Goaltender Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres is congratulated by Thomas Vanek #26 after shuting out the Anaheim Ducks 2-0 at Honda Center on February 29, 2012 in Anaheim, California.
(February 28, 2012 - Source: Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America)

Pegula ‘concerned’ about Miller and Vanek, wants to keep them in Buffalo


Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula wants fans to know he shares their worries about the futures of Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek.

“I can tell the fans I’m concerned, too,” Pegula told Buffalo’s WGR-AM 550, as per the Buffalo News. “Yes, we want them here.”

Miller has one year left on the five-year, $31.25 million deal he signed with the Sabres in 2009. He has a modified no-trade clause — he can list eight teams he will not accept a trade to, according to Capgeek — and carries a $6.25 million annual cap hit.

Vanek also has one year left on his deal — a seven-year, $50 million contract signed in 2007. He carries a $7.14 million cap hit and doesn’t have a no-trade or no-movement clause.

It’s been rumored that neither player wants to stick around Buffalo for a potential rebuild.

The club has traded away assets at each of the last two deadlines — Paul Gaustad, Robyn Regehr, Jordan Leopold and former captain Jason Pominville — all for either draft picks and/or prospects.

What’s more, the future of the club appears to be with its youth, including a trio of talented forwards (first-rounders Mikhail Grigorenko, Zemgus Girgensons and Joel Armia) and goalie Matt Hackett, acquired from Minnesota in the Pominville deal.

So you can see why Vanek and Miller might be expendable.

That said, it sounds as though Pegula isn’t ready to concede it’s time to move on from Buffalo’s all-time winningest goalie and its active points leader.

But it might be out of his control.

“They have a say in that decision,” Pegula explained. “What that decision is, no one’s been re-signed yet, so we’re still working.

“Don’t forget, they’re part of that decision.”

Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope

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While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

So, where is Krejci’s game now?

Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks