Showing posts with label schutz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label schutz. Show all posts

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Schutz booted from Pirates ship

Per Chris Roy of the Maine Hockey Journal, Sabres prospect Felix Schutz is being designated for assignment and no longer part of the Pirates organization.

This move isn't much of a surprise, as Schutz has encountered tough treading in the AHL after a semi-successful ramp-up in the DEL three seasons ago. Chosen in the fourth round of the 2006 draft, the 5'11 center missed a good chunk of time in 2009-10 after getting KO'd in his first professional fight and from there had difficulty finding quality minutes upon return. Portland coach Kevin Dineen basically saw him as a tweener player in the bottom six mix; not quite gifted enough to consistently man a third line spot yet not having enough speed, grit, and physical wherewithal to lock down a spot on the fourth line. Because of this, he was left off Portland's clear-day roster last season in preparation for the playoffs.

Schutz, 22, returned to Buffalo this fall for training camp, where he put forth an average effort while nearly coming to blows with Nathan Gerbe in the final scrimmage of rookie camp. Nearly coming to blows seems to have been the common theme for the German this fall, as Roy mentions a near-fight with Travis Turnbull this week in a Pirates practice.

While we wait to hear where Schutz lands this season, my best guess would be a return over the pond to find his center with Ingolstadt of the DEL.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Odds & Ends: Southorn talking; Tropp on the way?

With 2008 draft pick Jordon Southorn recently finishing his fourth QMJHL season, The Guardian is reporting that player agent Don Meehan is talking to the Sabres about a pro deal.

Southorn said his agent, Don Meehan, is talking with the Buffalo Sabres, the team that drafted him in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 2008 draft, about a three-year, entry-level contract. At the maximum, it can be worth over $825,000 a year.


Enter the Sabres blueline pipeline, where the system is rich with numbers. With Dennis Persson (one year), T.J. Brennan (two), and Drew Schiestel (two) having term remaining on their first contracts, and Nick Crawford recently added to the fold, it is thought that decisions on Portland defenders Matt Generous and Mike Kostka will play a role in what shakes out with Southorn and recent Harvard grad, Alex Biega.

The 5'11 Biega, who served as the Crimson captain this past season, moves well and plays a smart game, but the Sabres have to decide if he has enough juice to produce on the power play while providing consistent even-strength support. In 131 NCAA games in Cambridge, the Montreal native collected 15 goals and 55 assists with a net +1 rating.

Southorn, on the other hand, is waiting and working a summer job after an up-and-down season that saw a shift in his approach.

Southorn, who turns 20 today, had a solid 2009-10, if not bumpy one.
A pre-season suspension by the Rocket, his second in two seasons, cancelled Buffalo’s plans to bring him to its training camp.
But Southorn focused on his job, finished with a team-high plus-five plus-minus and fourth in hits with 86, and left the offence to itself (four goals, 19 assists, 67 games).
He was down 18 points in scoring from 2008-09, but up 18 points in his plus-minus ratio.
“I think my game changed this year. I was always the offensive guy. My plus-minus was up in the plusses,” he said. “My defensive game got much better. That’s what I was proud of.”
New head coach Eric Lavigne, hired in early October to replace the fired Guy Chouinard, stressed defensive zone coverage and it worked.


Southorn isn't a poor depth option by any stretch, but I was surprised to hear that discussions are taking place because there aren't that many jobs to go around in an organization that doesn't use an ECHL affiliate.

The Sabres have five blueliners under contract (Butler, Rivet, Sekera, Montador, Myers) entering 2010-11, with the expectation that RFAs Marc-Andre Gragnani and Mike Weber will be tendered. There is also the potential for UFA back-up plans like a Dennis Seidenberg and perhaps a Dan Hamhuis to be in place in the event that one of both of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman sign elsewhere.

If you look at the depth chart, I already have Brayden McNabb penciled in to assume Dennis Persson's AHL slot beginning in 2011-12. I'll stop short of calling Persson a lame duck this early, but he will be entering the final year of his deal with the expectation of taking a huge developmental step on the Pirates blueline.

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After signing forward Luke Adam to an entry-level contract at the end of his junior season, the Sabres still have decisions to make with some forwards in the coming weeks.

It's becoming more of a certainty that Michigan State RW Corey Tropp will follow in the footsteps of past collegians Chris Butler, Nathan Gerbe, and Tim Kennedy by leaving school after his junior season to sign with the Sabres. The CCHA program has already lost juniors Jeff Petry (EDM) and Andrew Rowe (PHI) to the pro ranks this offseason, making Tropp's departure a no-brainer given the Sabres depth needs. The 6'0 winger led the Spartans this past season with 20 goals and 42 points, and with MSU bench boss Rick Comley not having a consistent track record for developing pro bodies, it may be in both parties best interests to shift the development cycle to the AHL.

