Will Connor McDavid be Edmonton’s next buried superstar?

oilers

There’s no ambiguity whatsoever, make no mistake about it. Connor McDavid will be an Edmonton Oiler and Jack Eichel will be a Buffalo Sabre. The realization of McDavid going to Edmonton may be very painful for Sabre fans, but, it may be for the superstar himself as well.

Over the past few years Edmonton has not garnered the nickname “The Graveyard of Hockey” by happenstance. This year will be Edmonton’s fourth 1st overall pick in the past 6 seasons. However, the team hasn’t become an NHL powerhouse as a result of this abundance of youth and talent, they’ve done essentially the exact opposite. If you don’t believe it, here’s the facts.

2010: Taylor Hall: Edmonton’s 2010-11 season results: 25-45-12: 62 points, 5th in Northwest Division. Hall’s output: 22-20-42.

2011: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Edmonton’s 2011-12 season results: 32-40-10: 74 points, 5th in Northwest Division. Nugent’s output: 18-34-52.

2012: Nail Yakupov: Edmonton’s 2013 (48 game) season results: 19-22-7: 45 points, 3rd in Northwest Division. Yakupov’s output: 17-14-31.

draft winner

So what that means is that the Edmonton Oilers have three of the NHL’s best young players on their roster, and they still can’t get it done. No disrespect to Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, and Yakupov, but McDavid is more touted than all three of them combined. He is the most anticipated draft pick in the NHL since Sidney Crosby. The difference: Crosby went to a team with potential to turn around and did exactly so when he arrived. McDavid is going to a team that has turned three of the once-brightest young-bloods in the game to practical nobodies. Who talks about Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, or Yakupov? None. So what does this mean for McDavid?

The Florida Panthers, who have a hard time getting even 10K fans per game, host this year’s NHL entry draft, scheduled for June 26. After the fans get done booing Gary Bettman out of the building (something I sincerely hope happens again), the Oilers will announce their pick of McDavid. Will the freak of nature help finally pull Edmonton out of the basement? Or will the Graveyard of Hockey bury yet another young star with unlimited potential? My money is on the latter.

@Flat_Manigen74

SABWith the recent dismissal of Ted Nolan and just about his entire staff last Sunday I started thinking about who Tim Murray might hire to be the next head coach of the Buffalo Sabres. The biggest name and one that has been rumored about for some time now is current Detroit coach Mike Babcock. His contract runs out once the Red

GMTM

GMTM

Wings are eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs and that could be as early as next week. He and Murray have history, going back to their days in Anaheim.

However, Murray has ties too many coaches that could be available for hire. His relationship with current Binghamton Senators coach Luke Richardson runs deep and there was speculation he was to have been Sabres head coach prior to the 2014-15 season.

Richardson is viewed as an up and coming coach who has built a reputation of working well with young prospects. He was an

Luke Richardson

Luke Richardson

assistant in Ottawa for three seasons and he’s been head coach in Binghamton for three as well. He helped guide Binghamton into the playoffs his first two years but they were bounced in the first round in both occasions. This year they will not play in the post season. Richardson has a 22 year pro career, playing on 8 different NHL clubs. He was a hard-nosed defenseman, never an all-star but reliable, serviceable and one tough son of a gun who amassed over 2000 penalty minutes.

There is another guy out there that is all too familiar with Buffalo fans. Former Sabres defenseman Phil Housley has been carving out a name for himself across hockey circles over the past few years. He was the head coach for Team USA’s U18 National Junior team that won Gold two years ago in Ufa, Russia. He worked with rising NHL stars such as Seth Jones, Johnny Gaudreau and Jon Gibson to name a few. Current Sabres prospect Jake McCabe was also a member of that team. He’s spent the

Phil Housley

Phil Housley

past two (2) seasons in Nashville, first working under Barry Trotz and most recently Peter Laviolette. Jones was a Predators 1st round draft choice in 2013, and is beginning to flourish under Housley’s tutelage. I’m not going to hold my breath on this one but if Terry Pegula has anything to say about it, “Wowey Housley” will at least be considered. We all know how the Sabres owner loves former players. My guess is Housley will have plenty of offers once the summer comes and he’ll have his pick of the litter. One thing for sure, he’s ready for an NHL head coaching gig.

