UPPER DECK Islanders Players Cards Night (7pm)
Buffalo at Islanders (FSNY, ESPN 1050 AM)
By Corey Witt
(March 1) After a couple of days of rest and relaxation, which was
preceded by a grueling battle against the New Jersey Devils, the
Islanders host the Buffalo Sabres on Upper Deck Islanders Players
Cards night at the Nassau Coliseum.
"We basically need some rest," said Head Coach Peter Laviolette
following the 3-3 tie against the Devils on Thursday night. "We looked
a little drained and the schedule doesn't get any easier. We have to
make sure everyone is ready to play."
The Isles are in the midst of a five-week stretch, which sees them
play every other day. In order to make sure his squad has ample energy
and strength for Saturday night's game, Laviolette gave the team one
and a half days off. That included Friday's practice and Saturday's
"It was necessary for us to take some time off," Laviolette went on to
say. "Having our guys tired isn't good for us. They need as much
muscle as they can have for the rest of the season. We got a little
flat in the middle of the game against the Devils and I want make sure
that it doesn't happen again."
Said Michael Peca: "A lot of us need some rest, it's appreciated. It's
a lot of games in a short amount of time, so we need to regroup a
little bit and get ready to play Buffalo. They're a young team with a
lot of energy, so we have to make sure we're can be on our toes."
"I think that the time off is going to make a big difference," forward
Mark Parrish noted. "We need an extra boost, and with all of the
hockey we're playing I don't think we'll miss the practice all that
much. The extra rest will definitely be more protective."
There will be some roster moves on Saturday after RW Mattias
Weinhandl, C Justin Mapletoft and D Alain Nasreddine were sent down on
Friday to Bridgeport.
On another note, scoreboard watching has become somewhat of a habit
for some people within the confines of the Islanders' lockeroom.
"This is one of the tightest races in a long time," Parrish pointed
out. "There are about six or seven teams fighting for three playoff
spots. That just shows us that we need as many games as we can."
In an effort to bring the game even closer to the fans, Fox Sports New
York and the Islanders have created "Studio F" on the concourse
outside the Blueline Bar & Grill at Nassau Coliseum. The new studio,
which debuts Saturday prior to the game, allows fans to get involved
in the Fox pre-game show.
The Islanders will wear their orange third jerseys for the game.
The Scoop On: Buffalo Sabres
By Kerry Gwydir
(March 1) It's been a season to forget for the Buffalo Sabres. After
roughing-up the Islanders on opening night in Buffalo and a hot
first-week start, the Sabres have suffered through a miserable season.
Off the ice, they've filed for bankruptcy protection and saw one
potential owner fail in Mark Hamister's bid to secure the team after
former owner John Rigas was sent to jail. On the ice, they have won
only three of their last 16. But the Islanders had better be ready.
That's because the Sabres knocked off one of the league's elite in the
Dallas Stars on Friday with a 5-3 victory. Miroslav Satan had three
assists while surprising winger Ales Kotalik knocked home his 15th goal.
Kotalik's play this season will earn him quite a bit of consideration
for NHL Rookie of the Year. He was one of the Sabres' top offensive
producers in January, earning him the NHL Rookie of the Month for
January. In 13 games, Kotalik scored seven goals and four assists for
11 points. Satan has been one of the few bright spots for the Sabres
of late, registering four goals and 10 points in his last eight games.
Yet, Satan is getting little support from the returning veterans that
were supposed to help him. J.P. Dumont, who was expected to have a
breakout season following back-to-back 23-goal campaigns, has one goal
in his last 11 games and 12 overall. Tim Connolly has just nine goals,
18 points and a -20 rating in 62 games. 10 of his points have come on
the powerplay. Stu Barnes has notched just 10 goals in 62 matchups.
The Sabres have just three players with 15 or more goals - Chris
Gratton (15), Kotalik and Satan (22).
After missing the first 45 games of the season with concussion
symptoms, right wing Maxim Afinogenov has been looking to get back
into his scoring form. He did not register a point Friday, but had a
three-game point streak (2-1-3) going into it. Last season, he set
career highs with 21 goals and 40 points.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Sabres are currently one of
the NHL's youngest teams. Buffalo currently has 13 players on the
active roster under the age of 25. That includes Connolly (21), Taylor
Pyatt (21) and Dmitri Kalinin (22). At 26 years and 246 days, Buffalo
is currently the fourth-youngest team in the NHL. Only Florida,
Edmonton and Ottawa have younger average-ages.
There was some good news on Thursday as billionaire Tom Golisano, a
Rochester businessman, reached an agreement to purchase the team.
Golisano made a run at the New York Governor's seat last November.
On Friday, the Sabres recalled forward Jason Botterill and defenseman
Radoslav Hecl from Rochester of the American Hockey League on Friday.
They waived forward Denis Hamel, who was designated for assignment to
Rochester. Teams have until noon Saturday to claim Hamel, who has two
goals in 25 games with Buffalo this season.
Botterill, who skated on Buffalo's top line on Friday, leads the AHL
with 36 goals and has 56 points in 61 games with Rochester this
season. He appeared in one game with the Sabres in December, but made
a splash on Friday with a goal and an assist. Hecl returned to the
Sabres a day after being sent to Rochester.
Yashin Getting Physical
Hard hits are making up for lack of goals
By Alan Hahn
March 1, 2003
Alexei Yashin hasn't broken out of his scoring funk yet, but at least
the Islanders' star center has been breaking a sweat lately. The
usually stoic Russian is showing signs of life. His hard-working
shifts in the past few games have been noticeable, including some
hitting and responses to being hit.
