Buffalo Sabres

Morning Skate: to tank or not to tank?

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Morning Skate: to tank or not to tank?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling plenty of hope for the future based on the events of yesterday. Those kids are an inspiration.

*Larry Brooks cautions the Rangers not to fall into the trap the Buffalo Sabres are mired in where bottoming out to get top draft picks has left them in a perpetual state of suckitude. It should be noted that sinking to the bottom and getting a couple of top picks seemed to work out pretty okay for the Chicago Blackhawks. So there’s your counterpoint.  

*We have officially crossed over into the Toronto twilight zone.

*The current NHL season can’t end soon enough for Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, and I’d imagine there are plenty involved with the Habs that are really looking forward to getting over with the final seven games of the season.

*Here’s a look at some potential underdog surprises in the Stanley Cup playoffs as the match-ups begin to come into view.

*Cool moment as Stan Fischler is saluted by the Madison Square Garden crowd as his distinguished media career wraps up at the end of this season.

*Here’s a really poignant story about Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker, and how one random choice made in his teen years essentially saved his life, and another in his NHL career gave him new direction.

*For something completely different: Well, this sounds like a guy you don’t want to ever invite over for any parties.

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Morning Skate: Eddie Olczyk battles back

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NBC Sports

Morning Skate: Eddie Olczyk battles back

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while finding it hard to believe we’re into the first weekend in March. 

*A big round of stick salutes to FOH (Friend of Haggs) Eddie Olczyk, who shared his thoughts with the Chicago Sun-Times as he gets on the other side of his cancer battle. It’s awesome to hear that you’re doing well, Edzo!

*The goalie interference interpretation and review process continues to be a major source of confusion around the NHL.

*Check out these cool Star Wars jerseys that the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins will be wearing next weekend. They were designed by "Star Wars Rebels" show-runner Dave Filoni, who is clearly a big hockey fan in addition to being a Star Wars nut.

*It certainly feels like John Tavares is going to re-sign with the New York Islanders at some point in the future, but that time does not appear to be now.

*How about those Florida Panthers as they continue to win games, and push their way into the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference?

*Interesting perspective on the situation with the Buffalo Sabres from FOH (Friend of Haggs) John Vogl, and what part of the problem is there.

*For something completely different: Disney has a slew of movies scheduled to come out over the next couple of years, but the new Star Wars movie isn’t among them.

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TALKING POINTS: Bruins limp home after long road trip

TALKING POINTS: Bruins limp home after long road trip

GOLD STAR: Former Boston University standout Evan Rodrigues had a heck of a game against the Bruins with a goal and two points in his 15:31 of ice time, including the dagger third goal for Buffalo that really broke the spirits of the Black and Gold. It was a beauty of a goal too as he was able to flash to the face-off circle and step into a dish from Sam Reinhart that Anton Khudobin didn’t have any chance of stopping. In all Rodrigues had two shots on net, six shot attempts and won 6-of-10 draws in the face-off circle in a pretty solid all-around night for the Sabres. It’s still early in his pro career, obviously, but maybe there is a bright future for more than one BU kid out in Buffalo?

BLACK EYE: No shots on net and a killer giveaway for Danton Heinen in the offensive zone that led to Buffalo’s back-breaking third goal meant it wasn’t a very good night for the Bruins rookie. It really wasn’t much of  a positive night for many of Boston’s young players as 21-year-old Brandon Carlo was a healthy scratch, Heinen’s only play of consequence was a very negative one and Jake DeBrusk didn’t have a shot on net in his 13:52 of ice time. Clearly though the roughest night was for Heinen as he was the player that couldn’t make the strong play when he needed to, and that really short-circuited any attempts by the Bruins to mount a comeback against Buffalo. The Bruins know they’re going to have to weather the storm with their young guys through a tough end of the season, and Sunday night was one of the examples of just that.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins just didn’t come out ready to play less than 24 hours after losing to Toronto, and dropped behind by a pair of goals in the middle of the first period. One was a Sabres power play that had just expired, and the second was a PP goal allowed to Buffalo with Patrice Bergeron getting his mouth fixed in the B’s dressing room and Zdeno Chara in the box serving a penalty. That was a point where somebody had to step up on the Bruins penalty kill unit and they didn’t with Sam Reinhart screening Anton Khudobin as Kyle Okposo fired a shot through the screen on the way to the back of the net. The Bruins managed just eight shots on net in the period, gave up two goals and didn’t have their legs in a bad, bad start for the Black and Gold.

HONORABLE MENTION: Rick Nash didn’t put any pucks past old friend Chad Johnson, but he did give a preview of what he might be able to do in a Bruins uniform. Nash finished with five shots on net, nine shot attempts and dinged one off the inside of the far post after David Krejci had dropped a pass to him in the high slot area. Nash and Krejci looked like they had instant chemistry together, which is great news for the Black and Gold looking for a second line that’s going to generate more offense for the rest of the season. The hope now for Nash is that he’ll start putting home some of those shots as he gets settled into a Bruins uniform, and will be the power forward-type that Krejci has always flourished with in the past.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of consecutive regulation losses this weekend with defeats to Toronto and Buffalo, the first time since mid-November that the B’s have lost two games in a row in regulation.  

QUOTE TO NOTE: "There's no secret about it. We want to make a run. Obviously a trade like [the Rick Nash deal] makes our team better." –David Krejci.

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