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Preseason Opener

This afternoon the preseason Sabres beat the preseason Capitals 4-3 in OT

Dylan Cozens scores Sabres first preseason goal

Four different goal scorers for Buffalo including Mr Cozens skating with a “shoot-first” mentality that produced 5 SOG, a PPG and a secondary helper on the second Sabres PPG courtesy of Mr Jack Quinn who continues to impress.  

Jack Quinn ties the game with 65 seconds remaining

Preseason games are opportunities for some of these players to advance their professional careers, or for inexperienced players to get introduced to the Pro game, these games assist the coaching staff, and the fans get a glimpse of the future in these NHL preseason games that are far from meaningless.

The Sabres next preseason challenge is home Tuesday the 27th versus Philadelphia downtown Buffalo at the KeyBank Center. {7p.m.}

ESPN FHL 2022-23

As October and the NHL season approaches, Fantasy Hockey Drafts are being conducted across the globe so get your player lists in order and do not solely rely on last season’s statistics, remember either on an ESPN team/league or with a family/friends league endeavor to enjoy yourself.

Buffalo Winter draft selections

This year Buffalo Winter has joined the ESPN FHL on the 10-team Buffalo Pro H2H Points League and the 21-week season weekly matchups begin Oct 7 – 16 with the last weekly matchup on Mar 6 – 12.

There are numerous players on the waiver wire that could become more beneficial than the players currently on your roster for example providing an opportunity to line stack, and peruse the waiver list each day to ensure you have the best available players to you.

Buffalo Pro H2H Points League

The FHL season is just over five months long, a tough haul for anyone but if you are able to put some time and effort into your team each day you may find yourself competing in the playoffs for the championship.

NHL Preseason 2022

For the NHL 2022-23 Preseason, the NHL has created a 15-day marathon of over 100 games being played from Switzerland and Germany to Wichita, Kansas, and most stops in between.

With numerous split-squad games in the schedule allowing fans to watch their teams play twice in one day as Florida, San Jose, and Ottawa play their games on the road while the five split-squad teams (Columbus, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Calgary, and Colorado) have a home and away contests.

Nashville and Toronto will have home ice advantage for both of their split-squad games.

October 3rd is the first of two European NHL preseason games (Global Series Challenge) as Nashville takes on SC Bern (Black Bears) at the Post Finance Arena at 2 pm (8 am EST) in Bern, Switzerland.

This is one serious Hockey team

On October 4th the second game pits the San Jose Sharks against Berlin Eisbaren (Polar Bears) in the Mercedes-Benz Arena starting at 1:30 pm (7:30 pm EST) in Berlin, Germany.

An entertaining team

Some of the travel destinations of the NHL preseason tour include Oklahoma, Missouri, Wisconsin, Utah, Ontario California, Belleville Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and to wrap up the preseason a night game in Boise Idaho.

In three days the preseason begins whetting the appetite of Hockey fans across North America and although these games “do not count” they are an entertaining buildup to the fervently anticipated NHL regular season.  

Prospect Challenge Conclusion

An enjoyable tournament with positive indications that the Buffalo Sabres have a “stocked cupboard”, and having first-round picks involved working hard to make an impression contributed mightily to the success achieved.

Mr. Savoie

First round selected ninth overall for 2022 Mr. Savoie looked good with flashes of offensive brilliance accompanied by an enthusiastic attitude towards playing in Buffalo’s system and contributing without the puck in the proverbial “200-foot game”.

A Savoie Score

Mr. Kozak

After scoring 69 points in 66 games in the WHL for his junior team in Portland last season seventh-rounder from 2021 Mr. Kozak signed an entry-level contract this summer and is now eligible to play for the Rochester Americans and had an outstanding tournament.

The importance of this tournament is highlighted by the New Jersey Devils as most of their coaching staff and management were in attendance for the Prospect Challenge observing players endeavoring to gain valuable experience, make an impression, and transition into camp.

Pittsburgh was one of six NHL teams participating in this season’s tournament but only played once and Penguins GM Ron Hextall finds the tournament “exciting” to more accurately assess players’ abilities competing against peers instead of at a higher level of competition during training camp.

