10 Questions with Sabres Prospect Dan Catenacci

“With the 77th pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Buffalo Sabres select Daniel Catenacci.”


We’ve talked about his stats and achievements already here on Buffalo Sabres Nation, but we thought it would be great to know more about one of Hockey Heaven’s newest and most promising draft picks. Well, Daniel was quick to agree to an interview with us, a small but down to earth kind of gesture that makes me think he’ll be a great fit in the City of Good Neighbors.


He's fast. Still photography just doesn't do him any justice.


Without further ado (Daniel’s responses are in bold):

1. Being drafted by the NHL is obviously a pretty huge moment – but what about on the ice? What is your favorite on-ice memory (and is there a Youtube video of it)?

My favorite moment on the ice has to be when I won the gold medal for Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. That was my first real taste of international play and to be a part of a great group and win a medal for your country is something I’ll never forget.

2. Being from the Richmond/Newmarket ON, area, you must be pleased that you were drafted by a team near your hometown. Did you grow up as a Leafs fan? (And more importantly, did you grow up as a Sabres fan?)

I grew up a Leafs fan because I’m from Toronto but the past couple years I have been a Pittsburgh fan because of Sidney Crosby. He is my favorite player and he’s the kind of guy I’d shape my game and attitude after. Now that I am a part of the Sabres organization, Buffalo is definitely my new favorite team. (more…)

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Gerbe’s Birthday: “24” Reminders Why He is so Important to the Sabres

You gotta’ get that damn puck.

It doesn’t matter how fast on your skates you are. It doesn’t matter if you can stickhandle like you’ve got the puck on a string. It don’t mean a thing if you can wire a shot through an invisible hole through the armpit of a goaltender who has all the holes covered. None of this matters, if you don’t have that damn puck.

In a skate race, or in a fight a long the boards – when that pill squirts free, the guy with that extra “oomph” to get ahead by that desperate half-inch will always come up with possession. Nathan Gerbe, all 5 foot 4 of him, is very, very good at reaching that extra half-inch first.

Today the “Honey Badger” turns 24, so let’s celebrate his tenacity with a little reminder of what he gives us on the ice every game.

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"I'm not afraid!" is one of Gerbe's purportedly most charming quotes from the 2010-11 season, in response to a challenge to the bench from Lindy Ruff.

Gerbe’s ability to get that puck isn’t a hockey thing – it’s an heart thing. The stuff of a real, do-or-die-hard athlete. It’s something that carries across all sports. In football, once that ball is tossed into the corner of the endzone above a receiver and a cornerback, well, it doesn’t matter when you were drafted or how big your name is on fantasy boards – you gotta’ go up and get that damn ball – or smack it down. That’s the only part of the play that matters. In soccer, you can race down the sidelines leaving the midfielders flying out of their shoes trying to catch up, but if the defender pokes that ball away, the whole game is heading back in the other direction.

You gotta’ go get it, and you gotta’ hang onto it like your life depends on it (something that comes quite natural to honey badgers).

“Mellivora Puck Capensis:” entomology speak. Translates to “Honey, I devour; Pucks; Belonging to.” The puck is honey to this wild thing on the ice, and it belongs to him.

Hit the 5:10 portion on the video:

This is Gerbe at his best. He’s not the most sweetly talented forward on the team, but his sheer will and determination changes the course of a play, and the course of games.

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"Wanna race to the corner, Shaone? C'mon! Let's race to the corner!"


Nathan, happy birthday. I hope Rip Simonick made sure your cake was slathered up in honey. That’s the way you see the puck – as something to feed your crazed appetite on.

Eat up, and come back to us rabid.

There will be a feast for you all season long in the corners.

Go Sabres.

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On Ville Leino, and Exorcising #23: A Play, of Sorts


What’s in a number?

A Leino by any other number, is still the same. Right?


Abandoning the #22 that he wore for Philadelphia, Leino made the curious decision to don #23, and for that, I could not be happier. Whether he meant to go on this mission or not, he’s now out to finally rid this fan base of the greatness that once wore that number – our Hockey God, our Captain, our indefatigable leader, our Chris Drury.

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Get him out of my head!

Leino may find that #23 is a heavy load to carry on his back throughout this coming season, and I cannot help but speculate on the reasons why he chose to take it upon himself. There will be comparisons between him and Drury all season long – perhaps longer – by fans, bloggers, and media, should he falter or flourish.

Of course, #22 was already taken by Brad Boyes. Leino wore #21 in Detroit, #22 in Philly, so #23 just makes logical hockey sense. Right?

Wrong. (more…)

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Pegula Era, Cap Crunch Changing Fans’ Perception of Players

It’s nothing personal.

We’re running a business now here in Buffalo, and our business goal is the Stanley Cup. Anything or anyone that gets in the way of that better watch out, because we’re all becoming a little bossy when it comes down to the employees that wear Blue and Gold sweaters.

It wasn’t too long ago when stop-gap players like Shaone Morrisonn were appreciated in this town. Hey, he showed up to work, did his best, and we rooted for him. Heck, even Steve Montador was put up on a pedestal last season, supported with hope and fervor by the fan base despite his glaring inconsistencies that were bad enough to earn him a healthy scratch for Game Seven against Philly (only the most important game of the season).

