Author Archives: Ian Ott

Jason Botterill Interview – Schopp & Bulldog (1/14/20)

January 14, 2020

 

Jason Botterill

Schopp & Bulldog (5:30 p.m.)

https://wgr550.radio.com/media/audio-channel/1-14-jason-botterill-with-schopp-the-bulldog (16:56)

 

Mike Schopp: Jason Botterill with us now. Hi, Jason.

Jason Botterill: Hey, how’re you guys doing?

MS: This has been, like, we’ve been missing each other a couple times lately, but you made it.

JB: Yeah, I think I was supposed to be on and we were in the middle of the [Marco] Scandella and [Michael] Frolik trade at that time, so I do appreciate your understanding from that. Happy New Year to you guys.

MS: Happy New Year.

 

MS: That was interesting. So Chris Bandura, from the front office, called me early that day and used the term ‘league call’ and in retrospect that night I thought, ‘Maybe that should’ve been, should’ve been a term that I would associate with a trade.’ Now there was no news of a trade at noon that day, but I wonder if that was a tell.

JB: And that one took a little bit longer just because Frolik did have the no-trade clause and it was — there was a few different things in it. Because, obviously, Montreal had a trade going with Ottawa, then the trade with us. We then had the trade with Calgary going and it was one of those things where you knew everything was correlated from that. So it sometimes took a little bit to organize it all.

 

MS: So, you had to wait for Montreal to make its other move?

JB: Yeah, it’s one of those things where you knew everything was contingent on the other one working out, and obviously it was contingent on Frolik waiving his no-trade too. It wasn’t a situation until Calgary went to talk to Michael after their morning skate. So, it was one of those things, too, where Calgary was having a game, we were having a game that day. We had a few things to get through and stuff, but glad it worked all out for our group here.

 

Chris Parker: Very understandable. I think maybe a lot of our audience was kind of hoping you wouldn’t show up today because that would mean something was happening. I mean, I hope you take that in the spirit it’s intended, you know? With that in mind, how do you feel about where you team is right now? Like, what do you think can still be accomplished this year?

JB: Well, I think it’s a situation where we’ve, you know, coming out of the break at Christmas time, I thought we played very well against Boston and Tampa Bay. To get zero points out of those three games was disheartening, for sure. I liked how our group responded against Edmonton and Florida there. Going into St. Louis, that’s a level that we still have to get to: that upper echelon in the National Hockey League. The way I look at the league right now, I think there’s, you may debate it a little bit, but I think there’s seven or eight really, very top teams and then everyone else can beat anybody on any given night. And that’s what we’re trying to accomplish here right now. I thought it was important that we got the victory in Detroit after a game against Vancouver where, that’s a game that we have to find a way to win. 3-3 in our own building, we have to find a way to at least come away with points in that situation there. We’ve got three games here before the break, have our fathers trip starting tomorrow. I think, hopefully just in a little more added incentive for some of our players and then we’ll see where we go from there.

 

MS: In that calculation you revealed about seven or eight top teams, is there room for you — as you break that down — to make the playoffs? I mean you’re seven points out, I think, at the moment. We talked earlier about last night’s Philadelphia-Boston game and brought up [Brad] Marchand whiffing on that shootout attempt and Bulldog’s like, ‘Well, my first thought was that’s two more points for the Flyers.’ I’m like, ‘Good thing you’re here, because I was not really thinking of it that way.’ Like I wondered, if you’re watching that game thinking the same way.

JB: Trust me, there’s going to be a ton of three-point games that teams are going to go continue to work on, some teams are going to get hot, and you’ve seen it throughout the league and stuff from that standpoint. What our focus has to be is our own internal — how we play, how we’re doing against our own teams here. And, you know, I know Ralph [Krueger] has mentioned a lot about winning two out of three games, trying to minimize things. You can’t always look at the big picture. I think our group has excelled when it’s tried to stay in the small picture there. Our focus here now is on the next few games here, see where it goes from the break and then materialize from there. But if you’re scoreboard watching in January, look, teams around you are going to win, it’s just that, especially when they’re playing against each other all the time and there’s going to be a lot of three-point games with how close the league is.

 

MS: I think, if I may, this may sound like you think your team is at a level where someone else might think that more dramatic changes are necessary to see this team actually, you know, really compete. You’re on an 85-, 86-point pace. Would that be wrong? Do you see this as a team that’s close to really rising?

JB: Well we haven’t had the production yet. We haven’t had the results yet, so we still have to improve. 100 percent. There’s a situation where we’re not an elite team by any means and should we be in a conversation for playoffs? Yeah, I think we should, certainly should be in that conversation, but, hey, we can continue to talk about it, but we have to go out there and actually have the results. It’s one thing to play well against the Bostons and Tampa Bays, but when we have a 4-1 lead at home, we have to find a way to finish off that game. It’s good that we’re playing well against those teams, but now finding better results is certainly what we have to do.

 

CP: When you face a situation like that — the 4-1 lead against Tampa’s a great example — how do you feel like your coach is handling the team? Is that tough talk time? How do you think he proceeds in those situations?

JB: I think one of Ralph’s best things was the day afterwards from that standpoint. Look, it was a disheartening loss. It was a situation where we talked about it, Tampa Bay, you know, we knew coming into the season this year, they were going to be a top team to go 0-3 against them and then going into that game, we had certainly circled that game as an important challenge for our group. I liked how we came out, got the lead from that standpoint, got some secondary scoring, which I think was key in that game. Then to let it slip, to go from sort of a festive environment in the second period to, hey, losing the game at home, it was difficult. And then what I liked was Ralph did with our group to try to refocus them to get back on taking it small. The playoffs, hey we’ll worry about that another time, but what we have to work on right now is getting back in the swing of things. Then we start the next game against Edmonton, it’s not a great start, it’s down 2-0. Like, okay, everything could unravel here at this point, but our group found a way to get that win in that game and then went and had a strong game against Florida.

 

CP: So that’s New Year’s Eve, the Tampa game, right?

JB: Yep.

CP: New Year’s Day is the day that I — I don’t attend these practices or the news conferences, but the video that the team posted, (Ralph Krueger) just spoke for like 15 minutes and I watched every minute of it. And, I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t often do that. I hear highlights and I read what happened, but I sat watching that and I loved it, like how he communicated that day. Can you tell us, like is that basically the same message he gave to the team that day?

JB: The biggest message is, obviously it’s a cliché of keeping it simple, but (the message is) keeping it small. That’s what we have to do in a situation like this. And if you look at the small picture, we just came away from three games where we felt we played well. But we didn’t get the results. So, at the end of the day that’s not acceptable. So you pull the positives of what you’re trying to do as a team, but then, hey, what do we have to do now to change to make sure that that outcome changes in the future here? And that’s where I think Ralph’s done a very good job with our group in speaking to the group, but then also in smaller, you know, whether it’s this line or this power-play group, just that dynamics of not always being the group mentality, of individuals. I think as Donny Granato’s got back into the mix here, been healthy and been working with us, I think our system coaches have done a good job with the development of our individual players. So as a staff they continue to grow and hopefully have a strong second half here.

 

MS: Jason Botterill here with us. You are talking about the playoffs a little bit here. We’ll see what happens. There’s some work to do to make it. I think fans would like to think that there is, from a development standpoint, a lot coming into the equation here that would make people reinforce the idea that the Sabres are about to become a real contender. I don’t know where that is — where that stands — Jason. I’d like to hear you talk about this. Since you’ve gotten here, important players have been traded away and, I know you have the [Tage] Thompson injury too, he was on the team last year, [Casey] Mittelstadt is down [in Rochester]. What else, especially in terms of forwards, because it seems to me that the Sabres have had this same lack of scoring depth past Jack Eichel for several years.

JB: And I think Ralph’s done a great job of getting the most out of Jack and continuing to work with Jack to expand his game. Obviously, Victor Olofsson’s had a great season so far, the injury hurts him. Knowing Victor and his dedication, he’s certainly going to come back from that. But just the continued development of Jack and Sam Reinhart and their production I think is, I think Ralph has done an excellent job there. Tage [Thompson’s injury] is a disappointment; it’s a disappointing thing for our entire organization just because of what we challenged Tage in the offseason, he went through with it; there was things for him to work on specifically in Rochester, I thought he did that. I thought he had a great start to the season in Rochester, came up and obviously got the injury. It’s just something that we have to deal with; Tage has to deal with it. The good thing is he’s going to have the opportunity to have a strong summer and be ready to go next year. With a player like Casey Mittelstadt, Casey could be up here in the National Hockey League right now surviving, but we don’t view that as a situation long term with him. We view him as a player that can certainly help and add to our offensive punch. You’ve seen that in games: the first game of the season this year against Pittsburgh, out in L.A.. He has that ability, but now has to work from a consistent standpoint. Development, you wish it would just always be a linear approach, and you’re always, every day you’re seeing improvement in players, but sometimes there’s dips. In a situation with that, we felt very comfortable placing him in Rochester with a coach in Chris Taylor that worked very closely with Casey at the National Hockey League level, had seen Casey’s best games and also some of the games where he struggled and knew exactly what he had to work on for him to get back into the system here and what Ralph needs from him moving forward here. So, there’s that. I would also say, you look at the development of Rasmus Asplund we’ve been happy about. He stepped in earlier than what we anticipated from that standpoint. And then I think just what we can continue to try to add on our back end is players with that skill, that puck-moving ability that can create more offense from our back end there. We all would love our 19- and 20-year-old defensemen in [Henri] Jokiharju and [Rasmus] Dahlin to be Norris Trophy winners this year and everything like that, but there’s going to be a development process for those guys. That’s why we also wanted bring up Lawrence Pilut. He’s accomplished in the American Hockey League that we’ve been very happy with. We wanted to see how he’d fit in with our group here right now. It’s important for us, as an organization, to continue to develop these guys. And I think, as an organization, it’s finding ways to get more offense from our back end here to help out our forwards.

