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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.

20 Times there was a sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals

It took 24 seasons from the inception of the NHL in 1917 before the first Stanley Cup Finals Sweep happened in 1941 when Boston swept Detroit and two seasons later Detroit swept Boston in the 1943 series.

In all there were five Stanley Cup Finals Sweeps during the 1940s with Toronto becoming the first NHL team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups with consecutive sweeps versus Detroit in the 1948 and 1949 Finals.

The only other decade to have five Stanley Cup Finals Sweeps was during the 1990s when Detroit also earned consecutive series sweeps with their back-to-back 1997 and 1998 Cup championships.

There are four NHL teams, (Toronto, Montreal, New York {Islanders}, and Detroit), that have won back-to-back Stanley Cups with consecutive sweeps and Montreal is the only team to have done so twice as well as completing a league-best six Stanley Cup Finals Sweeps.   

In over 100 NHL seasons of play, the 20 Stanley Cup Finals Sweeps all have taken place during a 57-season span from 1941 to 1998 making it 24 seasons since a Stanley Cup Finals Sweep has occurred.

Nine different NHL teams have earned a Stanley Cup Finals Sweep and 11 different NHL teams have been swept in the Stanley Cup Finals with one team getting swept in three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals by two different teams:

The upcoming season marks a Quarter of a Century worth of NHL seasons not producing a single Stanley Cup Finals Sweep highlighting the strength and parity of each team in the Finals.

10 Games To Watch This Upcoming Season

It is always interesting to see a player signed or traded away come back for the first game against their former teams and most Hockey fans will pay attention on December 9th when the Flames visit the Blue Jackets in Ohio to see how Mr. Johnny Gaudreau does in his first game versus his former team.

For October there are five interesting first games versus former teams worth watching beginning on October 14th  with probably the second most anticipated one to watch as Mr. Brent Burns goes back to San Jose as a ‘Cane.

Mr. Kevin Fiala has spent more NHL time in Nashville but has blossomed from a decent 20-goal scorer to his first 30-goal campaign for the Wild so a surprising signing with the Kings makes the October 15th matchup in Minnesota compelling.

A twin bill on October 21st highlighting Detroit and Chicago as Mr. Dominik Kubalik is signed away from deep-dive rebuilding Blackhawks and Seattle signed Cup champion Mr. Andre Burakovsky for the opening act in Colorado.

Carolina asked for and received multiple picks for Mr. Tony DeAngelo and a seventh-rounder marking the initial conflict between the newest Broad Street Bully against his former team in Philadelphia on October 29th for a divisional engagement.  

Two games in November add to the Holiday atmosphere with both contests being played on November 19th first the Capitals sign Cup champion goaltender Mr. Darcy Kuemper and take on the Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche in Washington.

Secondly, Calgary led by Mr. Jonathan Huberdeau and Mr. MacKenzie Weegar battle their former team Florida while the Panthers have former Flames Mr. Matthew Tkachuk to complete the night’s action in the Sunshine State.

The last two games one on New Year’s Eve have Toronto and Colorado partying in Denver on December 31st as Cup champion Mr. Nicolas Aube-Kubel signs with the Leafs for one year and one million dollars.   

The one game in 2023 on January 12th highlights the Winnipeg Jets coming into Buffalo to possibly face their former backup goaltender Mr. Eric Comrie.

Prospects Challenge 2022

The City of Buffalo will host the Seventh Annual Prospects Challenge at the LECOM Harborcenter beginning September 15th and skating through to the 19th ending a week before the Buffalo Sabres begin their pre-season schedule on September 25th on the road versus Washington.

 This year will be entertaining, informative and as always, exciting as there will be six NHL teams participating in the round-robin challenge, and not every team will play each other as Buffalo, Boston, Montreal, New Jersey, Ottawa, and Pittsburgh bring 14 first-round selections from the two previous drafts.

The Schedule:

Tickets go on sale early this month and at 10 dollars they represent a decent Hockey value to watch up-and-coming talent as we had in past Prospect Challenges with Mr. Dahlin, Mr. Thompson, and Mr. Olofsson providing an opportunity to observe the future.

Sabres First Round Selections

The Buffalo Sabres held three First Round picks in the NHL 2022 Entry Draft and were used to select three Centers at the 9th, 16th, and 28th position and all three of these 18-year-olds are at least two seasons from contributing to the NHL.

The first player drafted at the ninth spot was Matthew Savoie a WHL 5’ 9”, 179 lbs, right-shooting Center, born on New Year’s Day from St Albert just on the outskirts of Edmonton, has been discussed moving to the wing.

At 16 the Sabres selected Noah Ostlund a Swedish, 5’ 11”, 165 lbs, left-shooting Center that has good vision, playmaking, skating, and puck handling the only knock being he plays like one of the Sedin twins Henrik who lacked high-end offensive skills.

Buffalo used their third first-round pick at the 28th position and selected Jiri Kulich a Czechia, 6’ 0”, 179 lbs, left-shooting Center heralded for his playmaking abilities.

Montreal had put on a fast-paced draft that was entertaining and informative with the sad mention of Mr. Marchment passing by all and recognized and thanked by the Sharks organization.

The Montreal Draft

The 60th NHL Draft will be held in Montreal for the 29th time which includes the last two years of virtual drafts and for this draft the ticketed public is welcome to attend at the Bell Centre this July 7th and 8th.

There are extenuating circumstances as to why Montreal has hosted so many NHL Drafts, such as the Drafts were always closed to the public and held in Montreal hotels or the NHL Montreal Office, and eventually the Montreal Forum from 1963 until 1979.   

Also worth noting is that Montreal hosted the draft just once in 2009 during a 26-year stretch beginning in 1993 through the 2019 seasons.

The NHL has been drafting over 200 players each season now since the 1970s with the amount almost tipping the scale at 300 at the turn of the Century, but now the drafting has been 210/217 range with this season upping the eligible players to two dozen over 200.

Buffalo Sabres GM Imlach would be turning over in his skates if he could see today’s Draft compared with the early drafts that he had to endure with prolonged procedures and unnecessary tediousness for each and every selection that took weeks to sort out.  

It was during the 1962-63 NHL Season that Mr. Campbell pushed forward the idea of a system of amateur drafting to afford all six teams an opportunity to draft a “star player” and the notorious “sponsorship system” eventually faded from existence by the end of the decade.  

The promise of a brighter future holds great interest to NHL teams and fans alike as each year a new crop of talented young players are selected and at times even offers a “generational player” that can shape a team into a winner.

NHL Sabres Pre-Season Dates

The NHL Pre-Season Schedule for the Buffalo Sabres 2022-2023 Season consists of six games with the first three contests being played over four days during the last week of September with the first faceoff an early Sunday afternoon start and the 27th the lone home game versus Philadelphia.

The three October pre-season games are played over seven days with the month’s first game also an early afternoon start, beginning and ending with a Home and Home series against Pittsburgh which is split as Buffalo hosts Carolina in between those games on the fourth.

  • September 25th visiting the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena (2 p.m.) 
  •  September 27th hosting Philadelphia at KeyBank Center (7 p.m.)
  •  September 28th visiting the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena (7 p.m.) 
  •  October 1st hosting Pittsburgh Penguins at KeyBank Center (1 p.m.)
  •  October 4th hosting Carolina Hurricanes at KeyBank Center (7 p.m.)
  •  October 7th visiting the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena (7 p.m.)

Colorado Cup Champions

Another dream begins

Even in a game four of a Finals sweep there is something different about a game when the Stanley Cup is on-site and last night was no exception as both teams combined to play one of the more exciting Stanley Cup Finals in recent seasons.

The first period begins with a Tampa Bay icing the puck then earning a power play in only 23 seconds but the Avalanche kill off their first penalty as Tampa Bay finishes the power play with no shots on goal.

It takes less than four minutes for the Lightning to strike first capitalizing on a fortunate bounce in the slot for a 5-hole shot that gives Tampa Bay the 1-0 lead on another goal with no secondary assist.

The first period was a fast-paced, up-and-down skating, with no whistles for seven and a half consecutive minutes, but few shots, with Colorado banging one off the post, and some physical nonsense at the end of the period for one of the more entertaining first periods of playoff Hockey.

The second period starts quickly also as “The Mac Attack is Back” for the Burgundy and Blue with Mr. MacKinnon’s second of the Finals on his fourth shot which went off of Mr. Vasilevskiy’s blocker to tie the game and Mr. Kane for the playoffs goals (13) lead.  

