Predictions for the upcoming NHL season are already being posted around the web, and many teams are not done making moves. At this point, are the Sabres good enough to win the division again?

Mike Corcoran, a Tampa Bay radio host, posted his Eastern Conference predictions with Buffalo finishing in fifth place. Corcoran stated this about the Sabres:

"Some will make the claim that a winning team starts from the net out, and the Buffalo Sabres have one of the best in the Eastern Conference in Ryan Miller. He can and will single handily steal games. The Sabres signed Jordan Leopold to help fill the void left by the departures of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman. They also added center Rob Niedermayer to solidify the forward lines. As long as Miller stays healthy, the Sabres are one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference."

Boston was predicted to win the Northeast Division by Corcoran, but Ottawa and Buffalo are not far behind. Ryan Miller had the whole nation on his side after his performance in the Olympics last February. He went on to win the Vezina Trophy after winning 41 games and finishing with a .929 save percentage and a 2.22 goals against.

The Buffalo Sabres defensive core helped to support Miller's numbers. The Sabres were in the top five in goals against, but how will the defense be this year with the loss of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman?

Many will argue that there is no difference. Even though we lost two solid defensemen, the acquisition of Jordan Leopold and the call up of Mike Weber will fill in the gaps on defense.

Not only do the Sabres still need help on the power play, but what about Craig Rivet? His shoulder surgery will cause him to be out for some time and he may not make it back in time for the opener. The Sabres may be without him as well, forcing the Sabres to call someone else up.

Tyler Myers finished with 48 points last season, and will try to improve on that this year. In addition, Myers was one of just three Sabres to play all 82 games last season.

Maybe the Sabres should think about hiring a power play coach, who they used to have. When the Sabres went to the Finals in 1999, its power play ranked first in the league.

Without a power play coach and a power play quarterback, the Sabres defense will likely be a downgrade from last season. It will be difficult to duplicate last year's performance if the team struggles on the defensive end.

If that does happen, is the offense going to be able to save them? No. Buffalo does not have enough fire power on offense to win high scoring games. A few years ago, that would not have been a problem. Even down the road, prospects from the Portland Pirates may be able to solve that problem. There are no players on the team now that can spark the offense with clutch goals.

Buffalo is in need of just a couple of players this offseason, and that is certainly not out of reach considering how much cap space Regier has to spend. At this point in the offseason, are the Sabres able to compete with the rest of the Northeast Division? Where will they finish in the Eastern Conference?

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The Sabres lineup has not seen many moves since the beginning of the offseason. The loss of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman didn’t surprise many fans. The addition of Jordan Leopold and the expected call up of Mike Weber will replace those openings.

The Sabres have depth at forward, but the fact of whether or not they have enough scoring power remains the question. The team is fairly intact from last season and last year it was good enough to win the division and come in third in the Eastern Conference, while totaling 235 goals. However, the 235 goals is the lowest Buffalo has seen in recent years.

At the moment, the Sabres top six forwards look are Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Jason Pominville, Tim Connolly, Drew Stafford, and Jochen Hecht. Lindy Ruff’s teams have always relied on a good two-way forwards, solid defense, and goaltending. The Sabres leader in points last season was Derek Roy who finished with 26 goals, 43 assists, and 69 points.

The leading goal scorer was Thomas Vanek who recorded 28 goals in 71 games, which was significantly lower than his average over the three seasons prior where he averaged over 39 goals a season. Buffalo saw three players record over 60 points and Vanek just outside the 60 mark.

Does this mean that the Sabres need to acquire a better goal scorer or someone who can help Vanek get the puck more?…YES. Connolly and Roy disappeared with most of the Sabres when goals were needed. Vanek, Mike Grier, and Tyler Ennis were the best players in the playoff series against the Bruins. The answer may very well rely in the spark that Tyler Ennis can bring to the lineup if he plays on a regular basis.

All Sabres fans ooh’ed and ahh’ed at the speed and talent that Ennis brought at the end of the regular season and during the playoffs. However, Ennis was not enough to help the slumping power play during the playoffs.

Clearly, the Sabres could use a top six forward to produce more goals or could use a power play quarterback on the point. This year the primary target of teams is defense. The best talent that was available on the market were solid defensemen. That leaves the Sabres to look to acquiring a top six forward or some type of spark in goal scoring through a trade.

Names like Marc Savard, Alex Semin, Patrick Sharp, Jamie Langenbrunner, Stephen Weiss, and Brad Richards have been thrown around with rumors, but with not much support to back them up. The Sabres can make a move if they wanted to with the $8 million in cap room still remaining and some tremendous young talent in the fold. The question is if the Sabres give up a guy like Nathan Gerbe and a first round pick, is it worth what your receiving in return?