 

MS: I’m, just thinking though, with due respect, you talked about, we talked about the three players: Mittelstadt, Thompson and Asplund, and they might have — and I’m just guessing here — 200 games in the league at this point and how many goals is it? Like 20 goals? I don’t even know how many goals it is, right? Like you’ve got guys, less so — least so Asplund, who just doesn’t have as much NHL experience — but beyond guys who’ve played in the league, is there hope for someone else in the organization to become a real scorer for you? And yes, of course, you’re right to mention Olofsson who’s absolutely done that.

JB: He’s certainly helped our group a lot there. We’re excited about where Dylan Cozens is from his development. We think he had a very good World Juniors from a standpoint of being a player to rely on for Team Canada and gaining that experience at an elite level. And them, hey, look it’s our job to find ways to get more out of our players. I still think there’s more offense to come from a player like Conor Sheary or a player like Jimmy Vesey. It’s important to pull that out of them. You look at a player like Marcus Johansson is showing glimpses of it and has been a good leader for us, but I know Marcus also wants to contribute more offensively from that standpoint. So that’s the responsibility of our players and also, as an organization, to find more players to support some of our young players.

 

CP: So you mentioned here at the outset some of the results haven’t been there even though the performances were good, good games. And I have no problem with that; I would agree with it. The games against Boston, specifically, I think maybe have been some of your best games and you haven’t gotten any points out of those games. So the team has to perform, you need to get results. How much urgency do you feel to do something to supplement the group here? We started with trades, I guess maybe we’ll end with trades. Do you feel some urgency to do something for the group to try to help even when [Jeff] Skinner comes back and eventually Olofsson?

JB: Yeah, look, missing Skinner and Olofsson are big from our group from an offensive standpoint. But, come on, everybody in the league has injuries that they deal with and that’s something that, you know, we have to continue to improve our depth to handle these injuries better in the future. But yeah, we want to make trades; we’re looking to add to our group from that, I don’t think we’ve hid from that situation even all the way back to November. People ask, ‘Well, are you waiting until the trade deadline for these type of things?’ No, we’re open to trying to find something that can certainly add to our group, but it hasn’t materialized. We’ll continue to look at it. There’s no use — and I’ve mentioned this before — there’s no use in saying we’re close on a trade or this and that. Until it actually happens and we announce something, it’s just talk. We’re trying to proceed with some things; it hasn’t materialized, but we’ll continue to look.

MS: Yes, unless you tell us about every conversation you’re having with almost trades, maybe there are hundreds of those. If you could just acknowledge, if you just admit those things, divulge that information…

CP: Those might be more interesting than the actual trade.

MS: …the talk can be more interesting, yes. We would know what’s out there.

JB: The next time here I’ll bring my notebook so you guys can all have it and we can follow up with it.

MS: It would be great if you had, like, stacks of notebooks with these things in it.

 

MS: Real quick, Jason, one more thing. Goaltending. Carter Hutton is barely playing, lots of goals are going in his last couple of games. Who’s, can you at least say, who would be the guy? Is it [Andrew] Hammond? We’re not watching Rochester. Is he next? Or maybe this is more a question about younger guys, [Ukko-Pekka] Luukkonen or whoever in the organization. What are the options?

JB: We’ve been very happy with how Linus Ullmark has been from a consistency standpoint. He’s been able to handle more of a workload this year. I think he’s done a very good job from that standpoint. We’re disappointed in Carter’s performance. Carter’s disappointed in that performance. And that’s what we’re trying to find: What is the trigger to get him back on track here? The good thing is that’s where his whole career has been. He’s been someone who’s been against the odds, someone who’s been counted out and he’s always found a way to get back, and that’s where his work ethic in practice, we’re hoping that’s going to trigger something here to help him out and help our group out in the second half. You look at it, we’ve had solid goaltending in Rochester throughout the season here. It’s great to see Jonas Johansson make it to the American Hockey League All-Star Game. You talk about a longer-term process, him playing a lot of the games in the East Coast League the last couple of years, now getting the opportunity to step in there. Andrew Hammond’s a veteran player who we feel comfortable playing National Hockey League games. You talked about Luukkonen; we brought him into Rochester this week. That was part of the plan way in advance to get him some experience, practice at the American Hockey League. Going to get an opportunity to play games and then we’ll get him back to the ECHL and continue his development there.

 

MS: So Johansson is their No. 1 at this time?

JB: Johansson and Hammond are both, they both split the duties from that standpoint.

MS: Ok, and Johnasson is an All-Star?

JB: Yes.

MS: Very good. Thank you, Jason. Nice to see you.

JB: I appreciate it, guys. You have a good evening.

TAGE THOMPSON INJURY UPDATE


Sabres forward Tage Thompson underwent successful surgery on his right shoulder on Tuesday.

After further evaluation with the Sabres’ team doctors during the rehab process for his injury sustained on Nov. 17, it was determined that surgery was the appropriate next step in Thompson’s recovery process.

Thompson’s expected recovery time will be five to six months.

Game Preview: 1/14/20 vs. Vegas

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Sunday, January 12
Buffalo 5 at Detroit 1
Goals: Rodrigues (2), Girgensons, Bogosian, Ristolainen
Goalie: Ullmark (21 saves/22 shots)
PP: 2/4; PK: 3/3; Shots: Buffalo 27 – Detroit 22

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 212)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Matt Hunwick (neck, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 46 games
Vladimir Sobotka (knee, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 30 games
Tage Thompson (upper body, Nov. 19; injured reserve) – 26 games
Jeff Skinner (upper body, Dec. 29; injured reserve) – 7 games
Victor Olofsson (lower body, Jan. 4; injured reserve) – 4 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
1/8: Placed F Victor Olofsson on IR

UPCOMING GAMES
Thursday, Jan. 16: Buffalo at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 18: Buffalo at Nashville, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 28: Ottawa at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 30: Montreal at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 1: Columbus at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
GOLDEN KNIGHTS at SABRES

  • This is the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Golden Knights this season.
  • Last meeting: Vegas defeated Buffalo 4-1 in Las Vegas on Oct. 16, 2018
  • Next meeting: Friday, Feb. 28 in Las Vegas
  • This is the fifth game all-time between Buffalo and Vegas; Buffalo has a 1-1-2 series record.
  • The Sabres are 0-1-1 at home against the Golden Knights all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 8-10-3 all-time on January 14.
  • January 14, 1972: The Sabres acquire Jim Lorentz from the New York Rangers in exchange for a second-round pick in the 1972 draft.
  • January 14, 2003: Ryan Miller stops all 22 Minnesota shots to earn a 1-0 victory and his first career shutout.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Buffalo is 6-3-3 against the Pacific Division this season, including a 3-1-2 record against the division at KeyBank Center.
  • The Sabres have gone 4-for-11 (36.4%) on the power play in their last four games, tying for the second-best mark in the league during that stretch entering play Monday.
  • With a point tonight, Jack Eichel would become the fifth NHL player to record two separate point streaks of at least eight games this season, joining John Carlson, Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon and David Pastrnak. (Mitchell Marner can also join this group tonight.)
  • The Sabres have three players who have registered at least a point per game against the Golden Knights: Jack Eichel (3 GP, 2+2), Marcus Johansson (1 GP, 0+2), Kyle Okposo (3 GP, 0+3).
  • Carter Hutton, who started both of Buffalo’s games against Vegas last season, is 2-1-0 against the Golden Knights in his career with a .939 save percentage and a 2.05 goals-against average.

WHO’S HOT?

  • Jack Eichel has recorded points in each of Buffalo’s last seven games (3+5). His current stretch trails only his run of 18 consecutive games played with a point (Nov. 16 to Dec. 21) for his longest streak this season.
  • Sam Reinhart has recorded five points (3+2) in the Sabres’ last five contests.
  • Rasmus Dahlin enters tonight’s game with points (0+5) in four straight games, tying as his longest streak of the season.
  • Zemgus Girgensons has scored in each of the Sabres’ last two games, including his seventh career shorthanded goal on Sunday at Detroit.
    • A point tonight would give Girgensons his longest point streak since he tied a personal best with points in three straight games from Dec. 23 to 29, 2017. A goal would mark the longest goal-scoring streak of his career.
  • Brandon Montour and Rasmus Ristolainen both recorded points (1+1) in each of Buffalo’s back-to-back games this past weekend.
  • Linus Ullmark is 3-1-0 since the beginning of January with a .920 save percentage and a 2.25 goals-against average.