Still, we rooted for those guys. Now, Montador is out, and Morrisonn’s name is being typed into pink slips on Twitter and message boards across the Web. And it doesn’t stop there.

Jason Pominville, one of our longer tenured and favorite pieces of our Buffalo “population,” and the subject to much of the fan base’s great concern since his tendon was sliced in Game Five of the playoffs last year, is a topic of trade talk among us. No matter that he has a no trade clause – the guy carries a $5.3 million cap hit until the 2013-14 season. He’s not good enough for that. Off with his head.

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I'm not innocent, either.

We are a long suffering fan base who not too long ago would do a spit take upon hearing about the signing of a Ville Leino. Well, we did – but the real spit take happened when we heard how much we paid for him. Plus, he’s not really a center, all the time. And we wanted Brad Richards. Leino, you’re on notice.

How about that Christian Ehrhoff – contract? The best offensive defenseman to join the team since Brian Campbell, and the winner of the Babe Pratt Trophy in Vancouver as the team’s best defenseman in 2010 and 2011, carries a bankroll with him so large that folks were shocked not so much that we signed him, but were shocked more so by the dollar signs. Is he really worth this much money? Ehrhoff, you’re on notice, too.

This is, of course, uncharted ice for Sabres fans. Blame it on adjustment – blame it on this ridiculous heat wave if you want, but aren’t we all a little to eager to lop off some heads?

Andrej Sekera, our best up and coming offensive defenseman* and easy member of a top-4 pairing, was locked up for four years in a clever contract that only pays him $1.75 mil for his last two seasons. That is an incredible bargain on a player who has shown consistent growth, and last year began to wow fans with his rink-long rushes. But a $2.75 million cap hit has fans yelling “Trade him now, while he has value!” Yes, we’re over the cap sports fans, but does this mean we’re giving up on one of our brighter futures, over $500k? Give me a break.

*Marc-Andre Gragnani is our best up and coming defenseman, you say? Let’s argue that point after he plays half a season.

The most obvious candidate for the guillotine has been the returning Ales Kotalik. AlKo carries a $3 million cap hit this year. Instead of giving him a shot with the coach that knows him best, we’re already demanding that he gets the blade before trial on ice. “Bury him in the AHL,” many say. “Trade him for a bag of puck buffer!” say others (even though he does have a no trade clause).

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This could use some blue accents.

No one said that building a champion would be easy. I just never realized it could be this ugly. Here’s some other ideas being bandied about by fans, and even some media, alike:

  • Jhonas Enroth played some good games, so why not get rid of Ryan Miller? He’s got that “trade value” thing going on, and his cap hit is $6.25 mil. Surely there’d be a good return for an all-world, franchise goalie.
  • “Thomas Vanek for Ales Hemsky” is a trade proposal I read online recently. Yea, Vanek emerged as captain material last season and is one of our strongest players with the puck, but then again, his $7.142 million cap hit is just too much. Apparently switching him for the oft-injured Hemsky would be a good idea, because, you know, he’s cheaper.
  • Brad Boyes – it’s been fun. You put up some nice points in the regular season before you were taken out of your natural wing position and forced to play center during the playoffs. AHL or trade, we really don’t care, Buffalonians just want you and your $4 million cap hit out of town.
  • Jordan Leopold? That guy and his $3 million cap hit can stay, but only if Sekera goes.

Curiously, the only veteran name not tossed around has been Derek Roy. Suddenly people are looking past his sometimes selfish style of play and are buying into his bargain $4 million cap hit.


How things have changed.

Again, no one said building a champion would be easy, and fans have always berated certain players throughout the year. But this roster-berating is getting a little out of hand.

Being over the cap is a fun but unsettling place for Sabres fans to be. We all want the right players, at the right price, in the right position, and staying committed once the skates hit the ice. Fair enough.

But until they hit the ice, can’t we give them all a little breather? It’s time to lay the pitchforks and torches down, and let Darcy and Lindy work this roster “mess” out. “Mess” being in quotations, because it’s actually a blessing to have this much veteran and youthful depth to do business with, for once.

I guess that is the key word – “business.” This new kind of business is going to take some real gettin’ used to in our town.

Go Sabres.

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Bisons to Give Away Aud Replicas this Weekend

I’ve been looking forward to this promotion since February 9.

From an article on the Buffalo Bisons’ website (from February 9):

Youth Pinstripe Jersey, “The Aud” Replica Highlight Giveaway Schedule
Great giveaways have become staples to any Bisons promotional schedule and the tradition continues in 2011. One of the most sought-after items is the Bisons’ Buffalo Landmark Replica series, which will feature “The Aud” on (Saturday) July 23, presented by Hamburg Overhead Door and LiftMaster.

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Relive the glory.

Game time is 7:05.

The first 4,000 fans through the Swan St. Gate receive this iconic little piece of the Queen City. And hey – it’s about time that the kids dragged their folks to the game early so Pops can get a souvenir for once.

Don’t be fan #4001.

Go Sabres.

And go Bisons.


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