NOVEMBER 3 ROSTER MOVES


The Sabres have recalled defenseman Lawrence Pilut from the Rochester Americans (AHL) and placed defenseman Marco Scandella on injured reserve.

Goaltender Andrew Hammond will travel with the team for the 2019 NHL Global Series in Stockholm, Sweden.



  • Split time between Buffalo and Rochester (AHL) in his first North American season in 2018-19.
  • Totaled six points (1+5) in 33 NHL games and 26 points (4+22) in 30 AHL games in 2018-19. He led all AHL defensemen with more than five games played in points per game (.87).
  • Leads all Rochester defensemen and is tied for third on the team with .75 points per game so far in 2019-20.

Post-Game Report: 11/2 vs. NY Islanders

Final Score

1st 2nd 3rd OT SO Final SOG
Islanders
(10-3-0)
1 0 0 1 21
Sabres
(9-4-2)
0 0 0 0 27

Game Summary

Event Summary

 

Top Notes

  • With tonight’s loss, the Sabres have lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season.
  • The loss was Buffalo’s first regulation home loss this season, leaving Boston and Vancouver as the only teams not to lose a home game in regulation in 2019-20.
  • The Sabres were shut out for the first time since March 31 vs. Columbus.
  • Tonight’s game was the 50th 1-0 regular-season game in Sabres history. Buffalo is now 27-23 in those games, including two previous losses at home against the Islanders: Feb. 4 , 1990 and Dec. 31, 2002 (OT).
  • Carter Hutton made 20 saves on 21 shots, improving his save percentage to .928 while falling to 6-2-1 on the season.

 

Tonight’s Goaltenders

Tonight’s Stats
Team Goaltender Decision GA SA
Islanders
Varlamov W 0 27
Sabres Hutton L 1 21
Updated Season Stats
Team Goaltender Record SV% GAA
Islanders Varlamov 5-2-0 .929 2.14
Sabres Hutton 6-2-1 .928 2.09

 

Post-Game Audio

Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger

Sabres forward Jack Eichel

Sabres forward Marcus Johansson

Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz

Islanders forward Derick Brassard

Islanders forward Cole Bardreau

Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov

Game Preview: 11/2/19 vs. NY Islanders

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Friday, November 1
Buffalo 1 at Washington 6
Goals: Jokiharju
Goalie: Ullmark (28 saves/34 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 1/1; Shots: Washington 34 – Buffalo 30

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 61)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zach Bogosian (hip, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 14 games
Matt Hunwick (neck, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 14 games
Brandon Montour (hand, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 14 games
Marco Scandella (lower body, Oct. 25) – 3 games
Jimmy Vesey (upper body, Oct. 25) – 3 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
10/27: Recalled D William Borgen from Rochester (AHL)
10/29: Assigned D William Borgen from Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
Friday, Nov. 8: Tampa Bay at Buffalo (Stockholm, Sweden), 2 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 9: Buffalo at Tampa Bay (Stockholm, Sweden), 1 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 14: Carolina at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 16: Ottawa at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 17: Buffalo at Chicago, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
ISLANDERS at SABRES

  • This is the first of three meetings between the Sabres and Islanders this season.
  • Last meeting: New York defeated Buffalo 5-1 in New York on March 30.
  • Next meeting: Saturday, Dec. 14 in New York
  • The Sabres are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Islanders; 5-4-1 at home.
  • This is the 172nd game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 82-65-24 series record.
  • The Sabres are 46-28-12 at home against the Islanders all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 11-7-3 all-time on November 2.
  • November 2, 1984: Brent Peterson (1+3), Gilbert Perreault (1+2), Ric Seiling (1+2) and Phil Housley (0+3) all post three or more points in Buffalo’s 8-1 over Hartford at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium.
  • November 2, 1996: Dominik Hasek makes 32 saves and Patrick Roy stops all 20 Buffalo shots as the Sabres and Avalanche duel to the fifth scoreless tie in Sabres history.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres have scored the first goal in 10 of their 14 games so far this season, going 8-1-1 in those contests. The Washington Capitals are the only other NHL team that has scored first in 10 games this season.
  • The Sabres had the No. 3 power play in the league at the conclusion of last night’s game, converting on a league-high 14 of their 49 power plays this season (28.6%).
  • Buffalo’s penalty kill is 11-for-12 (91.7%) in the team’s last seven games against the Islanders.
  • Victor Olofsson was named the NHL Rookie of the Month for October after totaling 10 points (6+4) in 13 games.
  • After tonight’s game, the Sabres are off until Friday, when they play the first of two games in a back-to-back series against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Stockholm, Sweden as part of the 2019 NHL Global Series.