HOME COOKING

  • The Sabres are 13-6-3 through their first 22 home games of the season. The team’s .659 points percentage at home ranked ninth in the NHL before Monday’s games. If they finished the season at this pace, it would rank as the Sabres’ 19th-best home record in franchise history.
  • The team is averaging 3.41 goals per game at home this season, which would mark Buffalo’s best home scoring rate since the 2006-07 season.
  • With 36 points (19+17) in 22 home games this season, Jack Eichel’s 1.64 points per game at home tied for second-best in the league entering play Monday. His plus-18 rating at home led the league.
  • Sam Reinhart (10+11) is also producing near a point-per-game rate through 22 home games this season. Reinhart has totaled 10 points (4+6) in his last eight games at KeyBank Center.
  • Marcus Johansson enters tonight’s game with five points (1+4) in his last four home games.
  • Jimmy Vesey has recorded eight points (4+4) and a plus-6 rating in his last 11 home games.
  • Conor Sheary has posted six points (4+2) in his last six home games.
  • Linus Ullmark has won seven of his last nine games at KeyBank Center, posting a .918 save percentage and a 2.57 goals-against average in those games.

JACK ATTACK

  • Entering play Monday, Jack Eichel’s 27 goals this season tied for third-most among all NHL players and his 59 points ranked eighth in the league.
  • Eichel has been selected to represent the Sabres at NHL All-Star Weekend on Jan. 24 and 25 in St. Louis. With his third consecutive All-Star nod, Eichel becomes the seventh player in franchise history to represent the team in at least three NHL All-Star Games, joining Rick Martin (7), Gilbert Perreault (6), Dominik Hasek (5), Mike Ramsey (4), Phil Housley (3) and Alexander Mogilny (3).
  • With his 50th point of the season on Dec. 17 at Toronto, Eichel became the first Sabre to reach 50 points in 35 or fewer games since 1992-93 (Pat LaFontaine and Alexander Mogilny). He joins Rick Martin as the only other player in franchise history to record at least 20 goals and 50 points in each of his first five NHL seasons.
  • Eichel hasn’t been held without a point in three consecutive appearances since early November. In his 29 games played since then, he has totaled 42 points (20+22), including a stretch of 18 straight games (Nov. 16 to Dec. 21) that tied Gilbert Perreault (Oct. 24 to Dec. 4, 1971) for the most consecutive games played with a point in franchise history.
  • The streak was the NHL’s fifth-longest personal point streak in the last decade, trailing only Taylor Hall (26 in 2017-18), Patrick Kane (26 in 2015-16), Sidney Crosby (25 in 2010-11) and Patrick Kane (20 in 2018-19).

SETTING THE PACE

  • With 27 goals in 45 games so far this season, Jack Eichel is one goal from tying his previous best total set in the 2018-19 season (77 GP).
  • Eichel’s output through 46 team games currently has him on pace to finish the season with 49 goals and 106 points, which would be the highest goal and point totals by a Sabre since Pat LaFontaine (53+95) and Alexander Mogilny (76+51) in 1992-93.
  • LaFontaine (83 in 1992-93) and Mogilny (78 in 1992-93) are the only Sabres ever to have recorded more even-strength points in a season than the 72 Eichel is currently on pace for.
  • Despite missing eight games due to injury, Rasmus Dahlin is currently on pace to record 51 points this season, which would make him the Sabres’ first 50-point defenseman since Garry Galley (54) in 1995-96.
  • Sam Reinhart’s 15 goals in 46 games put him on pace for a career-high goal total (27).

POINTS IN BUNCHES

  • Jack Eichel has recorded 16 multi-point games this season, ranking as 11th-most in the NHL before Monday’s games.
  • Entering play Monday, his six multi-goal games tied for second-most in the league and his nine multi-assist games tied for seventh-most.
  • Eichel has already recorded at least three points seven times this season, topping his previous career-high total (6) set in the 2016-17 season. Only Connor McDavid (10), Leon Draisaitl (8) and David Pastrnak (8) had more games with at least three points this season entering play Monday.
  • Eichel’s three games with at least four points this season tied for third-most in the league entering play Monday. Since he entered the league in 2015-16, only nine players had totaled at least four points more times than Eichel’s eight: Nikita Kucherov (15), Patrick Kane (12), Connor McDavid (11), Johnny Gaudreau (9), Nathan MacKinnon (9), Brad Marchand (9), Alex Ovechkin (9), Artemi Panarin (9) and Steven Stamkos (9).

