Tag Archives: Brad Boyes

The Injury Bug Strikes Again

So, while we head into the month of December, the Sabres find themselves with a slew of injuries, which even the best of teams would have a hard time overcoming. Let’s take a look at those injuries who is injured:

Ryan Miller – Concussion
Tyler Myers – Wrist
Robyn Regehr – Upper Body
Mike Weber – Upper Body
Brad Boyes – Lower Body
Tyler Ennis – Ankel
Cody McCormick- Upper Body
Patrick Kaleta – Lower Body
and following last nights loss to Columbus its being reported that a mystery forward is hurt and might miss tonight’s games. (UPDATE: Drew Stafford is reported to have a groin injury, according to WGR’s Paul Hamilton.)

Day-to-day injuries happen, and they are expected over the grueling 82-game season. The Sabres’ injuries fall mostly into the “wait and see what happens” category, with no real timetables for any player’s return. The only two players from the above list that have been skating in no contact drills are winger Tyler Ennis and defenseman Mike Weber.

To try to alleviate the pain from these injuries, the Sabres were forced to call up many players from the Rochester Americans. The Sabres must be relieved that they remade this partnership with the Amerks before the start of the season. So in case you’re having trouble matching the numbers to the names in tonight’s game here is a list of those players who were called-up:

54 – Zack Kassian – 1 NHL GAME – RW
58 – Paul Szczechura – 83 NHL GAMES – C
78 – Corey Tropp – 9 NHL GAMES – RW
33 – T.J. Brennan – 2 NHL Games – D
81 – Brayden Mcnabb – 0 NHL GAMES – D
31 – Drew Macintyre – 4 NHL GAMES – G

Hopefully the injured mystery player doesn’t prove to be too costly, and the Sabres can find a way to battle hard and pull out what should be a tough 2 points against a Washington team that is also in need of an important 2 points.


Things I Think: Did You Hear Sidney Crosby’s Back?

(This is a weekly segment at Hockey Heaven, New York. It features TJ Luckman’s thoughts on the Sabres, the NHL and other things that tickle his fancy.)

1) The Sabres have called up the Chosen One, Zack Kassian, due to Brad Boyes’ injury against Boston on Wednesday night. John Vogl of the Buffalo News picked up some tweets from Kassian’s teammates indicating Kassian was on his way to play in the Sabres’ next game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. The Sabres later confirmed that news through their website. While many fans have been calling for this move to be made since the Sabres’ debacle in Boston nearly two weeks ago, I don’t think this is the right move for Buffalo. WGR 550’s Matthew Coller says that Kassian hasn’t exactly been the physical force the Sabres might be looking for, but he’s certainly helping in the points department, leading the AHL’s Rochester Americans with 14 points in 18 games.

Speaking of call-ups, T.J. Brennan had a memorable debut in his first NHL game, scoring in his first NHL game to put the Sabres ahead 3-1 against the Bruins on Wednesday night. Of course, the Sabres couldn’t hold on, losing 4-3 in a shootout, which Puck Daddy’s Harrison Mooney finds pretty ironic.

2) You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. All the while, I kept telling myself that hockey was fine without Sidney Crosby. The Penguins are still good with Malkin, and Dan Bylsma is one Hell of a coach. I wasn’t looking at this past Monday with as much fanfare as NBC Sports was when they decided that Crosby’s return was much more important than the rivalry game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins.

And then it happened.

Sid the Kid (is he ever going to be the Man? We need a new idiom for when he finally grows up, if he ever does) exploded on the scene against the New York Islanders, collecting four points in a 6-0 beat down on the Island. As much as I can’t stand the guy, everything he does is pure magic. He instantly transforms the Pens into a Stanley Cup contender. Of course, Sid was held scoreless against the St. Louis Blues the following game, so maybe he just took advantage of a cake matchup…

3) Since Jeff Carter’s return from injury to the Blue Jackets, Columbus has grabbed points in five of the last six games (3-1-2). Depending on what you think about overtime losses, that’s not bad. Perhaps he’s more important to the BJ’s success than anyone actually realized. Or maybe that’s just good timing. Who knows.

4) Thanksgiving is a bad day for a hockey fan. I can’t wait for Christmas.

5) Movember is the coolest thing ever. As a participant in the more laid-back (read: lazier) “No-Shave November”, I’m jealous of the mustaches that NHL players can grow. I never saw Thomas Vanek as a facial hair grower, but his mustache is very impressive. George Parros of the Anaheim Ducks always shaves his epic mustache for the month in order to grow it back for charity. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas created a new goalie mask design to show his support for the month, not to mention show off his great ‘stache. Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller did the same, only his design is slightly more creepy.

Movember benefits those who suffer from prostrate cancer, or other problems in men’s health. Go to the website here to donate to the cause, if you can.


The Road to Redemption

There is no better may to combat a tough game than to comeback in the next and make everyone forget that last one ever happened.  Tonight the Sabres will try and do just that with the visiting Calgary Flames in town.  The team will look to rookie goaltender Jhonas Enroth to steady the ship tonight.  Coming off a game where he held the Philadelphia Flyers scoreless for roughly 53 minuets.