HOT AGAINST THE ISLANDERS

  • Jack Eichel has totaled eight points (2+6) in his six meetings with the Islanders since the beginning of the 2017-18 season, including four points (1+3) in three home games.
  • Colin Miller has recorded at least a point in each of his three games against the Islanders in the last two seasons, totaling four points (1+3) in those contests.
  • Kyle Okposo has tallied a point in each of his four home games against his former club since joining the Sabres (1+3).
  • Linus Ullmark is 3-1-0 in four career games against the Islanders with a .938 save percentage and a 1.75 goals-against average.

EICHEL’S FIRST 300
Jack Eichel played in his 300th NHL game last night at Washington. With 108 goals, 168 assists and 276 points through his first 300 career games…

  • Eichel has recorded the sixth-most points as a Sabre in his first 300 NHL games.
    • Leaders: Alexander Mogilny (354), Rick Martin (341), Gilbert Perreault (300), Pierre Turgeon (297) and Dave Andreychuk (292)
  • He has scored the 11th-most goals by a Sabre in his first 300 NHL games.
    • Leaders: Rick Martin (194), Alexander Mogilny (176), Danny Gare (146), Thomas Vanek (136), Dave Andreychuk (129), Donald Audette (127), Gilbert Perreault (119), Pierre Turgeon (116), John Tucker (111) and Rene Robert (110)
  • Only five Sabres have scored more even-strength goals though 300 NHL games than Eichel’s
    • Leaders: Rick Martin (131), Alexander Mogilny (117), Danny Gare (116), Rene Robert (100) and Dave Andreychuk (86).
    • Donald Audette, Gilbert Perreault and John Tucker each had 75 thorough 300 games.
  • Eichel has the sixth-most assists by a Sabre through 300 NHL games.
    • Leaders: Phil Housley (193), Gilbert Perreault (181), Pierre Turgeon (181), Christian Ruuttu (179) and Alexander Mogilny (178)
  • Only five players have recorded more multi-point games with the Sabres through their first 300 NHL games than Eichel’s 78: Alexander Mogilny (101), Rick Martin (96), Pierre Turgeon (87), Gilbert Perreault (82) and Rene Robert (79).

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

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

  • Buffalo Sabres: 9 W (T-2nd), 20 PTS (T-2nd), 28.6% PP% (3rd)
  • Dahlin: 7 PPA (T-3rd), 7 PPP (T-10th)
  • Eichel: 1 OTG (T-1st), 9 PPP (3rd), 267 FO (T-3rd), 4 PPG (T-6th), 17 PTS (T-8th), 127 FOW (T-9th)
  • Hutton: 2 SO (T-1st), 6 W (T-5th),.926 SV% (7th), 2.21 GAA (8th)
  • Johansson: 1 OTG (T-1st)
  • McCabe: 35 BkS (T-1st)
  • Olofsson: 6 PPG (T-3rd), 8 PPP (T-4th)
  • Skinner: 55 S (4th)
  • Ullmark: 1 SO (T-5th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (42), McCabe (29), Sobotka (26)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (35), Ristolainen (21), Jokiharju (16)
Shots: Skinner (55), Eichel (47), Reinhart (30)

