Mike Weber

Sabres’ biggest question: Defense


As much as the Buffalo Sabres have improved lately, it still seems like they’re going to struggle on defense.

Honestly, there are strong odds that they’ll struggle a lot.

You can trot out the simplest stats (Buffalo allowed a league-worst shots on goal average of 35.6 per game, two more than second-worst Toronto) or go a little deeper (the Sabres’ Fenwick Close was downright ghastly), but the bottom line is that Buffalo was atrocious on D. Their offensive firepower was meek in 2014-15, yet the Sabres’ work in their own end was the leading reason people described them as “historically inept.”

Just look at the dregs of NHL.com’s “SAT” stat and you’ll see just how much worse Buffalo was than the rest of the worst:

26. Columbus: -365
27. Toronto: -515
28. Calgary: -839
29. Colorado: -984
30. Buffalo: -1,789


GM Tim Murray made this team better in many ways – and certain facets should benefit Buffalo defensively – but the personnel is still lacking.

Even if Dan Byslma’s a big difference-maker, it’s difficult to imagine him working many miracles with some combination of Rasmus Ristolainen, Zach Bogosian (pictured), Josh Gorges, Mike Weber, Matt Donovan, Mark Pysyk, Jake McCabe and Carlo Colaiacovo.

(Seriously, take a step back and ponder that group for a moment.)

Look, players like Ristolainen could very well make significant strides in 2015-16. Buffalo is also likely to enjoy better two-way play from its forward group, as Ryan O’Reilly and David Legwand both possess some defensive chops. Again, Byslma’s systems could at least drag the Sabres closer to respectability, as well.

If you dial down the optimism to more reasonable levels, the Sabres are likely to put a ton of pressure on Robin Lehner and Chad Johnson next season, as that defense stands as a work in progress … at best.

Video: Things get heated between Ovechkin, Sabres early


On paper, even on a back-to-back, the Buffalo Sabres seem like a cakewalk for the Washington Capitals.

The Sabres don’t look like they’re just going to roll over for the Capitals on Monday night, however. As you can see, things got heated between Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and the Sabres early in the game.

Ovechkin ended up getting four minutes of penalty time versus just two for Mike Weber. Buffalo cashed in on the power play chance that ensued.

As of this writing, Buffalo leads the game 2-1. You can watch on NBCSN or via NBC Sports Live Extra.

Video: Caps’ Chimera blindly fights Mike Weber with jersey over his head


Washington Capitals forward Jason Chimera was determined to fight Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mike Weber early in the third period and he wasn’t going to let the fact that his jersey was over his head stop him.

Chimera managed to do pretty well despite the handicap, as you can see below:

That was Chimera’s third fight of the season with them all occurring over his last seven games, per hockeyfights.com.

Washington earned a 6-1 victory, giving Buffalo its fourth straight loss. The Sabres and Capitals will play again on March 16.

Sabres’ Gorges (lower body) done for the season


The Buffalo Sabres will be without Josh Gorges for the remainder of the season.

The defenseman is scheduled to undergo surgery on an undisclosed lower body injury.

The 30-year-old has not played since Feb. 10 against the Ottawa Senators.

Gorges had six assists and a minus-28 rating while averaging 22:22 in time on ice in 46 games this season.

Buffalo will also be without defenseman Nikita Zadorov when they play host to the Nashville Predators tonight.

It’s the second time in a month Zadorov has been scratched for disciplinary reasons.

The 19-year-old was reportedly bumped off an oversold flight returning from the Dominican Republic during the All-Star break and missed practice.

“Sometimes you’re mature in certain things. Sometimes you’re not. Unfortunately, we’ll have to deal with him,” said Ted Nolan per The Buffalo News. “We had a number of discussions, and then another thing happened this morning. We’ll just talk to him again.”

Tyson Strachan will also miss tonight’s game with an infection.

The Sabres expect to be without Mike Weber for at least two weeks due to an undisclosed injury.

Tonight marks the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Predators.

Sabres’ Neuvirth turns in ‘wow’ performance in loss to Lightning


Michal Neuvirth had a busy night.

The Buffalo Sabres goalie was under pressure for basically the entire game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. He was tested often and forced to make some spectacular saves like the spectacular, desperation glove stop on Brett Connolly. In all, the Lightning peppered Neuvirth with 47 shots; he turned aside 45 of those.

So, you couldn’t justifiably pin this 2-1 Buffalo loss on him. What else could he have done?

Steven Stamkos finally put the Lightning up for good late in the third period. It counts as his 22nd goal of the year, and occurred on the 44th shot of the night for Tampa Bay. Not even a double pad stack could deny one of the league’s most prolific scorers.

“That was probably one of the best performances I’ve ever seen out of a goaltender … That one was just ‘wow,'” Buffalo defenseman Mike Weber, as per Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.

The Sabres have now lost seven in a row. They sit one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes, who are dead last in the Eastern Conference standings.