With the Sabres short on forwards, it seems that Jacob Lagacé will ultimately get a look as well despite his disappointing finish with Cape Breton. The fifth-round pick in 2008, Lagacé scored five goals in 25 games with the Eagles after having 30 in 35 with Chicoutimi at the time of the deal.

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In other forward 'stuff', former first-rounder Marek Zagrapan has had his two-year KHL contract with Severstal terminated after one season. After a quick start in his return to European ice, the former Sagueneen/Amerk/Pirate found it tough to earn consistent time and ultimately became a non-factor down the stretch. It remains to be seen where Zagrapan will land moving forward, but the Sabres will continue to retain his NHL rights while the sting of another first round disappointment subsides.

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Speaking of Sabres European prospects, Felix Schutz made noise on the international stage when he scored the overtime winner as Germany shocked Team USA to win the opening game of the 2010 IIHF World Championships. It was a nice touch for Schutz after a tough second half in Portland that saw the tweener limited in ice time while being left off the Pirates clear day roster.

Schutz has two goals through three games for Germany, while fellow Sabres prospect Philip Gogulla has yet to record a point.

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When the University of North Dakota began stockpiling defensive recruits like Derek Forbort and Dillon Simpson, we began to think long and hard about the impact it would all have on Sabres 2008 third-rounder, Corey Fienhage. When Fienhage was sat late in the year in favor of forward-turned-defenseman Matt Davidson, those thoughts intensified.

When we reported that Fienhage was placed on the protected list by the WHL's Kamloops Blazers, the writing was seemingly being scribbled on the proverbial wall.

But when Fighting Sioux junior Chay Genoway announced that he would be returning to the team in 2010-11, the message on the wall stated that Fienhage was outsy.

Nothing is official, but whispers around Grand Forks are suggesting that Fienhage is as good as gone (along with Isles prospect David Toews). Fienhage needs to play, and since he didn't get in the lineup last season until Genoway suffered a concussion, it isn't too difficult to connect the dots.

My question is where does Fienhage go? If he opts for the WHL, his window to earn a deal is cut down to one season. Another option has him seeking a scholarship elsewhere, thus sending him to the USHL for a season of Jr. A to retain his NCAA eligibility, and in turn allow the Sabres to keep his rights for a longer term.

Fienhage is rugged and tough, and I would be eager to watch his game translate to the WHL. However, Fienhage is just 20 and needs consistent reps after playing a scant 39 games over two seasons with the Sioux. Couple that with the fact that the Sabres blueline prospect cupboard is already crowded, and I fully expect the Sabres to advise him to somehow stay in school.

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While we're at it, might as well make official what we already knew. Mark Adams, the Sabres fifth round pick last summer, will be enrolling at Providence College this fall. The right-hander will join Vermont junior defenseman Drew MacKenzie in the competitive Hockey East.

Adams, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman, was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the fifth round (134th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He played three seasons at Malden Catholic High School before spending one season with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League. While with Chicago, Adams played in 53 games and recorded four goals and 10 assists for 14 points during the 2009-10 season.


After a minor shoulder injury in the first half, "Roo" got his game clicking as the Steel's year wound down. Adams has good wheels that he'll need to use to limit stick infractions as he steps up a level of competition.

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Lastly, if you're not doing so already, try to follow SabresProspects on Twitter. I'll be in Los Angeles for the draft and will be using it to communicate throughout the entire week. This space will be updated as well, of course, but that feed should be more lively.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Schiestel, Genny key as Pirates take three

Drew Schiestel and Matt Generous scored their first professional goals, and Felix Schutz scored his first goal of the season and added an assist as Portland defeated Norfolk, 4-2.

Schutz, returning after missing six games with a concussion (deemed a shoulder by most reports), got the Pirates on the board with a backhander to make it 1-1 in the opening period. Generous lit the lamp with a point shot in the second period before fellow rookie Schiestel scored from the high slot just :42 later as Portland pulled away.

Paul Byron, Nathan Gerbe, and Philip Gogulla added assists for the Pirates, while J.P. Lamoureux stopped 23 shots to secure the club's third straight win. The former Hobey Baker finalist started four games in five nights ahead of Jhonas Enroth, finishing the stretch 3-1.

The Rundown:
Schutz: 1G, 1A
Schiestel: 1G, +2
Generous: 1G
Byron: 1A, +1
Gerbe: 1A, -1, 6 SOG
Gogulla: 1A
Kostka: +1
Weber: +1
Brennan: even
Persson: even
Ennis: -2

Saturday, November 21, 2009

PP powers Pirates out of basement

Nathan Gerbe scored a goal and an assist on Friday as the Pirates connected three times with the man advantage in a 3-1 win over Worcester. Philip Gogulla netted his fourth goal of the season, while Tyler Ennis (2) and Paul Byron had assists to help key the victory. Making his third straight start, J.P. Lamoureux kicked aside 32 shots to earn his fourth win of the year and second over the Sharks in three days.

