Good morning, Buffalo Sabres fans. It seems to be yet another gloomy day in the city, with on-and-off rain the past few days and a similar forecast for the future. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting to the point in the offseason where I’m starting to miss the Sabres. Yes, yes, there’s plenty of other hockey still going on, but nothing can quite beat heading down to the First Niagara Center in my jersey and getting psyched to see the boys in blue and gold.
But for now — here’s your hockey links for this morning.
Buffalo Sabres Links
Former Buffalo Sabres forward Miroslav Satan has announced his retirement from hockey at the age of 39. [NHL.com] Although it’s been nearly ten years since Satan wrapped up his time in Buffalo, yes, he’s still been playing!
After his time with Buffalo, Satan spent the lockout season of 2004-05 with Bratislava Slovan before making his return to North America for several seasons. Since 2010-11, he’s played with Bratislava Slovan, first in the Slovak Extraliga and now the KHL.
He was a member of the Sabres organization from 1997 until 2004. Make all the jokes you want about his name, but the right winger was solid. He averaged .79 points/game during his time in Buffalo and rarely missed a game, appearing in at least 79 games in each season he spent with the Sabres.
Satan’s NHL career saw him score 384 goals and 405 assists in 1136 games. In addition to the Sabres, he also spent time with the Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins.
When I heard the news about Satan’s retirement, I think my reaction was similar to that of a lot of Sabres fans — wait, this guy is still playing? It’s easy to forget players once they’ve gone overseas unless you really take care to keep track of them. It’s also easy to forget that sometimes players can continue their careers overseas years after they’ve seemingly retired from NHL play. After all, age is just a number, and if you’ve got the physical condition to keep playing, why not go for it?
Satan was a member of the Sabres right when I started getting into hockey, at the ripe old age of seven, so a lot of my early hockey memories involve him and that Sabres team. I’ll never forget meeting him at the old Sabres carnivals they used to have, and how everyone used to – and apparently still does – joke about his name. As if he’s never heard that one before. Good luck in your post-retirement life, Miro.
Many people saw the Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers round 3 matchup as a battle of goaltending. Excited to see Carey Price versus Henrik Lundqvist, it’s safe to say that storyline has changed somewhat drastically. After Price suffered an injury in game one, the Habs called up AHLer Dustin Tokarski to lead the team in game two. [The Globe & Mail]
This threw quite a loop into things. Tokarski had played in NHL games before, but never in the playoffs. He’d appeared in just three NHL games this past regular season, including most recently on March 16 against the Sabres. He’s been practicing with the Habs since the Hamilton Bulldogs’ season ended, but hadn’t played in a game since April 19, the Bulldogs’ closing game against the Syracuse Crunch.
Surely, many people wrote him off right away. A relatively unexperienced, unproven goaltender manning the net for the Habs, who were already down one game? But Tokarski played well in his first-ever NHL playoff game, at the age of 24. The Habs still didn’t win, but Tokarski had 27 saves, including some solid ones. The point is this – he’s unproven, and we can’t guarantee one way or the other how the rest of the series will go.
It’s sure an interesting change in the storyline, though, as we all expected a Price vs. Lundqvist matchup and now it’s completely different.
Other Hockey Links
The London Knights are in a bit of trouble. They’re hosting this year’s Memorial Cup, but they have yet to win in the tournament, and things aren’t looking too good. After they were shut out in the first game against Val-d’or, that set off a little bit of an alarm. Then on Sunday, they fell to the Edmonton Oil Kings but finally managed to score, at least.
Tonight, they face a do-or-die situation in a game against the Guelph Storm. Talk about a nightmare situation for a team who last year made it to the Memorial Cup semi-finals. [The Star]
Guelph has already clinched a spot in the final on Sunday, so they’ve got nothing to lose. Will they play spoiler against the hometown Knights tonight? Without a win, London will have gone 0-3 in the Memorial Cup and this will be it for them until August. A win tonight would push the Knights into a tiebreaker game on Thursday against Edmonton.
Stanley Cup Conference Finals
Chicago Blackhawks (1) vs Los Angeles Kings (0)
New York Rangers (2) vs Montreal Canadiens (0)