A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Numminen possible for game 5, Connolly doubtful, Briere on thin ice.

Word came from Buffalo this morning that Teppo Numminen participated in the Sabres morning practice and felt good afterward. There will be some game-time decision tomorrow on that front, and Teppo indicated that if the game were today, he would take the pre-game skate. This is something he has not done since getting injured in game one of this series. His is of the "lower body" variety. Actually, they're a little more specific, saying it's either a groin pull or a hip flexor injury. At any rate, he might be ready to go in game five, which would give the Sabres blue line a big boost.

Tim Connolly, on the other hand, has been all but ruled out for this series. There was some early hope that he would be able to return to the ice after having concussion-like symptoms resulting from a hit in game two of the series with Ottawa.

Fourth-line center Adam Mair, also out with a concussion, has been ruled "possible" for a return to the ice. There may just be a spot for him, too. In a "he said, she said" battle of newspaper quotes between captain Daniel Briere and Lindy Ruff, Ruff practically threatened to bench Briere. You can read the story about all this here , but here's the bare-bones:

Briere said he and the other forwards were having to work too hard because they were bailing out the rookie defensemen:
Maybe the coaches won't agree with me, or some of the other players, but the feeling I have is that early on we just sat back a little too much, we wanted to make sure our new defencemen would have a chance and we wanted to support them in our zone. ...

To which Lindy snapped a thinly veiled threat:
That's a bunch of crap. I'm sorry they feel that way... If in their minds they feel they overcompensated, then it's my job to get their minds set in the right place... If that's where they were at, they won't be there tomorrow.

I don't think he's bluffing, but I don't think it's going to be a problem, either.

Even before this came out, one of the writers for the Buffalo News, Bucky Gleason, had already decided to bail on the Crossed Swords. The impression I get is that this guy is Buffalo's answer to Ned Barrett. In his article, though, he brings up a point about the Sabres trade deadline inactivity that I brought up back in March. He thinks the Sabres should have traded goaltender Martin Biron for a quality defenseman instead of trading third-string goalie Mika Noronen to Vancouver for a case of stick tape and the third season of "Eight Is Enough" on beta video cassette. There has been a good deal of similar criticism hurled the Sabres way in light of their blueline plight. Sabres management, meanwhile, insists that it tried hard to get a good blueliner.

In case you're too lazy to click on the link to my post from March 9, here's the stuff you need to see that's pertinent to this post:
Edmonton shored up their goaltending situation, but not in a way that I expected. I sort of thought that Buffalo would ship Marty Biron out there. Anyway, a good pickup in Dwayne Roloson from the Wild. Roloson is a much better keeper than his numbers would indicate. The Oilers didn't really give up very much in that exchange. A first round pick and a conditional pick. However, that leaves Minnesota with only Manny Fernandez. They certainly don't have a stockpile of goalies at their AHL affiliate Houston Aeros. So Minnesota needs to do something.

And then this other snip:
I expect the Sabres to deal one of their goalies for some D. Ryan Miller will stay for sure, but I don't know whether they'll deal Biron or Mika Noronen. They might not get any takers on Noronen, but Biron would be a great asset to a team like the Wild, who now have only one keeper. EDIT -- 1:02 PM <<< as I was writing this, Noronen was dealt to Vancouver for a second round pick <<<<

I encourage you to jump in the time machine, though. It's just two and a half months. I said some poignant stuff in that post. Of course that post was made an hour before the Mark Recchi trade, and I said I thought the Canes were done. So I was wrong on that.

Anyway, back to the point. The last thing in the world the Sabres need now is infighting and wavering support from the fans. I think they'll have a strong showing on Sunday unless Briere is in Ruff's doghouse. In no uncertain terms, that would spell disaster for Buffalo. With the series tied 2-2, this is a critical game. Puck drop at 7:30 Sunday.


KevinP said...

The crazy thing, David, is that Bucky Gleason is the regular hockey writer for the Buffalo News, and while I don't always agree with him he at least usually makes sense.

But he argued long and loud at the deadline to move Biron for a defenseman. I think his column is a foolish attempt to claim victory for his arguement.

It's not like the Sabres were shutout or anything last night, so blaming the loss on not trading for a goalie seems a bit silly on his part.

Just so you know, Jerry Sullivan is our answer to Ned the Head.

random sabrefan said...

Gleason and Sullivan are both idiots. Gleason's been writing all week about how "this is the Sabres' year" and how they deserve it more than Carolina and Anaheim and Edmonton, and the day after they take a tough loss, suddenly they're done.

Please, for the love of God, don't pay attention to Gleason. He's one of the worst, most pandering journalists I've ever read. He writes what he thinks his audience is thinking, and that's it. From most of the fans in Buffalo (at least, the ones I choose to associate with), there's no such thing as wavering support -- there are signs all over the city, there are bars doing the best business they've ever done, and there are TV ratings comparable to the Super Bowl. It'll stay that way until they're done.

And they're gonna come out like a house on fire today -- should be a great game. Good luck to your guys.


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