sabresThe Buffalo Sabres took down the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday night, winning 4-1. Michal Neuvirth made 45 saves in goal for Buffalo. It was his 6th straight start where he has gone 2-2-2 with a 1.83 gaa. Cody Hodgson, Zemgus Girgensons, Mark Pysyk and Chris Stewart all scored for Buffalo. The Blue Jackets threw Anton Forsberg in goal who was 0-3 heading in. The first couple goals allowed were horrendous. The Sabres took a 4-2 lead into the 3rd period and hung on as Neuvirth stopped all 18 shots in the final frame.

SHOTS ON GOAL

Period

SAB  bjacks 

1

9 13
2 18

16

3 4

18

Total

31

47

Hodgson’s goal came at 9:30 in the first and was a simple back handed shot from the outside of the left-hand faceoff circle. It could have been mistaken for a pass. Either way Forsberg mishandled the puck and it trickled through his pads. It was Hodgson’s first goal in his last twenty-eight games played. Zemgus Girgensons added a short-handed goal just over five minutes later, becoming the first Sabres player to record 3 in a season since 2007-08. Once again Forsberg was caught napping. Girgensons chased down a loose puck trickling into the Blue Jackets zone, as did Forsberg. Seeing that Girgensons had more steam the net-minder tried to move back between the pipes but tripped over himself. Girgensons made it look all too easy.

Columbus would pull within a goal early in the 2nd period when Matt Calvert (10) scored at 1:18. The Sabres responded quickly though. Recent Rochester Amerks call-up Mark Pysyk buried a wrist shot less than a minute later to give the Sabres their 2 goal lead back. The Blue Jackets started to unravel a bit taking some undisciplined penalties. Buffalo capitalized on David Savard’s hooking call when Chris Stewart blasted a puck past Forsberg. Girgensons drew the assist after winning the face-off.

The Blue Jackets scored another goal at 7:24 of the 2nd, Kevin Connauton (8) scored at even strength but that was as close as they would come to tying the score. Buffalo outshot Columbus 18-16 in period 2. They did however lose Girgensons while killing off a Jackets power play. The Buffalo forward took a puck off the right ankle and did not return. His status is unknown but Coach Ted Nolan said after the game that it could be season -ending. Tyler Ennis also left at the end of the 2nd period with a lower-body injury and miss a week.

Both players will be reevaluated when they return Wednesday. The Sabres play Thursday night at the First Niagara Center when they host the Vancouver Canucks. Ryan Miller will not be on the trip as he was injured in a game Tuesday. He very well could be out for the rest of the season.

@wolf3328

We did our own “Must Follows on Twitter” Buffalo style and this is what we came up with:

Buffalo Bills Coverage

MUST FOLLOW

Buffalo Bills PR – Buffalo Bills – @BuffaloBillsPR

Vic Carucci – Buffalo News – @viccarucci

Joe Buscaglia – WGR – @JoeBuscaglia

John Warrow – AP – @john_wawrow

Chris Brown – Buffalo Bills – @ChrisBrown Bills

SHOULD FOLLOW

John Murphy – WGR – @JohnMurphyShow

Mark Ludwiczak – Bills Digest – @MarkLud12

Sal Maiorana – Rochester D&C – @salmaiorana

Mike Rodak – ESPN – @mikerodak  (although from New England and a diehard Pats fan)

FUN FOLLOW

Del Reid – Leader of the Bills Mafia – @mrdeadlier

Ryan Talbot – Bills Blogger – @ScoutBills

Patrick Moran – Mix96 – @PatMoranMix96

Derek Kramer – Bills Blogger – @DerekKramer49

Buffalo Sabres Coverage

MUST FOLLOW

Buffalo Sabres PR – Buffalo Sabres – @SabresPR

John Vogl – Buffalo News – @BuffNewsVogl

Mike Harrington – Buffalo News – @BNHarrington

Paul Hamilton – WGR – @pham1717

Kris Baker – Sabres Prospects – @SabresProspects

SHOULD FOLLOW

Joe Yerdon – NHL.com – @JoeYerdon

Bill Hoppe – Olean Times Herald – @BillHoppeNHL

Chris Ryndak – Buffalo Sabres – @chrisryndak

Garth – HockeyBuzz – @HockeyBuzzGarth

FUN FOLLOW

Sabres Hockey Central – Sabres Blog – @SHCdotcom

Die By the Blade – Sabres Blog – @diebytheblade

Fromthe300Level – Sabres Blog – @fromthe300level

SabreNoise – Sabres Blog – @sabrenoise

Buffalo Bisons

Mike Buczkowski – Bisons GM – @BuffaloBisonsGM

Pat Malacaro _ WGR – @PatWGR

Amy Moritz – Buffalo News – @amymoritz

Buffalo Bandits

Rich Gaenzler – 1270 the Fan – @Rich1270TheFan

Dave Buchanan – WGR – @FastTrack550

Budd Bailey – Buffalo News – @WDX2BB

Local College

Mark Gaughan – Buffalo News – @gggaughan

Bob DiCesare – Buffalo News – @tbndicesare

Nick Veronica – Buffalo News – @NickVeronica

Mike Meiler – Niagara Gazette – @mikemeiler

Tom Dinki – UB Spectrum – @tomdinki

Area High Schools

Dave Ricci – Ken Ton Courier – @davericci

Keith McShea – Buffalo News – @KeithMcSheaBN

Michael Mroziak – Niagara Gazette – @MrozGazette

Miguel Rodriguez – Buffalo News – @miggyrod33

Tony Caligiuri – WBEN – @tony10764

Marshall Haim – fromthe300level – @mhain1934

Francis Boeck – fromthe300level – @fb98ke75

Chad Andrews – View From Centercourt – @centercourt42

Melissa Brawdy – WNY Community Papers – @MelissaBrawdy

Worthy Local Follows    (Not in any particular order)

Tim Graham – Buffalo News – @ByTimGraham

Nick Mendola – AP – @NicholasMendola

The Jickster – 97Rock – @DJJickster

Jeremy White – WGR – @JeremyWGR

Lauren Hall – Ch. 4 – @laurenmariehall

Sal Capaccio – WGR – @SalSports

Andrew Meyer – WIVB – @AndrewTRW

Andrew Kulyk – ArtVoice – @akulykUSRT

Craig Kanalley – Buffalo Sabres SMM – @ckanal

Greg Bauch – Local Comedian – @gregorybauch

Jay Skurski – Buffalo News – @JaySkurski

James Fink – Buffalo Business First – @BfloBizJimFink

Monte Perez – The Sports Whisperer – @montejtwitter11

Brian Wolf – Wolf’s Den Sports – @BWolf300

The Herd Report – The Herd Report – @TheHerdReport

There are many other worthy follow’s out there that represent the 716 well and are very informative and funny. Those mentioned above have been known to engage with their followers which is why they were listed not to mention the fact they are pretty active in social media. We’ve forgotten a bunch and there are so many more worth while people to follow.

None of the above bought us a drink. Heck, most of them don’t know who we are or even follow us. We just think they do a pretty good job on Twitter and that is why they are mentioned. Follow whoever you want. Just don’t buy them!

Are we missing someone, please comment and we’ll be sure to investigate.

@wolf3328

ortizEntering the 2015 season, the MLB’s all-time leader in hits by a Designated Hitter and beloved Boston icon David Ortiz sits at 466 career home runs. The question has been asked multiple times; can Big Papi join the 500 HR club in 2015?

It’s pretty simple, Ortiz will need to hit at least 34 home runs in 2015 to join the prestigious group. It is without any question that it is within the slugger’s capabilities. After injuries began to slow him in late 2011 and throughout all of 2012, many began to think that Ortiz’ career may have been over. However, Ortiz silenced all of his critics by hitting 30 homers in 2013 and 35 more in 2014.

At 39 years of age, the DH has shown no signs of slowing down. To join one of the MLB’s most elite clubs, he merely has to do again this year what he’s done in almost every season since he joined Boston in 2003, be a great hitter.

Some people still question whether or not Ortiz is deserving of the Hall of Fame, mainly because of his being a DH. But, if he can reach 500 home runs in 2015, Ortiz’ spot in the Hall of Fame and MLB history will be even further cemented.

@Flat_Manigen74

 

 

courtesy of motorsport.com

courtesy of motorsport.com

In all seriousness this can’t be proved but the way Jeff Gordon finished in Sunday’s 57th running of the Daytona 500, I felt for sure “the Intimidator” came to pay a tribute to his longtime adversary. He didn’t mean to wreck him, just rattle his cage a little.

During the final lap of the 500, Austin Dillon piloting the No. 3 car made famous by Dale Sr., tapped the driver side rear quarter panel of the 24 machine turning it sideways towards the wall and a 33rd place finish. Gordon wasn’t really in a position to win at the point of contact but who am I to make that determination. He had a great car for much of the day, led the most laps but when the chips were pushed to the center of the table, he was holding a pair of seven’s. daytonaEventual race winner Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Clint Bowyer and a host of others were well ahead of the four-time champion.

The history between Earnhardt and Gordon is clear, they had a mutual respect for one another. Dubbed “Wonder Boy” by Dale Sr. twenty-three years ago, Gordon was like a sponge when the cagey veteran spoke, not just about racing either, about business and growing his brand. Gordon owes a lot of his off the track successes to Earnhardt.

Fourteen years after his death (always feels like yesterday) Dale Sr., still has a merchandise hauler at every track on race weekends. The customers are usually four and five deep, still purchasing Earnhardt’s likeness on shirts, hats and beer koozies. I’ve bought a few items on occasion, helps me remember him. I was a Gordon fan growing up, he lured me into the sport back in 1993. Dale Sr., not so much, he was like the New York Yankees to me (Die-Hard Red Sox fan). Still, I can’t help but have a soft-spot in my heart for Dale Sr., as gruff as he was, he was always a gentleman and a generous man. He didn’t want us to know about his charity deeds, to which there are many accounts. My favorite story of Dale Sr., is one I’ve heard from different sports writers who covered him is that of an autograph session one race weekend. It was a cold morning, one woman in particular who had been waiting in line for what seemed like hours, patiently waited, noticeably shivering. Earnhardt asked the woman her name so he can properly address his signature. She said to him, this was for her husband. Dale Sr., signed the item for him, but then took off his Intimidator jacket and said, “This is for you.” That’s a class act right there.

There is something different though about pulling for or against a driver in motorsports. There are so many different personalities but each character has a great story to him. Earnhardt and Gordon are no different. They will be forever linked as two of the greatest drivers in not just NASCAR but in Motorsports in general. You could pull for Gordon against Earnhardt all race day or vice versa, and talk about the daring, calculated race winning moves with rival fans afterwards over a cold beer, or Pepsi.

That’s what is so great about this sport. Fans don’t generally look to knock you out for wearing a Kyle Busch hat like they may if you were to say, wear a Dallas Cowboys jersey at a Philadelphia Eagles home game. Fans bicker over drivers but they rarely let things go too far. I see husband and wives enter the gates wearing different driver’s gear all the time. For all the races I’ve been too I’ve never seen a fight let alone a beer bottle get tossed. Of course I’ve never been to Talladega either but I’ll cross that bridge soon enough. Friendly back and forth banter, it helps with the walk towards the gate entrances.sr smile

I’ve never had more fun walking into races sporting a Gordon hat while walking through the waves of Dale Sr. fans. Not once did I feel intimidated by the legion of his fans. The racing on the track between Gordon and Earnhardt Sr. are what pulled me in as a fan. It was like watching one legend pass the torch to the next. Much like we’ve seen Gordon do with Johnson and maybe he’ll now do with Logano.

On Sunday, believe what you want, but I don’t think it was coincidence that these two cars hooked up on Sunday at the end. Even as a Gordon fan I had a little grin watching the replay over and over and couldn’t help but recall that famous Earnhardt smile. We miss you Dale. I had a feeling you’d be there to watch your student run his last Daytona, I’m glad you did.

P.S. Get Well Steve Byrnes!

@wolf3328

sabres

Buffalo, NY – The Sabres fell to the Predators 2-1 Sunday via the shoot-out in front of a sold out crowd at the First Niagara Center. Despite being out-shot 38-17, Buffalo kept the game close thanks in large part to the stellar goaltending of Michal Neuvirth. Neuvirth stopped everything the Preds threw at him and then some.

“He’s fantastic and has been keeping us in it” Tyler Ennis commented after the game. Neuvirth is now 1-2-2 since taking over as the team’s number one goaltender. He allowed two of the four shoot-out attempts he faced but was the sole reason Buffalo had a chance to win.

gio preds PG

Brian Gionta PG

Buffalo jumped out to a 1-0 lead late in the 2nd period when Zemgus Girgensons made a sweet pass to Ennis who was cruising into the Preds zone unaccounted for. He put a nice deke on back-up goaltender Carter Hutton for his 15th of the season. Nashville then took an undisciplined penalty at the end of period 2 giving Buffalo the man advantage heading into the third.

Buffalo took it to Nashville early in the third and had some good scoring oportunities but failed to capitalize while on the man advantage. Then it was their turn to take an undisciplined penalty. With a scrum breaking out in front of Neuvirth between Torrey Mitchell and Colin Wilson, Zach Bogosian decided to enter the fracas. Picking up a double minor leaving Buffalo short-handed. “Zach can’t take that penalty” Coach Ted Nolan said during his post-game press conference. “A player has to know the score, the period and those things, I know he wants to get in there.”

Just under two minutes later Mike Ribiero tied the game taking some of the energy out of the building. There were “Let’s Go Buffalo” chants heard throughout the arena, the fans certainly weren’t embracing the tank on this night or so it seemed. Good for them, good for the players. They battled hard against the cream of the crop.

Buffalo had a 4-2 edge in shots in the OT.

sabs preds

300 Level

To Nashville’s credit they were coming off a 3-2 loss last night against Philadelphia (shoot-out). They peppered Buffalo in the first 2 periods and found themselves on the man advantage five times in that span. The Sabres special teams were called upon often, a total of 10 power plays for Nashville and they converted when they needed to.

Buffalo was not so successful on the power play going 0-5. Cody Hodgson had a total of 4:48 minutes of ice. He had one shift in the third period. Johan Larsson who has been up with the club for the better part of a week did get bumped from the 4th to the 3rd line midway through the 2nd period and managed to create some chances. We’ll see if Nolan rewards him Monday night in Columbus.

murray

He’ll Trade You!

Nikita Zadorov was a healthy scratch due to a team violation, his 2nd of the season. If you are keeping score on him you may want to note that he reported to camp twenty-five pounds overweight, was benched at the Traverse City Tournament, then after the All-Star break missed a team meeting.  Apparently he was late to another meeting this morning that led to his seat in the press box. Don’t be surprised if the Sabres have his bags packed for Colorado in the morning. GM Tim Murray looked none too pleased and it had nothing to do with the team in 30th place.

Torrey Mitchell won twelve face-off’s leading all players and is still a hot commodity among NHL GM’s. Mark Pysyk and Jake McCabe were summoned this morning to get their butt’s to Western New York. Each played well. Pysyk saw 16:51 of ice and saw minutes on the penalty kill. McCabe registered three hits. Both players could stay up for a while as Josh Gorges will be sidelined for the remainder of the season and Mike Weber is expected to miss up to three weeks.

As mentioned above next game for Buffalo is Tuesday night against the Blue Jackets. Columbus beat Buffalo earlier in the season 3-1. The Sabres return home Thursday night to face the Vancouver Canucks and potentially Ryan Miller who returns to Buffalo for the first time as an opponent. Miller however was caught up in a collision Sunday with a teammate in a game with the New York Islanders. “I never want to say anything right after,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said after the game Sunday. “We want to make sure we evaluate it right.”

TEAM STATS

Category

Buffalo

Nashville

Hits 31

12

Faceoff Wins

25 36

Blocked Shots

23

10

Giveaways 9

6

Penalty Minutes

20

10

Power Plays

0-3

1-7

 

Shots on Goal

Teams

Buffalo Nashville

Period 1

3 11
Period 2 4

15

Period 3

6 10
OT 4

2

Total

17

38

 

@wolf3328

Buffalo, NY - The Sabres returned home late Thursday after a big win over the Flyers, courtesy of a shootout goal by Brian Flynn. sabresThey don’t have much time to celebrate the rare victory however, the NY Rangers just pulled into the gate, one day after losing to the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 (SO). Currently in 2nd place of the Metropolitan Division, New York certainly won’t be taking Buffalo lightly as they need to try and distance themselves from the Washington Capitals who have been hot as of late. They are tied in the standings with 74 points.

nashThe Rangers are 7-1-2 in their last ten games played. They beat Buffalo 6-1 back on Jan. 3rd. Rick Nash has returned to his old goal-scoring form this season, registering 36 so far, just 2 shy of the league lead (Ovechkin 38). Nash was signed by the Rangers before the 2013-14 season and the deal is really starting to pay off. Last season the Rangers made it to the Stanley Cup finals and Nash wasn’t particularly the reason why. In fact he was relegated to the 3rd line during much of the post season run.

Brian Gionta notched his 500th career point last night in Philadelphia while Torrey Mitchell hit the 100 point plateau. The Sabres will start Anders Lindback tonight in goal, which will be his first start since being acquired from Dallas. Buffalo is 11-17-2 at home this season. Still back in 30th place with a six point cushion of Edmonton.

@wolf3328

 

SABThe Buffalo Sabres defeated the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday 3-2 in a shootout. Brian Flynn scored in the 4th round on a nifty left-right deke leaving goaltender Ray Emery and the “City of Brotherly Love” with their 2nd consecutive loss. It was a nice win for Buffalo who had been on the losing end of four-straight one goal defeats.

Michal Neuvirth made 36 stops including four in OT. Nicolas Deslauriers (BUF) and Ryan White (PHI) traded first period goals and the teams did the same in the 2nd. Brian Gionta scored an even strength goal just 38 seconds in to give Buffalo their lead back. Jakub Voracek then tied the score at two with his 19th of the season at 8:45. It was a power play goal, courtesy of a Zemgus Girgenson Interference call.

The Sabres went 0-3 on the power play while Philly was 1-4.

Buffalo returned to Buffalo and will host the NY Rangers on Friday night. They also played to a shootout Thursday, losing 5-4 to the visiting Vancouver Canucks.

@wolf3328  

arodNew York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez wrote an apology to fans. It was a hand written letter filled with remorse and regret. Whether you believe Rodriguez or not, this letter was calculated from start to finish. There is only one explanation as to why, A-rod, chose to go the way of a hand written letter. He is trying to “win back” the older New York Yankees fans.

A-rod could have went on television, radio or had a live press conference, he chose not to. By writing a letter he has meticulously calculated that this would appear more authentic and more relatable to the older fan base. Even if you aren’t a Yankees fan, there is one thing you can’t deny. They are filled with a history of tradition. From Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter the Bronx Bombers are one of the most winning franchises in all of sports. Over the past 10 years baseball is losing the younger audience. Baseball games are too long and too boring for most young fans.  Football, basketball and soccer have become more popular. A-rod wanted the “old time” fans to forgive him. He could have typed this apology on a computer, he didn’t. He wrote it in cursive? Do kids even write cursive anymore? He wanted to do something that fans over 45 could relate to. Did he succeed, I don’t think so.

At the end of his letter, A-rod wrote, Sincerely Alex. How can we take his word for it, when he has lied numerous times on and off camera? Do you remember when A-rod was going to take the Yankees and Major League Baseball to court over his ‘alleged” HGH use?

Wikipedia defines Narcissism as:” The pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes.” That describes Rodriguez perfectly. Where players like Jeter have spent their whole careers trying to avoid the spotlight, A-rod looks for it and craves it, good or bad.

I root for the Boston Red Sox, so I am not passing judgment on Alex. The Sox have won 3 World Series in 10 years with players who have used HGH. I see why players take performance enhancing drugs. The reward outweighs the risk. So A-rod was suspended for the season. He is worth over $300 million, He won a world series in 2009 and he is a 14 time All-Star. Where Rodriguez went wrong was his adamant denial of ever using any illegal drugs. There is a great scene from the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction.  John Travolta’s character Vincent, is talking to Samuel L. Jacksons’ Character Jules.

VINCENT]

You want some bacon?

[JULES]

No, man, I don’t eat pork.

[VINCENT]

Are you Jewish ?

[JULES]

No, I ain’t Jewish, i just don’t dig on swine, that’s all.

[VINCENT]

Why not?

[JULES]

Pigs are filthy animals. I don’t eat filthy animals.

[VINCENT]

But bacon tastes good, pork chops taste good…

[JULES]

Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie,

But I’d never know ’cause I wouldn’t eat the filthy motherf**kers.

Pigs sleep and root in sh*t, that’s a filthy animal.

I don’t eat nothin’ that ain’t got sense enough to disregard its own feces.

[VINCENT]

How about a dog? A dog eats its own feces

[JULES]

I don’t eat dog either

[VINCENT]

Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?

[JULES]

I wouldn’t go so far as to call a dog filthy, but it’s definitely dirty.

But, dogs got personality, personality goes a long way.

[VINCENT] So by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, he would cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?bacon

[JULES]

We’ have to be talkin’ ’bout one charmin’ motherf**kin’ pig.

I mean he’d have to be ten times more charmin’ than that Arnold on Green Acres, you know what I’m sayin’?

 

Isn’t this how Yankees fans feel about A-Rod? Because they perceive him to be a jerk, they won’t forgive him. Yet, they forgave Mickey Mantle. Mantle was known to play games drunk, hung over and was a “womanizer” yet, old time Yankees fans hold him in the highest regard.

On August 23rd 2015, the Yankees will hold Andy Pettitte day at their stadium. Fans will honor Pettitte on that day. Andy has pettiteadmitted to using HGH, and fans forgive him because he is religious and looks like a choir boy, but he still cheated. Pettite is the Dog in the Pulp Fiction scenario. He did the exact same thing as A-rod but… he’s got a personality. Andy is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I wonder, if there will ever be an Alex Rodriguez day? I would say… not in my lifetime!

 

Follow the Sports Whisperer on Facebook and on Twitter: Montetjwitter11

ken west

The Kenmore West girls basketball team moved one step closer to claiming their first ever NFL title Monday night. Playing a tough Lockport team in their home gym the Lady Blue Devils battled back from a one point deficit after the 1st quarter to wear down the Lions to win 48-35.

Junior forward Samantha Britton led all scorers with 23 points and teammate Katie Proy (senior) poured in 15 to lead Ken-West to their 12th league victory of the year. They head to Lew-Port Wednesday for the final game of the regular season. The Lady Blue Devils need a win or a Lockport loss (host Ken-East Tuesday) to take the NFL title. nfl

The Lady Lions found themselves in foul trouble early in the 2nd quarter and KW’s Britton took advantage scoring uncontested layup’s at will. Lockport senior Alyssa Wagner did her part early on and had a handle on the offensive boards. Seven of her twelve points came in the opening quarter. She just did not have the help needed battling Britton and Proy for thirty-two minutes. Gretta Dry (junior) hustled her tail off for the Lions, she played hard to the whistle all game and led Lockport with 17 points.

The Lady Blue Devils defense played tough all game as they have all season. Wagner and Dry did not have much support offensively and combined for all but six of their team’s points.

Proy ate up the Lions in the last half of the game, proving to be too much down low for Lockport. The Lions were down 24-20 after two quarters and couldn’t muster any offense until Dry hit a three-pointer with just 30 seconds remaining in the third.

The Blue Devils took a 41-23 lead into the 4th quarter and didn’t have any trouble holding off Lockport for the big win.  Ken-West has at least a share of the NFL title but with a win over Lew-Port (1-11) they will have sole possession, a first for the school.

A special ceremony was held at half-time to honor former, longtime girls varsity coach Mike Licata who retired last season. After martinthe game Licata was inducted into the girls’ basketball “Wall of Fame”. Many former players were present in support of their former coach.

West improved to a record of 12-1 (16-2) while Lockport fell to 11-2 (11-5) in NFL standings. Earlier in the day Lockport cruised to a 51-29 win over the Ken-West JV girls.

@wolf3328