The excitement about the Buffalo Sabres that was as high as the clouds at the start of the season is now basically at ground level. Last season’s Northeast division championship and a very impressive preseason had every Sabres‘ fan pumped up. However a 1-4-1 record now has Sabre Nation with its collective finger as close to the panic button as it can get.

Nearly every fan has their reasons for Buffalo’s dreadful start. “The power play is worse than last season”, “their defensive play has been shoddy”, “Tim Connolly’s career is done”, “Regier didn’t add enough new pieces to the roster.” Some of these statements are true and some are definitely not.

Sniper Thomas Vanek and second-year defenseman Tyler Myers are two reason why the Buffalo Sabres have stalled out of the gate. Vanek has scored a total of exactly ZERO goals and Myers is a league worst -7. Both of these players need to get it together quickly.

There is one reason that is being thrown around by not only fans but also by sports writers in Buffalo, that I disagree with 110 percent. That reason being that the players do not listen to head coach Lindy Ruff‘s message. To quote the aforementioned Ruff from an interview earlier this week on WGR 550 in Buffalo, “That is a load of crap.” I couldn’t say it better myself except that I would have used some more colorful language.

The thought that the Buffalo Sabres are not hearing or listening to Lindy Ruff’s message is way off. Ruff, who has been behind the bench in Buffalo since 1997, is the best coach in the NHL and in my opinion, one of the best coaches in sports today. One of the main reasons for this is because Ruff gets his message across every time and therein lies one of the reasons for the Buffalo Sabres sluggish start.

Year after year, season after season, bench boss Lindy Ruff gets his team ready to compete. Ruff has had loads of success as the coach of the Buffalo Sabres. During Ruff’s tenure, which has seen him win 484 games, there have been over 150 coaching changes in the NHL. Ruff has taken the Sabres to four Eastern Conference Finals and one Stanley Cup Final.

The players listen to every word that comes out of Ruff’s mouth. The problem is that sometimes they take him too seriously. In the past when Ruff has spoken about playing better defense the team ends up going through scoring slumps and when he preaches more offense the Sabres seem to forget about their own end of the rink.

Prior the start of this season, Lindy Ruff said over and over again that the Buffalo Sabres were Stanley Cup contenders. This statement is not false. I believe that they were Stanley Cup contenders last season also. I understand that things went wrong and certain players disappeared in the first round loss to the rival Boston Bruins. However, injuries to Jochen Hecht, Tim Connolly and Thomas Vanek were just too much for the Sabres to overcome. Entering this season the Sabres had all of three of those players back, the world’s best goaltender Ryan Miller was returning, Calder Trophy winning phenom Tyler Myers was back, and several new pieces including cup winning veteran Rob Neidermayer were added. So its understandable to see why Ruff thinks that they are Stanley Cup contenders and this group of Sabres understood it also.

However, from their slow start, it seems like the players thought they already had the Cup won. They believed the message that Ruff was feeding them and they rolled into Ottawa on opening night and beat the Senators. That feat has not happened much over the past few seasons. That win got them brimming with confidence as they returned home to HSBC Arena for a four game homestand. They wanted to impress the Buffalo faithful and they got away from the system that Ruff preaches. Things started to go downhill quickly as the Sabres were trounced by the New York Rangers 6-3 in the home opener. The Sabres have not recovered from that loss yet. They looked much better in a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks last Saturday, but a loss is still a loss. It is certainly not time to panic yet but there is reason to be concerned.

This group of Sabres needs to show that they have matured by taking what Lindy Ruff says and watering it down a bit in their minds. When Ruff tells them to tighten up defensively he does not mean to stop creating offense, when Ruff talks about scoring more goals they can not forget that they have their own net that can be scored on as well, and when head coach Lindy Ruff says that the Buffalo Sabres are Stanley Cup contenders it does not at all mean that their names are already on the thing. It means that Ruff believes in them and that if the Sabres put in the hard work each and every night and a little luck accompanies them that the Stanley Cup is a realistic goal.

So wake up Sabres and start playing the way that led you to a division title last season, so that us fans can put the panic button back up on the shelf to collect some more dust.

