jason pominville:

Sabres Officially Request Fan Support

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I love these quotes from Jason Pominville and Drew Stafford.

From the Buffalo News:

“Obviously you hear the fans,” said captain Jason Pominville. “I don’t know if they realize it, but sometimes they have a huge impact on the way we feel, the way we work and compete. We feed off the energy they bring to us.”

“We know we have one of the best fanbases in the league,” added Stafford. “They support us every game and we want to put on a good performance for them. At the same time, we need them to have our backs.

“When we’re not doing well on the power play or getting outshot bad, they’ll start booing us and we deserve some of that. At the same time, it’s nice to have them cheering.”

Buffalo fans aren’t renowned for berating their Sabres. We certainly gripe about sloppy play when sloppy play spills out on the ice in front of us, but we don’t boo at the slightest impulse. We’re a hockey savvy town, and I like to think that we’re boo savvy, too.  Still, this is the third time I’ve been compelled to touch on the subject of fan noise in the arena in the last year.

It just keeps coming up. This time, the issue was brought up by none other than the team captain. So just what is going on here? Who’s to blame for this latest mention of fan complacency/irritation?

SabresFans 300x220 Sabres Officially Request Fan Support

This guy.

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Sabres GIFs: Gaustad Spins a Beauty to Pominville

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OK, we’re a bit late with this one.

Still, I thought a little afternoon distraction might be good medicine while we all sit and simmer, awaiting word on whether or not Jordin Tootoo will receive a Shanban for barreling over Ryan Miller.

AggressiveGoose 300x236 Sabres GIFs: Gaustad Spins a Beauty to Pominville

This would look appropriate near the Sabres' net since the Lucic Incident.

When it went down against Nashville, Gaustad was quite a force on Tootoo. Before being removed from the ice, he even chirped honked Pred’s goalie Anders Lindback a warning. I am sure whatever he said was something along the lines of “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” filled with some juicy expletives. Or something like that.

In honor of Gaustad’s battle cry, here’s our latest GIF for the 2011-12 season. In this instance, Paul uses his hands to help the good ol’ population of Pominville. From a November 8th contest against the Winnipeg Jets:
 Sabres GIFs: Gaustad Spins a Beauty to Pominville

In a manner of speaking, there’s nothing worse for a jet than seeing a goose bearing down on the wings. (You know, because geese screw up planes when they slam into the engines. Too much of a reach?)

Nice goal, boys!

Go Sabres.

 

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Sabres Not Afraid to use the Butt Ends of their Hilts

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We said yesterday that the Sabres were in for a tough physical test against the hard banging Columbus Blue Jackets.

It was a pretty obvious challenge for the newer, tougher Sabres lineup, considering the stats.

No game in the NHL is truly a gimme, and this contest is shaping up to be a good test. The Sabres should be and are expected to outscore and skate off with a W tonight, but Buffalo’s new-found physicality and size will be pushed to the limits. Just how well the Sabres can protect the blue paint and survive a forecheck could turn this game around in just a shift or two.

Regehr’s got his mitts full tonight.

Watch for the Sabres to send a message (Thundersticks) early. When all is said and done, we should have a good idea of just how tough we are after this one.

Frankly, all we did there was point out the obvious – one of the Sabres broadcast’s “Keys of the Game” was “surviving the Columbus forecheck.”

1 1 3Forecheck 300x228 Sabres Not Afraid to use the Butt Ends of their Hilts

Here comes the 1-1-3 forecheck! Looks like a three headed stick man on paper.

Well, the Sabres outlasted and bettered Columbus at their own game. They outhit the Blue Jackets 14-10. They sent that early message. They sent it with extreme prejudice.

You might say the Sabres kicked their Bass.

The Thundersticks were brought out early and eagerly. Cody Bass was no match for the onslaught. The Jackets were able to claw back to a 2-2 tie after being down 2-0, but they weren’t able to play their game. Instead, they found themselves playing catch-up on the scoreboard, and then playing catch-up to the speedy, rolling Buffalo lines.

Kaleta put the death bullet in the heart of the would-be Jackets’ rally, scoring the game winner with six minutes left. Pominville made sure the quick and talented part of the squad had a say too, driving home an easy goal off an incredibly sweet feed from Thomas Vanek. (Vanek joined 11 other Sabres players with his 400th point with the Blue and Gold on the play. Pominville now has 371 and is closing in fast.)

Thundersticks and speed. This Sabres team is loaded at both ends of the sword, from the tip of the blade to the brunt of the hilt, and they use both very well. It’s already a tough task to beat the Blue and Gold this season, and the team hasn’t completely gelled yet. Mike Weber, leader in hits on the team last season, has yet to suit up for a game.

mikeweberwatch Sabres Not Afraid to use the Butt Ends of their Hilts

But we'll see him soon.

The Sabres stand at 6-3. Their goal differential is an excellent 27-19. The line of Vanek, Pominville, and Adam have combined for 35 points in this 9 game span. Ryan Miller is enjoying a save percentage of .930 behind a revamped defense, which is only going to get better. Enroth: .950. Key parts of the Sabres’ core offense are becoming parts of Sabres history. All these are wonderful portents for success.

