robyn regehr:

I’m Thankful For Sabres Nation

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I am thankful for a great many things, not just today, but every day. Of course today is the traditional day to really take the time to think about what we’re thankful for. Health, relative wealth (or at least not impoverishment), great family and friends – these are the things we truly have to be thankful for.

But sometimes it’s about the “little things”, the things that help get us through a hard day. The Buffalo Sabres are a source of entertainment and inspiration for a great many of us.

For instance, last night, a battle royale with the Boston Bruins. We didn’t get the full two points, but it was an amazing contest to kick off the holiday weekend.  A spirited game by the Sabres, Gaustad taking on Lucic, Regeher versus Chara, tons of heart and entertaining hockey throughout most of the game. Not to mention some bonus four on four hockey and a shootout that went into extra innings.

In the end, it’s just a game and shouldn’t really change any of our lives, but it does. We cheer, we applaud, we cringe, we scream … and many of of cuss up a storm. We may startle our pets when a goal is scored or a Carruba Collision candidate happens.

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I'm thankful for hockey games breaking out at fights.

I still feel lucky that the team is around after the Rigas bankruptcy. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost ten years since we came close to losing the Sabres, but I never take them for granted. Perhaps I’m just scarred by the potential loss of the team.

I’m thankful for the new Terry Pegula era and what his ownership has brought to the team and the city. It’s been truly an amazing story that’s still unfolding and perhaps the greatest reason for this site’s existence.

I’m thankful for Rick Jeanneret’s calls, the way his voice cracks a bit  sometimes when he says, “SHO-TTTT”, and continually amusing me with his homer wisecracks. A bit of love for Harry Neale and Roby Ray as well, but mostly for their comedic antics, intended or otherwise.

I’m thankful for my partner @slackin who will watch any and every hockey game with me. I’m thankful she’s a Sabres fan as well and for one of the best gifts I ever got many moons ago – a Sabres goathead jersey. (I forgive the fact that she didn’t know who Don Cherry was until last night. After all, she grew up here in the cornfields of Ohio where hockey has been unknown until recently.)

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I'd be remiss not to point out being thankful for chicken wings and other Buffalo cuisine.

I’m thankful for other Sabres fans, because it wouldn’t be much fun if it was just two people rooting for the team in their living room. It’s the shared experience that makes it really special. The chatter on Twitter is always a blast, perhaps even moreso than going to a game for me. And of course there’s the most awesome @scottyMCSS, without whose witty and insightful prose this site wouldn’t exist.

I’m thankful that the Sabres goal is to win the Stanley Cup, that they have a spot reserved for it and are doing everything they can to attain it.

I could go on and on about individual Sabres, the Sabres management or a number of other things, but I think that’s enough from me. What about you? What are you most thankful for as a Sabres fan?

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The Regehr Trade: Perspective from Calgary

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It’s time for some post-trade-stress-disorder analysis.

With Robyn Regehr, the Buffalo Sabres picked up the rugged, dominant defensemen that they needed to push teams around in the playoffs (instead of the other way around, as we’ve seen in recent history). We’ve already touched on the promise of Regehr, Kotalik, and that 2nd round pick before, but what are the pundits and fans in Calgary saying about what they got in return?

RegehrPresser 300x210 The Regehr Trade: Perspective from Calgary

Nice work, Terry.

Brian Costello (Senior Special Editions Editor of of The Hockey News) was quick to fire off a neutral-site column about this trade, a piece entitled “Robyn Regehr Trade Makes no Sense for Calgary Flames.” Not the most auspicious title for Flames fans. From the column:

Why did Feaster think he had to be the one throwing in the second round pick? Shouldn’t Buffalo have been the team sweetening the pot? Was it that important for Feaster to get rid of Kotalik’s deal? Why wouldn’t he farm the winger in Abbotsford next year (like he did part of this season) or make him go away to Europe, the way Chicago GM Stan Bowman made Cristobal Huet and his $5 million go away a year ago?

If the rationale for the Regehr trade was freeing up salary cap space, shouldn’t Feaster have been trying to trade disappointing Jay Bouwmeester and his $6.68 million, or unproductive Matt Stajan and his $3.5 million, or stone cold Niklas Hagman and his $3 million? Not someone useful like Regehr.

Chris Butler is a No. 5-6 defenseman now. The Flames have a plethora of those in Brett Carson, Adam Pardy, Brendan Mikkelson and T.J Brodie. Those types of players can typically be purchased every July 1 for about $1 million or so. Butler has upside as a No. 3-4 defenseman and that will be absolutely necessary for Feaster to save face here.

Paul Byron is an undersized 22-year-old minor-leaguer who wasn’t ranked among Buffalo’s top 10 prospects in Future Watch. He has terrific offensive skills, but that may or may not translate at the NHL level because of his 5-foot-9, 170-pound frame.