Once again HC Cooper displays his disappointment as Mr. Stamkos and the coach believes the delayed penalty should have been whistled dead before the goal was scored.

As replay highlights Mr. Paul did not touch the puck after the official’s arm went up, he did not have possession or make a pass but as Mr. Paul last touched the puck before the arm went up was so close as to be simultaneous to the naked eye.

At approximately 13 minutes to play in the second period an ESPN “reporter” asked HC Cooper on air if he thought the goal should have counted…the coach laughed at her.

At the 11:52 mark, the ESPN announcers declare Mr. Stamkos and Mr. Byram as “a mess behind the net” as more penalties are not called.

Then an odd-man 3-on-2 rush develops less than eight minutes in the period and another fortunate bounce/pass turns into a deflection affording Mr. Lehkonen an opportunity which he buries for the 2-1 lead.

Immediately after the score and during the celebration Tampa Bay’s Mr. Magoon breaks his stick on Colorado’s Mr. Manson’s leg with a full “Paul Bunyan” two-handed chop, fortunately, Mr. Manson saw it coming and lifted his leg for some protection.

Before Paul Bunyan Chop

This we are informed by ESPN announcer Mr. Ferraro is a penalty in November but not now, after this we see Tampa Bay begin to take physical liberties highlighted by their boarding penalty during the remaining five minutes of the second period.

The third period begins to unravel for Tampa Bay as they cannot get their first shot on net until past the halfway point of the period and their second shot comes with only six and half minutes left to play.

GM Sakic Replied, “Yes” when asked if the Cup felt heavier

The Colorado Avalanche seemed faster and fresher as the Lightning pull Mr. Vasilevskiy with 2:03 remaining, 1:15 icing was called on Colorado, then :26 seconds left and no icing was called…time runs out and the Avalanche have their third Stanley Cup Championship.

Congratulations One and All

Tampa Bay Taking it Home

Outside Fans are Rowdy in Denver

With a brilliant light show at Ball Arena and beautiful rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner plus the pre-game analysis from announcers Mr. Levy and Mr. Chelios explaining  “game four was in the rear-view mirror”, and “kick ‘em when their down mentality, give ‘em no life”.

The Avalanche take the game’s first penalty and showed why they have earned an 80% kill ratio in the regular season and playoffs and when their second penalty a few minutes later was issued after a decent backchecking effort is also successfully killed with garnishing one short-handed SOG.

Colorado had the edge in offensive zone time but it was Tampa Bay that scored first as 31-year-old defenseman Mr. Rutta scored his first goal of the playoffs with a heavy 95 mph shot that was taken from the far side top of the faceoff circle.

Five minutes into the second period Mr. Nichushkin scores his ninth to tie the game at one with rookie Mr. Makar getting the primary assist his (21) of the playoffs.

Not even 90 seconds later there is a delayed penalty whistled then oddly off-setting penalties but Colorado takes another penalty affording the Lightning a 4-on-3 man advantage which they cash in on with a deflection off the post and in for the 2 – 1 lead.

With just under seven minutes remaining in the second period, Mr. Magoon puts Mr. MacKinnon in a headlock and tackles him to the ice at the blueline, but like a “too many men on the ice” missed call, clearly, this was as well.

The clock has less than four minutes to play with the Avalanche going on the power play but Mr. Vasilevskiy kills it and the period ends with a Colorado 7 SOG advantage but the Lighting took the 2-1 lead into the third period.

The third period begins well for Colorado as Mr. Cernak’s skate blade causes the puck to become a “dribbler” and Mr. Vasilevskiy legs it in for the Avalanche score credited to Mr. Makar and the 2-2 tie.

Period three ends at 6:22 effectively as Mr. Palat scored his (11) for Tampa Bay and a 3-2 lead and with 2:38 of time remaining the Avalanche take a “too many men on the ice” penalty, an exciting, close, empty-net, pressure-filled game ends with a Lightning victory.

The Stanley Cup Finals Game Six is tonight in Florida scheduled with an eight o’clock start time, this series has been enjoyable and unpredictable with both teams winning on the road, and if, IF Tampa Bay wins we will compare the Finals from 80 years ago.