November 12, 2011

New York Islanders team with Island Harvest for Food Drive

In the spirit of the holiday season, the New York Islanders will team with Island Harvest to host two food drives during the 2011-12 season.   Fans attending the November 23rd and November 25th games are encouraged to bring non-perishable items.

The Islanders will be collecting the items from 5-7 p.m. on November 23, and from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on November 25. Fans will find the collection bins outside the box office plaza-and all those donating will receive a voucher for when the Isles play the Blackhawks on December 6th and 8th.  Please help support this effort. 

Stacy Podelski


Looks like hockey fans will have a full plate tonight.  There are some amazing games on the slate in the NHL. We think fanes should expect the unexpected. It has been a heck of a roller coaster so far this year in the NHL;  red hot teams have turned cold and expected champions are showing signs of life.  We still like the Capitals for the Cup and we are very impressed with the Oilers.  Everything else is up in the air. Issues and drama are plaguing teams in unexpected and unfavorable ways.   The Luongo saga in Vancouver is keeping the Canucks from exploding higher and Ovechkin on the bench or not (@ critical times) seems to be casting a shadow over the Capitals right now.  

Some of the primo match ups for this evening should be a special treat for hockey junkies. We have the red hot Bruins clashing with the Sabres.  The Maple Leafs are trying to extend their winning streak against the cardiac kids otherwise known as the Ottawa Senators.   The best game tonight should be the Red Wings and Stars.  Many of these games are a toss up but on the premise of putting our asses on the line; we like the Bruins, Leafs and Stars in these match ups.  Buckle down guys and enjoy.  Great hockey is great hockey ; no matter who you support.

Ryan Miller's Goaltending Battle (Part II)

I still remember when Ryan Miller first came into the NHL. I wasn't too happy about it – Martin Biron was my favorite Sabre. I didn't like this new guy getting in the way, I just wanted Biron to keep his spot as starting goaltender. I wasn't happy about it for a while, and it took me up until about two months before Biron was traded when I was finally happy with Ryan Miller as the starting goaltender.
Ever since we lost Martin Biron there has been absolutely no doubt that Ryan Miller is our franchise goaltender. Nobody can beat him, he is absolutely amazing. He is the goaltender of Team USA. It also helped that all of our backups couldn't stop a basketball rolling towards then at 2 mph.

Along comes the young Swede, Jhonas Enroth. He comes up from the minors to fill the shoes of countless backups before him who never saw a minute of action, and nobody really expects anything from him. Suddenly he steps in, and 5 games later he has a 5-0 record. He's won back-to-back games when Ryan Miller was expected to start at least one of them. And Miller's been sitting there, putting up poor numbers while Enroth is sitting comfortably with a .956 save percentage and and a mere 1.34 goals against average.
This time, I'm incline the support the goaltender who has been given the nickname “Terminator” by some Sabres fans. He is putting up some god-like numbers right now, so why not ride him until he starts to drop? There's no doubt that Miller's numbers are low, at least for the moment. So let's give Enroth a chance, and maybe put up a few W's while we're waiting for the old Miller to come back.

And who knows, maybe Miller may find himself replaced sometime soon?

*  *  *  *  *

For those of you who listen to the local Buffalo sports station, WGR 550, have you been listening to Brian Koziol? Because I have been. Granted, he's never been my favorite – many times I've heard him take what a caller says and immediately flip it to back up his own point, or to make it easier to tear apart. It's always gotten on my nerves.

But now with this goaltending controversy he went from Tuesday night saying that Ryan Miller should undoubtedly be our starting goaltender to preaching Enroth as our savior last night. Well which is it? You flipped completely from one extreme to the other, by saying Enroth needs to play again tonight. I may agree with that point, but come on – don't pretend you weren't arguing the opposite only a few days later.

*  *  *  *  *

Goal scoring is anything but an issue with the Sabres recently – in the past two games they have scored a total of 11 goals. But defensively we may need a bit of an improvement – scoring 5 goals in one game should not be enough to merely send it to overtime. But that may once again go back to the goaltending controversy we're seeing right now – Miller let in 5 goals against the Jets/ex-Thrashers, while Enroth let in only 1 against the Senators. And even that one goal was the defense's fault. So I say give him a chance.

Switching to a more youthful goaltender worked once in the past, whose to say it won't work again?

~Adam Singh

November 11, 2011

RedWings Smash Oilers (Game Recap)

Edmonton finally lost a game on Thursday night as the Bruins became the first team to put a hatful (6) past the so far solid Edmonton defence. Detroit seem to have found their feet the last couple of games and with that have found the back of the net scoring 10 goals in the last 2.  There were doubts surrounding Henrik Zetterberg before the game as he was reported to be suffering some soreness but he started the game from the first puck drop.

An uneventful opening 7 minutes saw both teams trying to work each other out. Few whistles in play and few shots on goal led to the time on the clock clicking down very quickly. Edmonton had started to put some pressure on the Redwings net around the 10 minute mark, circling the puck well as they looked to outspeed the Detroit defence but an unlucky bounce at the other end led to the home team taking the lead. Patrick Eaves fired the puck from the boards off a defenceman’s skate and it fell perfectly for Drew Miller inbetween the circles to put it low past Khabibulin.

Detroit got the first powerplay chance of the game with about 4 minutes to go in the 1st period and Khabibulin showed why he is the number 1 netminder in the league so far as he stoned Holmstrom twice and Datsyuk hit the post. The netminder then pulled off another great save from Helm just as the powerplay finished as the Redwings really pushed for a 2nd goal before the end of the period.  It didn’t come but Detroit took the 1st period 1-0 with a pretty solid performance.

It took Detroit just over 2 minutes of the 2nd period to take a 2-0 lead as Hudler and Abdelkader did good work to force a turnover on the boards and Kronwall fired a bullet high above the glove of Khabibulin.
Abdelkader then threw a big hit on Petry which Petrell took exception to and the players dropped the gloves. The Edmonton player took 4 minutes worth of instigator penalties along with a 5 minutes for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct whilst Abdelkader just took 5 for fighting which led to a double powerplay opportunity for Detroit.

Khabibulin pulled off 2 great saves from Zetterberg and Franzen as Detroit looked for a 3rd goal but the powerplay advantage was cut short as Kronwall took an interference penalty. That led to a 40 second powerplay to the Oilers as they tried to swing some momentum their way but they couldn’t find a clear cut opportunity as the play swung back and forth. A big glove save from Howard off a Sutton slapshot finally led to a break in play as the game hit the half way stage with the Redwings holding a 2-0 advantage. Detroit killed off a too many men penalty comfortably as Edmonton’s powerplay struggled to find any rhythm whilst Lidstrom struck the goal post with a blast from the top of the circles as Detroit came on strong again towards the end of the period. Andy Sutton took a penalty with 15 seconds left on the period which would see Detroit head into the 3rd period with almost a full powerplay opportunity.

The Oilers killed this off easily at the start of the 3rd and Belanger hit Howard’s near side post as they tried to get themselves back into the game. Kronwall then took a 2 minute holding penalty which gave Edmonton some more momentum but Howard made a great save from Horcoff and Emerton then helped the netminder to cover the puck on a scramble infront. Edmonton ran into penalty trouble then themselves as first Gilbert and then Jones took 2 minute minors. It was Detroit’s chance to pressure the opposition’s net and Datsyuk hit the ironwork for the 2nd time in the game.

The game was still end to end with neither team able to take a chance and change the scoreline as the game headed into the last 8 minutes. Detroit killed the game off with just over 5 minutes left as Zetterberg and Fillpula went on a 2 on 1 breakaway and Zetterberg chipped a beautiful saucer pass over the defenceman for Fillpula to put in the bouncing puck.

It ended as a 3-0 win for Detroit – a fantastic defensive performance which saw Howard post his 3rd shutout of the season. Edmonton contributed to this game but just couldn’t find any offence to penetrate the Redwings where Detroit managed to find the net when they needed to. A very fast paced game which saw Khabibulin lose his 1st game in regulation this season and saw him concede more than 2 goals for the 1st time as well. A solid display that Detroit will hope to carry over to tomorrow night against the Dallas Stars.