A lot of things have to align for Feaster to make this trade look good. And if they don’t, it’ll look even worse when the toughened-up Sabres have a successful playoff run, then pile on by boosting their prospect system with Calgary’s second pick next June.

The Flame’s blog “Matchsticks and Gasoline” noted that this trade was going to need some serious analysis. They sat down for an “M&G Roundtable,” wherein Arik James collected his team of writers for some perspective. (Note: surnames of writers were not noted.) From Arik:

There’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye. But I’ll address the whys and hows in a different post. I’d like to talk about what this means for the Flames and their defensive corps going forward. The first thing is obviously the acquisition of Chris Butler. Now while he hasn’t been “great” so far in his career, it’s important to remember the development curve for defensive defensemen is exceptionally late. If Butler can develop as even a 3/4, the Flames won’t have terrible defensive depth. Just pretty bad defensive depth.

From “Hayley:”

I suppose you really have to wonder what other teams were offering if Feaster did indeed like the Buffalo deal best (or if it was just the chance to dump Kotalik that sweetened the pot), but then again he’s not exactly a candidate for GM of the year. Re-signing Tanguay at the cost of his annual cap hit ($3.4M) probably could have been done without moving Regehr and/or Kotalik considering that there will be a number of unrestricted free agents whose salaries come off the books next Friday, so it seems Feaster has something else up his sleeve, which is, understandably, terrifying.

Overall, it’s hard to feel the least bit positive about this deal. It’s simply a continuation of the awkward middle-ground the Flames find themselves in between being average/capable enough to get by and horribly awful, although now we’re probably leaning more towards the ‘horribly awful’ side after dealing our best defenceman, which I suppose could be a plus in the long-run.

I don’t know, I think I’ve gone delusional.

From “Ryan:”

In the end, the Flames have $7.5m in cap space and the freedom to do some things in free agency, which is a win. However, we’re down a top-pairing d-man without an immediate replacement in the top 4 and didn’t get a blue chip prospect coming back the other way. That’s disappointing.

From “Mitch:”

I don’t think many teams out there are seeing Regehr playing much past his current contract. He is a D man who has to play physically to contribute, if that dimension of his game begins to soften what else does he have to contribute? Is he that incredible first pass out of the zone, is he that bullet from the point and PP QB, is he that fast D man who can save a goal on a broken play with a diving poke check? I don’t want to slag Regehr, I love the guy as much as any Flames fan but how he was seen on the market may not have been as high as many think.

His body has taken a lot of abuse over the years and he is not going to play till 41 like Lidstrom, I don’t think anyone is going to dispute me on that.

Ultimately this trade is all about Cap space for the Flames and trying to clean up a Sutter mess. Nothing else, they have taken some very high risks on Butler and Byron which may or may not work out. So if you were expecting this trade to improve the team for the season you have to be disappointed.

Essentially, the Sabres seemed to have ripped Calgary off on paper, but it’s not like Regehr is a spring chicken anymore – and that is the best way to look at this trade. Sabres fans may not really be getting the wholly dominant shutdown defenseman that they were hoping for in the slightly aged Regehr (at least not for the long term), and at the same time, Flames fans are getting a bit more than they immediately thought.

Byron still has a lot to prove at the NHL level, but Chris Butler is still an up-and-coming defenseman who may be quite good. It’s easy for fans to forget that Chris virtually skipped all of his pro development. After spending just 27 games in the AHL, the bulk of his pro hockey training and experience came at the NHL level.

Butler’s quick success in the big league was overshadowed by each defensive zone mistake that he made in the faster, meaner, mentally tougher NHL. Having virtually gone straight from the NCAA to the NHL, it may have been a bit unfair to judge his entire future on his developmental mistakes. Frankly, he did quite well for a guy who had the pressure of honing his pro game in the NHL, up until the point where he found himself as Tyler Myers’ partner at the end of this season. Flames fans should take heart – Butler does have a lot of promise.

For now, of course, there is a lot of panicking going on in Calgary. For the more adventurous, here’s the link to the Flames’ fan chat on HF Boards analyzing the returns for Regehr and that 2nd round pick. Let’s just say the people in that discussion are pretty ticked off.

They really have a hard case of post-trade-stress-disorder.

Go Sabres.

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The “Regehr Effect:” All NHL Teams are On Notice

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So you wanted Brad Richards?

Then the Sabres might just bring him to you: on a platter. Ain’t no Brad on the face of this earth that wants to go up against the defense that the Sabres just put together.  Just ask Mike Weber.

He’s always been a fan of Robyn Regehr. In fact, Weber has modeled his game after Regehr, the newest and arguably the best defenseman on the roster right now (though he has yet to play a game for the Blue and Gold).

Regehr is going to make us cringe. Regehr is going to make us yell things such as, “REGEHR SEZ NO!” when some complacent forward tries crossing the blue line on his side of the ice (bad idea).

Hey fans – there’s a sign/banner idea for the 300′s – “Regehr sez NO!”