Darcy Regier has always had the state of mind to build from within, better your team with trades, and has never made a huge splash in free agency. This is not the worst way to do business in the NHL even though teams like the Flyers and Rangers choose differently. The Sabres have been successful to make the playoffs somewhat consistently, but have not won a Stanley Cup now entering their 40th season in the league.

The city is becoming restless as they want to win now. Darcy may have to give up more than he wants, but to bring in a guy who can spark your first line and get Thomas Vanek going would be ideal. The team as it is now is a playoff team without a question, but it needs some work done to it in order to become a Stanley Cup contender.

 

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February 13, 2009 was a lot more than just a game between the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks. A plane crash in Clarence Center left the entire city of Buffalo devastated. The National Hockey League questioned whether or not the game should be played.

A few of the Sabres had family and friends who lived in the area, and many people knew some of the victims who died in the plane crash of Flight 3407. It was a sad evening for the town and Buffalo honored the victims with a moment of silence before the game started.

The Sabres gave the city a measure of joy. Adam Mair and Jaroslav Spacek each scored a goal within three minutes to give them a 2-0 lead. Derek Roy’s power play goal a few minutes later had the Sabres up by three over the league leading Sharks, who were 37-7-8 and 10-1-2 against the Eastern Conference.

Patrick Marleau got San Jose on the board at the end of the first. But midway through the second Ales Kotalik scored another power play goal to put Buffalo back up by three. A minute later, the Sharks bounced right back with another goal from Marleau.

Dan Boyle scored the third goal for the Sharks with less than a minute to go in the second period. Now, the Sabres were only up by one, and fans were getting nervous.

Halfway through the third, the Sabres gave up two quick goals, giving San Jose a 5-4 lead. It was such a turnaround from all of the energy and excitement that started the game. HSBC Arena had been electric.

Call it a bit of a miracle. Call it what you want,  but on the night of Friday the 13th, the Sabres didn’t give up. With four seconds remaining in the third period, Jason Pominville tipped a shot from Craig Rivet and beat Evgeni Nabokov to tie the game.

The teams would need a shootout to determine the winner of this one. Neither team scored in the first three rounds. Pominville scored in the next round and the pressure was on the Sharks. San Jose sent out Marleau, who beat Miller again.

Derek Roy then scored, and San Jose had to answer once again. Milan Michalek was unable to beat Miller and the Sabres won.

The win helped many fans take their mind off of the plane crash, at least temporarily. The Sabres did their part by playing arguably their game of the year.

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February 13, 2009 was a lot more than just a game between the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks. A plane crash in Clarence Center left the entire city of Buffalo devastated.

The National Hockey League questioned whether or not the game should be played.

A few of the Sabres had family and friends that lived in the area, and many people knew some of the victims that died in the plane crash of flight 3407. It was a sad evening for the town, and Buffalo honored the victims with a moment of silence before the game started.

The NHL decided to keep the game on schedule, and Sabres fans got some happiness back.

Adam Mair and Jaroslav Spacek each scored a goal within three minutes to give Buffalo a 2-0 lead.

Derek Roy’s power play goal a few minutes later had the Sabres up by three over the league leading Sharks who were 37-7-8 and 10-1-2 against the Eastern Conference.

Patrick Marleau got San Jose on the board at the end of the first, but the Buffalo led 3-1.

Midway through the second, Alex Kotalik scored a powerplay goal to put Buffalo back up by three. A minute later, the Sharks bounced right back with another goal from Marleau.

Dan Boyle scored the third goal for the Sharks with less than a minute to go in the second period. Now, the Sabres were only up by one, and fans were getting nervous.

Halfway through the third, the Sabres gave up two quick goals, giving San Jose a 5-4 lead. It was such a turnaround from all of the energy and excitement that was going on inside HSBC Arena.

The building was electric, but that went down once the Sabres did.

Call it a bit of a miracle.

Call it what you want, but on the night of Friday the 13th, the Sabres didn’t give up.

With four seconds remaining in the third period, Jason Pominville tipped a shot from Craig Rivet and beat Evgeni Nabokov to tie the game at five.

The teams would need a shootout to determine the winner of this one.

Neither team scored in the first three rounds.

Pominville scored in the next round and the pressure was on the Sharks. San Jose sent out Marleau, who beat Miller again, and kept the shootout going.

Derek Roy then scored, and San Jose had to answer again. Milan Michalek was unable to beat Miller and the Sabres went on to win the game 6-5.

The win helped many fans take their mind off of the plane crash, at least temporarily.

The Sabres did their part by playing arguably the game of the year.

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The Sabres have not fared well against the Stars over the past decade or so, and it began to show during a game in Dallas a couple of seasons ago.

