Launching Levi

Buffalo Sabres versus New York Rangers

Not since Mr. Barrasso arrived from the Massachusetts high school system into the NHL for the Buffalo Sabres have I been this excited about a goaltender playing his first game in the NHL for the Sabres.

It would seem unfair to put high expectations on an incoming rookie goaltender and to envisage Mr. Levi as the heir apparent in net becoming the final piece for this corps of young talented and highly skilled players to cement them into their playoff destiny.

It is not unfair at all, the Sabres and their fans require Mr. Levi to be more than capable, more than solid in net, more than what we have become acclimated to from the last half a dozen netminders who have played valiantly but ultimately came up short.

Listening to this young man speaking articulately and intelligently about goaltending coupled with his infectious anticipation and excitement for tonight’s debut I cannot help but become more enthused and no matter the outcome versus the Rangers, Mr. Levi, “our goaltender”  is here.


The Buffalo Pro H2H Points League FHL Championship begins tonight with anticipation of the League’s Leader from the East Division Downton Flyers continuing their domination and securing this season’s Championship.

The West Division champion and third overall in the League Buffalo Winter endeavors to skate through the top two teams with one down and the challenge of winning versus the best team in the League to win their third ESPN FHL Championship.

March 27th – April 13th

How did they get to the Finals?

Downton Flyers had lost only three times during the regular season to division rivals Team Fitzgerald (2X) and Team Alex serving the third loss to the eventual League Champion.

In the FHL Semi-Finals a surprising development with Team Beaulieu beating out Doughty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap for the final playoff seeding for the privilege to play the League’s best team in Downton Flyers to start the playoffs.

After the first seven days of the 13-day semi-finals, Team Beaulieu had built a shockingly 30-point lead over the best team in the League and was set up to pull off one of FHL’s biggest upsets when over the next four days the lead evaporated.

Downton Flyers are the number one team for a reason and they fought back and eventually took an over 20-point lead to beat Team Beaulieu to advance to the FHL Finals.

Buffalo Winter’s Finals Opening Line-up

Buffalo Winter opened the season with a loss and played 500 percent Hockey until Thanksgiving where winning the next 11 out of 12 weekly matchups to take over the division lead but only winning one of the last three weekly matchups to earn a playoff seeding.

Buffalo Winter matched against the second-highest playoff seed in Team Alex was another surprise as the favorite Team Alex fell behind ironically as quickly and nearly as far as Downton Flyers had to Team Beaulieu.

Team Alex’s Team Manager played his team well and one or two goals or assists one way or another was all that separated this strong team from advancing as they dropped the matchup by only 5.9 points.

The NHL has six games scheduled tonight as ESPN FHL Finals begin the playoffs with a positive outlook for both combatants as each Division Champion advanced to the finals with comparable offensive statistics with Downton Flyers having the edge in goaltending.

Golden Griffins vs Golden Gophers


Here along the Lake a private Jesuit college, Canisius College founded in 1870 has won the Atlantic Hockey Conference Championship downtown over Holy Cross winning the Jack Riley Trophy to represent the Atlantic Hockey Conference in the NCAA Tournament Regionals March 23-28 in Fargo, North Dakota.

Ranked 14th nationally .923 save percentage

Canisius first began Division I Men’s Ice Hockey in 1997-98 joining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and made it to the Finals by upsetting the top-seeded team in the semi-finals, Canisius left the MAAC to join the Atlantic Hockey Conference in 2003-04 for the Conference’s inaugural season.

Named after St. Peter Canisius 16th-century Dutch Theologian

In 2012-13 Canisius won their first Conference championship and first trip to the NCAA Tournament, now after earning their second AHC title and getting into the NCAA Tournament their biggest challenge awaits them in the number one seeded team in the Nation, Minnesota.

The Canisius Golden Griffins (20-18-3) can shock the College Hockey world by upsetting the Minnesota Golden Gophers (26-9-1) in the opening round at Scheels Arena this Thursday, March 23rd with the opening faceoff scheduled for nine o’clock.

2023 Atlantic Hockey Conference Champions

Seven Reasons Sabres Require Goaltending

Number one:    Last night’s .720 save percentage on 25 shots is unacceptable.

Number two:    Recently having 10 goals scored against.

Number three:  Continuously blaming the team for leaving the goalie out to dry.

Number four:    Endeavoring to develop backup goaltenders into starters.

Number five through seven:   Mr. Levi is here.

To be a goaltender in the NHL is a thankless double-edged sword that can ruin you emotionally as well as physically.

The personalities that have guarded the nets over the past Century in the NHL are wide and varied as they have been entertaining and even a bit odd.

From stuck-up to friendly, from puking to eating popcorn before a game, the superstitions and routines are brought more sharply into focus with goaltenders than the ones practiced by defensemen and forwards.

HC Granato has his team playing well that has grown into three to seven games over 500 percent in the standings a huge improvement over recent seasons and with the slim glimmer of a wild card playoff seeding teasing Buffalo, patience is still required.

Buffalo has watched Mr. Barrasso leave and win Cups, watched Mr. Hasek leave and win Cups, watched St Louis “take” Mr. Miller, watched Mr. Lehner leave and do well, watching Mr. Ullmark after leaving marching to the Cup with his new team.

Will Mr. Levi be Buffalo’s answer in net?

 It is possible with HC Granato, Mr. Anderson, a solid young corps that want to be here along the Lake, a good team learning and growing into a playoff contender, almost the perfect opportunity for this young goaltender to be part of this team.

The season is not over and it will take a herculean effort to overcome and go forward positively from this recent home game, fortunately, we have the team and personnel to do it.

Sabres Secure Capital Point

Mr. Dahlin blocked three shots to increase his total to a team-leading 111 and Mr. Lyubushkin blocked four shots last night as Buffalo adds another important point in the race for a wild card seeding.

Sabres fans in a sea of red

Late in the third period as Mr. Lyubushkin is taking a shot his stick snapped in half just as Mr. Ovechkin was reaching in/ semi-slashing him and the official called a slashing infraction on Washington much to the dismay of most Capitals players and their fans.

Mr. Lyubushkin is mobbed after the first goal of the game

Predictably the officials, approximately one minute later tag Buffalo with a “roughing” call on Mr. Tuch, and Mr. Wilson in front of the net snaps the tying goal in with 68 seconds remaining in the game.

Mr. Peterka from a sweet feed from Mr. Quinn scores

Tough break and in overtime the official “saw” a Sabres player trip a Capitals player but in reality, Mr. Oshie stepped on Mr. Cozens’s stick slowing down Buffalo and creating the opportunity for a shootout.

Mr. Girgensons scores Buffalo’s fourth goal

A slow and weird-looking attempt by Washington on their first shot in overtime eludes Mr. Luukkonen and Mr. Oshie scores on their second shot while Buffalo is blanked on two attempts to end the game and collect a much-needed point.


Last night’s noteworthy highlights

The Columbus Blue Jackets mathematically eliminated the San Jose Sharks playoff hopes last night in overtime 6-5 as Mr. Gaudreau earned five points which has not happened for Columbus since the Bread Man scored five points six seasons ago.

Penalty shot excitement

Goliath went to Chicago and was dropped like a bad habit 6-3 as the Blackhawks tag Mr. Ullmark with five goals, get an empty netter, and a Blackhawks player scores his first hat trick while Pasta whiffs on a penalty shot giving Boston their second consecutive loss.

Montreal marches into Pittsburgh and makes Swiss cheese out of Mr. Jarry by scoring four times on six shots with the last dagger being driven in with only 11 seconds remaining in the first period along with an empty net to seal the 6-4 victory.

Pulled after the first period

The Devils lost to the Lightning 4-1 in a game where New Jersey won 60% of the faceoffs and scored the first goal of the game but only took seven shots in the second period and even fewer with six shots in the third period. 

Retro sweater in LA

The Kings put New York in checkmate 5-2 for their 21st home victory and holding down the Islanders in the standings and bringing them even closer to losing their wild card seeding to Buffalo.

Rest of the Winners

Vancouver wins their fifth game in a row 5-2 as they hand Dallas their ninth road loss.

Vancouver Retro Reverse sweater

Arizona douses the Flames in overtime 4-3.

Edmonton doubles up on Ottawa 6-3.

Nashville wins with 16 SOG for the entire game including overtime by 2-1 over Detroit.

Jets are blown off course by the Hurricanes in a 5-3 loss.

The Rangers and Mr. Kane solidified their playoff seeding by beating the Capitals 5-3.

Philadelphia rolled the dice at home versus sin city and lost 5-3 as Mr. Quick continues to play impressively with his new team.

Sabres Resurgence

After being outshot by a four-to-one margin and taking the game’s first penalty in the first period Buffalo survived the period but things turned bleak quickly as Toronto scored twice in three minutes early in the second period to take a 2-0 lead.