The Rundown:
Gerbe: 1G, 1A
Gogulla: 1G, 5 SOG
Ennis: 2A, 2 SOG
Byron: 1A
Kostka: 1 SOG
PErsson: 1 SOG
Schiestel: even
Generous: even
Weber: 14 PIM

The win vaults the Pirates from last place into sixth in the eight-team Atlantic Division.

Marc-Andre Gragnani (leg), Felix Schutz (shoulder), T.J. Brennan (undisclosed), and Travis Turnbull (hand) did not ply for the Pirates. The first three are considered day-to-day, while Turnbull is out definitely with a busted hand.

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On Wednesday, Mark Mancari scored a pair of goals to lead Portland's comeback efforts in a 5-3 win over the Sharks. Tyler Ennis notched his seventh goal of the season and added two assists, while Nathan Gerbe also posted a pair of assists for the Pirates.

The Rundown:
Ennis: 1G, 2A
Gerbe: 2A
Gogulla: 1A
Generous: +2, 4 SOG
Weber: +2
Persson: 2 SOG
Brennan: -1
Kostka: -1
Schiestel: -2
Byron: -2

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pirates split weekend slate

In Friday farm action, Mark Mancari scored the overtime game winner while second-year man Jhonas Enroth made 36 saves as Portland defeated Lowell, 3-2. Nathan Gerbe and Tyler Ennis each added a pair of assists for Portland, while T.J. Brennan and Travis Turnbull added single helpers. The win moved the Pirates season mark to 4-7, including a 3-0 record at home. The Rundown: Gerbe: 2A, +1 Ennis: 2A Turnbull: 1A Brennan: 1A Schutz: -1 Kostka: even Schiestel: even Gogulla: -1 Mancari: 1G ----------------------- The Pirates returned to the ice on Saturday with a 3-2 loss to Bridgeport. Enroth stopped 17 of 20 shots to take the loss in his 10th start of the season. Recently-inked Marc McCutcheon scored both Portland goals, while Mancari extended his point streak to six games with an assist. The loss was the Pirates first of the season on home ice. The Rundown: Mancari: 1A, +1 Schiestel: +1 Gogulla: +1 Kostka: +1 Gerbe: -1, 4 PIM Ennis: -2 Schutz: even Brennan: even Enroth: 17 saves Weber: -1 Generous: -1 Turnbull: 3 SOG

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ennis explodes as Pirates pound 'Pack

Tyler Ennis exploded for his first professional points, scoring three goals and an assist to lead Portland past Hartford, 6-3. The center's production stemmed from clicking with linemates Jeff Cowan (2G, 1A) and Nathan Gerbe, who added a goal and three assists. The trio swept the game's three star selections. T.J. Brennan also collected his first AHL points with a pair of assists. Marc-Andre Gragnani, Mike Kostka, and Mark Mancari added single helpers. Jhonas Enroth made 27 saves to earn the W, while Drew Schiestel remained in the press box. The Rundown: Ennis: 3G, 1A, +2, 6 SOG Gerbe: 1G, 3A, +2, 4 SOG Brennan: 2A Kostka: 1A, +1 Gragnani: 1A Mancari: 1A Gogulla: 1 SOG Weber: 1 SOG Schutz: 2PIM Persson: -1 Byron: -1 Legault: -2, 3 SOG Enroth: 27 saves, W Schiestel: DNP The Pirates begin a five-game road swing on Saturday at Manchester.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Byron keys Saturday win; Pirates sink on Sunday

On Saturday, Paul Byron scored the game winning goal and added an assist as Portland opened their home schedule with a 4-2 win over Providence. The game's #1 star, Byron scored his first AHL goal to cap the Pirates three-goal output within a span of 4:09 in the early stages of the second period. Nathan Gerbe started the roll on the power play with his second goal in as many games at 1:19. Moments later, Mark Mancari hit at even strength at 3:41 to tie the game 2-2. Mancari also picked up an assist on the night. Kyle Rank would score the final Pirates goal. Jhonas Enroth made 28 saves to earn his first win of the season, while Drew Schiestel was a scratch. The Rundown: Byron: 1G, 1A, +2 Gerbe: 1G Weber: 2A, +2 Turnbull: 1A, +1 Gragnani: 1A Brennan: +1, 5 SOG Persson: +2 Gogulla: 2 SOG Kostka: 4 SOG Schutz: 2 SOG Legault: 2 SOG Ennis: even Enroth: 28 saves The Pirates returned to the ice on Sunday in Lowell, where they came up short in 4-0 loss to the Devils. Enroth allowed four goals on 23 shots before giving way to J.P. Lamoureux at 12:15 of the second period. Lamoureux kicked away all 18 shots he faced the rest of the way. The Rundown: Ennis: 4 SOG Turnbull: 3 SOG Kostka: even Brennan: -1, 4 SOG, 16 PIM Weber: -1, 7 PIM Schiestel: -1 Gogulla: -2 Byron: -2 Legault: -2 Schutz: -2, 3 SOG Persson: -2 Enroth: 19 saves Visit the excellent Maine Hockey Journal for complete Pirates coverage.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pirates slowed by Rats

