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Joel Armia: Updates from Finland

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Joel Armia, the Sabres #1 pick in 2011, has been busy.

Well, at least in Finland. As he preps for his second season for the Aces in the SM-liiga (the men’s “Finnish Championship” league), the 18 year old sniper is in for a big test. From Jatkoaika.com:

Aces attack has lost four players. The biggest loss is probably the team captain , Matti Kuparinen escape of Kuopio. In addition to him went to Tuomas Huhtanen lock, Tommi Huhtala, Blues, and Pasi Salonen, you ignorant. They place a heavy-handed goal machine was purchased Radek Smolenak , which is expected to maaliahnetta players, and from time to time in Rauma, Finland pledges raised Nico Aaltonen , who was still a couple of years ago the young team’s standard equipment.

Pori with certainty the composition of the side of defender Ryan Caldwell and attackers Joel Armia , and Patrick Yetman.

We’ll see how he does with even a bigger role on the Aces this season. Meanwhile, on a lighter note, MTV3.fi provided a quick profile on Armia, and what he likes to do in his spare time.

ArmiaHorses 300x179 Joel Armia: Updates from Finland

Watch out OTB, this kid likes to play the ponies.

Said Armia:

“I’ve been to a couple of times a horse races in Pori. Kuninkuusravit event is of course just megapixel range, and nice to be here in a game with my friends… but it has not yet come to profits.”

“I have at least the coming season Ässissä. Self-service summer training ends this weekend. After starting workouts with the team. I have acquired in their training increases strength and agility, especially the legs. Next week we leave (for) the national team camp.”

Fox Sports did a quick piece on Finland’s National Team Camp. Armia will look to improve on this year’s World Junior Championship:

Armia, a 6-foot-3, 192-pound right wing, was taken by the Buffalo Sabres with the No. 16 pick of the 2011 Entry Draft after a strong season with Assat in the top Finnish league. He had 18 goals and 11 assists in 48 games while playing on the team’s top line. He had just 1 assists in six games at last year’s tournament.

The camp runs Aug. 6-13, at the Olympic Center, and will feature exhibition games between the United States, Sweden and Finland.

Finally from Ilta-Sanomat comes an article entitled “Leino, a Finnish Paint Gun wants to Buffalo – Buffalo Sabres’ Ville Leino hopes to soon be up beside a young Finnish paint gun.” (It’s safe to assume “paint gun” loosely translates to “sniper.”)

Leino planted in Buffalo in the central place of the attacker. Armia bangs again paints a winger, so the Sabres in the future may be seen as a real suomalaisduo.

I hope he is seen, after one year there (in Assat),” Leino nods. “After all, it is a pretty good equation,” Leino, laughing, “places paints, then everything works. Buffalo Sabres begin next autumn term in Finland.”

 Twice the Stanley Cup finals had Leino believes in good faith team championship opportunities. “That is what we strive to source. Next season is the next opportunity.”

In other words, Leino is looking forward to playing with Armia, acknowledging he’ll have to wait for a chance to do so for at least one more season. Meanwhile, Leino is anxious to win the Stanley Cup now, and then enjoy some fine paint gun time with Armia when he likely arrives in Buffalo for the 2012-13 season.

Translation services were provided by Google.

Go Sabres.

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Silence is Blue and Golden

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Things are quiet. Too quiet.

The dust has settled after the UFA storm, and the pace of news out of the HSBC Arena has slowed to a near halt. Aside from the signings of Colin Stuart, Derek Whitmore, and Drew McIntyre for the Rochester Americans, there isn’t much buzz goin’ on right now.

But there are things going on.

  • The Sabres still have to squeeze Marc-Andre Gragnani and Jhonas Enroth into contracts and stay at least no more than 10% over the cap.
  • Shaone Morrisonn wants out of town, so Regier has to find some NHL team willing to take on his contract and the horse it rode in on.
  • Our beloved Mike Grier is still an UFA, still unretired.
  • The Associate Coaching void left by the departure of Brian McCutcheon has yet to be filled.
  • Joel Armia is not in the Sabres development camp, an unfortunate victim of the Finnish mandate that players have a month off to bask along the shores of their 187,888 lakes and heal up.
beachFinland 300x225 Silence is Blue and Golden

Hmm. I wonder if they listen to Jimmy Buffett in Finland.

Fans are bored. They are so bored, that at least one blogger over at “Hockeybuzz,” a website dedicated to rumor mongering and hearsay, has therein said that the signing of McIntyre could – gulp – signal a trade of Jhonas Enroth in a package for a #1 center. Stupid as that is, it at least has given fans something to argue about on message boards.

Oh and trust me, folks, Enroth isn’t going anywhere. When Miller succumbed to injury/fatigue last season, it was Enroth that carried this team into the playoffs. McIntyre is a good goalie, but Enroth is NHL proven, and more importantly, is stalwart in a crisis. If Miller is injured again this season, not having Enroth would likely mean not having a part in the playoffs. He’s too big a piece of the puzzle, folks.

Anyone remember when fans were so taken aback by Enroth’s play, that we stormed the team Twitter account to force the Sabres to honor him in song?

weezerfantunes Silence is Blue and Golden

Yea, that was fun.

They “called him Jhonas” at the HSBC. That’s the kind of stuff we miss talking about.

Well, we can always talk about that nagging “we have way too many defensemen and defensive prospects and not enough centers” issue.

Fans are still clamoring for a trade for Paul Stastny, or Evgeni Malkin, to fill that #1 center need. The problem is, our money is already spent. It’s likely that the Sabres are all but done adding names to the 2011-12 roster, unless a serious shake-up trade happens that helps to dump salary.

Roy-Leino-Gerbe/Adam-Gaustad are our likely starting centers for October 7, but there are a couple names that still could be added that would improve the team down the middle, and they’d come on the cheap: Brendan Morrison, and John Madden.

john madden football 300x262 Silence is Blue and Golden

No, not the John Madden that comes with a bus, video games, and a freezer full of turducken. He's retired.

Madden is 38. Morrison is 35. Both centers are 5-11, so they wouldn’t add anything to that glaring need for size down the middle, but both skate very tall on heart. Both would bring a heavy dose of leadership and mojo to the lineup. And perhaps most importantly, they’d come on the cheap. How much gas do they have left in the tank? I can’t tell you that, but I can say it’s worth at least kicking the tires on these guys.

Rob Neidermayer has signed on with some team in Switzerland. Grier is likely done. Adam and Gerbe (and all the other center/wing hybrids) would use more time either developing or staying put on the wing. Heck, even Leino could use some time on the wing, and a Madden/Morrison addition could give Lindy Ruff the leverage to use Leino where he fits best.

This, of course, is all just speculation, “Hockey Buzz” style.

But at least my style makes some sense.

For now, download some Jimmy Buffett and head on over to the beach and enjoy the waves. I’ll let you know when the silence is broken.

Go Sabres.

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“The Finnishing Line”

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You heard it here first (unless you follow me on Twitter, then you heard it there first).

That could be the most excellent name for a line including the Sabres newest Finns, Ville Leino and Joel Armia. Of course, the Sabres need to complete a transfer and a contract to get Armia across the pond, but he’ll be here sooner rather than later.

leinohalak 300x225 The Finnishing Line

Is it October 7th yet?

As we mused earlier, an addition of fellow Finn Teppo Numminen to the coaching staff could complete the trifecta, and give Lenio and Armia perhaps their best chance to succeed in Buffalo.

Armia The Finnishing Line

Get that "Armia's Army" banner ready for the 300 level.

As Regier has stated, we’re likely done in the UFA market, so we can all settle in and get ready for next season. Oh, and as for next season, I think Leino said it best as to what we are in for:

“To be honest with you I think they (Sabres) deserved to win (the playoff series). It will be a good fit for me. I think it’s going to be a good team in the future, a lot of young guys. They made some good adds, good defensemen lately. It’s a great hockey town, and I think we have a good chance to win next year. I’m really excited.”

Meanwhile, the Sabres’ additions of Regehr, Ehrhoff, Leino, and their re-sigining of Cody McCormick, puts their salary cap number at $66 million, above this year’s set limit of $64.3 million. They can remain over the cap by 10 percent% until the season opener. So maybe, we’re in for some more summer surprises through the trade market.

Darcy – well done, sir!

Go Sabres.

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Sabres Nab Joel Armia

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Readers of Buffalo Sabres Nation were well prepared.

The Sabres had a no-brainer decision yesterday, as Joel Armia slid all the way to them at pick 16.  Back on May 3oth, we profiled Armia as one of four prospects that the Sabres would have on their draft board. Bang on the link for a return to that story, which will direct you to more information (and video).

After a strong showing with the Finnish big-league (SM-liiga), Armia is more polished for the NHL than other prospects. The Sabres need help now more than later, if they are to stick to Pegula’s three-year Cup plans. Armia fits in nicely with those plans. He’ll have an easy start with the Amerks, so people of Rochester, prepare an “Armia’s Army” banner for the arena wall.

Of course, as a RW, Armia doesn’t fit into the system so well. The Sabres have a glut of players and prospects at that position already, but it can’t hurt to have another blue-chip prospect at this position – especially with Regier looking to swing trades to bolster the team’s defense (see: Regehr). Still, his position is what will nag at most Sabres fans as they read up on him today. While Armia was on my “draft board,” he was at the bottom – but it was because only of his position.

Most expected the Sabres to draft a center, and a few notables at that position are still available. The Sabres are without a 2nd rounder right now, as they lost theirs in the Brad Boyes trade.

There is plenty of work to be done, as round 2 commences today.

Go Sabres.

UPDATE: Bonus video, from the Land of a Thousand Lakes. This video is subtitled (hit the “cc” in the toolbar beneath the viewer frame), and and is a superb profile of the young stud from Pori.

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2011 Sabres Draft: Not a Mock, but a Cheat Sheet

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2011NHLDraft 2011 Sabres Draft: Not a Mock, but a Cheat Sheet

The Next Ones.

WHEN: June 24th – 25th

WHERE: The Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota

BAR TRIVIA: This marks the first time the draft has been in Minnesota since the North Stars hosted the draft in 1989.  The Sabres have selected defensemen with their first pick in 4 of the last 5 drafts: Dennis Persson (2006 24th overall), TJ Brennan (2007 31st overall – 2nd round), Tyler Myers (2008 12th overall), and Mark Pysyk (2010 23rd overall).

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