- Adam Yates

Sensational Six for Rangers in 5-1 victory over Carolina

In a physical game, Sean Avery opened up the scoring for the Rangers at the 9:43 mark in the first period of play, on a nine foot wrister. For Avery it is his first goal in the season, along with the first points earned at Madison Square Garden this season.

Carolina found the equalizer at the 16:22 mark of the second period, when Alexi Ponikarovsky (3) tallied an 18 foot wrister, tying the game a 1-1. The Blueshirts barrage began in the final period of play, as Dan Girardi (3) recorded a power play goal with 10:47 on the scoreboard.

The hard-working Brandon Dubinsky, who has been grinding it out for the Rangers-playing a stellar game defensively-finally, broke through for his first goal of the season.  ‘Dubi’ immediately celebrated the 13 foot snap shot, which gave New York the 3-1 lead at 10:56.

Captain Ryan Callahan (7) scored on a beauty of a backhanded shot for the 4-1 lead at the 13:47 mark, assisting on the play was Michael Sauer (1) and Dubinsky (7).  Thanks to his extra-effort on the ice tonight Dubi was named as the third-star of the game, as the forward recorded two points in the game.

New York capped the victory when Brad Richards added to the lead at the 18:26 mark, on a wrap-around shot, sending the MSG faithful into a celebrating frenzy.  The Rangers will now look to gain revenge on Atlantic Division Rival, the New York Islanders-as the two are slated to play on Tuesday night.

The last time the Rangers and Islanders met, the kids from the Island were able to skate away with a 4-2 victory. The game is scheduled to air on the MSG network, with face-off slated for 7:00 p.m.

Stacy Podelski

Get Real Guide to the British Elite Ice Hockey League

The Elite League or EIHL is the top league in the UK. It currently has 10 members stretching from the Welsh capital to the north of Scotland and Northern Ireland. The 2011 champions were the Sheffield Steelers who won the title for the title for the second time.

The EIHL was formed in 2003 and replace the Superleague as the top league. The 2002- 2003 season had been a traumatic one for the Superleague. The spiralling costs and the loss of the novelty fact amoungst casual fans led many teams into difficulty including the once biggest supported club in Europe, the Manchester Storm and one of the Superleague’s most successful teams the Scottish Eagles. The professionalism that the Superleague era ushered in was at risk as both of those teams folded just weeks into the season. Two other clubs, London Knights and Bracknell Bees also announced they would be leaving the league. The remaining clubs together with some teams in the now defunct British National League and new teams in Manchester and London pulled together to form the Elite League and put in place an import quota (currently at 10 non British trained) and a salary cap to ensure costs stayed low.

Those measures have been partially successful as the number of clubs has risen from 8 to 10. However clubs in Manchester, Basingstoke, London and Newcastle have dropped out of the league mostly citing financial problems but also the lack of a level playing field regarding the salary cap which is not overseen by the league. The EIHA also runs a challenge cup competition and a play offs as well as the main league competition. The challenge cup is played in group format with the teams split geographically into two groups. Each team then plays each other twice with the top two playing a home and home two legged semi-final and final against the other group. This is a competition that always been played in British ice hockey at top level and the EIHL have carried this on.

The play offs on the other hand is home and home two legged quarter final that is decided by the league positions. (Top eight only qualify). The remaining four teams then in the finals weekend in the National Ice Center in Nottingham. The semi-final is played on the Saturday with the final on the Sunday.

The Elite League has been compared to the ECHL in North America and has attracted several NHL draftees including 5th overall pick in Ed Courtney who played 27 games for San Jose, Atlanta Thrashers goaltender Scott Fankhouser and former Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenseman Wade Belak. Perhaps the most notable player to have iced in the EIHL is former Calgary Flames forward and agitator Theo Fleury who iced for the Belfast Giants.

Current Teams
Coventry Blaze
Nottingham Panthers
Braehead Clan
Hull Stingrays
Fife Flyers
Dundee Stars
Edinburgh Capitals
Sheffield Steelers
Belfast Giants
Cardiff Devils


Neil Tucker