Nathan Gerbe coupled a late goal with an earlier assist as Portland lost to Albany, 5-2. Cody McCormick added the other goal for the Pirates, who moved to 0-2 on the season. Jhonas Enroth stopped 29 shots while allowing three power play goals. The Pirates will play their home opener on Saturday against Providence. Zach Boychuk had a goal and two assists to lead the Rats. The Rundown: Gerbe: 1G, 1A, +2, 4 SOG Schutz: 1A, +1 Schiestel: +1 Weber: 9 PIM Gragnani: E Kostka: E Ennis: E Brennan: 1 SOG Turnbull: 2 SOG Persson: -1 Byron: -1 Mancari: -2, 5 SOG Gogulla: -2 Enroth: 29 saves, L

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Next batch heads to Portland as final cuts near

The Sabres today announced that forwards Philip Gogulla and Felix Schutz, defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani, and goaltender Jhonas Enroth have been assigned to Portland of the AHL. Also sent to the Pirates were veterans Joe Dipenta (D) and Jeff Cowan (F). Remaining with the big club for the final round of cuts are Nathan Gerbe, Tim Kennedy, Mike Weber, and Tyler Myers, with all but Weber suiting up for Saturday night's game at Montreal. The moves come on the same day that Mark Mancari decided to re-enter the Sabres fold on a one-year deal. Portland's top point-getter last season, the fifth-year man will be subject to waivers before re-joining the Pirates.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

9/22 Recap: Pirates ship begins to fill; KHL heating up

The Sabres today announced their first batch of names leaving camp for farm assignments. Off to Portland of the AHL are the following 14 players: F: Tyler Ennis, Paul Byron, Maxime Legault, Travis Turnbull, Derek Whitmore, Kyle Rank, Brad Larsen, Mark McCutcheon D: T.J. Brennan, Drew Schiestel, Dennis Persson, Matt Generous, Mike Kostka D. J.P. Lamoureux No real surprising moves, as all were expected to start the year with the Pirates. Ennis had the potential to play one more game, but there are too many other battles to be won in other areas. Technically still the captain of the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL, Legault, 20, will shoot for an AHL roster spot and first NHL contract when he reports. The cutdown leaves 33 players still in camp including defensive prospects Tyler Myers, Mike Weber, and Marc-Andre Gragnani; forwards Nathan Gerbe, Tim Kennedy, Philip Gogulla, and Felix Schutz; and goaltender Jhonas Enroth. For those who've not watched any of the pre-season games, Myers has gradually gotten better with each of his three appearances. He's shown an adjustment to speed, demonstrated good escapability to start breakouts, and used his stick well to break up plays for quick clears. At this point I score him ahead of Gragnani and Weber, who committed several turnovers in Monday's win over Washington, but need more views to project him out against the current top-6. ---------------------------- Overseas, a pair of 2005 draft picks are getting deeper into their KHL seasons. Vjacheslav Buravchikov was -2 on as Ak Bars lost to Avangard on Tuesday, 3-1. The 6'1 dman manned the bottom pair with Alexei Yemelin (MTL) for 15:03 if action, a few ticks above his season average of 13:45. Ak Bars next plays on Thursday at Barys. On Monday, Marek Zagrapan was -1 as Severstal dropped a 3-1 decision to Metallurg. The 23-year old is -3 with four shots on goal in three games since scoring the winner in the season opener. Severstal will take the ice on Wednesday against an Amur club carrying former Sabres defenseman, Nolan Pratt. -------- Also of note, PEI's Jordon Southorn stayed away from practice Tuesday with a bug, and may not be ready to go for their Wednesday tilt with 4-0 Saint John. Brayden McNabb and Kootenay will host the Edmonton Oil Kings in a mid-week WHL battle.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Southorn stays in PEI as peers gear up