The Canadiens website wrote of Montreal fans anticipating seeing their newest prospects which included the NHL’s number one draft pick Mr. Slafkovsky as all three games of the Tournoi Des Recrues 2022 were live streamed along with a French play-by-play option.  

A few Northern Cousins visiting here along the Lake.

Ottawa reported that they invited 26 players to its 2022 rookie camp which includes playing at the Canadian Tire Centre, Bell Sensplex and LECOM Haborcenter for the 2022 Prospect Challenge referred to as “Senators’ rookie games” and ran by their AHL affiliates HC and assistants from the Belleville Senators.

Swedish import for Boston Fabian Lysell commented that he was looking forward to the Prospect Challenge Tournament in Buffalo because it is one of the best spots you can be in to learn and grow throughout the process.

Entertaining, productive, and with opportunities for up-and-coming players, officials, coaching staff, and the front office to participate and observe in what has become in the last seven seasons a well-organized event leading up to NHL training camps and the preseason.

The Hockey Sweater

No other professional sport wears a sweater they all don a jersey, Hockey players from its coldest beginnings have always worn a sweater, obviously when outside ice skating or when playing Hockey you need to dress warmly.

European football clubs (soccer teams) have quite literally turned their professional team jerseys into sandwich boards advertising any and everything for the correct amount of funds.

Earlier this week the Montreal Canadiens displayed their newest sweater that includes a bank advertisement affixed to the front because all 32 NHL teams passed a resolution that created a new rule allowing for up to two 3 x 3.5-inch advertising patches on team sweaters.

There are six more NHL teams to engage in patch advertising on their team sweaters this upcoming season which include the Penguins, Capitals, and Wild.

The bean counters, chief business officers, and other executives that monitor the bottom line for their respective NHL teams have assessed a five to 10 million dollar profit for each team through this means of corporate advertising. 

There is a wonderful animated video on YouTube of a short story by Roch Carrier and directed by Sheldon Cohen (also illustrated book in 1979) poignantly highlighting what a Hockey sweater means to those of us who wear them.

I will miss the aesthetic beauty of NHL sweaters and if the visual advertising becomes so overwhelming and distracting…I have always enjoyed listening to Hockey on the radio.

Roch Carrier

Prospect Challenge Tournament

GAME ONE BUFFALO VERSUS MONTREAL

The opening game showcased four first-round selections with the Number 1 draft pick Mr. Juraj Slafkovsky and the 26th overall Mr. Filip Mesar for Montreal and skating for Buffalo 9th overall Mr. Matt Savoie with Mr. Isak Rosen 14th overall from last season’s draft.

Interestingly there is a “non-roster” invitee Mr. Tomas Suchanek scheduled to play in relief of Rochester Americans goalie Mr. Beck Warm for the Sabres, and Montreal’s Mr. Slafkovsky becomes the fourth Number 1 pick to participate in the Prospects Challenge tournament’s seven-year history.  

Montreal came out flying creating multiple 3-on-1 odd-man rushes and Buffalo responded by playing aggressively offensively creating speedy developing plays the announcers/analysts Mr. Ray and Mr. Biron made note that style of Hockey will catch up to you.

Mr. Passolt

Four goals were tallied in the First Period of play as Buffalo scored twice in 27 seconds in their response to Montreal’s two-goal lead that the Canadiens built with an even-strength and short-handed goal.

Less than two minutes into the Second Period seventh-round draft pick Mr. Kozak scores with a deflection for the Sabres first lead of the contest 3-2 as Mr. Ray talks about this opportunity for the undrafted players as they push the drafted players.

Six minutes into the Third Period Mr. Kozak scores short-handed for his second goal of the evening and Buffalo has a comfortable two-goal lead until Montreal’s Mr. Beck splits the Sabres defensemen to go in alone and score to pull Montreal within one.

Mr. Kozak

The period is more physical than the first two periods as there is plenty of grabbing, holding, and no icing as the officials let the game play on, behind the Sabres bench the HC for the Rochester Americans Mr. Seth Appert continues yelling at the officials for non-calls.

With six minutes remaining there is even a fight and a Montreal Time Out called with 20.5 seconds on the clock then icing with 9.3 seconds left, a face-off, a shot, and an NHL-quality shot block by Sabres, Mr. Rosen, to end the game at 4-3.   

