Ryan Miller

It’s Buffalo Sabres day on PHT


Welcome to our offseason initiative — 30 teams in 30 days.

From July 16 until Aug. 14, we’ll be dedicating each day to a new team by recapping the offseason and looking ahead to 2012-13.

There will also be a series of posts looking at key stories, player profiles and burning questions regarding each squad.

Thursday’s team is the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres entered last season as a chic pick to win the Northeast Division despite the Boston Bruins’ championship. Instead, they flopped and didn’t even make the playoffs.

That team already looks pretty different than last year’s version. Overall they’re tougher and younger yet considerably less sexy.

GM Darcy Regier traded top center Derek Roy for super pest Steve Ott, who will join forces with Patrick Kaleta to annoy opponents.

Adding John Scott to the mix should mean that teams will be less likely to run Ryan Miller – at least when Scott isn’t a healthy scratch.

The Sabres drafted two intriguing first-round centers (Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons) to bolster a youth movement including current NHLers Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis.

For the most part, the Sabres must improve from within, then. Today’s slate of stories will examine how likely that might be.

Blues’ Shattenkirk suffers lower-body injury

Kevin Shattenkirk
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This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.

Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.

While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.

There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.

Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.

Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:

It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning


In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.