The CHL pre-season is coming to a close, and the bulk of prospects are in Buffalo for early work before the opening of main camp later in the week. However, one Sabres property will be wearing his junior colors when the QMJHL kicks off its regular season. The Sabres this week informed PEI Rocket defenseman Jordon Southorn that they were rescinding his 2009 training camp invitation due to his second team-imposed suspension in as many seasons. Southorn, who was suspended by the Rocket for an alleged curfew violation, will be in uniform when the club opens their QMJHL regular season this week instead of competing in Buffalo.
The group, including Southorn’s agent Don Meehan, sat down (with input from the Buffalo Sabres which nabbed Southorn in the fourth round of the 2008 NHL draft) to decide his fate. Savard helped make last year’s docking call and the recent suspension. He said Southorn’s back in the fold, but what happens next is up to him. “The kid knows what to expect. He’s getting another chance,” said Savard, who selected the blue-liner 17th overall in the first round in the 2006 QMJHL draft. “That’s the way it’s going to be. He knows things have to change as we move forward (and) the season begins.” The greater damage might be Buffalo reneging Southorn’s invitation to its training camp next week. He had been scheduled to leave P.E.I. for New York, Sept. 7. He might get another chance later in the camp, said Southorn, but for now the NHL squad has cooled his jets. “They don’t want me in Buffalo breaking curfew or getting into trouble,” he said. “They don’t want me there in that state of mind.”
At this point, Southorn will have to be lights out this season to be considered for an NHL contract. Harvard's Alex Biega and Saginaw's Nick Crawford are also up for a blueline look after this season, while T.J. Brennan and Drew Schiestel have already joined Mike Weber, Mike Kostka, Dennis Persson, and Matt Generous in the minor league mix. Add in top clubbers Chris Butler, 22, and Andrej Sekera, 23, and the already-inked Tyler Myers, 19, and it's easy to think that only one of the three could be signed next offseason. Speaking of Myers, the 6'8 defenseman arrived in Buffalo on Saturday for his second NHL camp.
“Having one year and one camp under my belt, I’m going in with some confidence,” Myers said. “I’m very excited to go in there, do the best I can and just keep things simple. Whatever they have planned for me I’ll accept. “I’d love to play with Buffalo this year, but I know there’s a possibility I may get sent back. If that happens, Kelowna’s not a bad place to come play hockey and I don’t think another year of development would hurt me at all.”
Meanwhile Buffalo News reporter John Vogl spoke with GM Darcy Regier, who confirmed that Tyler Ennis will be signed and done shortly.
"He’ll come to camp and we’ll work on his contract, but the expectation is that he’ll turn pro and not return to junior this year," Regier said.
The same article mentioned that RFA Mark Mancari would like a chance to play elsewhere. Four years into his pro career, the big wing has essentially graduated from this space. Cruising the other CHL training camps for updates on those heading to Buffalo this week... Luke Adam saw his first pre-season action for Cape Breton on Wednesday, posting two goals and an assist as the Eagles hammered Halifax, 9-2. The 6'2 forward, who also led the Eagles with five shots on goal and five blocks, departed for Buffalo the following day. On Friday, Jacob Lagacé had two shots on goal as Chicoutimi lost 4-2 to Shawinigan. Cataractes forward Maxime Legault did not play. Lagacé played again the following night, getting into a fight with 6'1, 194-pound Maxime Lamarche in the Sags 6-1 loss at Victoriaville. The 17-year old Lamarche got the better of Lagacé, who rarely drops the mitts. Portland forward Felix Schutz was seen skating in Saint John on Friday as his former junior club, the Sea Dogs, broke camp for a week before the start of the regular season. In the OHL, Marcus Foligno was tossed from Sudbury's loss to Barrie on Thursday. The big forward earned a five-minute major and a game misconduct after a slew foot in the second period. On Friday, Foligno tipped a shot in from his belly for his second goal of the pre-season in Sudbury's 5-2 loss to Oshawa. Saginaw rearguard Nick Crawford had an assist in Friday's 5-3 loss to Sault Ste. Marie, and did not play as the Spirit lost a Saturday rematch, 4-2. After sitting out the pre-season opener, Zack Kassian had two assists in Peterborough's 6-4 win over Oshawa on Wednesday. Kassian arrived in Buffalo Monday morning. In the WHL, Brayden McNabb did not play in either of Kootenay's pre-season losses before heading to Buffalo over the weekend. The OHL and WHL will drop the puck for regular season play on the 17th. 2009 pick Mark Adams started his USHL career this week as Chicago opened up with a holiday weekend of practices. The New England high school product will hone his skills for a season under the guidance of former NHLer Steve Poapst before entering Providence College next fall. The USHL regular season doesn't get underway until October 2nd.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mid-summer heats up as 2009-10 looms

