About John Chidley-HillJohn Chidley-Hill grew up in Toronto, the son of a third-generation Maple Leafs fan and a die-hard Montreal Canadiens follower.
He's still recovering and faces his demons on a regular basis as HockeyPrimetime.com's Northeast Division beat writer.
When not blogging about hockey, other sports, comics and TV he is the junior hockey beat reporter for the Canadian Press. You can read his blog at http://johnchidleyhill.com.
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|2010-11 preview: Buffalo Sabres|
|Written by John Chidley-Hill|
|Saturday, 21 August 2010 18:01|
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" remains the mantra in Buffalo, where a few minor changes in front of Ryan Miller aren't expected to upset the continuity of one of the league's steadiest franchises.• 2009-10: 45-27-10, 100 points, lost to Boston in Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
• Key additions: F Rob Niedermayer, D Shaone Morrisonn, D Jordan Leopold
• Key losses: LW Tim Kennedy, D Toni Lydman, D Henrik Tallinder
Once again, Buffalo didn't tinker much with its successful (regular-season) formula in the summer. Olympic MVP goalie Ryan Miller and Calder-winning defenseman Tyler Myers return, along with most key performers from a year ago. Niedermayer adds defensive depth at forward, while Morrisonn and Leopold figure to step in where Lydman and Tallinder left off. About the only surprise of the summer was when the 24-year-old Kennedy took the team to arbitration and won – then saw his $1 million contract get bought out. Expect to see more playoff action in Buffalo in 2011, though it’s highly unlikely that GM Darcy Regier has made enough changes to push the Sabres into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. Instead, they’ll continue to be one of the most solid and well-rounded groups in the NHL.
• What they’re missing:
There’s definitely a “team-first” mentality in Buffalo, and that shows when the Sabres have to protect their own end. The team weaknesses will be revealed by whoever doesn't buy into the concept. Kennedy will be missed, but he was one of a dozen players who scored at least 10 goals last season. The offense goes through four players: centers Derek Roy and Tim Connolly led the team in scoring last season, followed by wingers Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. If one of these playmakers is beset by injury, the Sabres' offensive depth could be exposed.
• Players to watch in camp:
Tyler Ennis, the Sabres' first-round pick in 2008, will push for a larger role with the club after making his debut last season. The center had three goals and nine points in 10 regular-season games, and added four points (goal, three assists) in six playoff games. Morrisonn and Leopold must learn their roles, but Buffalo thrives on continuity – meaning few surprises should be in store.
HPT is counting down one team each day before NHL training camps open on Sept. 17.
Tomorrow: Calgary Flames
|Last Updated on Sunday, 22 August 2010 17:33|