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: 1-2-1 (3), 7/15, 2/10, 9/10

OVERTIME RESULTS (2-1; 122-129 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)

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
Casey Mittelstadt … 3 games … 100 career games played
Carter Hutton … 4 games … 200 career games played
Rasmus Dahlin … 4 games … 100 career games played
Goals
Sam Reinhart … 9 goals … 100 career goals
Points
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 point … 200 career points
Jimmy Vesey … 8 points … 100 career points
Kyle Okposo … 8 points … 500 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Jack Eichel … 300th NHL game … Nov. 1 at WSH

Game Preview: 11/1/19 at Washington

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Monday, October 28
Arizona 3 at Buffalo 2 (SO)
Goals: Eichel, Skinner
Goalie: Hutton (42 saves/44 shots)
PP: 1/2; PK: 1/2; Shots: Arizona 44 – Buffalo 26

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 56)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zach Bogosian (hip, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 13 games
Matt Hunwick (neck, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 13 games
Brandon Montour (hand, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 13 games
Marco Scandella (lower body, Oct. 25) – 2 games
Jimmy Vesey (upper body, Oct. 25) – 2 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
10/26: Assigned D William Borgen from Rochester (AHL)
10/27: Recalled D William Borgen from Rochester (AHL)
10/29: Assigned D William Borgen from Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
Saturday, Nov. 2: NY Islanders at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 8: Tampa Bay at Buffalo (Stockholm, Sweden), 2 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 9: Buffalo at Tampa Bay (Stockholm, Sweden), 1 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 14: Carolina at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 16: Ottawa at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at CAPITALS

  • This is the first of three meetings between the Sabres and Capitals this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Washington 5-2 in Buffalo on Feb. 23
  • Next meeting: Monday, March 9 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 3-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Capitals; 2-6-2 on the road.
  • This is the 162nd game all-time between Buffalo and Washington; Buffalo has an 89-51-21 series record.
  • The Sabres are 41-28-12 on the road against the Capitals all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 11-6-3 all-time on November 1.
  • November 1, 1981: Bob Sauve stops 37 shots and Tony McKegney scores twice in a 6-2 victory over the Flyers at the Aud.
  • November 1, 2008: Ryan Miller earns his eighth NHL shutout and Thomas Vanek scores twice as the Sabres defeat the Capitals 5-0 at home.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres have scored the first goal in 10 of their 13 games so far this season, going 8-1-1 in those contests. Entering play Thursday, no other NHL team had scored first in 10 games this season.
  • The Sabres have the No. 2 power play in the league, converting on a league-high 14 of their 47 power plays this season (29.8%).
  • Jimmy Vesey has totaled six points (3+3) in his last six games against the Capitals, including points in each of his last three visits to Washington (2+2).
  • Marcus Johansson has recorded at least a point in each of his last four games against the Capitals (2+3).
  • Rasmus Dahlin recorded four points (2+2) in three meetings with Washington as a rookie last season.
  • Sam Reinhart has totaled seven points (4+3) in his last five games against the Capitals.
  • Jack Eichel has posted four points (2+2) in four career visits to Washington.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen enters tonight’s game with an assist in each of his last three games against the Capitals.
  • Buffalo was perfect on the penalty kill in their three matchups with the Capitals last season, killing all 10 Washington power plays in those contests.

EICHEL’S FIRST 300
Jack Eichel is expected to play in his 300th NHL game tonight. With 108 goals, 168 assists and 276 points through his first 299 career games…

  • Eichel has already recorded the sixth-most points as a Sabre in his first 300 NHL games.
    • Leaders: Alexander Mogilny (354), Rick Martin (341), Gilbert Perreault (300), Pierre Turgeon (297) and Dave Andreychuk (292)
  • He has scored the 11th-most goals by a Sabre in his first 300 NHL games.
    • Leaders: Rick Martin (194), Alexander Mogilny (176), Danny Gare (146), Thomas Vanek (136), Dave Andreychuk (129), Donald Audette (127), Gilbert Perreault (119), Pierre Turgeon (116), John Tucker (111) and Rene Robert (110)
  • Only five Sabres have scored more even-strength goals though 300 NHL games than Eichel’s current total of 75.
    • Leaders: Rick Martin (131), Alexander Mogilny (117), Danny Gare (116), Rene Robert (100) and Dave Andreychuk (86).
    • Donald Audette, Gilbert Perreault and John Tucker each had 75 thorough 300 games.
  • Eichel has the sixth-most assists by a Sabre through 300 NHL games.
    • Leaders: Phil Housley (193), Gilbert Perreault (181), Pierre Turgeon (181), Christian Ruuttu (179) and Alexander Mogilny (178)
  • Only five players have recorded more multi-point games with the Sabres through their first 300 NHL games than Eichel’s 78 through 299: Alexander Mogilny (101), Rick Martin (96), Pierre Turgeon (87), Gilbert Perreault (82) and Rene Robert (79).

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game opens up Buffalo’s third of 14 sets of back-to-back games this season, which continues tomorrow night vs. NY Islanders. The Sabres are 0-2-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 2-0-0 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets is: four points (0), three points (0), two points (2), one point (0) and zero points (0).

A STRONG START

  • The Sabres finished October with a 9-2-2 record. It marked the franchise’s second-highest point total in the opening month of a season, trailing only the team’s 21-point output in October 2006 (10-0-1).
  • Buffalo’s plus-11 goal differential in October tied as their fifth-best in a season-opening month and was the best since October 2006 (plus-25).
  • Carter Hutton (2) and Linus Ullmark (1) combined for three shutouts through Buffalo’s 13 games in October. It is the first time in franchise history that the Sabres have posted three shutouts in the first month of the season.
  • The Sabres’ points percentage of .769 after the opening month ranked October 2019 in the franchise’s top five starts to a season.

Best Points Percentage Through First Month of Season

Season GP Record PTS PTS%
2006-07 11 10-0-1 21 .954
1975-76 10 8-1-1 17 .850
1972-73 10 6-0-4 16 .800
2009-10 11 8-2-1 17 .773
2019-20 13 9-2-2 20 .769

VIC-O MODE

  • All six of Victor Olofsson’s goals this season have come on the power play, tying for third-most in the league entering play Thursday. He also led all rookies in goals (6), tied to lead all rookies in points (10), and led rookie forwards in ice time per game (17:27).
  • Entering play Sunday, only James Neal had scored more power-play goals than Olofsson’s eight in 19 games played since he made his NHL debut on March 28, 2019 vs. Detroit. He has set an NHL record by becoming the first player in NHL history to score each of his first seven-plus career goals with a man advantage.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 10/31 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 9 W (T-1st), 29.8% PP% (2nd), 20 PTS (T-2nd)
  • Dahlin: 7 PPA (T-3rd), 7 PPP (T-7th)
  • Eichel: 1 OTG (T-1st), 9 PPP (3rd), 250 FO (6th), 4 PPG (T-6th), 17 PTS (T-8th), 7 G (T-9th)
  • Hutton: 2 SO (T-1st), 6 W (T-4th), 2.21 GAA (8th), .926 SV% (10th)
  • Johansson: 1 OTG (T-1st)
  • McCabe: 34 BkS (T-1st)
  • Olofsson: 6 PPG (T-3rd), 8 PPP (T-4th)
  • Skinner: 52 S (T-5th), 7 G (T-9th)
  • Ullmark: .932 SV% (6th), 1 SO (T-4th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (40), McCabe (28), Miller/Sobotka (25)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (34), Ristolainen (19), Jokiharju (15)
Shots: Skinner (52), Eichel (43), Reinhart (29)

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: 1-1-1 (3), 6/9, 2/8, 8/9

OVERTIME RESULTS (2-1; 122-129 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)