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"Teeth, meet fist. Fist, teeth."

Something tells me that the Sabres defense will be very eager, and very expedient, at expelling NHL forwards from the defensive zone in the coming years. If a certain Danny Briere wants to angle his brakes on Ryan Miller after a save, maybe giving Ryan the old “snow job,” or just getting close enough to sniff a whiff of his pads, it’s pretty certain that Briere might find himself knocked a few strides back.

With extreme prejudice.

Yea, Myers, Weber and the boys are going to have a heckuva time this season. We are all very much acquainted with the hulking Myers (see aforementioned GIF). We’re getting to know what Regehr brings to the ice: 180 hits in 79 games, along with 142 blocked shots – he would have lead the Sabres in each category last season. Mike Weber piled up 158  hits and 99 blocked shots – but he did that in only 58 games.

Goodness. Gracious.

All we can say is no goodness, nor gracious, will come upon those that dare enter our half of the ice this coming season. You better believe that opposing teams are already taking notice: no one wants their stars on the ice when these guys are on patrol.

And I say to those teams: good luck. You’re all staring down the three-barreled cannon that is Regehr-Myers-Weber (in no particular Lindy Ruff pairing order).

Folks, these guys hit hard, and these guys hit smart. Regehr’s 180 hits were accompanied by a miserly 58 penalty minutes. Weber’s 158? 69 PIM’s.

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Weber also knows how to feed some fist.

For years, Mike Weber has been following Regehr’s footsteps/bodychecks on the ice. Now, Terry Pegula and Darcy Regier have brought the two together. Could they be the best one-two punch in the NHL? I’m sorry, it should be one-two-three, right? Don’t forget Tyler (Myers). He had 107 hits with just 40 PIM’s last season.

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"No one makes me bleed my own blood since this. C'mon. Try it."

Hits and PIM stats aside, only the blueline will let us know in 2011-12. They’ll let us know, and they’ll let the NHL know – things are about to get very loud in the B-lo. I say, bring it on. Screw Brad Richards – we score plenty enough. It’s about time we put enough snarl into this league to make teams regret a frown at a face-off.

Oh, and by the way, Sabres scary-mean prospect Brayden McNabb models his game after Regehr as well. Danny Briere, you’re on notice:

Hell’s a comin’.

And reinforcements are on the way.

Go Sabres.

See Also: “Stanley Cup 101: Sabres Cup Dreams Hinge On Bolstering Defense” 

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Regehr to Buffalo: it’s Official

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Regehr has made up his mind.

The Calgary Sun reports that Robyn has waived the no movement clause in his contract that had stalled the trade. It was a clause that he worked hard to earn for himself and his family, being a part of the Flames since 1999.

The  huge 6-3, 225 rear-guard immediately becomes a big factor in Pegula’s three-year Cup plan. He’s on contract for two more years, and with 180 hits and 142 blocked shots last season, is now one of the best, if not the best, Sabres defenseman. (He would have lead the Sabres in both categories.)

A Regehr-Myers tandem will be a frightening thing for opposing forwards to behold.

RobynRegehr2 Regehr to Buffalo: its Official

The thinking is over. Welcome to the B-lo, Robyn.

Purportedly, the whole deal is Regehr and Kotalik (welcome back, Ales) for Chris Butler, Paul Byron, and a 2nd rounder, but these other pieces are yet to be confirmed by either side.

It is a good deal for both sides.  Butler will be a good second pairing in Calgary, and Byron is NHL ready. In Buffalo, Regehr becomes a huge part of a Cup run.

Again, while it may have been frustrating for fans, it’s important to note that Regehr did the right thing by utilizing that NMC that he worked so hard and long for. This was the biggest decision of his hockey career, and folks, he’s got a family to think about.

So, to the Regehr clan, let me be one of the first to say:

“Welcome to Hockey Heaven.”

Go Sabres.

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Robyn Regehr: One Big, Nasty Domino

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He’s sleeping on it.

Robyn Regehr has been with the Calgary Flames for a long, long time – since 1999, in fact. Yesterday, his agent let him know that he had been traded to Buffalo.

Regehr put his phone, his agent, the Flames, the Sabres, and the fans of both on hold.

You see, Regehr has a “no movement clause” in his contract which states, upon a trade, he has the power of veto.

The story that unfolded on Twitter was a sight to behold – will he accept the trade? Who might we be sending to Calgary in return? What Regehr brings to the table for the Sabres is formidable. For more on all of that, head on over to “Black & Blue and Gold” and read Phil’s post.  As usual, you’ll be glad that you did.

Readers of BSN know all too well how important it is that the Sabres “veteranize” their defense if they are to win a Cup, so adding a stud like Regehr has me already looking forward to losing sleep as I await his decision.  He’s 31, but losing sleep is justified over a guy like this – his 180 hits and 142 blocked shots would have lead the Sabres in both categories last season. Oh, and for all of those hits, he only went to the sin bin for 58 minutes.

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