NHL – Buffalo Sabres’ New Additions

16 Aug

Work constraints have kept me from updating this blog as much as I’d like to, and there are some topics I wanted to comment on that I never got a chance to, one of which is the Buffalo Sabres’ new status as one of the NHL’s big players in the free agent market. With football season starting and baseball entering the heat of the pennant races, whatever posts I add here will likely be dominated by those 2 sports (especially football), but the Sabres’ moves are surely worth a few words.

New owner Terry Pegula has brought excitement and enthusiasm to Buffalo hockey fans that hasn’t been seen since the Knox Brothers brought in Punch Imlach, Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, Rene Robert, Danny Gare, Jim Shoenfeld, etc. and built a hockey power that made the playoffs in its’ third season. This season, coach Lindy Ruff will find himself in the unfamiliar position of molding some great NHL talent into a team. Following years of trying to do it with smoke and mirrors after the usual departure of star players, Ruff will have the luxury of inserting newly-acquired talent into his lineup. Ruff has guided the Sabres back into the NHL playoffs the last 2 seasons, but both years ended with disappointing first round losses, to Boston and Philadelphia. The team now has added a pair of  solid defensemen – Robyn Regehr and Christian Erhoff, and a solid two-way forward – Ville Leino, through free agency. Regehr is a stay-at-home type of defenseman who brings a couple of things to the Sabres’ defense that have been lacking – size and toughness. Erhoff possesses the kind of offensive skills that should make him an asset on the power play. Leino is a still-developing player who has shown the knack for coming up big in the playoffs. Signing him away from the Flyers softens the blow somewhat of watching Danny Briere haunt the Sabres continually in this past year’s playoffs.

One overlooked thing about the new owner is that this year, for the first time in ages, the off-season has been filled with stories of the team re-signing it’s own players, rather than having to watch good players leave in order to keep the bottom line in order. In the past, GM Darcy Regier probably would have had to decide between keeping either Ryan Miller or Jhonas Enroth as the team’s goaltender, rather than keep both in the fold, but this year the team signed Enroth and will now have what a lot of other NHL teams only dream of – depth in goal. The club also locked up Cody McCormick, Mike Weber, Andrej Sekera, Marc- Andre Gragnani and a host of other future prospects and players to help out the farm team in Rochester, which Pegula also purchased. They may not be ready to win the Stanley Cup yet this season, but it’s nice to know the hockey people in the organization are now being given the tools to compete on a level playing field with the Bostons, Philadelphias and New York Rangers of the league.

1 Comment

Posted in Hockey

  1. Margaret

    August 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Sabres hockey has been fun to watch and this season promises to be even more exciting and less disappointing down the stretch. Go Sabres!