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
Jack Eichel … 1 game … 300 career games played
Carter Hutton … 4 games … 200 career games played
Casey Mittelstadt … 4 games … 100 career games played
Rasmus Dahlin … 5 games … 100 career games played
Goals
Sam Reinhart … 9 goals … 100 career goals
Points
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 point … 200 career points
Jimmy Vesey … 8 points … 100 career points
Kyle Okposo … 8 points … 500 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

Ralph Krueger Interview – Howard & Jeremy (10/30/19)

October 30, 2019

Ralph Krueger
Howard & Jeremy (8 a.m)
https://wgr550.radio.com/media/audio-channel/10-30-sabres-head-coach-ralph-krueger-howard-and-sal (15:19)

Howard Simon: And we are joined by the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres on our West Herr Hotline. Ralph, it’s Howard and Sal in this morning for Jeremy. Thanks for coming on with us. Good morning, sir.

Ralph Krueger: Good morning. How is everybody?

HS: You’re 9-2-2, Ralph. You keep this up, I’m in a good mood, you know? It’s a very simple formula: you win, talk show hosts are happy. It’s really very simple.

RK: Yeah, no, we’ve had a good month. It was a month of confirmation how we want to play and a month of learning and growing and now it’s important that we continue on that path. Small picture, try and get better every day, but definitely pleased with the effort thus far in October, that’s for sure.

HS: You mention confirmation, maybe that’s a good place to start. Jason Botterill was on our station the other day with our afternoon guys, Ralph, and their first question was, it was funny, it’s simple, but sure, they said, ‘Is your team good?’ And basically, ‘How can you tell?’ So I thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to ask the head coach that.’ Is your team good? At night when you’re alone with your thoughts and you think, ‘Huh, you know what, these guys are good,’ how would you be able to tell from a coaching standpoint if your team is good?

RK: Well we would have to define ‘good,’ first of all. For me it begins with the commitment to a plan and the buy-in that the team brings because a good team for me is a team that’s playing and working towards its potential, whatever that potential may be. We’re still, certainly, too early into the season to understand or to see what the potential is. I think when you’re 20, 25 games in you’ve got a better read than now, but we’re on the right track to be able to assess that. I would say that the commitment’s outstanding, the attitude here since Sept. 13 from the first ice practice through to everything we’re doing on and off the ice, the way the communication needs to happen in a good team environment, it’s all there. So we’re excited, we’re having fun, this group is hungry to continue to improve and with that focus — for my definition of good — I would have to give you a check mark there.

Sal Capaccio: Coach, your team has played 13 games only, what, five teams in the league have played as many games. How do you think that’s impacted them as a group and how do you have to massage things as far as practice, their schedule and things like that?

RK: Well 13 (games) in 24 (days) to start the season, we all looked at that with some serious respect and were wondering how we were going to manage that. I’m so pleased with the work off the ice the that players have been doing and how we’ve been able to leave out quite a few normal ice practices, whether it’s on pregame days or other days where we need to do things off ice to keep our minds and bodies fresh. We learned how to manage that. We knew it was coming at us, and we know it’s coming at us again after the Sweden trip. I thought the group has managed it very well, the energy and the focus. To be able to win twice off back-to-backs in tough situations in San Jose and in Detroit, there’s a lot of things you have to like with how we were able to handle the pace. And now, with four games in a longer stretch of time, we have a different challenge and it’s a challenge of remaining focused and staying on topic. I believe the extra spaces that we have now between games will help to really bring a lot of energy into them. You know with this first stretch of 13 in 24, we have to be pleased with the constant and continuous effort of the guys.

HS: You have — you mentioned the stretch you’re in now, so you got like two games in 11 days I think it is before you go and play the two games in Sweden. How do you approach this? Do you have lots of practice time? Do you look at it as a mini training camp? What do you do when you have a very small number of games in a two-week stretch?

RK: Well above all we’re able to do a little bit more lifting off the ice because the power lifting that we’re doing in the gym and our high performance team loves this kind of a space so we can add some strength to what will be a hard run through November into December. I think that that’s one of the major opportunities we have. On the ice, we’re going to continue to keep the picture small. Today we’re coming off a day off, which has been rare and it’s important that we work on some fundamentals. And with the back-to-back coming at us this weekend, there’s not really a lull until you get into Sweden. But, yeah, the practice times will be wonderful for us to be able to work on some systems and concepts, principles. We’ll be able to get some of our — we’re looking at Brandon Montour re-entering into the team. [Marco] Scandella should be back in the next few games. We’re going to have some increased competition, whether it’s on defense or up front, we continue to have a tight competition for the role. So lots of good things to work on, but overall I would say the most opportunity will be off ice, actually, to increase our strength and fitness and some of the preventative work we’re doing there.

HS: I was thinking about what to do with my free nights since there aren’t as many Sabre games to watch, Ralph. Power lifting was not on the list, but I’ll take it under advisement. 

RK: It’s an opportunity.

HS: Yeah sure, unless lifting donuts is considered power lifting, then yeah, just check that box.

HS: I did want to ask you about injuries. Scandella and [Jimmy] Vesey, let’s start there. What’s going on with both of them at this point?

RK: Well there’s re-entry here and both — Vesey for sure is very close to re-entering here and I would say Scandella is still a few days away. But we’re happy with the progression. They’re both short term. Once again, getting a full healthy group back helps us a lot with what’s coming up in November.

HS: And you mentioned Montour. Would he be ready to play this weekend?

RK: Brandon is close, so we’ll see how the next few days go and we’ll make a call on that on Friday.

SC: Once that happens you are going to have, you know, you have a plethora or defensemen you can chose from. You just talked about competition. How does that manifest itself? Is it practice? Is it game performance as you go? I don’t know, power lifting? Who can squat more? I don’t know, Coach. How does it manifest itself through that competition?

RK: Well it’s always multiple factors that come into effect. I mean, for sure you look at the pairings and/or lines, the way they need to be put together and the roles that we need to fill during the game. Individual performances will always be the major factor. We want to get the best possible squad together for the game and for the team, the opposition that we’re playing will play into it. I would say there’s multiple factors that come together, but usually it’s pretty clear on a day-to-day basis in the end with the group that we think, the 20 players that we need to give ourselves the best chance to win on the day is what we’ll be doing.

 

HS: There’s some guys I want to ask you about, Ralph. Let’s start with Rasmus Dahlin. Could you give us your opinion, your assessment of his play from center ice back into your zone at this point?

RK: Well I mean that’s a pretty detailed assessment because there’s a lot of things happening in our half of the ice. There’s the game with and there’s the game without the puck and we’re — you know, he’s a very young defenseman, is continuing to prime how he, the best path for him to bring his amazing skill set into the game. He’s committed to playing defense, he’s committed to finding his work. Steve Smith works with him on a daily basis in a very positive environment. He’s a motivated kid that, with the puck, we all see the opportunity there and he launches a lot of really good transition in our game. He’ll jump into the play the way we like our D to do when we do gain possession. But on both sides of the puck I can say improvement is a word that comes out every day. Weekly to weekly we’re excited with what we’re seeing and above all I always speak about the person he is and the coachability we feel that we have working together with him. I’ll say he’s a fun kid to work with and there’s still a lot of improvement, which we all know for a 19-year-old, and it’s going to be good to see that continue to grow.

HS: He had a rough night in New York the other night and I was curious, the last couple of game you’ve had him with [Henri] Jokiharju. I was wondering, Jokiharju’s played really well, but he’s a young defenseman too. Can you give any insight into when you’re trying to figure out what to do, or your defense pairings, why Dahlin with Jokiharju at that point? Because it’s worked out fine.