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The Buffalo Sabres are off to one of the worst starts in recent memory with a 1-4-1 record, with the only win coming in the first game of the season against the Ottawa Senators. In the first six games last season, the Sabres were 4-1-1. One of the main reasons for the poor record has been the substandard play of reigning Calder Trophy-winning defenseman Tyler Myers.

Tyler Myers was by far the Buffalo Sabres’ best defenseman last season. He had 11 goals and 48 points as a rookie while playing all 82 games. The fans and coaches alike were very pleased with his composure and confidence to be able to jump up into the offensive play while locking things down in his own end.

This year has been a different story thus far for Myers. In his first six games as a rookie, he had one goal and four points and was a plus-five. In his first six games he only has one assist and is an NHL-worst minus-seven.

There are many reasons why Myers is performing this poorly. One could say that the departure of his defensive partner Henrik Tallinder last offseason has an effect.  

Another could be that opposing teams have figured out how to play Myers and his long reach while entering the offensive zone and forechecking. Myers has visibly been shaky and indecisive on the ice when handling the puck. Darcy Regier was quoted in an interview on WGR550 in Buffalo that perhaps Myers is “doubting that the first play is the best play.”

Myers has the right mentality to get out of this slump. He has shown that he is a grounded individual throughout last season. Before he turns six games of poor play into an entire season of mediocrity, he needs to simplify his game. The groin injury to his defensive partner to start the year, Shaone Morrisonn, does not help matters however.

As much as it is publicized that the Buffalo Sabres rely on goaltender Ryan Miller too much, the play of Tyler Myers is equally important. Covering in the defensive zone is his first priority, but with the Sabres struggling to score goals and losing one-goal games, Myers’ offensive skills need to translate into points to help him and his team out of this early season rut.

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Prepare for a blood bath Saturday night when the Buffalo Sabres travel to Chicago to play the Blackhawks. Maybe that is what the NHL wanted.

Niklas Hjalmarsson of the Blackhawks was officially suspended for two games by the NHL for a hit on Buffalo’s Jason Pominville during Monday’s game in Buffalo.

Conveniently for the NHL, his two game suspension ends on Saturday when the Buffalo Sabres come to town.

Pominville suffered a concussion and received stitches above his left eye after his head hit the glass. Many of the Sabres feel that the two game suspension is not sufficient to the damage he caused.

”If I had to play commissioner, I would have went more,” Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff told the Buffalo News. ”Two games isn’t a long time sitting in their case. They play a couple games this week and it’s over in three days.”

Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said, “You can’t have a hit like that, it’s dangerous. I’m glad he admitted he didn’t mean to do it. But you’ve got to change the culture some time, and I hope the league wakes up and sets a precedent for the year.”

Patrick Kaleta of the Sabres wants to take it into his own hands, ”It’ll get taken care of either with the league or I think we play them Saturday, so we’ll make a point that you can’t be taking hits like that against one of our leaders and one of the better players on our team.”

There is no doubting the NHL is a dangerous sport, and even as a Sabres fan, looking at the hit I have seen much worse.

The fact is this was a hit Hjalmarsson did not have to take, but that is hockey. Now the Chicago Blackhawks have to deal with the Buffalo Sabres coming to town looking for his or anyone’s head on a platter.

While the Sabres may down play the revenge factor, it is something like this that can bring a team together and create that chemistry that is needed for the season.

More importantly, shame on the NHL for allowing this to happen.

This is not the MMA or Boxing, this is the National Hockey League. For someone not to look and see that they play the Sabres when Hjalmarsson comes back is unforgivable.

It makes it obvious that the NHL wanted this to happen as they continue to struggle for ratings with the NFL season and MLB postseason.

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If the NHL season ended today the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy and the Art Ross Trophy would not be awarded to Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby or even the Sedin twins, it would be handed to Buffalo‘s Derek Roy.

Now I understand that the season is only a week old, but the speedy Roy has picked up right where the preseason left off. During the preseason Derek Roy registered 10 points, and he did not even dress for all six of the Sabres‘ games. That success has carried over to regular season action for the creative center. Roy is tied for the league lead with five points and leads all players with four goals on the season so far.

Roy, for the most part, singlehandedly won Buffalo’s season opener against the rival Ottawa Senators with two goals. The first coming in highlight fashion.

One of the biggest questions coming into the 2010-2011 campaign was who was going to step up and be the No. 1 center for the Buffalo Sabres? It is safe to say that Derek Roy is answering that question very quickly.