Buffalo made a trip to Dallas to take on the Stars in mid-January and started off with some struggles.

Buffalo’s problems began when Drew Stafford took two straight penalties, both of which resulted in a goal for the Stars. Matt Niskanen and Steve Ott both scored to give Dallas a 2-0 after the first period.

Buffalo was out-shot 12 to five in the first period, and things weren’t looking good for the Sabres. Dallas came out in the second with another goal just a couple of minutes in. Trevor Daley’s wrist shot beat Miller and upped the lead to three.

Trailing 3-0, the Sabres didn’t give up, but they needed something to get going. That’s when Paul Gaustad stepped in.

Even though he may not have won the fight, Gaustad built some momentum and the Sabres used it perfectly. Here’s a clip of what happened after the Gaustad fight:

Paul Gaustad’s powerplay goal midway through the second got Buffalo on the board, but Buffalo still trailed by two and whatever Lindy Ruff said to the team during the intermission worked.

Three minutes into the third, Jochen Hecht cut the lead in half. Hecht’s goal was a bit of an awakening call to the Stars, who scored less than a minute later. Gaustad came through again for the Sabres after he scored again halfway through the third.

Sixteen seconds later, Clarke MacArthur scored and tied the game at four. The teams would take this game to a shootout, spotlighting Ryan Miller and Marty Turco.

The first three rounds of the shootout didn’t solve anything, as neither team could score. Jere Lehtinen scored in round four, putting the pressure on the Sabres. It was up to Derek Roy to keep things going, and he succeeded by beating Turco.

Jason Pominville completed the comeback by scoring in the next round and winning the game for the Sabres.

“It was a gutsy win,” said Buffalo goaltender Miller, who turned aside five of six Dallas attempts in the shootout. “You could see that hunger. The boys showed up. It was good to see.”

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If you’re a Sabres fan, you probably find yourself predicting the outcomes of games before they start. Well, now you have the chance to submit your predictions and win prizes based on how well you do.

Sabreshockeycentral.com has introduced a Buffalo Sabres prediction challenge that will test the knowledge of many fans.

All you have to do is predict the winner and score of each Sabres game this season. If you finish near the top, you will win Sabres tickets, jerseys, gift cards, cash, and other prizes.

The cost is only $5.00 for the entire season! You can even sign up for text message and/or email alerts in case you forget to submit a prediction for an upcoming game.

If you are interested in signing up or more details, follow the link below:

http://sabreshockeycentral.com/pick-em

If you have any comments or questions, let me know. We already have a number of people registered. The more people that play, the more prizes that will be given away.

Even though it is early, we encourage you to sign up. The sooner the better. That will help us determine the official prizes much quicker. All NHL fans are welcome!

Read more Buffalo Sabres news on BleacherReport.com

If you're a Sabres fan, you probably find yourself predicting the outcomes of games before they start. Well, now you have the chance to submit your predictions and win prizes based on how well you do.

Sabreshockeycentral.com has introduced a Buffalo Sabres prediction challenge that will test the knowledge of many fans.

All you have to do is predict the winner and score of each Sabres game this season. If you finish near the top, you will win Sabres tickets, jerseys, gift cards, cash, and other prizes.

The cost is only $5 for the entire season! You can even sign up for text message and/or email alerts in case you forget to submit a prediction for an upcoming game.

If you are interested in signing up or more details, follow the link below:

http://sabreshockeycentral.com/pick-em

If you have any comments or questions, let me know. We already have a number of people registered. The more people that play, the more prizes that will be given away.

Even though it is early, we encourage you to sign up. The sooner the better. That will help us determine the official prizes much quicker.

Read more Buffalo Sabres news on BleacherReport.com

Don’t be worried if you haven’t heard Tim Conboy’s name before.

The Buffalo Sabres have signed the unrestricted free agent to a one-year deal worth $550,000.

The right winger was drafted in the seventh round (217th overall) by the San Jose Sharks back in 2002.


The only NHL team he has played for is the Carolina Hurricanes.

Conboy has played 59 career games, but has yet to score a goal. He has earned six assists and totaled 121 penalty minutes.

Conboy has yet to play more than 28 games in a season, and that fact is likely to remain true this season as he may not see much playing time with the Sabres.

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Darcy Regier has made a few moves this off season, but he is far from done. Buffalo still has about eight million left to spent before it reaches the maximum salary cup.

Everything has slowed down around the NHL recently, due to the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes. Once that is over, expect Regier and the Sabres to make a few more moves.

Buffalo has already seen the addition of Jordan Leopold and Rob Niedermayer, two solid signings that should help the team. The Sabres also re-signed Patrick Lalime for another year. Lalime put up respectable numbers, but only went 4-8-2 last year.