With the summer season hitting its second phase, national evaluation camps are hitting the radar as players ramp-up for the 2009-10 season. Miami University sophomore Connor Knapp will be one of four goaltenders and 43 players overall in Lake Placid, NY for USA Hockey's U20 Evaluation Camp running from August 8th-17th. The Americans will play three intra-squad scrimmages before a four-game set ensues against a team of Russian hopefuls. Dmitri Kugryshev (WAS), Kirill Petrov (NYI), and Andrei Loktionov (LAK) will be among the Russian shooters testing Knapp. Drafted players Nikita Filatov (CBS), Dmitry Kulikov (FLA), and Igor Bobkov (ANA) will not participate, nor will top '10 eligibles Kirill Kabanov and Evgeny Kuznetsov. A reader recently questioned Knapp's inclusion on the USA invite list, suggesting that he can't be a serious contender since another freshman ended the year as Miami's starting goaltender. I'm not sure that's a valid argument. While that was the case in Oxford, Cody Reichard was definitely more experienced as a 22-year old freshman compared to the 18-year old Knapp, and thus got the call for Miami down the stretch. A 6'5 EJHL product and former Rochester high school standout, Knapp went 13-5-3 with a 2.09 GAA to earn CCHA All-Rookie honors as a "true" freshman and recently performed well at the Sabres Development Camp. The invite is warranted when looking at it from that angle. Over the border, Tyler Myers, Zack Kassian, and Luke Adam will be in Saskatoon for Canada's National Junior Team Development Camp from August 5th-10th. The camp roster consists of 41 forwards and defensemen, and four goaltenders. Red/White scrimmages will be held on August 8th and 9th. A veteran of Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence, Myers returns after he and Keith Aulie (CAL) performed as the top shutdown combo for the 2009 gold medal winners. The 6'8 Calgarian struck gold a year earlier at the U18's in Kazan, Russia. Kassian, 18, played with Brayden McNabb on Canada's 4th place entry at U18's in Fargo, ND and Moorhead, MN this past April. Last summer, he was an U18 gold medalist at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial. The camp will be the first world junior invite for Adam. The 19-year old forward serves as the sole representative from Hockey Newfoundland & Labrador. A week prior to the U20 activities, Bob Boughner and his U18 Summer Team staff will host 38 2010 drafts eligibles and a pair of 2011's in Calgary for Canada's Hlinka selection camp. Team USA has already finalized their U18 Select Team roster for the tourney that will be held in Slovakia and the Czech Republic from August 11th-15th. In Europe, German hockey association DEB concluded their summer camp in preparation for the 2010 Olympics. In a competitive setback, bench boss Uwe Krupp was without the luxury of any NHL players in his five-day gathering.
The candidates from the National Hockey League – Robert Dietrich, Christian Ehrhoff, Marcel Goc, Philipp Gogulla, Thomas Greiss, Jochen Hecht, Christoph Schubert, Felix Schütz and Marco Sturm – will not join the camp due to insurance reasons after discussions between DEB and the players.
Back on North American soil, the Sabres selection of Marcus Foligno continues to draw positive press. A blue-collar, Buffalo-born player getting drafted by the same team that his father once wore the "C" for makes for a story worth following.
Mike, who is also the head coach and general manager of the Sudbury Wolves, said it was his son’s physical play and competitive spirit that made him stand out on the ice this year. “Everybody knows he’s a physical player,” the coach said. “He’s the type of guy who wants to win, he cares about his teammates, and he knows the physical game is his strength.” Marcus said he will be bringing his energy and strong work ethic to the Sabres organization. “Knowing you have your teammates looking at you to make something happen, to just spark them up and give the energy back to the team,” he said. “There’s nothing better than trying to put up points in the NHL and it’s one thing I’m capable of. I just need to keep working hard as the off-season goes on ... to develop into an NHL player.” Marcus said his goal for the remainder of the off-season is to continue getting bigger and stronger. “This is a player that has worked very hard to accomplish this first step of making it to the NHL, and he’s paid the price both on and off the ice,” the Wolves’ head coach said. “I think Marcus is really motivated right now to accomplish the dream of playing in the NHL.”
Mid-July also saw the annual Stanley Keg tournament play out in Montreal.
Held in the vibrant city of Montreal, the Montreal Stanley Keg is a summer hockey tournament that features eight teams of professional players from across North America. The trophy is an actual beer keg with a cup (similar to the Stanley Cup) mounted on the top, and the winning team gets its members’ names engraved on the trophy. The tournament is held at the beautiful 4 Glaces Sportplexe Pierrefonds facility and runs from July 17th – 19th, 2009.
NHLers Jason Pominville, Alex Burrows, and Guillaume Latendresse skated for the same side in the no-contact 5-5 summer staple. Other notables in the shinny included 2008-09 Portland Pirates Mathieu Darche and Kenny MacAulay, and Harvard's Danny and Michael Biega, brother of current Sabres defensive prospect, Alex. Marc-Andre Gragnani was a member of the winning side last season. Another summer happening of Quebecois flavor involves former Sabres property, Benjamin Breault (2006, 7th round). After completing five years of QMJHL service, the 5'10 offensive forward has signed on with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gogulla at Worlds; Schutz en route?

On Friday, Philip Gogulla was -1 with two shots on goal as Germany opened the IIHF World Championships with a 5-0 loss to Russia. Gogulla skated for 14:36 (20 shifts), while fellow Sabre Jochen Hecht saw just 11:20 from bench boss Uwe Krupp in his return to international play after a four-year layoff. With the Pirates being bounced from the AHL playoffs, expect Felix Schutz to join the Sabres German troupe in the next few days after his successful rookie season.