LECOM HARBORCENTER

Day Two of the Prospect Challenge begins this afternoon at 3:30 as Boston and Ottawa face off followed by Montreal versus New Jersey at seven o’clock this evening with Buffalo returning to action tomorrow night to play New Jersey.

Welcome Matt Smith

HC Granato has added a championship-winning coach to his coaching staff with new hire Mr. Matt Smith from his position as Hockey Director/Head Coach for St. Ignatius in the CCHL the oldest youth Hockey league in the state of Illinois.

Fresh off of his and the school’s first John F. Kennedy Memorial Cup championship season Mr. Smith comes to the Sabres to assist HC Granato and his staff with Buffalo’s youthful team as a video coordinator.

Mr. Smith has been coaching for nearly two decades from CanAm summer camps and a camp in Ontario to becoming the JV coach at Evanston Township High School for the 2013-14 Hockey season.

The following season Mr. Smith served as a Regional Scout for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.

During the first three seasons as the HD/HC for St. Ignatius, Mr. Smith earned CCHL Coach of the Year and the AHAI High School Coach of the Year last season.

The Chicago Catholic Hockey League began in 1963 with their Kennedy Cup trophy becoming one of the most coveted High School trophies in their state with a rich history of talented student-athletes including NHLers Mr. Chris Chelios and Mr. Ed Olczyk.  

A skilled winning Hockey Director/Head Coach of high school-age Hockey players and youth development programs seems to be the perfect fit as a video coordinator to be able to give insightful advice on the Sabres own youth movement to HC Granato.

The Original Six

Most neophytes to NHL Hockey when initially hearing or reading the words, “Original Six” make the supposition this means the first six teams to play in the National Hockey League, nothing could be farther from the truth.

On a beautiful December night in 1917, the NHL began its first season with five teams and a 22-game schedule and they were:

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Wanderers (withdrew in 1918)

Ottawa Senators

Quebec Bulldogs (1918 sold, reinstated next season, 1920 shift to Hamilton)

Toronto Arenas   (name changed to St Patricks in 1918)

And it was not until the 1924-25 season that the NHL awarded two more franchises for Boston and Montreal increasing the league to six teams the original six teams to play in the NHL were:

Boston Bruins

Hamilton Tigers

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

Ottawa Senators

Toronto St Patricks

For the 1925-26 NHL season Hamilton withdrew and the NHL awarded two more franchises to Pittsburgh and New York to increase the league to seven teams creating the original seven teams to play in the NHL and they were:

Boston Bruins

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

New York Americans

Ottawa Senators

Pittsburgh Pirates

Toronto St Patricks

During the off-season before the 1926-27 NHL season began, three more franchises are awarded to New York, Chicago, and Detroit enlarging the NHL to double digits for the first time with 10 teams and they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Cougars

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

New York Americans

New York Rangers

Ottawa Senators

Pittsburgh Pirates

Toronto Maple Leafs (Toronto sold during off-season initiating name change)

The NHL stayed intact for nearly three seasons but for the 1930-31 NHL season, Detroit changes their name from Cougars to Falcons and Pittsburgh transferred to Philadelphia and changed their name to the Quakers creating a fresh NHL 10 team look and they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Falcons

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

New York Americans

New York Rangers

Ottawa Senators

Philadelphia Quakers

Toronto Maple Leafs

The next season 1931-32 Philadelphia withdrew from the NHL and Ottawa requested a one-year withdrawal reducing the NHL to eight teams they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Falcons

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

New York Americans

New York Rangers

Toronto Maple Leafs

For the 1932-33 NHL season Detroit changes their name again settling on the Red Wings, Ottawa resumes play and the NHL denies St Louis a franchise because of the burdensome travel costs the NHL has increased by one for a nine-team league and they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Red Wings

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

New York Americans

New York Rangers

Ottawa Senators

Toronto Maple Leafs

For the 1934-35 NHL season Ottawa went against the NHL and transferred to St Louis and became the St Louis Eagles keeping the NHL at nine teams but with a slightly altered line-up and they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Red Wings

