Thomas Vanek, Justin Faulk

Vanek embarrassed with Sabres play


It’s no secret that things aren’t going well for the Sabres. “Poor play” is one way to describe it. Other people might say the team is “reeling.” There are even columnists that say this is “the worst Sabres team in a decade.”  Then there are some fans in Buffalo that might use a little stronger language to describe the Sabres’ recent play. That’s what happens when a team gets outscored 19-5 in the first four games of a winless road trip.

Today, Sabres sniper Thomas Vanek had some equally strong words for his team’s recent play. “It’s embarrassing,” Vanek said Saturday afternoon. “Since day one when I got here, I always prided myself — and it’s what I learned from the older guys — to be a good road team which I thought we’ve always done a great job at. Right now it’s a mistake and it goes south for us.”

It’s not just that the Sabres are losing; it’s the way the team is losing. Once things start to slide for the team, the opposition is able to put on the pressure and destroy the Sabres without much resistance. The struggles have been on full display as they’ve lost their last three games to the Red Wings, Blackhawks, and Jets by a combined score of 15-3.

“Mentally, it’s tough. I’m not going to lie here and say we’re doing just great because we’re not.”

Good to hear that he’s not going to lie, because they aren’t playing well. It doesn’t get any easier tonight as the stumbling Sabres face off against the red-hot St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.

On a new contract, Avs don’t dress Stuart in opener

DENVER, CO - MARCH 14:  Brad Stuart #17 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on as he skates against the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center on March 14, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Flames 3-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Brad Stuart wasn’t on the ice for the first game of his two-year, $7.2 million contract and it had nothing to do with his health.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy felt Stuart simply wasn’t one of the six best defensemen in training camp and consequently he wasn’t in the lineup, per the Denver Post.

“Things could change for the next game,” Roy offered. “Like I said (Wednesday), we’re going to use those eight D all year long. (Last night was) just the first game of the season.”

Perhaps, but it’s still a terrible indicator, especially given that Stuart will turn 36 on Nov. 6. Stuart is a veteran of over 1,000 games, but now the question is if he has enough left in the tank to provide Colorado with much value.

The Avalanche also scratched defenseman Brandon Gormley, who was acquired from the Coyotes in exchange for Stefan Elliott. The hope was that both players would benefit from the change in scenery. Gormley was taken with the 13th overall pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but has only played in 32 career NHL games.

PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (

Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)