Sabres general manager Darcy Regier has repeatedly said that he thinks that Derek Roy and Tim Connolly are both top-20 centers. The verdict is still out on both of the Sabres pivots but Roy is starting to show that Regier’s opinion may be truth when it comes to No. 9. Roy is showing that he is maturing with age into the top center that Buffalo needs so badly.

The Sabres fell to 1-2 with Monday night’s 4-3 loss to the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks. Buffalo got off to a blazing start with two goals, one from Roy, in the first three minutes of the game. However, the blue and gold could not recover from the blindsided hit to forward and fan favorite Jason Pominville in the late stages of the first period. The vicious hit from behind delivered by defenseman Nick Hjalmarson knocked Pominville from the Buffalo lineup indefinitely.

Tonight the understaffed New Jersey Devils roll into HSBC Arena still looking for their first win of the season. It’s time to rally around the Pominville injury and get this season back on track. Derek Roy beat the rest of the Sabres off the starting line. If Miller and Co. can follow his example and catch up to Roy then they will beat the Devils and many other teams this season.

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With 5:46 to go in the first period with the Buffalo Sabres leading the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1, Sabres’ defenseman Andrej Sekera chipped the puck up the boards to Jason Pominville for the winger to clear the zone. Before the puck reached Pominville, Blackhawks’ defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson plastered him against the glass. Pominville’s head snapped against the glass and he crumpled to the ice.

Tim Connolly immediately jumped on Hjalmarsson in retaliation for the hit on his linemate. Pominville was taken off the ice with a stretcher. He did not go to the hospital, but he was diagnosed with a concussion, and he had a cut on his forehead. Hjalmarsson was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct. However, the Sabres did not score on the ensuing five-minute power play. The Sabres seemed to never recover from the shock, as they eventually lost the game 4-3.

In an interview on WGR 550 in Buffalo, Sabres’ head coach Lindy Ruff said that Pominville will miss at least a week, as the protocol on concussions states that a player must be symptom-free for at least seven days before returning to the ice.

Pominville will miss a game for the first time in 336 straight games, which was the fifth-longest active streak in the NHL. He has played all 82 games of the regular season for four straight seasons. Pominville is also one of the leaders in the locker room, and Connolly after the game was visibly shaken when giving a post-game interview. Connolly and Pominville have been teammates for five years, and have often played on the same line.

With Pominville out of the lineup for at least a week, Ruff will most likely insert Nathan Gerbe into the lineup, and will immediately be asked to compensate for Pominville’s lost offensive production. Gerbe definitely has the ability to score goals, but he will not be utilized on the penalty kill due to his suspect defensive game.

The Sabres need some spark to jump-start their lackluster play so far this season. They have lost both of their games at home and have surrendered a total of 10 goals in those two games. The Sabres next play Wednesday at home against the New Jersey Devils, who are still dealing with salary cap issues because of the Ilya Kovalchuk deal. The Sabres round out the week at home against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night, and then face the Chicago Blackhawks on the road on Saturday.

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The Buffalo Sabres’ season opener was a very positive beginning for the start of the Sabres’ 40th anniversary season. The team picked up from last year’s 5-2 win against Ottawa to defeat the Senators on the road 2-1, with Derek Roy scoring both of the goals and Ryan Miller playing strong in net.

The Sabres’ home opener was a different story. Although the team raised their Northeast Division Champions banner, in the game, they were outplayed by the New York Rangers to a score of 6-3. The Sabres did not look like they were defending a division title, and many fans left for the exits early.

Here are some of my thoughts after watching the two games.

Derek Roy has been the best forward through two games, with three goals. He is playing a smart game, and has also been solid defensively. He has picked up right where he left off in the preseason where he had 10 points in five games. An honorable mention goes to rookie Tyler Ennis, with three assists.

Tyler Myers has played a subpar two games, with the game against the Rangers to be one to forget. Myers is a minus-3, and had a goal go off his skate to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead Saturday night. The low point of Myers’ game was when he fell behind the Sabre net that led directly to another Ranger goal. Myers has one assist in the two games, but if he keeps playing like he has so far this season, a sophomore slump could be on the horizon.