Pirates eliminated

The 2008-09 season has come to end for Portland Pirates, as the farmhands were defeated 2-1 by Providence on Friday to lose their AHL first round series by a 4-1 margin. Mike Kostka scored the only goal for the Pirates on the power play while Jhonas Enroth, who was fantastic in the Pirates net, stopped 36 of 38 Bruins shots. The Rundown: Kostka: G, -1 Gragnani: A Mancari: 4 SOG Kennedy: 3 SOG Gerbe: 2 SOG Butler: 2 SOG Schutz: 2 SOG Generous: even Persson: even Zagrapan: even Whitmore: -1 Turnbull: -1 Enroth: 36 saves, L

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pirates head home with a split

The Portland Pirates kicked off the first round of the AHL playoffs this week with a road split in Providence. On Wednesday, Marek Zagrapan had a pair of goals and Jhonas Enroth made 28 saves as the Pirates shut out the Bruins, 3-0. Felix Schutz scored his first playoff goal, while Mark Mancari picked up two assists. Recent addition Dennis Persson did not dress for Portland. The Rundown: Zagrapan: 2G, +2, 5 SOG Schutz: 1G, +1 Mancari: 2A, +2 Gragnani: A, +3 Gerbe: 4 SOG Kennedy: 1 SOG Butler: 2 SOG Whitmore: even Turnbull: 2 SOG Kostka: 1 SOG Generous: 1 SOG Enroth: 28 saves, SO On Friday, the Pirates could only muster a Tyler Bouck wrister in the third period as the Bruins evened things up with a 2-1 in. Derek Whitmore drew an assist on Bouck's short-handed goal. Enroth made 38 saves to earn the game's #3 star. Mike Kostka dinged a leg in the loss, potentially paving the way for Matt Generous or Persson to re-enter the lineup for Sunday's game three. The Rundown: Whitmore: 1A, +1 Gragnani: +1, 2 SOG Gerbe: -1, 4 SOG Mancari: -1, 5 SOG Kennedy: -1 Butler: 2 SOG Zagrapan: -1 Schutz: 2 SOG Turnbull: 1 SOG Kostka: -1 Enroth: 38 saves

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Playoff bound Pirates win final tune-up

AHL Rookie of the Year Nathan Gerbe scored a pair of goals, his 29th and 30th of the year, as Portland closed its regular season with a 5-4 win over Manchester. Pirates rookie Matt Generous scored his first career goal in the win. Playing his fourth game since ending his NCAA run with St. Lawrence, the Chesire, CT native also received his first fighting major at 1:51 of the first period to miss the Gordie Howe Hat Trick by an assist. Tim Kennedy added two assists, while Felix Schutz, Marek Zagrapan, Marc-Andre Gragnani, and Mark Mancari all were credited with single helpers. The win gives the Pirates the #3 seed in the AHL Atlantic Division playoffs. Portland travels to #2 Providence on Wednesday for Game 1 of the best-of-seven series. The Rundown: Gerbe: 2G Generous: 1G Kennedy: 2A Zagrapan: 1A, 4 SOG Schutz: 1A, +1 Gragnani: 1A Mancari: 1A Kostka: +1 Turnbull: -1 Whitmore: -1

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pirates split weekend, remain in third

Tim Kennedy had a goal and two assists, and Nathan Gerbe and Mark Mancari each had a goal and an assist as Portland upended Springfield, 6-4. Jhonas Enroth made 33 saves to improve his record to 25-22-0-6 on the season. Going 5-1-0-1 in their last seven games, the victory moves the Pirates (37-30-3-7 - 84 points) one point ahead of Worcester for third place in the Atlantic Division. The two teams will square off on Wednesday. The Rundown: Kennedy: 1G, 2A, +2 Gerbe: 1G, 1A, +3 Mancari: 1G, 1A Zagrapan: 6 SOG Generous: 4 SOG, 6 PIM Schutz: 2 SOG Gragnani: -1 Turnbull: 1 SOG Persson: 2 SOG Kostka: +1 Enroth: 33 saves, W On Saturday, Enroth made 30 saves but the Pirates lost a 3-2 shootout to Providence. Gerbe and Marc-Andre Gragnani drew assists for the Pirates on goals by Mathieu Darche and Colton Fretter. Matt Generous finished +1 in his first appearance in a Portland sweater. Kennedy, Mancari, Zagrapan, and Gerbe could not beat Tuukka Rask in the shootout. The Rundown: Gerbe: 1A, +1, 6 SOG Gragnani: 1A, -1 Kennedy: -1 Mancari: -1 Zagrapan: -1 Generous: +1 Schutz: 1 SOG Kostka: -1 Persson: -1 Whitmore: 2 SOG Enroth: 30 saves, SOL

