Despite the lockout, the Buffalo Sabres are still going ahead with tonight’s unveiling of a statue outside the First Niagara Center honoring the famed French Connection line of Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin and Rene Robert.
The date was chosen because the three players first skated on a line together in October 1972.
The bronze statue depicts all three members of the French Connection – comprised of center Gilbert Perreault, left winger Rick Martin and right winger Rene Robert –and will serve as the anchor of Buffalo Sabres Alumni Plaza, a tribute to all former players of the team. The plaza, which is presented by Tops Friendly Markets, sits directly outside First Niagara Center along Perry Street and will be a lasting acknowledgement of the 400-plus players who have donned the Blue and Gold as a member of the Sabres throughout the team’s 42-year history.
Perreault, Robert, and family members of the late Martin will be attending Friday’s ceremony along with over 30 Sabres alumni and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula. Also in attendance will be Jerry McKenna, the award-winning sculptor of the statue, Ron Moscati, the former team photographer whose photograph served as inspiration for the statue. Longtime Sabres broadcaster Rick Jeanneret will serve as the master of ceremonies for the evening’s events.
Tonight’s ceremony starts at 7 p.m.
Hopefully they play this song:
Red Wings look to future in net … a future possibly without Howard
This summer looks like it could be one of changes for the Detroit Red Wings, even beyond the most obvious storyline of Pavel Datsyuk‘s future.
One area where the Red Wings would like to make some tweaks is in net, namely in trading Jimmy Howard. The Detroit Free-Press points out that GM Ken Holland admitted that moving the former franchise netminder “might be good for the organization.”
It’s reasonable to wonder what kind of market there will be for Howard, whose deal ($5.29 million cap hit through 2018-19) looks pretty tough to stomach on paper.
Maybe it’s best to consider the Red Wings’ options if Howard starts the 2016-17 season off on a strong note, or something of that nature. Perhaps an expansion draft could “solve” that problem if Detroit cannot find any takers?
The Red Wings remain forward-thinking and patient, which likely explains why the Free-Press focuses on their confidence with prospect Jared Coreau.
“In the big scheme of things, he’ll play in Grand Rapids for another year, but now we know he can play a lot of minutes if needed,” Goalie coach Jeff Salajko said. “Jimmy Howard played four years in the minors. We’re not rushing Jared, but he is going to be an NHL goalie, there is no doubt in my mind about that.”
In other words, a pairing of Petr Mrazek and Coreau wouldn’t just be a cost-effective duo … it might just be the Red Wings’ ideal scenario in the not-too-distant future.
Stanley Cup Final referees: McCauley, O’Halloran, O’Rourke, Sutherland
PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.
Now he knows.
“First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”
The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.
More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.
It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”
Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.
“The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”