“Is it October yet?” No, it is not, but there’s plenty to do between now and October for Buffalo Sabres fans. Whether you’re looking to get the scoop on your favorite players – or favorite enemies, want to check out some resources to help get you through the rest of the offseason, or just want to learn a little more about the league and its multiple initiatives, this list is for you. Here’s eleven links every Buffalo Sabres fan should check out, in no particular order.
- Hockey-Reference.com — This is a great site for statistical information about any player who’s ever played with the Buffalo Sabres or any NHL team. It has everything from basic info like birthdate, hometown, and draft info to jersey number history, current contract info and statistics from their junior and NHL careers. For instance, type in Mike Weber and you’ll see the three jersey numbers he’s worn in his NHL career plus full stats of his time with the Sabres. The only downfall to this site is that it’s basically limited to players who have spent time in the NHL; type in Brendan Lemieux, for instance, and it’s got his birthdate but no junior hockey stats. Shawn Szydlowski, who has played in the OHL, AHL and ECHL, doesn’t even show up in his search results. Either way, it’s a handy tool to quickly reference any and all NHLers; it also has a wealth of information on coaches, award winners, draft history and more.
- HockeyDB.com — Where Hockey-Reference fails in the junior hockey department, Hockey DB picks it up. It doesn’t have all the same information as Hockey-Reference, but Hockey DB does have any and all players you could look for, including those still playing in juniors, overseas, etc. It also has coaching records for anyone you may be searching for. The one neat thing I find about Hockey DB is that you can also search by team and year and it provides you with an entire roster. So for instance, if you want to see the roster for the 2006-07 Erie Otters, they’ve got it and pretty much any other team you can imagine, with trade info and statistics.
- NHL Trade Tracker — This is a website I recently stumbled upon and from what I can tell, it seems to be a pretty useful one. Search by team, player or even GM and you can find the entire trade history of any NHLer. One thing to take into account, however, is that this solely accounts for trades; free agent signings aren’t found on this site. So you may be looking at an individual and see him traded from Boston to Phoenix one year and then from Minnesota to Chicago the next, and you’re left wondering “Well, what the heck happened, how did he get from Phoenix to Minnesota?” It could’ve been free agency or via waivers, but the site won’t be able to tell you. Either way, it’s a neat tool to have if you want to see the specific trade history of a player, find out how many times he’s been traded or figure out the specifics of a deal.
- Capgeek — The be-all, end-all for any hockey fans who need contract information for their favorite players. Capgeek is almost constantly updated; sometimes they’ll have a new contract down before the NHL team’s even officially announced it! Checking out your team’s sheet on this site is a good way to visualize who’s under contract and when everyone will hit free agency in the coming years. I’m hoping most hockey fans already know about Capgeek, but it’s a true gem.
- NHL Games on Hulu — From old classic games to full games from this season, highlight packages and condensed games, there’s a little bit of everything here. It may not be the biggest variety of materials available, but there’s a little bit of everything here. If you’re feeling the itch to watch a game or two, it’s here and free, and probably better quality and easier to find than searching through Youtube for grainy, random clips.
- Hockey Webcasts — Another site via which hockey fans can catch old games. From archived games and highlights of the 2014 NHL playoffs to links to highlights from every major junior team out there, there’s a lot of information packed into this website, even if a lot of it is linked out to other sites. For instance, there’s links to highlights from nearly every Sabres game from last season; they’re all links to Youtube videos from the NHL. There’s a few games from last season that you can watch for free archived – but only if you live in Canada, since they’re via CBC. Sadface.
- HockeyFights.com — Videos, highlights and statistics of every fight that goes on in the NHL. and many other leagues around the world. You can search by year, player, team or league, and this site has the fight card for everything. There’s also videos for many of the fights (though not necessarily all of them) and you can ‘vote’ on who was the winner of each fight.
- NHL Green — This is a league initiative to promote environmentalism around the NHL, and this website is kind of the home for all news regarding that. From the NHL’s sustainability report to news articles about what NHL teams are doing to help out the environment and their community, this is a neat catch-all site that allows anyone who’s interested to get a glimpse at some of the things NHL teams do off the ice, and it’s a refreshing change of pace.
- NHL Officials Association — If you ever needed a list of every official in the NHL, AHL, USHL and other leagues, then this is the site for you. Sidenote: I’m not sure why anyone would ever need such a list, but it’s cool that this exists. There’s also information about becoming a referee and info about the NHLOA, which is designed to improve working conditions and salaries for officials under contract to the NHL, regardless of what league they’re currently serving in.
- NHLPA — On a similar note, the NHLPA’s website also has some good information on it from time to time. Sometimes it’s blog posts about charitable efforts by NHLers, other times it’s notes about signings, suspensions and more. Sometimes – like right now – it’s a photo of Dominic Moore with actor Daniel Radcliffe! There’s also a list of NHL birthdays, a free agent tracker and more, and sometimes this site gives a glance at what some of the players are like off the ice.
- SabreNoise – Did you expect anything else for link #11? We’ll continue to bring you Buffalo Sabres news, updates and information as the 2014-2015 NHL season gets closer.
Of course, these links are in addition to the NHL’s official website, the Sabres’ official site and following the players and NHL teams on Twitter and social media.