Author: James O'Brien

Andy Andreoff, Tyler Myers

Myers hopes Sabres’ confidence returns with him


Tyler Myers expects to return to action for the Buffalo Sabres against the New Jersey Devils. From what he told the Buffalo News, it sounds like he hopes that some of the Sabres’ swagger will reemerge with him.

It’s easy to see why he’d make such a point, as Buffalo won 10 of 13 games before he got hurt and then went 1-7-1 when he was sidelined.

“The way we went during our winning streak, it brought a belief factor in the room I think we’ve been lacking a little bit in the last year or two,” Myers said. “Just knowing we can do that gets guys to work that much harder to try and keep doing it.”

While the tall defenseman’s numbers haven’t always been pretty, the Sabres lean on Myers as if he’s an elite shutdown blueliner. He’s only started 37 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone so far this season, which is the sort of workload you’d see from a single-minded defensive specialist.

It’s unclear if the shaky Sabres will be able to swipe wins like they did before Myers went down, but he’s clearly a big part of the team, so they could be feistier with him back in the mix.

Report: Todd Bertuzzi’s campaigning for a PTO


Todd Bertuzzi couldn’t find any takers in free agency, but it sounds like he wants a chance to play during the second half of the 2014-15 season.

The 39-year-old reached out to the Ottawa Senators and other teams in hopes of landing a PTO, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports. TSN’s Bob McKenzie adds that he’d start off with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators if it worked out with Ottawa.

Bertuzzi finished the last of six seasons with the Detroit Red Wings in 2013-14, generating 16 points in 59 games.

A team giving Bertuzzi a shot would be looking for a gritty player who can produce a little offense, while it’s difficult to imagine him contributing much from a defensive standpoint. He only logged 20 seconds of penalty kill time with the Red Wings last season and his possession stats were nothing special.

Still, if the Senators or some other team want to add some skill and experience, Bertuzzi could be a low-risk addition. We’ll have to wait and see if any GM bites on the idea, however.

Lightning coach says Palat is the Bergeron of wingers

Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils

It’s tough to deny that the Tampa Bay Lightning’s second line of Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov is the league’s best. Really, the best argument might be that it isn’t a second line at all.

Johnson generated some headlines with his two-goal night on Sunday while Kucherov’s 39 points matches that of Steven Stamkos, yet head coach Jon Cooper told that he believes Palat is the driving force of that impressive young trio.

In fact, he makes a pretty lofty comparison to a perennial Selke candidate.

“I still believe Palat is the straw that stirs the drink on that line,” Cooper said. “He’s oozing with hockey sense and he’s skilled. He is like Patrice Bergeron as a winger to me.”

Looking at possession stats (see here and here), Bergeron is almost in a league of his own, but the comparison isn’t totally outrageous. (Kucherov’s possession stats are pretty impressive, too, although he’s enjoyed somewhat easier assignments.)

At 23, Palat is likely scratching the surface of his two-way game, which makes one wonder if he’ll eventually be as dominant as the elite all-around guys like Bergeron.

One thing that might stand in his way is that the Selke is largely the domain of centers, as notes:

The Selke Trophy has been awarded to a center for 10 consecutive seasons and 27 of the past 32 seasons because typically when you talk about forwards who play as many as 20 minutes per game, on the power play and on the penalty kill, and who are used in close situations (down a goal or up a goal) late in games, you’re talking about centers.

It would be a bummer for Palat if he’s disregarded, but the Lightning have to be very excited about the possibilities with him and their other impressive young players.