Drew Stafford

Stafford won’t ask out of Buffalo


With just four goals in 30 games, and on a Sabres team that appears destined to miss the playoffs again, it’s no surprise that Drew Stafford’s name has popped up in trade speculation.

Stafford, however, has no intention of asking out of Buffalo.

“No, absolutely not,” the 27-year-old said, per WGR 550. “That’s not something that’s part of my character. I was brought up a certain way and I’m here to focus on the controllables and that’s how I’m playing. If I’m going in there and demanding this and demanding that, that’s just not the type of person I am, so I’m never going to quit no matter how bad it gets.”

Stafford is signed through 2014-15 with an annual salary and cap hit of $4 million. He had a career best 31 goals in 2010-11; however, that was with a shooting percentage  of 17.3, considerably higher than his career average (11.6%).

Could he get back to that level with a change of scenery and some new teammates? Teams may be curious enough to inquire.

In the meantime, the Sabres could use a goal or two from Stafford tonight at home to the Leafs. Particularly since they’ll be without leading scorer Thomas Vanek, who will sit out with a lower-body injury.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.