochester took one on the chin but was at least able to gain one of four potential points. Results October 18– Cleveland 4, Rochester 3 (SO) ROC: D. Smith (1), J. Dea (2), S. Wilson (1) ROC: A. Hammond – 16 saves (W – 3-0-1-0) October 19 – Utica 7, Rochester 1 ROC: T. Thompson (3) ROC: A. Hammond – 23 saves (L – 3-1-1-0) Three Big Things 1: Power(less) Play Rochester had a tough two-game swing this past weekend, no doubt about it. One of the more frustrating things to come from these games? A giant goose egg in the power play column. Giant, you ask? Rochester was 0-for-6 on Friday with the man advantage, one-upped by their 0-for-8 performance on Saturday. The opportunities were surely there but the execution clearly was not. 2: Development Continues Despite getting throttled against the Utica Comets on Saturday, one bright spot in the lineup continues to be forward Tage Thompson. As previously mentioned, only one goal was scored for Rochester on Saturday and it belonged to Tage Thompson. Thompson leads the Americans with three goals scored in six games and also leads the squad with six points in those aforementioned six games. When watching Thompson on the ice, it continues to feel like the growth is happening right before our eyes - despite the small sample size. While growing pains are always likely, we will continue to keep our eyes on Tage “Point-Per-Game” Thompson. 3: Ugly Weekend for Hammond Throughout the long hockey season, the old cliche is as simple as - you win some and you lose some. Unfortunately for goaltender Andrew Hammond, the losses can hurt a little more when you have an ugly outing. On Friday, Hammond held on for a shootout loss - which you certainly cannot blame him for the loss when the only shootout goal scored against went viral almost immediately after it happened. Nathan Gerbe was a magician with the puck in last night's shootout win for @monstershockey! pic.twitter.com/89IIW5B7yY — AHL (@TheAHL) October 19, 2019 Have mercy, Nathan Gerbe! That man has a family. Saturday was a different story. Hammond was hammered for seven goals on 30 shots - not a great day at the office against a very strong Utica Comets squad. Thankfully for Hammond, the Americans are off until Wednesday, October 23 and the return of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to the goaltending rotation is imminent. Standings Coming Up Wednesday, October 23 - Rochester Americans vs Hershey Bears View the full article
  14. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images The Sabres were heavily outshot, but beat the Kings 3-0 Final Score: Sabres 3 | Kings 0 Shots on Goal: Sabres 24 | Kings 47 Sabres Goal Scorers: Casey Mittelstadt (1, 2) and Conor Sheary (3) Kings Goal Scorers: N/A Plus - 1: Carter Hutton Carter Hutton had perhaps his best performance in a Sabres sweater last night in Los Angeles. The Sabres goaltender made 47 saves and kept his club ahead after they got the early read. It was a shooting gallery for the Kings in the second and third period. A lot of those shots were from high-quality areas as well. Great start to the season so far for Hutton. Plus - 2: Mittelstadt Line Sheary returned to the lineup last night and made an impact early on. Mittelstadt scored the first and third goals of the game. Sheary potted the second goal of the game on a nice 2 on 1 with Mittelstadt. That line was solid throughout the night and continues their trend of strong play. Minus - 1: Shots! Shots! Shots! The Sabres jumped out to an early 2-0 lead just five minutes into the game. From the second period on, it was all Kings. Shot attempts were 60-21 in favor of the Kings the final 40 minutes of the game. Now, it’s important to remember the Sabres were playing their third game in four nights and on back to backs. So, this isn’t something to have a lot fo concern over, but they did not play well for most of the night. The defensive zone turnovers continued at that needs to be cleaned up moving forward. View the full article
  15. Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images Sabres visit the Kings looking to get back in the win column Game 8 Buffalo Sabres (5-1-1) vs. Los Angeles Kings (2-4-0) Puck Drop: 10:30 PM EST | Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA TV: MSG-B Radio: WGR 550 SB Nation Kings Blog: Jewels From The Crown View the full article
  16. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images Despite holding a two-goal lead early, the Sabres opened their west coast road trip with a 5-2 loss to the Ducks Despite holding an early 2-0 lead in the first period, the Buffalo Sabres couldn’t keep up with a very physical Anaheim Ducks squad on the road. The 5-2 loss to kick-off their Western Conference road trip was their first regulation defeat of the season. The Ducks simply had answers for all of the things the Sabres had previously done well to start the 2019-20 season. Plus-1: The Skinner-Johansson-Sobotka line Despite not registering any goals in this one, Jeff Skinner and Marcus Johansson put together very strong individual analytical performances. Vladimir Sobotka participated on that line as well, though he wasn’t nearly as effective in that regard. As a trio, they accounted for a relative Corsi of 44.41-percent, which was by far the best mark by any of the Sabres’ forward lines last night. This line continues to push pace, and create chances at 5-on-5, despite really only possessing two offensively capable assets. Minus-1: The Vesey-Mittelstadt-Rodrigues line In virtually every one of the team’s first seven games to date, the combination of Jimmy Vesey, Casey Mittelstadt, and