When the Red Wings move to the Eastern Conference next season they will find themselves in familiar, but unfamiliar territory. Some fans remember when the Wings would play against Toronto, Montreal, and Boston in the original six days, but those days are no more. The new Red Wings and their fans will have to adjust to the new conference and teams.
Timothy Redinger (TR), Kevin Jordan (KJ), and Caitlin Campbell (CC) from Sabre Noise were gracious enough to answer a few question about the Sabres and our new conference.
What is something Red Wing fans need to know about the Sabres?
TR: It really depends on how long it takes the Buffalo Sabres to “rebuild”. Other teams around the league are showing it can be done in as little as one year, i.e. Montreal and Columbus. And then there are teams like Edmonton and the Islanders who seem to be perpetually rebuilding. The Buffalo Sabres are not going to be the same team that the Red Wings last saw what will be two seasons ago by the time they meet next.
CC: The Sabres are entering a “re-building” mode where we will be shedding most of our core players and building for the future.
KJ: The team as a whole.
Me: Rebuilding is something Red Wing fans are fearing could happen to our team in the near future, may yours be swift and smooth.
Which Red Wings player are Buffalo fans most afraid of playing against next season?
TR: Where to start? What kind of season will Jimmy Howard be having? I guess the one mainstay would have to be Pavel Datsyuk – but on the same token, there are so many talents on the Red Wings – even if you focus on Datsyuk he can still get you, or someone else will.
CC: Has to be Pavel Datsyuk, hands down one of the most lethal players in the game with his moves. He will give our netminders nightmares.
KJ: Pavel Datsyuk
Me: Datsyuk is revered and feared in every NHL city.
Which player from the Sabres should Red Wing fans fear?
TR: Steve Ott. He should be the guy the Buffalo Sabres rebuild around – and he brings the type of game the Sabres need to bring to be successful in what should be dubbed the Hockey Division.
CC: Thomas Vanek
KJ: Thomas Vanek
Me: Vanek is a very dangerous goal scorer, but I wonder how long he stay in Buffalo with a rebuild in the works.
TR: Sabres have a lot of prospects at Defense – and that’s about it, and we traded away our best defensive prospect in T.J. Brennan. We do have Mark Pysyk – the strength of the Sabres defense will depend on whether or not Tyler Myers shows up to play hockey.
CC: The Sabres haven’t had any defence all season, trading away the two guys who showed up on the backend doesn’t help much going forward. Either the Sabres are looking for another defenceman on the market or will expecting Tyler Myers to re-find his game and step up. On the positive side this could be the break some of the Amerks defencemen are looking for.
Me: The same Tyler Myers who stole Jimmy Howard’s Calder Trophy. Seriously what is up with defensemen stealing the Calder away from the Red Wings?
With the loss of Buffalo’s captain Jason Pominville, who was one of the better players this season, how will the Sabres fill his role on the ice and in the locker room?
TR: Replacing Jason Pominville in my eyes is easy – Steve Ott. He has the voice, he has the flare, he has the game. I never liked Pominville as captain – and I really hope the Buffalo Sabres can resign Ott beyond the terms of the contract they were traded to make him the long term captain.
Me: Please not Ott. I know he is probably a good leader, but his reputation is not good, then again David Backas is a captain…
What will Red Wing and Sabre fans both agree on about our new division?
TR: I am really looking forward to having Detroit in our Division. The Northeast was always a tough hockey division, you have Buffalo, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa, now add Detroit to that as well – and there is the dogfight to get into the playoffs. Tampa Bay and Florida – life just got really crappy for them.
CC: The new division is going to be one of the toughest divisions in the league, pure dog-fight for a playoff spot. The games are going to be exciting and everything game will mean a little bit more especially divisional play.
KJ: Competing against each other will be a new and interesting experience.
Me: Never pass up a chance at making fun of the Florida teams.
A big thank you to the crew over at Sabre Noise for answering these questions and helping us transition to life in the Eastern Conference. Be sure to check them out and we will see you next season in Buffalo.