Buffalo battled back relentlessly as Mr. Quinn scores with five minutes left in the second period and the Sabres outshot the Leafs by a five-to-one margin and were awarded two power plays alas the game remained 1-2 heading into the third period.

Mr. Peterka and Mr. Quinn

Less than four minutes into the third period Mr. Tuch in his first game back from a lower-body injury ties the game at two with his 29th of the season, six minutes later Mr. Cozens bats in his own rebound and Buffalo takes the 3-2 lead.

Approximately 30 seconds later Toronto is whistled for their third penalty and Mr. Tuch scores his 30th of the season building the game’s 4-2 lead with less than nine minutes remaining in the contest but the Leafs make it close as they score with 62 seconds remaining.

Mr. Tuch scores his 29th and 30th of the season

Buffalo repels the Buds in the final minute for an important road victory as the Sabres seek to secure a wild card seeding by continuing to win the two holiday road games this week in Washington and Philadelphia.


In the closest FHL regular season that Buffalo Winter has participated in, five teams competed for four playoff seedings up until the last day of the last weekly matchup that came down to .3 of a point that prevented the West Division’s second-place team from entering the playoffs.

The ESPN FHL 2023 Semi-Finals begin tonight March 13th through March 26th matching the League Champion team Downton Flyers (18-3) against surprise combatant and division rival that scored the most points in the final weekly matchup, Team Beaulieu (12-9) whose high score earned them the fourth playoff seed.

A classic battle is brewing between teams West Division Champion Buffalo Winter leading every team in (G) goals and (A) assists, and (SOG) shots on goal versus the second place team from the East Division Team Alex who has had the least amount of (PA) points scored against this season.

The NHL has three games scheduled tonight with Buffalo skating into Toronto seeking additional points toward the Sabres’ wild card aspirations.

Buffalo Bounces Back

This game was a great effort and gut check from the entire Sabres team and Buffalo takes the one point moving forward to the wild card possibility.

Mr. Luukkonen had his shutout bid performance marred by a pass from Mr. Kane to the front of the net that deflected off of Mr. Power’s skate past UPL for the Rangers’ only regulation goal in the game during the second period.

UPL .923 Save Percentage

Along with New York’s goaltender playing at .970 save percentage, the team at 61% faceoff win percentage, and out-blocking the Sabres was what allowed the Rangers to make it to overtime.

The Rangers do not score as often as Buffalo in the regular season but they are a solid playoff Cup contender and providing them with the man advantage by playing four on three in overtime gave them the opportunity for the win.

Mr. Skinner 29th goal, assists Mr. Lyubushin (11) Mr. Thompson (44)

Mr. Skinner burns Mr. Shesterkin with a laser shot to reap his 29th of the season receiving a beautiful pass from Mr. Lyubushkin who collected a bounce pass off the dasherboards from Mr. Thompson for the 1-0 lead.

Buffalo has three road games, Monday in Toronto, during the Ides of March the Sabres travel to our Nation’s Capital then finish up the week in The City of Brotherly Love on St. Patrick’s Day Eve to positively improve on the Sabres’ outstanding 19-10-2 road record.

How many 10 or more goal losses have the Sabres endured?

With this recent drubbing Buffalo infamously earned their fourth in 52 NHL Seasons with the last three games having an identical 4-10 score.

1970-11-07 The first double-digit loss was an eventual probability for a team playing in only its sixth week of regular NHL season play in the Forum versus the eventual Cup Champion.

Initial Sabres Mr. Schmautz and Mr. Goyette

The second loss was to a powerful Calgary team that tagged Mr. Barrasso for 7 goals where he was in net for Buffalo for only 10 games that season before he left for Pittsburgh and Mr. Cloutier in relief was even more terrible with a .625 save percentage.

1988-03-12, Lost 4-10 versus the Flames who won the Cup in their next season, the Sabres scored the game’s first four goals all in the first period, then Calgary scored 10 consecutive goals 5 each in the second and third periods.

Local Station sponsored schedule

2005-11-02, Lost 4-10 versus Ottawa this was an early season lesson that saw the Sabres in the second round of the playoffs dispatch the Senators in 5 games.

Playoffs matter

2023-03-09, Lost 4-10 versus Dallas it was 3-5 early in the third period when the Stars score 4 times in 3 minutes and 3 seconds for the 3-9 lead before notching the final tally.

Mr. Greenway scores his first goal for Buffalo.

Historically as fans, we can console ourselves that three out of the four losses were to eventual Cup Champions, with the third double-digit loss resulting in a powerful lesson that propelled us over our opponent in the playoffs.