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pirates dump Devils

On Friday, Portland got a pair of goals from Mathieu Darche and 35 saves from Jhonas Enroth to defeat Lowell, 3-1. Marek Zagrapan sealed the win with an empty net goal, his 21st of the season, while Mike Kostka had a power-play assist on the first Darche goal. Portland's leading scorer among defensemen, Marc-Andre Gragnani, skated as a left-wing on the Pirates fourth line with Derek Whitmore at center. The Rundown: Zagrapan: 1G Kostka: 1A, +2 Gerbe: +1 Mancari: +1 Kennedy: +1 Schutz: -1 Persson: 1 SOG Whitmore: 2 SOG Gragnani: even Enroth: 35 saves, W

Thursday, April 2, 2009

4/1 Recap: Gerbe, Kennedy named All-Rookie; Zagrapan hits 20

On Wednesday, Marek Zagrapan scored his 20th of the season and added an assist as Portland lost to Hartford, 5-3. Zagrapan hits the 20-goal barrier for the first time in his young career after years of 17 and 18 goals. Tim Kennedy notched his 17th goal, while defensemen Dennis Persson, Mike Kostka, and Marc-Andre Gragnani had assists in the loss. Jhonas Enroth made 26 saves to move his record to 23-22-0-5. The Rundown: Zagrapan: 1G, 1A, 5 SOG Kennedy: 1G Persson: 1A, -1 Kostka: 1A, -1 Gragnani: 1A, -3 Gerbe: 6 SOG Mancari: 8 SOG Whitmore: -2 Schutz: -1 Enroth: 26 saves Earlier in the day, Gerbe and Kennedy were both named to the AHL All-Rookie Team. 2008-09 AHL All-Rookie Team Tim Kennedy, Forward (Portland Pirates): A teammate of Justin Abdelkader's on Michigan State's 2007 national championship team, Tim Kennedy stormed out of the gate by registering a point in his first nine professional games for Portland this season. He leads all AHL rookies with 43 assists and 59 points in 66 games overall and has registered 14 multiple-point efforts. The 22-year-old made his NHL debut for the Sabres in his hometown of Buffalo on Dec. 27 and was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week on Feb. 15 with five goals and 10 points in a four-game span. Nathan Gerbe, Forward (Portland Pirates): Nathan Gerbe has torn up the AHL for 26 goals and 50 points in just 50 games for Portland this season, including seven multiple-goal efforts and a hat trick. Drafted by Buffalo in 2005, Gerbe made his National Hockey League debut with the Sabres in December and has contributed one assist in 10 NHL games this year. A native of Oxford, Mich., the 21-year-old Gerbe reached the NCAA title game in each of his three seasons at Boston College and led the nation in scoring en route to winning the national championship in 2007-08. 2008-09 AHL All-Rookie Team Goaltender: Nathan Lawson, Bridgeport Sound Tigers (30gp, 18-9-2, 2.13gaa, .929sv%, 2so) Defenseman: Mattias Karlsson, Binghamton Senators (67gp, 8+41=49pts.) Defenseman: Yannick Weber, Hamilton Bulldogs (66gp, 14+27=41pts.) Forward: Justin Abdelkader, Grand Rapids Griffins (71gp, 22+27=49pts.) Forward: Nathan Gerbe, Portland Pirates (50gp, 26+24=50pts.) Forward: Tim Kennedy, Portland Pirates (66gp, 16+43=59pts.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Felix feelin' it, Persson points as Pirates produce

Felix Schutz had a goal and two assists, while Tim Kennedy scored the late game winner to go along with an earlier helper as Portland defeated lowly Springfield, 4-3, to earn their first three-game win streak since January. Playing in his second career AHL game, Dennis Persson received the only assist on Kennedy's goal while Nathan Gerbe and Marc-Andre Gragnani also chipped in an assist each. Jhonas Enroth made 33 saves to collect his 23rd win of the season. The Rundown: Schutz: 1G, 2A, +1 Kennedy: GWG, 1A, 2 SOG Gerbe: 1A, +1, 5 SOG Persson: 1A Gragnani: 1A Kostka: even Zagrapan: -1 Whitmore: -1 Mancari: -1 Enroth: 33 saves, W On Saturday, Marek Zagrapan had three assists as the Pirates rode a Colin Murphy hat trick past Manchester, 5-2. Gragnani had a goal and an assist for Portland, while Gerbe potted his 26th goal of the year. The Rundown: Gragnani: 1G, 1A Gerbe: 1G, -1, 7 SOG Zagrapan: 3A, +1 Mancari: 1A, +1 Whitmore: even Kostka: 2 SOG Persson: -1 Schutz: -1 Enroth: 24 Saves, W