Buffalo Sabres

Goalie nods: Mason out 2-3 weeks, Howard backs up tomorrow


All the latest from the crease…

Flyers lose Mason, again

Steve Mason will be out 2-3 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, per the Courier-Post. News of the timetable comes just two days after Mason exited Sunday’s win over Washington following a setback with his knee, which has caused the 26-year-old problems all season long.

With Mason out, Ray Emery will assume starting duties with 21-year-old Anthony Stolarz backs up. Stolarz is with the team because Rob Zepp, who’s appeared in six games for the Flyers this season, is currently hurt with AHL Lehigh Valley.

Jimmy’s back

On the other end of the injured goalie spectrum, Detroit’s Jimmy Howard will dress for the first time in over a month when the Wings take on the Penguins tomorrow.

Howard, who hurt his groin on Jan. 10 against Washington, will serve as Petr Mrazek’s backup and could return to the crease in Detroit’s following game on Saturday against Winnipeg.

The 30-year-old’s return will be a welcome one. Howard was playing extremely well at the time of his injury, going 16-7-7 with a 2.11 GAA and .920 save percentage, with two shutouts.


Stars at Bruins: Niklas Svedberg for Boston, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.

Ottawa at Buffalo: Robin Lehner vs. Jhonas Enroth

Oilers at Isles: Viktor Fasth vs. Jaroslav Halak

Flyers at Habs: Ray Emery vs. Carey Price

Ducks at Panthers: Ilya Bryzgalov vs. Roberto Luongo

Coyotes at Blues: Mike Smith vs. Jake Allen

Bolts at Preds: Andrei Vasilevskiy vs. Pekka Rinne

Wild at Jets: Michael Hutchinson for Winnipeg, no word on a Minnesota starter.

Nolan exasperated, but says Hodgson’s not a lost cause


Pretty dire times in Buffalo for Cody Hodgson.

The Sabres’ highest-paid forward — currently in the second of a six-year, $25.5 million deal — is struggling through a nightmarish campaign in which he has more healthy scratches (three) than goals (two).

And to make things worse, Buffalo doesn’t really know what the problem is or, how to fix it.

“I don’t believe anybody’s a lost cause,” head coach Ted Nolan said, per the Buffalo News. “It’s just not working, for whatever reason.

“When you go through that you’ve got to do your own soul searching and find out what makes you work and fit in. … You’ve got to find a way yourself. That’s what I told our team. There aren’t too many times people are going to come in and save you. You’ve got to find your own solutions.”

Though the season’s been a total mess, things have really gotten bad for Hodgson over the last 10 days. He’s been a healthy scratch twice, including for a Jan. 30 date in Vancouver — the same Canucks team that traded him to Buffalo at the 2012 trade deadline.

Hodgson showed a small uptick after getting parked against Vancouver — notching an assist versus Montreal in his first game following the scratch —  but things quickly went downhill again. He played just 7:52 in Saturday’s win over Dallas, then watched on Sunday as the Sabres lost to the Isles.

Given how dramatically things have fallen off, it’s not surprising to hear recent rumblings of Hodgson buyout talk. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has brought up the idea on separate occasions and owner Terry Pegula has shown a willingness to wipe out bad contracts in the past, using buyouts on both Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino (granted, both those deals were amnestied; any future buyouts would be of the regular variety and cost Buffalo’s cap.)

A Hodgson buyout would be drastic, but that’s possibly what this situation needs.

“There’s a lot of nights you lie awake wondering what could be said,” Nolan said. “Are you saying the right things? Not enough? Not enough ice time? Not with the right people?

“All those types of things you go through. But when push comes to shove, what it really boils down to, I believe, is you’ve got to find that inner strength and fight your way through it.”

Video: Gionta takes Nielsen for ride with stick caught in skate


Buffalo Sabres captain Brian Gionta had an eventful game against the New York Islanders. He got two shots on goal, which sadly accounted for 20% of Buffalo’s total, and he was involved in a bizarre incident in the first period.

Gionta’s stick ended up getting caught in Frans Nielsen’s skate, knocking the 30-year-old forward to the ice. Buffalo’s captain continued to skate forward, dragging Nielsen from one end of the ice to the other as he tried to free his stick.

Nielsen, who was playing in his 500th game, was fine and went on to record an assist in the Islanders’ 3-2 victory.

That certainly doesn’t happen every game, but when it does it doesn’t always result in one player dragging the other. For example, Edmonton forward Nail Yakupov got his stick caught in Ryan Ellis’ skate earlier this season and stopped playing to help untangle the Predators’ defenseman:

Scott Hannan also got his stick stuck in Rick Nash’s skate back in March 2014, but in that case Hannan let go of his stick:

Sabres match franchise worst with 10 SOG vs. Islanders


The dreadful 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres added another historical footnote this afternoon by recording just 10 shots on goal versus the New York Islanders. That’s tied for their franchise worst, which is made worse when you remember that they established that record earlier this season.

To their credit though, the Sabres only barely lost the 3-2 contest, not that captain Brian Gionta was grasping for a silver lining.

“10 shots in a game just isn’t going to cut it,” Gionta said, per the team’s Twitter feed. “You don’t give yourself a good enough chance with that.”

“To score in this league, you’ve got to get more shots and more traffic in front,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “Whatever reason, tonight we didn’t have it.”

In addition to the two 10-shot games, Buffalo was also held to 11 shots on Dec. 31, 12 shots on Oct. 13, and 13 shots on Dec. 4. The Sabres are last in the NHL with an average of 22.6 shots per contest. They’re also in the NHL basement with a 16-35-3 record.

The Islanders improved to 34-18-1.

Sabres’ Hodgson a healthy scratch vs. the Islanders


Cody Hodgson will be a healthy scratch this evening when the Buffalo Sabres play host to the New York Islanders.

“It’s the same thing, we’ve got to get more out of him and right now it’s not working, so we’ll let him watch,” said Sabres coach, Ted Nolan. “I don’t think anybody is a lost cause, it’s just not working for whatever reason and when you go through it you’ve got to do your own soul searching and find out what makes you work and fit in.”

Marcus Foligno, who has missed 19 games with a hand injury will take Hodgson’s spot in the lineup.

Its not the first time Hodgson has been a healthy scratch this season. He missed the Sabres’ game in Vancouver on Jan. 30.

The 24-year-old was also a healthy scratch on Dec. 11 against the Calgary Flames.

Foligno has been out of the Sabres lineup since a Dec. 21 fight with Bruins’ defenseman Matt Bartkowski.

Foligno has five goals and nine points in 28 games this season.

Buffalo picked up a 4-3 shootout win on Dec. 27 in the only other meeting between the two clubs this season.

Related: Isles place Grabner on IR, recall McDonald and Zolnierczyk