RK: I mean we had a rough night as a team in New York and, again, important was that we rebounded and answered the bell in Detroit. But [Jokiharju] has been a very positive surprise in this season thus far. He’s an excellent two-way defenseman. He also is able to make a play under pressure and is extremely committed to his work without the puck and defensively. You can see that he’s got a little more experience under his belt, but, you know, together the two of them have been exciting to watch. We’ll be moving in and out of different pairs and different lines through the season, nothing is set in stone. At the moment, we felt [Jokiharju] was the right partner, but we’ll reassess that as we head towards Washington.

SC: Can you just talk about your goaltending a little bit, what you think you’ve gotten from both Carter [Hutton] and Linus [Ullmark]?

RK: Well, first of all, they’re an excellent duo. They’re cheering for each other when they’re not playing, which helps a lot. The spirit in the team in all the different areas has been really high. The performance has been outstanding. They’re giving us a chance to win every night. Maybe there was a lot of people looking at [the goals allowed] the other night, but you had to look at [Hutton] giving us a chance to win that game. We had multiple chances against Arizona to, first of all, pull away from them and then even when the game was tight to actually win it because of the goaltending performance we got. And that’s what they do for us on a daily basis; they give us a chance to win, they’ve been solid, they’ve really worked the puck well too, which helps on our offensive breakouts out of the zone. Mike Bales has done an excellent job there with the goalies and that’s definitely a good duo, which is what you need in the NHL today.

SC: Coach, you know, Saturday is ‘70s night down at KeyBank Center, right? You’ve got anything, you going to be behind the bench in some sort of getup? Some disco wear or something?

HS: Leisure suit. I’m calling for a leisure suit.

SC: Bell bottoms? What are you doing?

RK: Well I have to say that I didn’t know that until now, so that’s proof that I’m living in the day. Today my day started with an hour with the coaches, then I get to have some fun with you guys for a stretch and we’ll deal with Saturday when it comes. I definitely love the ‘70s music, and that’s great information because that’s a decade that I grew up in. Not too many of our listeners probably can say that. Thanks for that heads up, guys, I’ll try to come up with something.

SC: I’ll be expecting the John Travolta, Saturday Night [Fever]. The walk into the arena.

HS: The white leisure suit?

SC: The walk into the arena, that’s all we’re asking. We can get a little footage of that.

RK: I do remember wearing some very wide bottom pants with stripes down them in the ‘70s. I better not pull those out for the game. I think the generation of players I’m coaching now might have a little problem with that, although I do know they love listening to ‘70s music here. That’s very comforting that this generation has also understood the depths of the music of that era.

 

HS: Now you guys, do you guys have a ‘Gloria,’ like the equivalent of the Blues win a game and they play ‘Gloria’ in the locker room? Do you have a song after wins?

RK: You know what, I can’t even — they’ve been playing with a few different options there. They were looking for something new this year. So I’ll let you guys know next week when I identify what that is.

HS: I heard after one of your wins, I heard Bachman Turner Overdrive ‘Taking Care of Business’ and I honestly thought, ‘I wonder if that’s like their song now.’

RK: Yeah I mean BTO’s also from Winnipeg, my hometown. So yeah, I saw them multiple times growing up as a kid. It would definitely be a good band with Jason Botterill coming from Winnipeg too, why not?

HS: Hey before we let you go, somebody tweeted and asked us to ask you if your book is available in English?

RK: No, actually in that day I was living in the German-French world, so it’s available in German and French. I don’t know how many copies there are out there. But, no, it is not available in English.

HS: You might say get a few copies sold to Sabre fans if someone can translate it.

SC: Google Translate, folks. Google Translate. We’re okay, we have the internet these days.

HS: Ralph thanks for coming on with us. Congratulations on the start and continued success.

RK: Okay, thank you and have a good weekend, and to all Sabres fans, let’s enjoy the Washington, New York Islanders game coming up and the ‘70s Night here on Saturday.