'“It’s a very different hockey team than last year,” Coach Bryan Murray said in a conference call this week. “I think when I came here last year, I saw a team with a lot of flair and ability to score goals and be an exciting hockey team to watch, but dependent, totally dependent almost, on skill. But I think the learning curve took place after the playoffs last year when we realized things had to be different.”'
Archives for May 9, 2007
'The big question is whether they are the best right now. Buffalo has become the model team for the new NHL, with speed to burn, the ability to roll four lines without losing any offensive potential, a solid group of defenseman and excellent goaltending. And they have home-ice advantage in this series. But the Sabres' scoring in these playoffs has not come from as many sources as they'd like, and despite the excellent shutdown work by defensemen Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman, Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller has faced more challenging shots than he'd like.'
'"I don't think it matters that it's the Senators, personally," said Sabres goalie Ryan Miller. "I look at this as a challenge because they're a good hockey team, they have talented players, but so are the Islanders, so are the Rangers and we have to focus on what we want to accomplish on the ice. We can't get caught up in, 'it's a title match, it's a grudge match', whatever boxing terminology everybody has been throwing around, it's just not it. It's hockey, we've got to play and I'd rather not focus on the fact that it's Ottawa and take extra motivation."'
‘”I think we all know the history,” Murray said. “It’s a matter of just playing now.”‘
'The NHL reported this week online sales for Sabres-related products via the nhl.com store are up 900 percent from April 2005 through April 2006. A league official estimates that retail sales for Sabres' wares may be approaching the $75 million to $80 million range. Revenues generated from those sales are accrued to the league's bottom line and shared equally among the 30 franchises.'
'But Liberal House Leader Jim Bradley – a longtime Sabres fan – made it clear that not all Ontario government members expect a Senators victory. Bradley notes many of his constituents in the Niagara area are big Sabres fans, and says McGuinty is "dreaming in Technicolor" with his prediction of an Ottawa win.'
'"It's going to be a tough task," said Tallinder. "They're such good, all-around players, and they know how to find each other at all times. It's no secret, we're going to try our best to shut them down, try to limit their space and time as much as possible."'
'A handful of NHL clubs — and it only takes one infatuated bidder — are likely at least to double Drury’s money come July 1. The Rangers, still smarting from his heroics in Round 2, would be obvious suitors. Ditto the Kings, eager to get their renaissance off the launch pad, as well as the Predators, who have serious doubts about being able to woo back injury-riddled Peter Forsberg, who will turn 34 over the summer.'
'It's been a year and a day since that collision, and Connolly, who missed 80 games during the regular season with post-concussion related symptoms, is regaining his prior form. His recovery has been termed by head coach Lindy Ruff as being "incredible."'
'The Buffalo Sabres announced today they'll be hosting a "House Party" at HSBC Arena for all of their remaining away games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Admission and parking are both free, but fans are asked to make a donation to the Sabres Foundation upon entering the arena.'