Oh Goose, I miss you (please come back!!). Gaustad, now a member of the the Nashville Predators, had a pretty decent first round. In Game 1 of the series against the Detroit Red Wings, he scored the first goal of the series, that was also his first ever playoff goal. Goose also continued his face-off prowess, winning over 50% in all but 1 game of the 5 game series.
Well its official Sabres fans, we finally have a full time captain, Mr. Jason Pominville!! The team announced today at their team dinner in Helsinki, Finland that Pominville will serve as the captian for the 2011-2012 season. Paul Gaustad, Drew Stafford, Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek will serve as the assistants.
This may come as a surprise to some, considering many thought Vanek would be our next captain, but I personally felt Pominville should have been the captain forever and a year ago (then we could have avoided the Rivet debacle). When Pommer wore the ‘C’ for the last few months of the 2007-2008 season, the team was successful in terms of that season posting an 8-6-3 record and scoring 57 goals in 17 games.
What are your thoughts on this decision? Give me the good, the bad, the AWESOME! Clearly you can all see where my stance is, now tell me yours!
Well the awesomeness in Pegulaville just keeps on coming. Â They Sabres made a splash on the first day of free agency by signing forward Ville Leino to a 6 year contract worth $27 million. Â Another awesome deal, at least in my mind. Leino is still young and should have no problem adjusting to Lindy’s system and he would look mighty nice centering a line with Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis/Drew Stafford/Thomas Vanek. Â He’s big and is not afraid to play in front of the net, which is something this team has lacked outside of the services of Paul Gaustad and Vanek. Â I’m looking forward to seeing how Lindy works him into the fold and cna’t wait to see that beautiful shot next season.
To keep up with some of the grit, the Sabres also re-signed forward Cody McCormick to a multi-year deal. Â I love McCormick, seriously though he’s one of my favorites, and couldn’t be more excited to have him back. Â The combo of McCormick, Gaustad and Kaleta makes for quite the thundering third line, with McCormick leading the way with 16 fighting majors last season.
On a side note, Tim Connolly is GONE!!!!! I don’t even care that he signed with the Maple Leafs, thats how excited the city of Buffalo is to be done with his injury riddled self. Â The contract is of course absurd, I mean really, would you pay a middle of the road (at best) center, who is hurt more than he is healthy $4.75 million A YEAR… Thats $750,000 more than he was making in Buffalo. Â Either way, enjoy him Toronto, that is if you ever get to see him play.
Stay tuned, because there is no way this team is finished yet. There are still 4 RFA’s (Enroth, Gragnani, Weber and Sejkera) to sign and the team has about $1.3 million left until they hit the cap ceiling. Â Something’s gotta give, now its just a waiting game to see what that something is.
At their season ending press conference, the team was asked to comment on the players that were injured in games leading up to and during the playoffs.Â The injuries were:
Jason Pominville suffered a severed tendon in Game 2 and will require 4-6 months to heal.Â Pominville has had a rough season on the injury front, having played in 335 straight games before being injured in October on a hit from Niklas Hjalmarsson, who was suspended for 2 games after the hit was evaluated by the league.Â The hope is that he will recover quickly and be ready for training camp.
Tim Connolly suffered a sternum separation after being hit by Mike Richards in Game 6 and would have missed between 4-6 weeks had the Sabres continued in the playoffs.Â This, to me, was rather surprising as I was expecting the team to announce Connolly suffered a concussion.Â Timmy has quite the history of injury dating back to the 2003-2004 season (which he missed due to post concussion syndrome).Â In the last 5 seasons, Connolly has played in 281 games out of the 492 he was eligible to play in.
Patrick Kaleta suffered a broken hand blocking a shot and will have surgery on Monday.
Mike Grier will have surgery on his wrist sometime in the near future.Â He was also dealing with a bad knee for most of the season.Â His future is up in the air and when asked by the media “here or retire,” his response was “…if I play again, it’ll be here, if not that will probably be it.”Â Mike Grier was brought back to this team to help the young guys and be a leader in the locker room he did that and more throughout the course of the season, however, I just don’t think his body will be able to hold up for another season.Â I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sabres tried to put him in a role similar to that of Kevyn Adams (player development coach).
Andrej Sekera was suffering from an oblique strain in the rib area.Â He tried to return and play through it in Game 7, but it was not healed enough.Â He turned down a chance to play in the World Championships for Slovakia to allow himself a chance to heal.
Jochen Hecht suffered a concussion on March 29th against the Toronto Maple Leafs and missed the final 6 games of the regular season as well as the first 6 games of the 1st round playoff series against the Flyers.
Ryan Miller was also suffering from a concussion after being hit in the head with four shots over the course of a few games.Â As many people suspected, the injury was believed to be just a bruised collarbone (which he also had) after taking a hard shot from Dion Phaneuf on March 29th.
On a happier note though, Paul Gaustad was invited to join Team USA for the IIHF Men’s World Championships in Slovakia.Â Gaustad will be making his Team USA debut.Â Marc-Andre Gragnani was also added to the Team Canada roster for the tournament after a spectacular 1st round playoff series.