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

New York Americans

New York Rangers

St Louis Eagles

Toronto Maple Leafs

The next NHL season 1935-36 the NHL terminated the St Louis franchise bringing the league back down to eight teams and two seasons after this in 1937-38 the Montreal Maroons withdrew creating a seven-team league and they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Red Wings

Montreal Canadiens

New York Americans

New York Rangers

Toronto Maple Leafs

In the early 1940s for the 1941-42 NHL season the New York Americans change their name to Brooklyn Americans but the following season 1942-43 they withdrew dropping the NHL down to six teams and they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Red Wings

Montreal Canadiens

New York Rangers

Toronto Maple Leafs

The NHL remained at six teams for the next 24 seasons until the six-team expansion for the 1967-68 NHL season brought the NHL up to 12 teams, two divisions (East & West), and a 74-game schedule and they were:

Boston Bruins                              California Seals (Oakland by Dec)                        

Chicago Blackhawks                  Los Angeles Kings

Detroit Red Wings                       Minnesota North Stars

Montreal Canadiens                    Philadelphia Flyers

New York Rangers                       Pittsburgh Penguins

Toronto Maple Leafs                 St Louis Blues

It was this season when sports writers coined the term “original six” for the East Division teams without giving any sort of moniker for the West Division teams and since this expansion fans have mistakenly embraced the “original six” term to mean the actual first six NHL teams.

Newest Sabres Third Sweater

In 1996 most of us were shocked at the Buffalo Sabres new colors, logo, and sweater, but HC Nolan explained how a white bison is a symbol of good fortune, and indeed it was as the Sabres finished first in the 1997 Northeast Division.

Buffalo’s End of the Century Stanley Cup Finals appearance in ‘99 and two more solid seasons of making it to the Conference Finals in 2005 and 2006 highlighted a few good seasons while sporting the white bison head logo/sweater during the 10 seasons the sweater was employed.

The Buffalo Sabres are going to wear a new black and red third sweater for 12 contests during the upcoming season beginning in November through April which includes a redesigned white bison head logo.  

The differences in the white bison logos begin with the Buffalo Sabres using one less color as the retro bison head logo utilized two grays, with colors of red, black, and white while the modern version although similar uses only one gray.

When Mr. Tuch a Sabres fan in his youth was shown the new third logo/sweater video he reminisced about, “All the posters up in my room…Dominik Hasek, Ryan Miller a couple of goalies…Maxim Afinogenov, Tim Connolly guys like that.”

Buffalo scheduled 12 Home Games to sport the third sweater with the first appearance Wednesday, November 23rd versus St. Louis on ‘90s Night, and the 12th third sweater donning will be on the final game of the season against Ottawa on Fan Appreciation Night Thursday, April 13th.

Looking forward to seeing the newest Sabres third sweater.

Right Wing Kyle Okposo

Power Forward Right Wing Kyle Okposo a six-footer who tips the scales at a solid 220 pounds had a dynamic season during the 2021-2022 campaign with 21 goals and served as one of the two Alternate Captains for the Buffalo Sabres.

All-Star Representative

Mr. Okposo scores Buffalo’s first goal of the 2021-2022 season and his 20th goal when his child was a “reporter” interviewing her dad on “Kids Day” at the arena and said, “Hi Dad, so can I call you Kyle, Mr. Okposo, Okie, what do you want?”.

They eventually settled on “Dad”

After Mr. Okposo scored a point or more per game for two seasons in the USHL and WCHA as a teenager, his next season he would play for three teams, half of his sophomore Div 1 season, the AHL for 35 games and his nine-game NHL debut.

A fan favorite on the Island and many were dismayed that he was not resigned.

The seventh selection in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Islanders had a couple of 18 and 19-goal seasons and three seasons over 20 goals before signing with Buffalo.

Brilliant Card

The year Mr. Okposo was born in 1988 the Buffalo Sabres were led by Hall-of-Famers Mr. Dave Andreychuk, Mr. Phil Housley, and a thirty-something from the Islanders, Mr. Clark Gillies.

Leadership is crucial for this young corps of Sabres.

Now under his fourth Sabres head coach in HC Granato, Mr. Okposo has now been utilized for his consummate skills and experience and with one year remaining on his contract, this upcoming season could be his best year yet.