But last night, the Sabres sent the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the NHL, a message.

Try and forecheck all your want. From now on, we’re coming for you.

Go Sabres.

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Sabres Emerging as a Beast in the East

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The Sabres have yet to win a home game.

Well, that’s not technically true. One of their games in Europe was marked as a “home game” on the NHL schedule, but that’s ridiculous. If it ain’t your building, it ain’t your building. Those were away games for all teams involved.

CoolHandLuke 300x194 Sabres Emerging as a Beast in the East

"Cool Hand Luke" Adam has been a nice surprise for the Sabres so far - but you'd be hard pressed to sense any kind of surprise from him.

In any event, the Sabres are 5-1-0 in the infancy of the 2011-12 NHL regular season, their only loss coming at home, against the hated Carolina Hurricanes. The Buffalo News’ headline of that game read “Hurricanes Spoil Sabres’ Homecoming.” Fair enough, but consider the fact that the boys in Blue and Gold allowed two short handed goals in that game, and they really spoiled it for themselves.

So far, the best way to beat the Sabres, actually the only way, is to have them beat themselves.

Here’s some early season portents of success for the march towards the playoffs:

  • The Sabres have 10 points out of a possible 12.
  • They lead the NE Division – Toronto is one point behind (having played only one road game), Boston and Ottawa trail by 4 and 6 points respectively (and both have played seven games). Montreal is in the basement, with an épouvantable 1-4-1 record.
  • Hey – since Pegula took over, the Sabres are 21-5-4 in the regular season. Talk about a smart investor buying in at the right time.
  • Or is it that the players are the ones buying in? In 10 games, Thomas Vanek has 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists). He’s not known for fast starts – could this be one of his best seasons? Jason Pominville has 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists) – and as Sabres PR staffer Ian Ott pointed out last night, Pommers has 19 points (6+13) in his last 23 games, dating back to 3/25/11. To top that, he added that Vanek “hasn’t gone two games without a point in those last 23 games.”
  • More from Ott: “Vanek is now 5th in Sabres history with 36 GWG, two behind Andreychuk for 4th. His 210 goals are one shy of Mogilny for 10th. That’s Miller’s 23rd career shutout. Second in Sabres history to Dominik Hasek (55). Miller’s now nine wins from tying Hasek’s total (234).” Any complaints about Vanek and Miller right now are laughable.
  • Let’s not forget rookie “Cool Hand Luke,” who has put in 6 points (3+3) in six games between Vanek and Pommers.
  • Buffalo trails only two teams in points in the NHL standings, let alone the Eastern Conference standings. The two ahead of them, Washington and Pittsburgh, are at the 12 point mark (though it’s taken the Pens 9 games to get there).
  • The Sabres goals for/goals against ratio is tops in the NHL at 20GF/10GA. Take away those two dreadful shorthanded goals against in the Carolina game, and we’re looking at a ratio of 20/8. (Washington is 23/13, Pittsburgh 26/21.)
Remember, the Sabres are doing all of this on the road. As Harry Neale said just before puck drop last night, coaches “find about a lot about their team on the road.” So far, Lindy Ruff is learning some very good things about his boys.
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Pominville for Iginla Rumors Must Die

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I get it.

It’s still August – the hockey wasteland. A time when every and any tidbit of information, no matter how credible (or not) is worked over on the interwebs and message boards by fans desperate for any kind of puck buzz.

I’ve had a few fans ask me if this “Pominville for Iginla” rumor has any truth behind it. Yikes. We’ve gone from desperate to crazy.

iginla 300x217 Pominville for Iginla Rumors Must Die

Ain't no way Ales Kotalik is giving up his #12 for THIS guy (again).

Admittedly, I’ve been saying for years that Iginla embodies the perfect player for the Blue and Gold: he’s fast, talented, gritty, a force on the ice and in the locker room. He’s the kind of player that can change everything – in our dreams.

First off, there’s that nagging salary cap problem. Darcy Regier has already spent somewhere upwards of 30 billion dollars over the salary cap. Iggy has a cap hit of $7mil until the end of the 2012-13 season. Pommers’ cap hit isn’t exactly low, but at $5.3mil, well you do the math.

The only way this trade goes down is if Calgary takes on a ton of salary (say, Ales Kotalik – hey that would solve the #12 issue [and yes I know AlKo has a NMC]). This deal is not just implausible, it’s impossible. You can all go ahead and add a third team to the mix to try and fix the money issues. I certainly am not wasting my time.

Let’s also not forget:

  • Pominville is one of our more consistent scorers.
  • Iginla has that whole age thing working against him.
  • Iginla doesn’t play center.
  • The Sabres need to re-sign Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis at the end of this season. They’ll need some serious cash money for that.

Of course, if the Sabres do somehow land Iginla, I’ll be the first in line to pony up for his jersey. Ya – I’ll see all of you other Iggy fans in that line, in some alternate universe somewhere.

September can’t come soon enough. One more day.

Go Sabres.

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