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 1/13 games)

  • Eichel: 20 EVG (2nd), 27 G (T-3rd), 40 EVP (T-4th), 5 GWG (T-7th), 59 PTS (8th)
  • Hutton: 2 SO (T-7th)
  • Olofsson: 9 PPG (T-3rd)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (136), Girgensons (74), McCabe (62)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (61), Ristolainen (52), Jokiharju (38)
Shots: Eichel (157), Skinner (128), Olofsson (99)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10: 8-1-1 (17), 38/24, 12/39, 23/30
11-20: 2-6-2 (6), 21/35, 2/26, 21/29
21-30: 3-4-3 (8), 34/34, 4/33, 23/32
31-40: 4-5-1 (9), 24/32, 4/23, 23/30
41-50: 3-3-0 (6), 19/22, 4/17, 12/15

OVERTIME RESULTS (4-6; 124-134 all-time)
Oct. 7 at CBJ: L, 4-3 (GWG-Texier, 2:08)
Oct. 9 vs. MTL: W, 5-4 (GWG-Johansson, 1:30)
Oct. 22 vs. SJS: W, 4-3 (GWG-Eichel, 3:13)
Nov. 14 vs. CAR: L, 5-4 (GWG-Hamilton, 2:28)
Nov. 27 vs. CGY: L, 3-2 (GWG-Lindholm, 1:17)
Nov. 30 at TOR: L, 2-1 (GWG-Tavares, 1:45)
Dec. 7 at VAN: L, 6-5 (GWG-Miller, 3:21)
Dec. 8 at EDM: W, 3-2 (GWG-Miller, 1:13)
Dec. 14 at NYI: L, 3-2 (GWG-Beauvillier, 3:04)
Jan. 2 vs. EDM: W, 3-2 (GWG-Eichel, 1:09)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (1-1; 76-70 all-time)
Oct. 11 vs. FLA: W, 3-2 (GDG-Eichel)
Oct. 28 vs. ARI: L, 3-2 (GDG-Schmaltz)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Linus Ullmark … 8 games … 100 career games played
Goals
Kyle Okposo … 9 goals … 200 career goals
Points
Kyle Okposo … 4 points … 500 career points
Zach Bogosian … 6 points … 200 career points
Johan Larsson … 9 points … 100 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Conor Sheary … 300th NHL game … Jan. 11 vs. VAN

Game Preview: 1/12/20 at Detroit

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, January 11
Vancouver 6 at Buffalo 3
Goals: Montour, Reinhart, Girgensons
Goalie: Hutton (29 saves/34 shots); 1 ENG
PP: 1/3; PK: 2/2; Shots: Vancouver 35 – Buffalo 28

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 207)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Matt Hunwick (neck, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 45 games
Vladimir Sobotka (knee, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 29 games
Tage Thompson (upper body, Nov. 19; injured reserve) – 25 games
Jeff Skinner (upper body, Dec. 29; injured reserve) – 6 games
Victor Olofsson (lower body, Jan. 4; injured reserve) – 3 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
1/6: Assigned F Dalton Smith to Rochester (AHL)
1/7: Recalled D Lawrence Pilut from Rochester (AHL)
1/8: Placed F Victor Olofsson on IR

UPCOMING GAMES
Tuesday, Jan. 14: Vegas at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 16: Buffalo at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 18: Buffalo at Nashville, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 28: Ottawa at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 30: Montreal at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at RED WINGS

  • This is the second of four meetings between the Sabres and Red Wings this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Detroit 2-0 in Detroit on Oct. 25, 2019
  • Next meeting: Thursday, Feb. 6 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Red Wings; 7-2-1 on the road.
  • This is the 143rd game all-time between Buffalo and Detroit; Buffalo has a 64-59-19 series record.
  • The Sabres are 26-39-8 on the road against the Red Wings all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 11-8-3 all-time on January 12.
  • January 12, 1978: Gilbert Perreault scores all three Sabres goals to collect his fourth hat trick of the season in a 6-3 loss at Cleveland.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres are 9-2-2 against the Red Wings since the beginning of the 2016-17 season, including a 6-1-0 record on the road and a 2-0 win in Detroit in the first meeting between the teams this season.
  • The Sabres enter tonight’s game with wins in four consecutive visits to Detroit for just the second time in franchise history, joining Buffalo’s five-game road winning streak against the Red Wings from Oct. 25, 1979 to Dec. 12, 1981.
  • Buffalo has killed 32 of 36 penalties (88.9%) against Detroit in the last 10 meetings between the clubs, dating back to March 20, 2017.