Jordan Leopold had a great offensive game against the Rangers with two goals and three points in the game. However, against Ottawa he was out-muscled for a puck along the wall that set up a two-on-one that led to a tap-in goal for the Senators. He is not a shut down defenseman by any means, but he has a cannon from the point.

Craig Rivet has looked very slow in the two games. It still looks like he is injured, but he and Lindy Ruff claim that he is 100 percent. He almost got beat to the puck on a number of icing calls when he had been in a far better position. It would be a surprise if Ruff strips Rivet of the captaincy if his play continues to regress, but he could see his ice time cut severely if he keeps this up.

The checking line of Jochen Hecht, Rob Niedermayer, and Mike Grier, is really solid. They were matched up against the Daniel Alfredsson line in Ottawa, and shut that line down. They were also on the ice in the final minute defending a lead on a six-on-four advantage. They have also created some great offensive chances.

The Sabres are 2-for-10 on the power play, and perfect on the penalty kill. They have scored on the power play in each game. Through two games the special teams have been pretty good.

If you want more thoughts, as well as updates on the Sabres, follow my Twitter @RichLunghino.

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he Buffalo Sabres will begin the 82-game-long season tonight with an opponent who seemed to have their number for the past five years.  

The Sabres hope to change their fortunes against the Ottawa Senators in game one.

Since the end of the NHL lockout, the Senators are 25-7-4 against the Sabres.  

However, the Sabres won the last time these two teams met. Thomas Vanek, returning from one of many injuries he suffered last season, scorched the Senators for four goals.  

It’s a new season, however, and last season doesn’t really matter.



The Sabres bring back more of the same roster that exited the playoffs in Round One last year.  

This team is certainly hungry for more, and players on the team insist they are ready to make a run for the Cup. With the additions of Jordan Leopold and Shaone Morrisonn to their defense, going along with the veteran addition of Rob Niedermayer, they may be right.  

Ryan Miller hopes to carry his success over from last season into this season. Not surprisingly, the Vezina Trophy winner will start tonight.


The Senators bring in a new face of their own, signing defenseman Sergei Gonchar on the first day of free agency over the summer.  

The Senators hope that Gonchar will be a capable power-play quarterback. The Senators Twitter feed reports that Pascal LeClaire will be the starting goalie for the Senators.    



The Sabres have no injuries to report.  C Jason Spezza will be a game-time decision; D Philip Kuba is out with a broken leg.   



F Nathan Gerbe, D Chris Butler, and D Mike Weber are scratched for the Sabres.

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We are a day away from the Sabres’ season opener against Ottawa.

If you’re a Sabres fan, or just an NHL fan in general, 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. 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. You will earn points based on how well you do. You will also be competing against other participants.

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! That’s not even seven cents per game. Come on, cough it up and register for the contest.

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 this link.

If you have any comments or questions, let me know. We already have more than 60 people registered. The more people that play, the more prizes that will be given away.

We encourage you to sign up today. All NHL fans are welcome!

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The roster for the 2010-2011 Buffalo Sabres is set at 23 men, with 13 forwards, eight defensemen, and two goaltenders. Some players on the roster have taken their positive play from the playoffs last season and translated that into a roster spot. Some players have left during free agency over the summer, while others have been brought in via the same route.

Below is a brief overview of the key roster moves made over the offseason:


D Henrik Tallinder (New Jersey)
D Toni Lydman (Anaheim)
W Adam Mair (New Jersey)
W Tim Kennedy (NY Rangers)


D Jordan Leopold (Florida/Pittsburgh)
D Shaone Morrisonn (Washington)
C Rob Niedermayer (New Jersey)

Here is a breakdown of the Sabres roster, along with analysis for each group:


Jochen Hecht              Tim Connolly             Jason Pominville
Thomas Vanek            Derek Roy                 Drew Stafford
Tyler Ennis                  Rob Niedermayer      Mike Grier
Patrick Kaleta              Paul Gaustad            Cody McCormick
Nathan Gerbe

Once again the group of top six forwards will be relied upon to provide the scoring in both the regular season and the playoffs. Centers Derek Roy and Tim Connolly will most likely lead the team in regular season scoring, but it was their play in the playoffs that drew the ire of many fans, with a combined three assists in six games. If the Sabres are to make a deep playoff run, these two players will need to step up their games in the postseason.