"I like to keep my emotions inside," said Yashin, who had just a goal
and two assists in 12 games during February. "But a lot of people have
criticized me for not showing my emotions."
Forgive him, then, if he salivates at the sight of Sabres all-star
winger Miroslav Satan on Saturday night when the Islanders host
Buffalo. Satan might be available before the March 11 trade deadline.
He would be a perfect fit for Yashin and the Islanders.
Former gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano reportedly is close to
completing a purchase of the bankrupt Sabres, who are currently being
run by the NHL. There is some speculation the team will look to shed
payroll quickly once the sale is completed.
Golisano gave the OK for last week's trade that sent pesky Vaclav
Varada to the Ottawa Senators for a prospect. Satan, a restricted free
agent this summer, believes he might be next. "I just don't know what
to think," he said.
Yashin, meanwhile, will heed the request of the coaching staff (and
his teammates) by hitting more and making more of his shifts while he
tries to work out of this slump.
"I'm trying to play physical, like everybody else," he said. "It's
what I have to do more of."
Kenny Jonsson, who suffered a mild knee sprain in Thursday's 3-3 tie
with the Devils, is questionable for Saturday night's game. Defenseman
Alain Nasredine and forwards Justin Mapletoft and Mattias Weinhandl
were returned to Bridgeport.
Sabres at Islanders
Radio: ESPN (1050)
HOT STREAK AT HOME ON LINE FOR ISLANDERS
By MARK EVERSON
March 1, 2003 -- It started with a visit by these same Sabres, this
five-game home unbeaten streak that is clearing the Islanders' path to
a second straight playoff season.
With the Sabres bankrupt and buried in the Eastern Conference, and
coming off a 5-3 win last night against Dallas, this is one of the
games when the Isles must make hay or count it among their failings.
The Islanders stretched their Coliseum streak to 3-0-2 with Thursday's
3-3 tie with the Devils, leaving them 3-1-3 their last seven overall,
although winless in two (0-1-1).
The Isles beat Buffalo 3-1 on Feb. 8 to start their home streak that
includes victories over Tampa Bay and Colorado, followed by ties with
Boston and the Devils. The Isles are 2-1 against the Sabres as they
complete their season series.
Buffalo News: Sabres page
Regier's years of work yield nothing
By BOB DICESARE
Do us a favor, Darcy Regier. Hang one light out your window if it's
your intent to build a finesse hockey team. Hang two lights out your
window if it's your intent to build a gritty hockey team. But, if six
years into the job you still haven't made up your mind, then turn off
the lights and skiddoo.
Where are we going with this, Darcy? What is it that you're trying to
Three months ago you gave away Jason Woolley, and most everybody was
OK with that. It was a chance to dump salary during hard financial
times. It was a move that rid the whine cellar of its most bitter
stock. It was, or so it seemed, acknowledgment that a player of
Woolley's ilk - slick skater, tough as butter - had no place in
shaping the future of the franchise.
Fine. This is Buffalo. We're not big on dainty.
But what did you do after that, while your team was burning up
January, its playoff hopes upgraded from nonexistent to faint? Did you
make a deal to reinforce the notion that everybody's striving for
improvement? No. I'll tell you what you did. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. And
you passed off your inactivity on the uncertainty surrounding the
franchise. No sense in trading, you reasoned, because who knew what it
was that the new owners had in mind?
Yeah, OK. That makes sense if we're talking a major overhaul, a
substantial increase in payroll. But I can't imagine a potential owner
would be opposed to tweaking the product in a quest to make it hum.
Who wouldn't want the engine tuned before buying the car?
The problem is you have no idea how to better this team. And you
proved it this week by trading Vaclav Varada, much to the amusement,
I'm sure, of John Muckler, who could teach you (and Larry Quinn, for
that matter) a thing or 500 about reconstructing a hockey team.
Varada's the kind of hard-nosed player this town loves, a rugged
antagonizer any decent team would covet. And you sent him packing in
exchange for a bag full of wishes that might - and I can't stress that
word enough - solidify and slip into a Sabres uniform at the end of
Oh, the hockey fans in Buffalo, the ones you hadn't already alienated,
must adore you (wink-wink) for this.
Good news: Maybe there's light at the end of the tunnel.
Bad news: The tunnel's bored beneath an ocean.
Next season's marketing slogan: Bet we have more patience than you do!
The end straw, for me, was when you came out and said there are no
untouchables on your hockey team, not a player who can't be had. So
what you're telling us, in summary, is all you have to show for six
years of work is 23 players the Sabres can do without. Four seasons
ago this franchise was two wins from the Cup, and today it's an atom
without a nucleus. Well done!
Don't you think, Darcy, that your statement reflects worse on you than
it does the players you condemn? Because if that's how you feel, if
what you've collected is a pile of driftwood, please explain how it is
that you backed yourself into this corner. They're your players. And
hopefully they're your legacy, menial as it might be, because nobody's
eager to see where you take it from here.
This whole charade, this bob and weave, is appearing more and more
like a determined effort to bring your prophesy to self-fulfillment.
You've gone on and on about the NHL's tilted economic system and how
it jeopardizes small-market franchises such as the Sabres. You've
sounded the alarm over the team's ability to survive. And you've
responded in kind with a series of transactions inclined to foster
What's the objective here, Darcy, that the team leaves because of your
handiwork and enables you to gloat about your awareness? Are you John
Y. Brown-ing us?
I wrote, just a few short weeks ago, that you deserved to stick around
once the ownership issue is resolved. And I won't waver from that
statement. You've overseen the franchise during the toughest of times.
But I can't, in good conscience, recommend that you remain as general
manager. I think they ought to make you sell season tickets and pay
you strictly on commission.