While many Buffalo fans may not feel confident with Lalime in net, he is a veteran backup who Ryan Miller looks to for advice. Lalime is a great presence in the locker room, and is not a bad choice as a backup. His number slipped down a bit due to the time off between starts.

Buffalo still has a shot at obtaining Tomas Kaberle on defense. With him and Leopold replacing Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman, the defense would be improved. Craig Rivet may miss the start of the regular season, which may allow Mike Weber to see some playing time.

David Perron of the St.Louis Blues has been drawing interest from the Sabres. He is only 22 years old and has played three seasons in the NHL. He has put up 98 points in the past two years, and is a solid, consistent left winger that would fit nicely on the Sabres.

Buffalo and Calgary have also been rumored in trade talks. The Flames are interested in Derek Roy and a prospect, while the Sabres may be looking at Robyn Regehr and a couple of others.

The Sabres still need some help on offense. A top-line center would really help out the entire team. Roy is the ideal candidate for a trade and his cap hit of four million would be nice to get rid of.

Buffalo has a chance to acquire three or four more solid players. It is just whether or not Regier will actually come through this time. He has money to spend, so it is expected that he will do something soon.

Buffalo is not far from becoming a solid team. You could argue that they already are. The Sabres finished third in the conference this past season, mainly because of its goal-tending and defense. As stated before, Buffalo has already replace Tallinder and Lydman, so the defense remains the same.

If the Sabres do acquire Kaberle, it will be a significant plus on defense. Pairing him up with Myers would make for a solid defensive core.

On offense, the Sabres could add one or two more names, but they need to score. Tyler Ennis may get a full time spot on the roster, based on his performance towards the end of last season.

Hopefully Regier has some offers ready to go, and Buffalo is not far from seeing some changes in the near future.

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Let me begin by saying that this article is purely opinion. Although I feel I have valid points, there is no actual evidence to say that the Buffalo Bills or Buffalo Sabres as organizations are taking advantage of their fans. That being said, to Buffalo sports teams I say, please, stop taking advantage of us and give us something to cheer about.

Every year we watch our sports teams flounder and crash on their way to a championship.

It has been 10 years since the Buffalo Bills even made the playoffs, and no major Buffalo Sports team has ever won their league championship (No, the Bills two AFL Championships do not count).

We have come close time and time again and have been disappointed each and every time. Some of these disappointment are simply fate. Wide right—the Music City Miracle—no goal—these are luck and human error plays that cannot be blamed on management.

Where the blame begins is with the makeup of these teams themselves. For years, Buffalo sports teams have made poor personnel decisions. This current offseason highlights my frustrations, and the frustration of millions of Buffalonians.

Going into the current NFL offseason, the Buffalo Bills were in the process of rebuilding. They were coming off a 6-10 season and had few upside players on their roster. Those few upsides include depth at running back. The Bills had two viable starting running backs to work with they just needed—well everything else.

So what should the bills do with their ninth overall selection? Take a quarterback to throw the ball to Lee Evans and make it less obvious that we're going to run on every play? A lineman to block for the backs and protect or mediocre quarterbacks? A defender to plug up the holes in our defense (although I think our defense would be tops in the league if they weren't on the field for 90 percent of the game)?

No. They took a tailback. The one position we already had depth at. Ok, so since the draft is a bust, how about free agency? Did the Bills sign anybody there? Of course not. How about our new coaching staff? Who is Chan Gailey?

Clearly, we cannot rely on the Bills to create excitement so let's turn to the Sabres and the focus of the majority of my anger in Buffalo Sports.

Two Words: Darcy Regier.

Yes, the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, Darcy John Regier is, in my opinion, the worst administrative professional in all of sports. Regier is responsible for the loss of such players as Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell, Clarke MacArthur, J.P. Dumont, and Martin Biron for little, or no, compensation.

Drury and Briere, the emotional and scoring leaders of the Buffalo Sabres both left in free agency in the same year. Briere was not even offered a contract. Martin Biron was, at the time, the Sabres starting goaltender and one of the best in the NHL. He was traded for a mere second round pick in the entry draft.

Regier almost refuses to do anything to improve the Sabres in any way. This year alone, he let two of our best defensemen leave in free agency and replaced them with just mediocre young defensemen and the aged Rob Niedermeyer who will most likely retire soon. He resigned Patrick Lalime instead of getting Vexzina winner Ryan Miller a viable back up. Now, Miller has to play 70 plus games a year and is burnt out by the time the playoffs rolled around.

He made no effort to add scoring despite the Sabres pathetic offensive efforts in 09-10.

Regiers efforts as GM have been nothing short of pathetic, and this man should have been fired years ago. The only reason he hasn't is because the owner Tom Golisano is in it for the money and Regier saves him money by never improving the team.

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