Thomas Vanek, while he had a good showing during the playoffs, had only 28 goals during the regular season, the lowest total since his rookie year. For the Sabres to be a top contender in the Eastern Conference, Vanek needs to regain his 35-40 goal form.

The Sabres got bigger and more physical at forward with the additions of Niedermayer (6’2”, 200) and McCormick (6’3”, 217). Niedermayer, along with Mike Grier, will provide a strong leadership presence in the locker room. Niedermayer is the only Sabre to have won the Stanley Cup, winning it with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. McCormick, after a good showing in the postseason, is an upgrade over Adam Mair.

The Sabres have also added offense from within the organization with the additions of Nathan Gerbe and Tyler Ennis. Both of the diminutive forwards had impressive showings in the postseason, and with more prominent roles on the team, could help a struggling power play. Both players have won the AHL Rookie of the Year award (Gerbe in 2009, Ennis in 2010) and should provide excitement and skill to the forward ranks.

In the hot seat is winger Drew Stafford. Despite playing on a line with Vanek and Roy for most of his career, Stafford has a career-high of 20 goals. The former first-round pick, must consistently use his size to his advantage and drive to the net to be an effective force that other teams have to account for. Stafford is on the last year of his deal and must play well if he plans on continuing to wear the blue and gold in the future.


Shaone Morrisonn           Tyler Myers
Jordan Leopold                Steve Montador
Craig Rivet                       Mike Weber
Chris Butler                      Andrej Sekera

The play of the defense begins and ends with the play of Calder Trophy winner Tyler Myers. It is hard to imagine the 20-year-old has only scratched his potential as he put up very good offensive numbers (11 G, 37 A, 48 Pts) as well as posting a rating of +13. Myers will be looked upon to increase his offensive totals, to become more physical, and use his giant-like frame and reach more to his advantage.

The loss of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman forced management to sign veteran defensemen Jordan Leopold and Shaone Morrisonn. Leopold scored 11 goals from the blue line last year and could help to shore up a power play unit that scored no goals in the playoffs against the Bruins. Morrisonn, a very solid and physical player, comes over from the Washington Capitals and will add toughness and size (6’4”, 217) to the backend.

Captain Craig Rivet is fully healthy for the first time in his Sabres career after having offseason shoulder surgery, so his game should improve over last year. His physical play is key to the Sabres’ success, and along with Steve Montador will add grit to the defense corps.

The sixth defense spot seems to be up for grabs between Andrej Sekera, Chris Butler, and Mike Weber. Both Sekera and Butler ended up in Lindy Ruff’s doghouse at the end of last season, but it was Sekera that played in the playoffs over Butler. Weber has impressed in training camp and the preseason, and in practice, Ruff has him paired with Craig Rivet, a sign that Weber will hold the job going into the opener. All three defensemen have to clear waivers to go to the minors, which is the main reason why the Sabres are keeping eight defensemen on the roster.


Patrick Lalime
Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller is a virtual lock to get 35-40 wins this year as one of the elite goaltenders in the NHL. His workload will be less than last year without having to play in the Olympics, but keeping Miller fresh will be a key element into making a deep playoff run.

Patrick Lalime returns for another year as Ryan Miller’s backup to spill the net-minder for tough stretches. The Sabres have 22 instances of back-to-back games, the most in the NHL, so it is certainly feasible Lalime will see more playing time than he has in the past two seasons.

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Last year’s division champions are looking for a repeat performance this season.  The roster is somewhat retooled, and by bringing back the key pieces, they seem ready for the challenge. 

The Buffalo Sabres open their season with a challenge right away, facing the Ottawa Senators this Friday.  Are they ready to bust through the force field that the Senators have seemingly put around themselves since the 2005-06 season?  

It’s possible, and not only do the Sabres have to get through the Senators (playing six games, might I add), they must also get through the rest of their 76 games against the other 28 teams in the NHL, as well. 

Offseason Losses: D Toni Lydman (Anaheim Ducks), D Henrik Tallinder (New Jersey Devils), F Adam Mair (Free Agency), F Tim Kennedy (Bought Out), F Raffi Torres (Vancouver Canucks)

Offseason Gains: F Rob Niedermayer (New Jersey Devils), D Shaone Morrisonn (Washington Capitals), D Jordan Leopold (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Last Season: The Buffalo Sabres were not the likely pick to win the division last year, but that’s just what they did.  Behind the stellar play of Ryan Miller and a fairly underrated defense, the Sabres were able to win games late, something they weren’t able to do in two seasons prior to that.  The team seemingly learned how to win.  They never lost a game in the regular season leading after two periods of play, something they weren’t able to carry into the playoffs against the Bruins.  

