The Buffalo Sabres have gone in a unique direction with their leadership group, naming Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott co-captains for the 2013-14 season.
According to head coach Ron Rolston, Vanek will serve as captain for home games and Ott will don the “C” for road contests. In addition, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has been named as an alternate captain.
The decision to name Vanek and Ott co-captains isn’t entirely surprising — Vanek is the team’s most talented and leading scorer, and Ott has quickly become a fan favorite.
What is interesting, though, are their contractual statuses.
Both Ott and Vanek are pending UFAs at season’s end. Vanek has already been the subject of many a trade rumor and was non-committal about sticking though a potential rebuild in Buffalo, saying the situation wasn’t the “best-case scenario.”
Ott has been less talkative on the subject, and GM Darcy Regier said he hasn’t begun discussions about a new contract (adding that it’s “not unusual” to be silent on talks with ’14 free agents.)
Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.
“Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”
“We got outcompeted in the second period, badly,” Mark Letestu told the team’s website. “Whether it was little puck battles or even just executing on systems. It played right into their game. When you get behind a team like this that’s so dominant in the circle it’s tough to generate chances to come back. We didn’t deserve to win this one at all.”
As if things weren’t bad enough, the Oilers also lost Nail Yakupovto injury after a linesman (yes, a linesman) fell on top of him.
After the game, head coach Todd McLellan didn’t hold back:
"That's a really disappointing effort from our hockey club… We weren't a very determined team." McLellan on the #Oilers defeat