CLIPPING THE WINGS

  • Jack Eichel has 13 points (4+9) in 11 games against the Red Wings since the beginning of the 2016-17 season, including eight points (2+6) in six meetings in Detroit. He has recorded at least a point in each of the last six matchups between the teams (2+6).
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has totaled 16 points (1+15) in 16 games against Detroit since the beginning of the 2015-16 season, including seven points (1+6) in his last five and 12 points (1+11) in eight road games during that span.
  • Sam Reinhart enters tonight’s game with points in three straight meetings with the Red Wings (2+2).
  • Rasmus Dahlin has totaled three points (1+2) in three career visits to Detroit.
  • Brandon Montour has recorded a point in each of his last two games against the Red Wings (1+1).
  • Linus Ullmark, who has started each of Buffalo’s last five games against the Red Wings, is 4-0-2 against Detroit in his career with a .938 save percentage.
  • In his two games against the Red Wings since the beginning of the 2016-17 season, Carter Hutton has stopped 60 of his 61 shots faced (.984) and won both contests.

WHO’S HOT?

  • Jack Eichel has recorded points in each of Buffalo’s last six games (3+4). His current stretch trails only his run of 18 consecutive games played with a point (Nov. 16 to Dec. 21) for his longest streak this season.
  • Sam Reinhart (3+3) and Marcus Johansson (1+5) have each totaled six points in the Sabres’ last six contests.
  • Rasmus Dahlin enters tonight’s game with points (0+4) in three straight games. His .68 points per game so far this season represent the best scoring rate by a Sabres defenseman since Brian Campbell (.68) in 2007-08.

BACK-TO-BACK
Today’s game wraps up Buffalo’s ninth of 14 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began yesterday with a 6-3 loss vs. Vancouver. The Sabres are 3-5-1 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 3-4-1 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets is: four points (0), three points (2), two points (4), one point (0) and zero points (2).

JACK ATTACK

  • At the conclusion of yesterday’s game, Jack Eichel’s 27 goals this season ranked third among all NHL players and his 58 points ranked eighth in the league.
  • Eichel has been selected to represent the Sabres at NHL All-Star Weekend on Jan. 24 and 25 in St. Louis. With his third consecutive All-Star nod, Eichel becomes the seventh player in franchise history to represent the team in at least three NHL All-Star Games, joining Rick Martin (7), Gilbert Perreault (6), Dominik Hasek (5), Mike Ramsey (4), Phil Housley (3) and Alexander Mogilny (3).
  • With his 50th point of the season on Dec. 17 at Toronto, Eichel became the first Sabre to reach 50 points in 35 or fewer games since 1992-93 (Pat LaFontaine and Alexander Mogilny). He joins Rick Martin as the only other player in franchise history to record at least 20 goals and 50 points in each of his first five NHL seasons.
  • Eichel hasn’t been held without a point in three consecutive appearances since early November. In his 28 games played since then, he has totaled 41 points (20+21), including a stretch of 18 straight games (Nov. 16 to Dec. 21) that tied Gilbert Perreault (Oct. 24 to Dec. 4, 1971) for the most consecutive games played with a point in franchise history.
  • The streak was the NHL’s fifth-longest personal point streak in the last decade, trailing only Taylor Hall (26 in 2017-18), Patrick Kane (26 in 2015-16), Sidney Crosby (25 in 2010-11) and Patrick Kane (20 in 2018-19).

SETTING THE PACE

  • With 27 goals in 44 games so far this season, Jack Eichel is one goal from tying his previous best total set in the 2018-19 season (77 GP).
  • Eichel’s output through 45 team games currently has him on pace to finish the season with 50 goals and 107 points, which would be the highest goal and point totals by a Sabre since Pat LaFontaine (53+95) and Alexander Mogilny (76+51) in 1992-93.
  • LaFontaine (83 in 1992-93) and Mogilny (78 in 1992-93) are the only Sabres ever to have recorded more even-strength points in a season than the 74 Eichel is currently on pace for.
  • Sam Reinhart’s 15 goals in 45 games put him on pace for a career-high goal total (27).