Forwards: The Sabres bring back their usual faces, adding veterans (Rob Niedermayer) and rookies (Tyler Ennis and Nathan Gerbe) alike.  The Sabres are continuously adding more toughness to their team through the additions of Niedermayer and Cody McCormick to go along with the already tough Paul Gaustad, Patrick Kaleta, and Mike Grier.  

They’re also looking for more scoring from the rookies in Gerbe and Ennis.  Ennis brings a ton of skill to the Sabres’ top six, if he cracks the top six at least.  For right now, Ennis and Gerbe will likely end up on the third line due to stellar preseason performances by Drew Stafford and Derek Roy.  Jochen Hecht may find himself the odd man out to move down should the top six fail to generate any chemistry, with Tyler Ennis comfortably stepping into the fold.  Ennis was the Sabres leading scorer in the playoffs last year, playing on the top two lines and the power play.  

Adam Mair should not be missed too badly, as Cody McCormick could add more of, but not much of, a scoring presence on the fourth line.  Thomas Vanek will need to shake off a bad season and play like the 40-goal scorer he is.  Jason Pominville is a liability in the beginning parts of the season, but seems to find his game closer to the end of it all.  

Defense: The Sabres suffered two defensive losses this summer with the departures of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman.  However, Darcy Regier filled the vacancies with equally, possibly better, talented players.  

Jordan Leopold may give the Sabres a powerplay quarterback they’ve been searching for since Brian Campbell left.  Shaone Morrisonn gives the Sabres a shutdown defenseman they’ve been lacking since Jay McKee departed in 2006. Tyler Myers hopes to avoid a sophomore slump after a stellar rookie season in which he won the Calder Trophy.  Mike Weber could finally step up and upgrade the Sabres defense that has seen Andrej Sekera and Chris Butler alternating the past season due to neither player wanting to beat out the other for a roster spot.  The defense will be carrying eight players this season.  

Goaltending: Not much to explain here.  Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller returns with his partner in crime, Patrick Lalime.  You know what to expect with Lalime: a guy who looks like he plays about once a month.  While I don’t agree with the resigning of Lalime, Ryan Miller and the rest of the locker room love the guy.  I say if Miller wants him around, keep him around.  

Still, it would be nice to see Jhonas Enroth get some time up with the big club to see what the 2006 second rounder has in terms of skill.  His positioning needs some work, but he could just be another goalie that the Sabres seemingly have no trouble finding. 

Depth Chart: Here’s what the lines should shape up to be on opening night:

Line 1: Vanek-Roy-Stafford
Line 2: Hecht-Connolly-Pominville
Line 3: Ennis-Niedermayer-Grier
Line 4: Kaleta-Gaustad-McCormick

Pair 1: Morrisonn-Myers
Pair 2: Leopold-Montador
Pair 3: Rivet-Butler

Goalies: Ryan Miller, Patrick Lalime

Extras: Nathan Gerbe, Mike Weber, Andrej Sekera

Ridiculously Early 2010-11 Final Standing: 1st in the Northeast, 3rd in the East

Possible Candidates for End-Of-Season Trophies: G Ryan Miller (Vezina), F Tyler Ennis (Calder), D Tyler Myers (Norris), F Jason Pominville (Lady Byng)

Captaincy Watch: Don’t be shocked if Craig Rivet loses his captaincy midseason due to his imminent departure at the end of next season.  Rivet is a great locker room guy, but with the shift of captaincy going to players who lead by example (i.e. Johnathan Toews, Sidney Crosby), Rivet might not be the best fit for that mold.  

Possible candidates are Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, or Tyler Myers. However, Myers is the most unlikely.  A wildcard could be Paul Gaustad.

Summary:  There’s no reason this team can’t repeat for the division.  All the key pieces are back, and they’ve even brought in more veterans like Niedermayer to go along with guys like Mike Grier and Craig Rivet to steer these young guys in the right direction.     

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