Its no surprise that Lindy Ruff is giving Enroth the nod for tonight.  Even though he might just be sticking to the schedule like he says, when a goaltender puts up a shutout the majority of the time the coach will ride that goalie.  In my eyes this is the right decision to make for several reason.  The first being is that in protects Ryan Miller for the time being.  It is well advertised that Miller plays an emotional game, just look at his reactions when there is a missed call or something he disagrees with.  Even though Miller would like to make you think otherwise I for one believe that the boos get to him, and not in a good way.  Having Miller most likely go on Saturday night in Ottawa at this point is the better scenario to put Miller into to get his confidence built back up and return him to that passionate goalie we all at some point have loved.  With that all being said the other reason i support this as i stated above Enroth is the hot hand, during his relief stint he was a perfect 15 for 15 against the Flyers bringing him to a .955 save percentage in his three appearances on the young season.

Missing from the Sabres lineup tonight will be Buffalo native Patrick Kaleta.  Kaleta was suspended 4 games by Brendan Shanahan and the NHL for a headbutt he landed on Flyers foward Jakub Voracek.  While at the game I initially did no see the headbutt, upon watching the reply of the incident I have to say the NHL made the right call on this one.  Don’t get me wrong I love a Kaleta hit has much as the next Sabres fan, but there is a difference between a nice clean hit and ramming your helmet into the jaw of an opponent.  If this was a first time offender the NHL most likely would of let the player off with a warning, but since Kaleta is a repeat offender of the offense the 4 game suspension is a fair ruling in my eyes.

Taking the spot of Kaleta in tonight’s lineup will be Sabres prospect Corey Tropp, who will be making his NHL debut.  This call makes sense since Tropp plays a physical game much like Kaleta.  During his 2011-2012 campaign so far  Tropp has notched 4 goals and 3 assist while compiling 16 penalty minuets in 10 games played, while playing for the Rochester Americans, the Sabres farm team.If I had to guess where Tropp will be inserted into the lineup, it would be on the 4th line with veterans Matt Ellis and Cody Mccormick.  This would move Brad Boyes onto a line with Paul Gaustad and Nathan Gerbe and leave the top two lines alone.

Despite what people might think the Sabres besides the first seven minuets of the game played a solid game.  The Lenio-Roy-Stafford showed some sign of chemistry and where creating chances and pressure throughout the rest of the game.  Even though they didn’t find the score sheet I think if you keep this line together for some more time then 1 game you could see some great things from them down the line.  The top line up Vanek-Adam-Pominville continued there hot start of the season and will be looked at to continue it while the rest of the team has yet to hit there stride.

Players to Watch

Buffalo Sabres:

Robyn Regehr:  Regehr will get the chance to play his former team tonight for the first time.  Like most players he is probably excited to get out there and play against the team he spent his whole 11 year NHL career with before being traded over to the Sabres this past summer.  While Regehr has yet to find the score sheet as a Sabres he has brought something much more important to this team, and that is grit and determination.  Ask any player who has tried to squick past Regehr while entering the offensive zone, and they will tell you how hard he hits.

Calgary Flames:

Olli Jokinen/Jarome Iginla: Both Jokinen and Iginla are entering tonight game on high points.  In there last 4 games both Iginla(2G, 2A) and Jokinen(2G, 2A) have 4 points during this stretch.  Look for these line mates to try and continue there game from last night against Detroit today against the Sabres.  Combined the two forwards tallied 3 goals and 2 assists in the Flames 4-1 win.

Between the Pipes:

Tonight’s match up will feature two goalie seeing there 4th appearance of the season.  The Sabres will send out rookie Jhonas Enroth(2-0-0), while the Flames will feature Henrik Karlsson(0-1-1).  The advantage tonight has to go to Enroth who is posting a .955 save percentage in his 3 appearances thus far, while Karlsson has struggled posting a measly .881 save percentage to date.  If Enroth can continue his solid play the Sabres should skate away with the W aginst a less talented Flames Squad.


Player Previews: Offense

Heading into the 2011-2012 season, expectations are high in Sabres Nation.  With the addition of Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino, plus the return of first line center Derek Roy, the Sabres should be contending for the Northeast Division title, if not the Eastern Conference title.  Without further introduction, lets jump right into the offensive previews:

Jason Pominville- No better place to start then the player who was just named captain.  Pominville will be entering this year  after a season that was started and ended with injuries.  In the October 11th game vs. the Chicago Blackhawks, Pominville suffered a concussion which held him out for nearly a month.  After returning Poiminville struggled to find the score sheet only registering 4 points in his first 15 games back from injury.  Finding the score sheet is something Pominville will be asked to do more often even though his PP time might be lowered due to additions who could take over the QB spot, but more on that later.  Pominville should find himself on the first line with Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy, two of his assistant captains.  With that kind of  offensive talent Pominville should have no problem returning to the 70 point range.  Another thing  Pominville will be asked to do is be one of the team’s top penalty killers.