POINTS IN BUNCHES

  • Jack Eichel has recorded 16 multi-point games this season, tying for 10th-most in the NHL after yesterday’s game.
  • Following yesterday’s game, his six multi-goal games tied for second-most in the league and his nine multi-assist games tied for sixth-most.
  • Eichel has already recorded at least three points seven times this season, topping his previous career-high total (6) set in the 2016-17 season. Only Connor McDavid (10), Leon Draisaitl (8) and David Pastrnak (8) had more games with at least three points this season after yesterday’s game.
  • Eichel’s three games with at least four points this season tied for third-most in the league after yesterday’s game. Since he entered the league in 2015-16, only nine players had totaled at least four points more times than Eichel’s eight: Nikita Kucherov (15), Patrick Kane (12), Connor McDavid (11), Johnny Gaudreau (9), Nathan MacKinnon (9), Brad Marchand (9), Alex Ovechkin (9), Artemi Panarin (9) and Steven Stamkos (9).

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings after yesterday’s game)

  • Eichel: 20 EVG (2nd), 27 G (T-3rd), 40 EVP (T-3rd), 5 GWG (T-6th), 58 PTS (8th)
  • Hutton: 2 SO (T-6th)
  • Olofsson: 9 PPG (T-3rd)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (134), Girgensons (72), McCabe (61)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (61), Ristolainen (51), Jokiharju (37)
Shots: Eichel (153), Skinner (128), Olofsson (99)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10: 8-1-1 (17), 38/24, 12/39, 23/30
11-20: 2-6-2 (6), 21/35, 2/26, 21/29
21-30: 3-4-3 (8), 34/34, 4/33, 23/32
31-40: 4-5-1 (9), 24/32, 4/23, 23/30
41-50: 2-3-0 (4), 14/21, 2/13, 9/12

OVERTIME RESULTS (4-6; 124-134 all-time)
Oct. 7 at CBJ: L, 4-3 (GWG-Texier, 2:08)
Oct. 9 vs. MTL: W, 5-4 (GWG-Johansson, 1:30)
Oct. 22 vs. SJS: W, 4-3 (GWG-Eichel, 3:13)
Nov. 14 vs. CAR: L, 5-4 (GWG-Hamilton, 2:28)
Nov. 27 vs. CGY: L, 3-2 (GWG-Lindholm, 1:17)
Nov. 30 at TOR: L, 2-1 (GWG-Tavares, 1:45)
Dec. 7 at VAN: L, 6-5 (GWG-Miller, 3:21)
Dec. 8 at EDM: W, 3-2 (GWG-Miller, 1:13)
Dec. 14 at NYI: L, 3-2 (GWG-Beauvillier, 3:04)
Jan. 2 vs. EDM: W, 3-2 (GWG-Eichel, 1:09)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (1-1; 76-70 all-time)
Oct. 11 vs. FLA: W, 3-2 (GDG-Eichel)
Oct. 28 vs. ARI: L, 3-2 (GDG-Schmaltz)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Linus Ullmark … 9 games … 100 career games played
Goals
Kyle Okposo … 9 goals … 200 career goals
Points
Kyle Okposo … 4 points … 500 career points
Zach Bogosian … 7 points … 200 career points
Johan Larsson … 9 points … 100 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Conor Sheary … 300th NHL game … Jan. 11 vs. VAN

Post-Game Report: 1/11 vs. Vancouver

Final Score

1st 2nd 3rd OT SO Final SOG
Canucks
(24-17-4)
1 1 4 6 35
Sabres
(19-19-7)
1 1 1 3 28

Game Summary

Event Summary

 

Top Notes

  • Sam Reinhart’s goal today gives him a tally in each of his last five contests against the Canucks. He has seven points (5+2) in those games and six points (3+3) in his last six games overall.
  • Rasmus Dahlin, who earned two primary assists today, now has at least one assist in each of his last three games (0+4). He also has four assists in three career games against the Canucks, marking his highest points-per-game rate against any NHL opponent.
  • Jack Eichel collected two assists to extend his point streak to six games (3+4).
  • With his goal today, Zemgus Girgensons now has a point in three straight games against the Canucks (2+1).
  • Rasmus Ristolainen recorded an assist on the Girgensons goal to give him nine assists in his last seven games against Vancouver, including at least one assist in each of those contests.

 

Today’s Goaltenders

Today’s Stats
Team Goaltender Decision GA SA
Canucks Markstrom W 3 28
Sabres Hutton L 5 34
Updated Season Stats
Team Goaltender Record SV% GAA
Canucks Markstrom 16-12-3 .914 2.81
Sabres Hutton 6-7-4 .892 3.34

 

Post-Game Audio

Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger

Sabres forward Sam Reinhart

Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour

Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton

Canucks head coach Travis Green

Canucks forward Brock Boeser

Canucks forward Bo Horvat

Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev

Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom