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.
In the words of a very famous rabbit, thats all folks. The push for the playoffs came to an end for the Buffalo Sabres last night in Philadelphia after a 2-1 loss to the Flyers. If the Panthers had managed to come back and beat the Capitals last night, there would be very different conversations floating around right now.
It was heartbreaking, to say the least. The Sabres took an early lead on Ville Leino‘s 8th goal of the year, yep thats right people I said EIGHT… Either way, Leino scored late in the second period and it looked like the Sabres were going to pull off another miracle. This team is normally very strong when carrying a lead into the third, but this time they just couldn’t hold on.
Marc-Andre Bourdon tied it up on a booming shot from the blue line that found its way through a screen and past Ryan Miller. That was just around the 6 minute mark of the third period, meaning that should have been plenty of time to pull together and get something done, considering this game meant EVERYTHING for the season to continue. The Flyers responded with physical play that left the Sabres scrambling. Matt Read iced the game with his 24th of the year with 4 minutes remaining in the period.
Hodgson scored what would become the game winning goal 6:15 into the first period. The ovation Hodgson received when his name was announced was glorious to say the least. He’s worked hard and is finally starting to feel comfortable with his new teammates, which is becoming more and more obvious as we watch his puck handling. He is starting to figure out where players are going to be and his passing has become much stronger as games have progressed. just to add icing to the cake (and to silence the rest of the haters out there), he scored again .
Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier announced today that Buffalo native, Marcus Foligno (yep Mike Foligno‘s youngest son!!), the 4th round pick of the team in 2009, agreed to terms on a 3 year entry level deal. Â Foligno finished his final season with the Sudbury Wolves with a career high in goals (23), assists (36) and points (59). Â The youngest Foligno finished his junior career with 54 goals, 85 assists, 139 points, 382 PIM’s in 245 games, all with the Wolves. Â Foligno also served as the captain of the team for the 2010-2011 season, led all forwards in PIM’s (92) despite playing in only 42 games. Â Foligno was also named to the OHL’s Second All-Star Team and was voted as the Best Body Checker in the Eastern Conference in the OHL Coaches Poll.
Sabres fans got their first real look at the next Foligno at the IIHF World U20 Championships, which took place in Buffalo this winter. Â Foligno, along with Sabres prospect Zack Kassian, won a silver medal with Team Canada. Â Foligno scored 2 goals and added 2 assists in the tournament and gave fans something to look forward to in the coming years. Â His gritty style (Youtube search him and take a look at his glorious fighting reel!) is something the Sabres are in desperate need of, and just to add the cherry on top, Foligno appears to have found a scoring touch as of late.
The best thing about Foligno is he is truly a genuine person and was a pleasure to talk to while he was playing in the World Juniors in Buffalo. Â He was so polite and always spoke to every reporter that wanted to talk to him, he never blew anyone off or cut interviews short, which was nice to see considering other players couldn’t be bothered. Â The Buffalo media outlets raved about how he was a true Buffalonian in every sense of the word. Â Even after he was first drafted and attending Sabres Prospect Camp for the first time, he stood signing autographs for throngs of kids for at least 20 minutes and when he was finished he asked if anyone needed anything else and thanked everyone for coming. Â He is a native son, like Tim Kennedy, we can be proud of (yes that was a dig at you Pat Kane…).
Hopefully there are a lot of thundering body checks and Foligno Leap’s in our future!!!
So now that the season is over, what should we talk aboutâ€¦ the offseason, obviously!Â Recently on WGR550 (the sports station in Buffalo for those of you that arenâ€™t aware), the conversations have turned to offseason trades, which is a soft spot for us Buffalo fans.Â Normally in the offseason, the Sabres donâ€™t really do much, the extent of our offseason signings is normally a defenseman or 2 and possibly a 3rd line forward and a back-up goalie (but we wonâ€™t be needing that this year ENROTH, ENROTH!!!!!).
This year, many people in Buffalo are expecting an interesting offseason now that the reigns are off as far as money and what Darcy Regier can/cannot do.Â In the past, the Sabres have not traded draft picks very often or prospects.Â The question everyone is asking, is will that change?
One of the more interesting conversations was whether the Sabres would or should look at offers for players such as Zack Kassian or Luke Adam, who are currently playing with the Portland Pirates and were 1st and 2nd round draft picks in 2009 and 2008, respectively.Â The team in recent years would never have considered trading their young talent, but now it seems like everyone is on the table.
Personally, if the offer were a bag of pucks for Zack Kassian, I would take it.Â Itâ€™s no secret I am not a fan of his and I was not happy when the Sabres selected him, heâ€™s a reckless player who has no respect for other players on the ice.Â My theory is that even if he somehow makes the team at some point, heâ€™ll spend more time being suspended or sitting in the penalty box than actually playing. Â Hopefully, the Sabres will be able to teach him and turn him into a player like Milan Lucic (who he has been compared), but Iâ€™m not optimistic.
In January of 2010, Kassian was suspended for 20 games by the OHL after a hit to the head of Matt Kennedy of the Barrie Colts.Â In May of 2010 he was charged with assault after an incident outside of a bar in Windsor, Ontario.Â At the World Junior Championships, played in Buffalo, he was suspended 2 games after a brutal blindside hit to the head of a Czech defenseman.Â Just a few weeks ago, he was again suspended by the OHL for 4 games after he received an intent to injure match penalty at the end of a playoff game.Â I think his record speaks for itself; he plays with reckless abandon, which is what the league is trying to crack down on.Â When Patrice Cormier threw the dreadful elbow to the head of Michael Tam and was suspended for the remainder of the QMJHL season and the Playoffs, the New Jersey Devils TRADED him less than a month later.Â Kassian is not a player I would want as a member of this organization, especially the direction is it now heading in.
Luke Adam is a completely different story.Â The offer would have to be something pretty substantial to send him off.Â He had an extremely successful year with the Portland Pirates scoring 29 goals and 33 assists.Â He won AHL Rookie of the Year, won a silver medal with team Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championship (where he scored 8 points in 6 games) and made his debut in the NHL playing in 19 games and scoring 3 goals.Â He is a center, which is something we are desperately in need of and he has shown amazing potential.
This is not to say I would not look at a trade offer if I was the GM, but the team has a history of developing young players (see Gaustad, Pominville, Miller, Royâ€¦).Â At this point, almost everyone and everything should be on the table, itâ€™s about making the team better NOW, not 5 years from now.