Thomas Vanek- Despite losing his perennial line mate 35 games into the season, Vanek has developed into a player who no longer has to rely on his center to carry the puck the majority of the time.  During Roy’s absence Vanek was able to put up 45 point in 45 games, often time playing with players who normally are not considered first line players.  More importantly than the points however, Vanek developed confidence in his game, a skill that can not be taught.  During this period he trusted himself to carry the puck more and not give it to line-mates.  He showed that he is capable of not only scoring, but passing the puck as well.  Besides Ryan Miller, Vanek is the player this team lives and dies with during the game.  Often times when Vanek is on his game, the rest of the team is, as well.   It would not be surprising to see Vanek topple some of his career highs this season, especially if both line-mates Roy and Pominville stay healthy for the majority of the season.

Derek Roy- Roy should be ready to start the 2011-2012 season where he left off the 2010-2011 season, barring the shoulder injury Roy has been nursing throughout the Pre-season.    The biggest question for Roy this season in my mind is if he can stay healthy, not if he can produce.  Over his career Roy has averaged .81 points per game.  Along with Pominville, Roy should also be asked to help in killing penalties.  It would be no surprise if Roy produces at a point-per-game pace, and having Vanek and Pominville flanking him will lead to many opportunities for all three of them to have success.

Drew Stafford- Stafford is coming off a season where he put up career high in both goals and points in a season he played only 62 games, his lowest since his rookie season.  Stafford should find himself on a line with Tyler Ennis and Ville Leino to start the season.  Stafford will be looking to prove that he has earned his newly sign contract and prove his worth to the City of Buffalo.  I believe that last season was no fluke and Stafford will add on to his previous totals.  He showed up this off-season focused and willing to do anything he could to improve his play.  If this line continues to click like they have in the preseason,  there is no doubt in my mind the Sabres could have their first multiple 40-goal-scorers in a long time.

Tyler Ennis- In his sophomore season Ennis  should be given a more prominent role in the offense.  Ennis last season ranked in the top 7 for rookies in most offensive statistics.  There is something I see in this kid that I just can’t put a finger on.  Often, I have said I see a lot of Daniel Briere in Ennis.  Despite their short stature (Briere is 5’10”, Ennis 5’9″), they are both willing to go to and around the net where they are constantly up against larger opponents.  Ennis will be looking to add to his rookie numbers,  This is doable if he sticks to playing his game, which is avoiding defenders and either getting open or getting the puck to the open player.  Ennis should see time on the Sabres second PP unit.  Last season Ennis put up 5 PP goals and 9 assists.  This season on the upside Ennis could put up 60 points to be conservative, If he hits the all too mentioned sophomore slump, 40 points would be the low-end of the spectrum, but I for one don’t see that happening with this kid.

Ville Leino- Rounding out the top 6 forwards will be newcomer Ville Leino.  Leino is joining the team as a premier free-agent signing, something the Sabres have been reluctant to do in the past.  Leino will be asked to play center, a position he has yet to play while in the NHL.  The Sabres are hoping that Leino will be able to renvert back to the position he played for his entire career before he came to the NHL.  While there are legitimate concerns on whether Leino can be a consistent top-six forward,  I believe the transition back to his natural position will produce a great deal of points.   Don’t forget, Leino was brought into the league by the Detroit Red Wings, who have shown us that when pertaining to scouting European talent, they are one of the best.  Leino is another player I wouldn’t be surprised to see have a career year this year.  Only time will tell if Leino can live up to the expectations that have grown for him in his short time in Buffalo.

Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta – This line will be used as the Sabres Third line.  At the end of the season this line really clicked and was doing everything all over the ice: hitting, passing, shooting, defending.  You name it and they were doing it.  During the playoffs this line often looked as though they where the best line out there.  Continuing on the Success from the late part of the season, these three guys took it upon themselves to develop their chemistry together.  They did this by meeting during the off-season and working off their success.  If this line sticks, they will often find themselves out there against any team’s top line.

Fourth Line-  The fourth line for the Sabres this season will often be a mix and match of multiple players this season.  To open the year, it looks like rookie Luke Adam will take the pivot with Cody Mccormick and Brad Boyes flanking his wings.  Other players who could find time him are Jochen Hecht once he returns from injury and Matt Ellis.  The line as it stands now is capable of putting up offensive numbers.  Adam and Boyes both are offensively gifted players.  Adam should be exciting, he has been labeled the center for the future, and the future starts now for this kid.  If he puts up solid performances, he could find himself skating on the top 6 by mid-season.  Mccormick will continue his role as the enforcer on the team, and dropping the gloves when it is required.  Mccormick is capable of putting up some points, last season he put up 20 points, which in my opinion is all bonus coming from your enforcer.

Stayed tuned.  Defensive and goalie previews are coming up.


%d bloggers like this: