Buffalo Sabres Penalties, Draft Lottery, NHL Meetings


Good morning, Buffalo Sabres fans!

It’s another game day for the Sabres, as they travel to Boston for a St. Patrick’s Day meeting with the Bruins this evening at TD Garden. It’s another nationally-televised game, as yet again the broadcast goes on NBCSN across the United States.

The Sabres will look to rebound after last night’s shootout loss to the Washington Capitals as Buffalo heads into the final 13 games of the 2014-2015 NHL season.

As mentioned in yesterday’s game day preview, one spot where the Sabres needed to improve was to stay out of the box. The team’s troublesome numbers when it comes to penalty killing, combined with the fact that Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom had more power-play points combined than the entire Sabres roster, spelled trouble for the team headed into last night’s game.

While it’s true that the Sabres need to improve their penalty kill stats, it’s the least of their concerns, according to this Bleacher Report piece.

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The fact is this: the Sabres have struggled in many different ways this season. Their possession numbers and Corsi are overall bad. Their penalty kill? Not good. Goals for/goals against ratio? A measly -102. Couple of all of that with allowing the opposing team to put up far too many shots on net and not shooting enough themselves, and it’s a sad picture being painted this year.

Down in Florida, the NHL general managers are getting together for a meeting of the minds. Among their topics are things like goaltender interference, emergency goaltending situations and a 3-on-3 overtime, according to this piece from NHL.com.

The emergency goaltender situation is obviously one that’s been on everyone’s minds lately, with the recent debacle that surrounded the Florida Panthers when both Roberto Luongo AND Al Montoya went down with injuries in the same game. What’s the protocol here?

Although this isn’t a situation that comes up very often, it is a possibility that needs to be addressed. There’s really no protocol for this sort of thing, but really — what do you do? Teams have to scrape together SOMEONE to dress, be it another player (remember that time Connor Crisp suited up in net for the OHL’s Erie Otters?) or someone working for the team in another capacity.

The 3-0n-3 overtime idea is also an intriguing one, as the concept of splitting overtime into 4-on-4 followed by 3-on-3 is being considered. The AHL already follows this format and it’s successfully lessened the number of games that have required a shootout. Could the NHL not be far behind from jumping on the wagon?

Also from NHL.com this morning, a look at some of the top college hockey free agents set to garner attention in the coming months.

I’m not sure exactly how many college free agents the Buffalo Sabres have signed in the team’s history, but I can point to at least two members of the team’s current roster as former college free agents: defenseman Chad Ruhwedel, signed out of UMass Lowell, and forward Tim Schaller, signed out of Providence College.

Could the team add another college free agent this year?

As the NHL season winds down, many Buffalo Sabres fans are now looking toward the draft lottery, which will determine if the Sabres get that coveted top draft slot for this coming June. Though the 30th-place team is designed to have the best chance at the #1 slot, how often does it actually work?

As that piece states, since 1995, the worst team has won the lottery six times. Will it become seven this year?

Finally, more changes are coming in the AHL, as the Portland Pirates will reportedly be getting a new NHL affiliate. It’s unclear at this point where the Arizona Coyotes are shifting their affiliation to, or who Portland’s new NHL team will be, but stay tuned — an announcement could be coming soon.

Sabres fans, don’t forget to enter the third jersey re-design contest! Entries are being accepted until Monday, March 23. Check out more details here.

Next: Sabres Weekly Three Stars

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