Evan Rodrigues has been disappointing, to say the least. Perhaps the return of Conor Sheary (who is apparently close to recovering from the upper-body injury he sustained last week), will help them find their scoring groove. Still, even with Sheary manning the right side, their line has only accounted for one even-strength goal on the year (which was scored by Sheary). While Mittelstadt continues to look overwhelmed on a nightly-basis, Vesey (a player, for whom the Sabres dealt a third-round pick this summer) has been one of the team’s least effective forwards. Perhaps Krueger will consider a personnel adjustment, because this line simply isn’t working. Minus-2: Anaheim disarmed the Sabres’ biggest weapon Last night, the Sabres’ power-play (which was operating at a 42.86-percent clip prior to yesterday’s contest) was effectively shut down, going 1-for-7 on the evening. Victor Olofsson was able to capitalize on his eighth-consecutive power-play goal on the team’s first opportunity, but the Ducks did a fantastic job of using an aggressive approach for the rest of the game while shorthanded. Hopefully this was just a one-game blip for Buffalo. Their proficiency on the man-advantage has been a key component to their hot start. Given the amount of firepower they possess, they should be fine, but their future opponents would be wise to emulate the Ducks’ approach, because it was extremely effective. Minus-3: Physical toll in first game of road trip This isn’t really a “minus” in the sense that it was the Sabres’ fault, but in the first of a three-game stint out west (not to mention the first game in a back-to-back), they had to deal with a very physical opponent. It seemed as though after they went down 2-0 early, the Ducks flipped a switch and became a faster, meaner, more aggressive group. While the Sabres did do a nice job of trying to match their physicality, there will be some residual effects after this one. Hopefully there isn’t a noticeable effect when they square-off against the Los Angeles Kings tonight. Final Thoughts Everyone knew that a regulation loss was coming at some point, but this game was pretty rough overall. Dropping a two-goal advantage is never good, especially on the road against a very talented goaltender. How the team responds tomorrow night will be interesting to monitor. The Kings aren’t a very strong opponent, but will be a good test for a team coming off a very physically taxing affair. Puck drop tonight is at 10:30PM at Staples Center. View the full article
  17. Micheline V | Rochester Americans Off to a strong start with three wins in four games, the Amerks are poised to prove that they are still one of the best teams in the AHL. Welcome Back! We’re back for 2019-2020 to bring you as much Amerks coverage as possible. You may have already noticed that Die By The Blade’s Ryan Wolfe will be sharing weekly Amerks recap/review posts. I’ll continue with my standard Amerks Weekly post (typically on Wednesdays) which will serve as more of a general “state of the team” post as well as providing previews for the upcoming week’s games. Thanks for your continued support and I always welcome recommendations in the comments should there be anything in particularly you’d like me to focus on in a future post. Amerks Games This Week Friday - 10/18 - 7:05pm - vs Cleveland (2-2-0-0) Saturday - 10/19 - 7:00pm - at Utica (2-0-0-0) AHL North Division Standings as of October 16th The Amerks went 3-1-0-0 to open the season and are tied for first place in the AHL’s North Division. What Happened Last Week? Record Oct 4-Oct 15: 3-1-0-0 Details on the first four games can be found in the first installment of Die By The Blade’s Amerks Review, courtesy of Ryan Wolfe. Also checkout his full recap of the season opener. Also notable: Gord Dineen remains the interim head coach while Chris Taylor is still assisting behind the Sabres bench pending the recovery of Don Granato. So far it doesn’t seem as though the team has seen any ill effects from the unexpected change - as well they shouldn’t; Dineen has been with the team for several years, is very familiar with the system put in place by Ralph Kreuger and Taylor, and has plenty of head coaching experience himself. It’s still too early to tell if the Amerks will be able to fully replace the loss of goals due to the exits of players such as Victor Oloffson, Danny O’Regan, Wayne Simpson, and Alex Nylander (83 goals among them), but so far so good, with Tage Thompson and a healthy Andrew Oglevie leading the way with two goals each. Three Stars Tage Thompson: 2+3=5 in 4 games. I’ve decided to bestow the nickname “Judgement Day” on Tage. Pretty much all this kid has done since joining Rochester at the end of last season is put up points and score big goals. 10 goals in 15 games, to be exact. His two playoff goals last season were half of the team total during their first round sweep against Toronto. Obviously it’s still very early in the season, but Tage is doing exactly what he needs to be doing so far. Most importantly, he’s not pouting about being in Rochester. He’s playing with a chip on his shoulder and putting in the work to prove to the Sabres that he should be at or near the top of the recall list. His skating still has room for improvement and there have been a few shifts where he’s appeared as though he’s not quite used to moving all the bulk he added to his frame over the summer, but once he gets a handle on that, look out... it’s Judgement Day. Andrew Hammond: Signing “The Hamburglar” wasn’t seen as a big splash in the free agent market, but so far he’s been absolutely lights out for the Amerks. Undefeated with three wins and sparkling stats (1.60 GAA and .941 SV%), Hammond is giving the team rock solid goal keeping, but it doesn’t stop there; his puck handling skills are far beyond anything we’ve seen in Rochester in a long time. Of course that style of play is high risk/high reward. The gif below is an extreme example, and a play such as this could go very wrong, but so far it’s been all good. Most often he’s just quickly and accurately moving the puck from his crease or inside the triangle to a skater to spring a clean zone exit. Andrew Hammond gave us a mini heart attack early but he knew what he was doing and beat Cory Conacher to the puck. pic.twitter.com/UfyLOsgou3 — Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) October 5, 2019 Jacob Bryson: This kid has a total of four professional games under his belt and he’s already playing with the poise of a seasoned vet. Solid in his own end (+1) he’s also demonstrated great vision on zone exits, including a few beautiful breakout passes, such as this assist to JS Dea for a goal on Saturday night. JS Dea splits the D and scores a PP goal!! #Amerks up 1-0. pic.twitter.com/PyyCY1gEGy — Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) October 12, 2019 Look Ahead This weekend the Amerks will begin their season series’ against two divisional foes; Cleveland comes to town on Friday night and then the team will hit the road to meet Utica on Saturday night. In 2019-20, they’ll face each of these teams the same number of times as last season: 8 games against Cleveland and 10 games against Utica. Last season, the Amerks dominated Cleveland, going 6-2 in their season series. Cleveland’s roster is largely unchanged, including old friends Zac Dalpe (55 pts in 55 games last season) and Nathan Gerbe (32 points in 41 games). Gerbe’s season was cut short due to injury but he is fully healthy now and will look to pick up where he left off vs Rochester; he put up 2+2=4 in four games against the Amerks last season. The Amerks went 7-3 against Utica in 2018-19, but Utica could be vastly improved this season, most notably with the addition of 2016 NHL 5th overall draft pick: defenseman Ollie Juolevi. He only saw 18 games of action last season but put up an impressive 13 points in that time. Optimists expect Juolevi to make the jump to Vancouver sooner rather than later, which would be good news for the Amerks. This game will also be the first time the Amerks see old friend Justin Bailey wearing blue and green. Following his trade to Philadelphia last season, the Flyers did not offer him a new contract and he subsequently signed a one-year two-way contract with Vancouver. It’s early in the season so these games will be our first chance to see how the Amerks match up against each of these division rivals. Transactions October 13, 2019 - Curtis Lazar (F) - ⬆️ from Rochester to Buffalo October 14, 2019 - Michael Houser (G) - ⬆️ from Cincinnati to Rochester Video Room Game 1 - 10/4/2019 - Home Win (OT) vs Syracuse Game 2 - 10/11/2019 - Away Win at Springfield Game 3 - 10/12/2019 - Away Loss at Providence Game 4 - 10/13/2019 - Away Win (SO) at Hartford Injury Report Lawrence Pilut - Shoulder - Week-to-Week. Pilut is nearly recovered from his offseason shoulder surgery, has been skating with the Amerks for about 2 weeks, and is slated for a return to game action in the near future. How long he stays in Rochester may depend on the status of the defensive logjam in Buffalo. Taylor Leier - Shoulder - Month-to-Month. Leier also had offseason shoulder surgery, but he is not expected back until sometime in December. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen - Hips - Week-to-Week. Reports are that UPL’s recovery and rehab are on schedule and we can expect him to take the ice sometime in November. Farmville The Cincinnati Cyclones are 1-0-0-0 as they start their quest to return to the top of the ECHL and avenge last season’s premature ending. They finished 2018-2019 with the best record in the league but fell to rival Toledo in the second round of the playoffs. Old Friends Justin Bailey: 1+0=1 in 2 games with AHL Utica Nicholas Baptiste: 0+2=2 in 2 games with AHL Toronto. Kyle Criscuolo: 0+1=1 in 3 games with AHL Lehigh Valley Jack Dougherty: 1+0=1 in 2 games with AHL Belleville Brendan Guhle: 0+2=2 in 4 games with NHL Anaheim Alexander Nylander: 2+0=2 in 3 games with NHL Chicago Danny O’Regan: 0+5=5 in 4 games with AHL Hartford Matt Tennyson: 0+0=0 in 1 game with AHL Binghamton, 0+0=0 in 1 game with NHL New Jersey Scott Wedgewood: 1-0-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .969 SV% in 1 game with AHL Syracuse View the full article
  18. https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/bruins/nhl-power-rankings-surprise-starts-continue-across-nhl#slide-36 4. Buffalo Sabres (5-0-1, last week: 9) Only the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes have scored more goals among Eastern Conference teams to this point in the season. There are a few surprise teams in the East and Buffalo is definitely one of them. https://www.cbssports.com/nhl/news/nhl-power-rankings-how-much-worse-can-things-get-for-the-new-jersey-devils/ Sabres - 5 They're 5-0-1 and looking real good to start the year. They're not giving up anything and Rasmus Dahlin should have the rest of the league a little frightened by now. Still, it's hard to fully buy-in on Buffalo knowing the wheels fell off after a hot start last year.
  19. Buffalo Sabres @ Anaheim Ducks
  20. Dallas Stars @ Buffalo Sabres
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