Todd Richards could be on his way out in Columbus. He has plenty of experience as a head coach in both the NHL and AHL. He’s been with the Blue Jackets for five seasons, the first as an assistant. Columbus made a miraculous run to the post season last year but have missed in three others where Richards led the charge.

torts

John Tortorella

Remember John Tortorella? He had a disastrous tenure in Vancouver, and things ended almost as unceremoniously in New York where he was the head coach of the Rangers for five long seasons. Prior to landing the Rangers gig, he won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning where he served as their head coach. He has a Calder Trophy to go alongside his NHL hardware when he won the AHL championship with the Rochester Americans. He has ties to Buffalo, having worked as an assistant coach for six seasons (1989-95) before taking the Amerks head coaching job. He is known as a tough coach but he has the results to back up his style. He’s hungry to get back into the game and he’ll have his chance to speak with Murray at some point about the opening. Torts might be too rough around the edges for a guy like Murray to handle, but he’d fit in well with the fan base.

Todd McLellan could be another casualty after his San Jose Sharks failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs this season. The first time they’ve missed in his seven seasons out in California. It could be time for San Jose to blow up that entire roster as it’s been a whirlwind year on and off the ice. Should he be available he’s someone that will be considered.

Kevin Dineen, currently with the Chicago Blackhawks as an assistant could be another hot commodity once the season is over. Dineen, a 21 year NHL veteran as a player began his coaching career with the Portland Pirates (then the AHL affiliate of the Sabres). He spent six seasons in Maine before accepting the Florida Panthers head coaching job. He was fired 16 games into the 2013-14 season after starting the year 3-9. He guided the Canadian Women’s Olympic team in 2014 in Sochi, helping them win a Gold Medal.

Former Ottawa Senators coach Paul Maclean has to get a sniff at this job. He also has a close relationship with Murray. He was fired during this past season. He won the Jack Adams award in 2013 as the league’s best coach. He was a finalist in 2012.

Dan Bylsma could be a wild card. The former Pittsburgh Penguins coach is sure to return to the NHL next year. After winning the Stanley Cup in 2008-09 with the Penguins (In-Season replacement) he helped lead them to five straight post-season appearances. He is the Pens all-time winningest coach with 252 victories. He also coached Team USA at the Sochi Olympics but that team failed to Medal despite being one of the most talented groups. I’m not impressed with Bylsma. He took over a team with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the same group that a year earlier lost in the Finals. He was surrounded by some of the best talent in the NHL and had only one Cup appearance to show for it. They struggled in the post season after the Cup win. He does have the hardware though and that at least gets him a sniff here.

Speculation is that the job is Babcock’s if he wants it. Money will not be an option, it will come down to whether or not he’s willing to leave Detroit. His first head coaching gig was back in 2002-03 where he took the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to the Stanley Cup finals, ultimately losing to the New Jersey Devils. He returned to Anaheim for another year before accepting the Red Wings

Mike Babcock

Mike Babcock

job. His teams have finished with a winning percentage over .500 in eleven of his twelve seasons as head coach. He has missed the post season just once. He’s made three trips to the finals and has won once, back in 2007-08. He’s the ideal candidate from what you may hear on local radio. He’s indicated that he’d love to coach Connor McDavid, who wouldn’t? Babcock has also been the Coach of Team Canada for the past two winter Olympic games, capturing Gold both times (2010 & 2014).

My heart says Housley, my brain says Babcock, if Murray goes with Richardson then it will only confirm that the old boys network is still going strong.

@wolf3328

The 2015 NHL Draft Lottery to determine who will draft number one overall involves the 14 non-playoff teams from this past regular season. The drawing will take place at 8pm EST on Saturday, April 18th. You can watch it live in the U.S. on NBC or in Canada on CBC and TVA Sports.

TEAM

CHANCE OF WINING FIRST PICK

 SAB

20%

coy

13.5%

 edm

11.5%

tml

9.5%

 canes

8.5%

dev

7.5%

 flyers

6.5%

 bjacks

6.0%

 san jose

5.0%

 avs

3.5%

 panthers

3.0%

 dallas

2.5%

 kings

2.0%

bruins

1.0%

 

@wolf3328

BisonsThe Bisons managed to come back and make it interesting after resuming their rain-suspended game with the Pawtucket Red Sox Tuesday afternoon. However they could not piece enough of a rally together and ultimately fell, 9-6. Monday night’s contest ended on Tuesday evening, nearly 25 hours after it started. When it was called on Monday, Pawtucket was leading 8-3.

“The 3rd inning, we’d like to forget,” said Bisons manager Gary Allenson. “We take a positive from the last 6 innings where we only gave up a run and scored 3.”

Before the delay the game had not been a good one for the Bisons. Starter Chad Jenkins cruised through the first 2 innings and his offense put up 3 quick runs. However, Buffalo floundered in the 3rd as sloppy play and multiple errors gave the Red Sox 8 unanswered runs. After the resumption of the contest, Garin Cecchini hit a solo homer to make it 9-4 Pawtucket. The Herd’s staff stabilized the PawSox lineup from there on. Ryan Tepera, Scott Barnes, and Steve Delabar all pitched effectively and kept hopes for a Bisons rally alive.

Big RBIs from Ezequiel Carrera and Josh Thole made it 9-6, but that would be all the Bisons could muster. DH Chris Collabello was very proud of the pitching staff’s effort in the second half of the contest.

“We have a great pitching staff, we’ve got a lot of faith in those guys,” he said.

The contest was supposed to be part one of a day/night double header at Coca-Cola Field, but a power outage in the midst of the contest forced part two to be pushed back to tomorrow, April 15, starting at 1:05. Fans with tickets to Tuesday evening’s contest will be able to exchange them for seats at a future game.

@Flat_Manigen74

SABIt came as no surprise to most hockey insiders that Ted Nolan would be fired after the 2014-15 season. The Buffalo Sabres finished dead last for the second straight season in league standings in just about every category. Wins, losses, shots on goal, goals for, goals against, power play percentage, penalty kill, shots against and so on, were the absolute worst.

You had to see this coming. We can argue about the roster all day long. At the end of the day, there has to be some analytical improvement somewhere, with Nolan there wasn’t any and he’s out the door in large part because of it.

GM Tim Murray likes and respects Nolan and mentioned in Sunday evening’s press conference that each player went out of their way to share the same sentiment. Unfortunately when it came down to talking about improving the in game performance, there wasn’t the same disposition. Murray interviewed each player, a process that took almost six hours and after speaking to each he came away with the feeling that firing Nolan was best for the team. I hardly believe him on that. He said as much at the trade deadline and offered no excuses then. Murray has a plan, we may not all agree with the manner in which he is going about it but at the end of the day he’s following through. That also must be respected.

I am and will always be in the anti-tank camp. My belief is that when you have an owner willing to spend and a scouting murraydepartment  that is capable of doing its job on draft day any team can turn themselves around in a couple of years. Buffalo, for the first time ever finally has the owner that has gone above and beyond to lure in free agents (Robyn Regehr, Ville Leino). The Sabres have been hitting it out of the ball park in recent years with their draft choices. Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko, Mark Pysyk, Johan Larsson, Nikita Zadorov, Rasmus Ristolainen, Linus Ullmark and Sam Reinhart are well on their way to becoming exceptional hockey players soon and for years to come. Add some veteran leadership (Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges) and there is a good chance Buffalo will be competing for the Eastern Conference sooner than later. Truth be told, there has to be a bench boss able to guide them in any situation and when the chips are on the table, the teams playing for the Cup will come down to more than determination, in game adjustments are key. You need to have more than a fiery chat during an intermission. Even Herb Brooks adjusted his game plan back in the 1980 winter Olympics when the USA beat Russia.

Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are likely to expedite the process and be the generational talent that will help Buffalo finally win the Stanley Cup. Time will tell. The pressure on either of these players will be unprecedented even for this blue-collar town. To think of the money loyal fans poured into this organization the past two years with the thought that being terrible for this long will pan out into something miraculous is asking a lot. Murray will never hear the end of it if this plan does not deliver a championship. Seriously, we’ve been to the Stanley Cup finals before, twice in fact doing it the old fashioned way, this is win or bust.

Nolan was hired to bridge the gap, bringing him in was for the fan nolanbase. The Regier era was crumbling, and Pegula said within three years of taking over the team they’d be hoisting the cup. In order to save face and renew faith he threw them a bone. Sabres purists saw right through this for what it was which made hearing the news on Sunday a little less disheartening.

To be clear, Nolan ended his first tenure in Buffalo back in 1997. He was offered a one year deal initially, he rejected it and the Sabres hired Lindy Ruff. Ruff took the same team to the Eastern Conference finals in his first year and the Cup finals the next. Nolan returned to the NHL as coach of the New York Islanders in 2006 and guided them to a 1st round playoff berth. He was relieved again after the 2007-08 season. He was the coach of Team Latvia when the Sabres reached out last fall.

Nolan had no chance of returning or seeing this project through. One of the bigger knocks on Nolan is the assumption that he cannot get his skill players to perform at a higher level. I don’t know if I believe that. Larsson flourished at the tail end of the 2015 season while Tyler Ennis captured his second straight 20 goal season on a pretty bad offensive team. I don’t have the space to mention the countless others he did help.

This most recent roster lacked the talent and skill to compete on a regular basis. Nolan did what he did best, he raised the confidence in each player by instilling a work ethic second to none. He will be remembered for it and that will carry over in each for years to come.

Murray was not obligated to bring Nolan back, even if there were two years remaining on his contract. Coaches are hired to be fired and that’s exactly what happened here. Make no mistake, Nolan will find another head coaching job somewhere but it might not be in the NHL. He’s the classiest coach this town has ever had and that says a lot. We were lucky to have him. One of these days though I would like to see Nolan behind the bench of a team that has the skill required to compete at the NHL level. Nobody deserves it more.

@wolf3328

BisonsMother Nature had the final say in this one folks. With the Pawtucket Red Sox leading the Buffalo Bisons 8-3 in the top of the 4th inning on Monday night, HP ump May Guyll called for the tarp. The game will be completed tomorrow, April 14, in a unique double header. The Red Sox and Bisons will resume this game at 5:15 Tuesday afternoon and then play their game scheduled for tomorrow in 7 inning format.

The game up until the delay had not been a good one for the Bisons. Starter Chad Jenkins cruised through the first 2bisons ppd innings and his offense put up 3 quick runs. However, the Herd unraveled in the 3rd and gave up 8 unanswered runs as the PawSox chased Jenkins after 2.2, forcing Bisons Manager Gary Allenson to go to his bullpen early. Play resumes with Bryce Brentz at the plate for the PawSox with an 0-1 count.

@Flat_Manigen74

The 11th annual Bowman Cup was held at First Niagara Center on Sunday afternoon and was another success. There were three games held in this annual event run by the Buffalo Sabres. The first game featured the best players from the Buffalo and Rochester areas that are currently juniors in their high schools. All games played in the Bowman Cup had a playing format of two 22 minute halves.

The Junior Game started off in favor of the Buffalo team, as Alex Hailey (Niagara Falls) scored the lone goal in the 1st period at the 20:24 mark. After a 10-minute intermission, the Buffalo Junior All-Stars came out with vengeance and scored two goals in a 1:39 span. Those goals came from Williamsville South’s Mason Cool and Niagara Falls’  Nicholas Kindzia.

“Getting the goal and the assist was great,” Hailey said after the game. “Especially the assist was to my high school teammate, I love it,” he added.

After Rochester was down 3-0, they took the game into their own hands. McQuaid’s Jack Dugan scored his team’s tying goal in the middle of the period, then score the eventual game-winning goal on the powerplay with under 5 minutes to play.

“He played very well at the end,” Rochester coach Jody Gage said about Dugan. “We coach him in travel and he’s a special talent.”


The second game of the day was arguably the most competitive. The first goal of the game was scored by Buffalo and Williamsville North’s Brian Couto at the 7:24 mark of the 1st half. After his goal, Rochester went onto score three unanswered goals. After the 3rd goal by Rochester, Ryan DiPasquale of St. Francis scored the first of three unanswered for Buffalo. The game-winning goal was scored by Cole Schiffman (Orchard Park), with :44.5 seconds left, which was set up beautifully by West Seneca West’s Adam Tobias.

“I was thinking about shooting it,” Tobias, who had 2 assists, said about his pass that led to the game winner. “I just threw it across and just threw it across and hoped it would go in.”

Brian Couto, along with his goal, added two assists in his team’s win. Both assists came in Buffalo’s unanswered goal streak in the 2nd half.

“I like to do whatever I can do to help the team,” Couto said. “I know I gave it to Tobias, and he went up and Tobias passed it to Schiffman,” he added. “Nobody else thought it, other than Schiffman knew.”


The final game was between the players who play junior hockey or play for a prep school. Buffalo started the game off with very high intensity and never looked back. The Buffalo squad scored their first three goals in a span of 4:36. After a little respite of scoring, they then scored 3 more goals in 2:19. Buffalo ended up scoring 4 more goals by the end of the game and defeated Rochester by a 10-0 score.

“I was definitely surprised,” Buffalo’s Carson Gicewicz (Nichols) who unofficially ended the day with 1 goal and 2 assists. “They have some good players, but so did we. Once we get up early, it’s tough for them to come back.”

Buffalo was consistently in Rochester’s zone and applying very good pressure to their defense. On top of the consistent pressure, Buffalo was using very nice, crisp passing to get the puck around to their teammates. On the team’s 10 goals, they unofficially had 16 assists.

Nichols’ junior, Griffin Lunn, scored the game’s first goal and the seventh goal of the game, which was a very special feat for a defenseman.

“Coming into this game a little nervous and I didn’t know what to expect,” Lunn said. “Personally, the nerves went away after the first goal.”

Collectively, the team looked very calm and relaxed once Matt Jakubowski scored the team’s third goal. Once they got more relaxed, the Rochester team appeared to be flustered and couldn’t find the right composure.

Other notable performances in this game came from Justin Cmunt, who had 1 goal and 2 assists. David Baskerville and Chris Berger added a goal and an assist.


For updates of this game, check them out on Twitter: @fromthe300level

– – @mhaim1934

 

Bisons Lose Home Opener to Rochester

The home opener for the Buffalo Bisons didn’t go the way they planned, as the visiting Rochester Red Wings defeated the Bisons, 6-3, on a very dank Thursday afternoon at Coca-Cola Field. The game started off under mostly cloudy skies, but little drizzle began in the early portions of the game, but gave way to heavy rain late in the game.

“It was a little loose out there with the amount of rain,” Bisons shortstop Ryan Goins said. He was picked off at first base by Red Wings catcher Josmil Pinto to end the 2nd inning after a strikeout by Josh Thole.

The rain didn’t appear to play a major factor into the playing conditions, as the pitcher’s mound needed only one application of quick dry, which was placed on in the 7th inning.

Rochester hit the ball quite effectively as they mustered 11 hits, including 7 of the 11 coming in the 4th and 5th innings. 8 hits came off of the Bisons left-handed starter, Andrew Albers, who threw 4 2/3 innings, allowing 4 runs, walking two batters and striking out one.

“If you don’t throw very hard, it needs to be down in the zone,” Bisons manager Gary Allenson said about his starting pitcher. “[Randy] Wolf and [Jeff] Francis are like that. They don’t throw hard, but it’s about changing speeds and keeping the ball down.”

Albers wasn’t able to have the command that he is known to have as he allowed two home runs, both coming off of fastballs left high up in the zone with no outs.

The Bisons may have only had 5 hits in the entire game, but they did hit the ball quite well. Majority of their outs were due to great plays by the Red Wings fielders. The one fielding play that stood out to the 12,638 in attendance was made by Aaron Hicks in deep center field to end the 1st inning. Hicks made a phenomenal diving back-handed catch to rob Chris Colabello of an extra-base hit, and the potentially a Bisons run.

“We hit the ball hard and the center fielder [Hicks] made a great grab,” Allenson said. “We had our opportunities in the 9th inning, but we didn’t get it done.”

This game was also the first game with the pace-of-game clocks being instituted, but there was a snag. The clock malfunctioned and wasn’t visible to the players and spectators for an inning.

When asked about the clock, Josh Thole joked and said, “Yeah, I saw it running down.” He continued, “I think the 20-second clock is ridiculous. Seeing it constantly reset and there’s so many different variables, but it’s the rules and we have to abide by them.”

The clock is an attempt to make the game go by quicker and have the game run as it did back in the day before games were televised. The game did seem to move by a little bit faster than season’s prior, but to some fans, seeing the clock stationed in center field was quite unusual.

The Bisons will continue their short, two-game homestand against Rochester tomorrow at 2:05pm, before both teams will go to Frontier Field in Rochester to play two more games. The Red Wings have left-hander Taylor Rogers slated to take the hill, while the Bisons will have righty Scott Copeland on the mound.

For updates on this game, follow us on Twitter: @fromthe300level

– – @mhaim1934

 

The Kenmore East Baseball Bulldogs look to rebound in 2015 from a disappointing end to the 2014 season and compete for an NFL title. Manager Les Simon begins his 15th year at the helm for Kenmore East. I sat down with Simon to talk about the 2014 season and what he expects from the 2015 season.

The 2014 campaign got off to slow start until May rolled around and the Bulldogs defeated previously unbeaten Niagara Falls. Ken-East was on a good run earning the seventh seed in the Class A1 Sectional playoffs. However, the wheels fell off. The Dogs lost to lower seed North Tonawanda in the 1st round of the playoffs, ultimately ending the season on a long losing streak. “We lost our edge…we didn’t do anything timely” said Simon when asked about the end of the 2014 season.

The Bulldogs have a very talented roster in 2015 according to Simon. The coach is excited about his team. Ken-East has four returning seniors in Tom VanCuran, Nick Lobochiaro, Connor Hoar and Luke Simmons. Simon looks to the four for leadership this season saying, “It lays on them.” Returning Captain, infielder Luke Simmons who has been a centerpiece of Kenmore East baseball, is committed to playing baseball at Oswego State next spring. Lobochiaro, or as his teammates call him “Lobo”, will be key behind the plate and helping out on the mound this season. Ken-East also has some underclassmen coming back for their 2nd year on Varsity. One of the school’s best athletes in junior Matt Novo is coming out to play Ken-East baseball for the 1st time in 2015. The Pitching Staff that the Bulldogs will start with has a good balance of experience and youth with Hoar and VanCuran as seniors, Cullen Smyth a junior, and two sophomores in Ryan Williams and Dylan Creasey. Williams, who pitched on Varsity as a Freshman, and Hoar will be at the top of the Staff.          “(They’re a) pretty good five to the naked eye” Simon said of the Pitching Staff.

“Baseball is a game of timing” according to Simon. The Dogs have the ability to have a great season “We have talent…it’s if we do things timely” said the Head Coach going into his 15th year. That means that his team needs to make the key play at the right time.

The Bulldogs are in Myrtle Beach this week playing in the Mingo Bay Tournament. This is an annual trip that the team makes that excites everyone. There are a lot of reasons why the trip is good for the Bulldogs. “We get out of this weather and get to play baseball…we’re guaranteed four games” says Simon. The Dogs are in a division with two teams from West Virginia and one from Ohio. The Dogs will begin their season in WNY on Monday in Lockport at 4:30pm.

Baseball Returns to Downtown Buffalo
Rochestervs.Bisons


Nothing beats the smell and sounds of a baseball game in Downtown Buffalo at Coca-Cola Field. The Buffalo Bisons 2015 season will begin tomorrow afternoon when the division rival, Rochester Red Wings come to town for the first of 17 meetings between the I-90 rivals. The first pitch is scheduled to be at 2:05pm.

Both teams named their opening day starters at the beginning of the week. Rochester named Alex Meyer, a 25-year old native from Greensburg, Indiana their starter. He spent all of last season with Rochester, having a 7-7 record with a 3.52 ERA in 130 1/3 innings. Opponents batted .241 against him and Meyer struck out 153 batters, while walking 64.

The Bisons named Andrew Albers their opening day starter and he will be playing baseball professionally in the U.S. for the first time since 2013. Albers spent last season with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). In 28 starts, the 29-year old southpaw from New Battleford, Saskatchewan had a 6-13 record with a 5.89 ERA in 151 1/3 innings. He did strike out 107 batters and only walked 40, but did allow 200 hits.

The Red Wings current roster is filled with experience within the organization and many members of the team have played with each other. 20 of the 28 players on the Opening Day roster (as of April 6) appeared with the Minnesota Twins’ Triple-A team last season and 24 of the 28 have played for Rochester at some point in their careers.

Where on the other hand, the Bisons roster is very new, but does have experience at the Triple-A level and in the MLB. The additions of Chris Colabello and Andy Wilkins will definitely give the Bisons lineup a boost. Wilkins led the International League with 30 home runs last season while playing for the Toledo Mud Hens. Colabello was named the IL MVP in the 2013 campaign while playing with Rochester.

The home opener will also be the initial game with the pace-of-game clocks that were installed in the off-season at Coca-Cola Field. There will be three clocks, one next to each dugout, and one underneath the scoreboard in center field. They were installed in attempt to improve the pace of each game and will try and help prevent games from going longer, time wise.

For those Buffalo Bills fans, you’ll be able to see new head coach Rex Ryan throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game. Also, all fans in attendance will receive a 2015 magnetic schedule. Gates to the stadium will open at 1:00pm.

According to the weather forecast early Wednesday evening, the forecast looks in favor of Mother Nature, as the temperatures are predicted to be in the low 60’s, with a 90% chance of rain and winds from the southeast at 15-25 MPH.


For updates of this game, before, during, and after, follow @fromthe300level and @mhaim1934 on Twitter!