Bluelines: Beefed Up Sabres, Nash's Dog Debut and Young Studs in Nassau and New Jersey
Monday, September 10, 2012
By Stan Fischler
• A key question that has Sabres fans wondering is: How the Sabres high command beefs up its muscle to balance with the satisfactory skill level? The acquisition of Steve Ott -- in exchange for Derek Roy -- appears to be the answer that only will be confirmed once Buffalo seeks playoff capability. "We want to be a tougher team against which to play," says general manager Darcy Regier. Ott already has made it clear that he understands his role and will be "hard to play against." Thus, g.m. and muscleman are on the same page.
• As yaps and barks of differing pitches filled the air on a sunny Sunday morning in New York’s Riverside Park, Coach John Tortorella was all smiles. Hundreds of fans showed up to the inaugural New York Rangers Dog Walk event toting dogs of all sizes and breeds, sometimes in matching Rangers attire. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Westchester Humane Society as well as a shelter in Harrison, NY that is located right by the Tortorella residence. Volunteers from the shelter were on site with several dogs in need of caring, committed owners. "Even if you didn’t come with a dog," Tortorella told the crowd lined up for the mile-long walk, "Make sure you leave with one!" The majority of the Rangers players were on hand to support their head coach, including goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who led part of the walk with his dog, Nova. Also in attendance were team president and general manager Glen Sather and assistant coach/assistant general manager Jim Schoenfeld. Blue Jacket turned Blueshirt Rick Nash, a big supporter of charity events during his time in Columbus, made his appearance at the Rangers’ first fundraising event of the season.
• Normally a defenseman picked in the first round requires at least a few years of tutoring either back in Junior hockey or, at best, the minors. But the swift development of Travis Hamonic as a top-drawer D-man for the Islanders could mean that 2012 No. 1 pick, Griffin Reinhart will get a lot longer look at training camp than your ordinary prospect and making the big club is not totally out of the question. That said, the chances are that the Islanders No. 1 pick in 2009, Calvin de Haan, will be the most likely young D-man to fit into the blue line corps for Jack Capuano.
• If the Islanders will be casting an Argus eye on Reinhart, you can be sure the same scenario will hold at the New Jersey training base in Prudential Center. On center stage there will be Stefan Matteau, the power forward picked 29th overall last June by Lou Lamoriello. Until now, the big fellow has received more publicity for being the son of Rangers hero of yesteryear, Stephane Matteau. While Lamoriello's game plan generally calls for slow development of promising lads in the minors, Stefan has made it evident that he's planning to be the exception once he takes the training camp ice.
• The San Francisco Bulls, beginning play in the ECHL this October, have poured over $2 million dollars into renovating their home, the 71-year old Cow Palace. Part of the overhaul includes the new state-of-the-art 18-foot high center ice-hanging Colosseo Cube scoreboard that is the first of its kind in North America. Upgrades also include a new environmentally friendly Brine Glycol ice-making machine and control room. The locker rooms, last used by a pro hockey team in 1996, were also refurbished. The Bulls broke in the ice over the weekend with a 36-team adult amateur hockey tournament.
• Pat LaFontaine and his Companions in Courage foundation is teaming up with the Sohn Conference Foundation to donate a "Lion’s Den Playroom" to Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai in New York. LaFontaine will lead the ceremony, which takes place on Thursday, Sept. 13.