Sabres Trades are like Buses….

Just when you’re getting used to the idea of losing both Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford, Sabres GM Tim Murray then announces that he’s made a 2nd Trade on the same day.

Jhonas Enroth teming up with Lindy in Dallas

Jhonas Enroth teaming up with Lindy again in Dallas

This time the trade would the Sabres move on current starting goalie Jhonas Enroth to the Dallas Stars to link up once again with former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff.

With the Stars in the hunt for a playoff place and needing a goalie Sabres GM Tim Murray said ‘it seemed like the right time to make a deal.’ Let’s hope hes right on this, at least it give us more time to look at guys and assess our needs before the end of the season.

In return for Jhonas going to Dallas the Sabres get Anders Lindback and also a conditional third round pick in the 2016 draft, although this could become a 2nd round pick should Enroth reach 4 playoff game wins.

Anders Linback is a now Sabre!

Anders Lindback is a now Sabre!

For me it’s a shame Jhonas is going as he’s shown signs that he is finally stepping out from the shadows of Ryan Miller that held the number one spot for so long.  Again though Enroth is an UFA in the summer and GM Murray admitted that we may go back in for him then.

Jhonas has posted a 3.27 GAA and a .903 SV% in 37 games this season, leading the team to 13 wins.  Lindback in comparison has a 3.71 GAA and a .875 SV% with 2 wins and 8 losses in 10 appearances this season, including last weeks 3-2 Sabres win over the Stars where both goalies went head to head.

The deal is a good one for the Stars as they are serious playoff contenders so need the depth at the goalie position.  I just worry that we will now see a similar situation with our goalies like we had at the end of last season with anyone who is fit donning the mask.

Murray says he’d like to see more of Neuvirth but the guy has had so so many injuries.  I’d personally like to see more of Matt Hackett and Nathan Lieuwen but for now it looks like Lindback and Neuvirth will get the nod.

We still have several weeks until we hit the trade deadline and it wouldn’t surprise me to see another couple of movements involving the Sabres.  It is however vitally important for me that we keep the likes of Girgensons, Ristolainen and Zadorov who for their ages have been superb and I look forward to seeing them develop further.

One thing is certain though Tim Murray isn’t afraid to shake up the roster, but when you’re the worst team in the NHL I guess you have to do something.

LETS GO BUFFALO

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Sabres Making Changes!

Well after my last blog about the Sabres the wheels have certainly come off the bus.  Since the turn of the new year the Sabres have won just 2 out of 17 games and now find themselves 30 out of 30 team in the NHL standings, this also included a 14 game losing streak!

Sabres GM Tim Murray

Sabres GM Tim Murray looking to rebuild.

Yesterday finally saw GM Tim Murray announce a trade, which was then followed quickly by a 2nd trade.

In his press conference the GM was very open, as he always seems to be, something that I really like and something that is very good to see.

In fact he was so open that he freely admitted that he was ‘pissed off’ with the Sabres 14 game losing streak that sees them sit as the worst team in the NHL.

Myers & Stafford on their way to the Jets.

Tyler Myers & Drew Stafford are heading to the Jets.

So at midday Murray announced that a trade had been made with the Winnipeg Jets.

On their way to the Jets are Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford along with prospects Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux and a 1st round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Both Myers and Stafford have both been Sabres stalwarts for a long time, Myers though for me has not really show his real potential since 2009/10 when he won the Calder Trophy for the best NHL Rookie.  His season stats show he has 4 Goals, 9 Assists but a +/- rating of -15 through 47 games this season.

Stafford, who’s been with the Sabres since 2004, for me has possibly been one of the Sabres most consistent performers despite picking up a couple of injuries. His leadership has also been very good and he has 9 Goals, 15 Assists with a +/- of -18 through 50 games so far this season.  The other thing to note was that Stafford was an UFA in the summer so maybe the timing is spot on.

For me I think the timing of this trade is right, Sabres had to make a move and to get anywhere it was always going to be our better players that had to move.  Despite giving away a 1st round pick we still actually have 2 more available so that doesn’t really hurt us.

With the prospects its hard to say whether its a good or bad move, both though are players I expect to have decent NHL careers but only time will tell if we have traded away potential superstars.

Buffalo Bound - Kane & Bogosian

Buffalo Bound – Evander Kane & Zach Bogosian.

So in return for all this the Sabres will receive Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and college prospect goalie Jason Kasdorf.

Kane though we won’t see until next season due to him requiring to go under the knife to repair a torn labrum.

The Jets had made it clear over the last week or so that they were listening to offers for Kane but I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted a trade this big.

In 37 games with the Jets this season Kane has scored 10 goals and has 12 assists with a +/- of just -1.  With him being just 23 years of age it’s a really good fit with the Sabres and I will look forward to seeing in a Sabres Jersey for what could be an improved season next year.

Bogosian will however be on the ice in a Sabres jersey this season, he’s been a fair steady performer with the Jets with 3 goals and 10 assists in 41 outings so far.  His +/- is also a nice +1, he is a good strong guy and will also play possible in all situations.

The final part of this trade will also see College prospect goalie Jason Kasdorf join the organisation and give us further depth at this position.  Although not having any real standout superstar goalie we do seem to have plenty of potential depth at this position.

So overall, despite giving away a couple of our best players this trade has plenty of longer term benefits to the Sabres.  Myers & Stafford have been great players for us and I’m sure the fans will give them a massive ovation when they return some day soon but in the mean time this is just another step in the rebuilding process.

GM Tim Murray is not afraid to make big trades after all he traded with the Blues last year when both Ryan Miller and Captain Steve Ott were traded for Jaroslav Halak, who was moved on straight away, and also Chris Stewart.  Murray admitted in his press conference he’s very open that he will listen to any offers.  Although there are some guys he doesn’t want to let move on!

Sabres Turning The Corner?

Are the Buffalo Sabres turning the corner and starting to turn into a playoff team?  Well it’s certainly a long way off yet the the Sabres form over the last 10 games certainly gives me some hope.

Following possibly the worst start to a season for a long long while and being the worst team in the NHL by a long way, the Sabres have now won 7 of their last 10 games.

The latest win came with a 1-0 win over defending Stanley Cup Champions the Los Angeles Kings.  This young team certainly seems to have a lot of spring in it’s step at the moment.

At the back Jonas Enroth seems to be edging ahead in the race to be the starting net minder and with Josh Gorges return from injury the Sabres defensively look a lot stronger.

Up front Tyler Ennis is in fantastic form and Brian Gionta seems to be bringing great leadership.  One returnee from injury that for me is helping the team is the return of Patrick Kaleta.  For me he is one of the most underrated players on our roster and his return for me has been key in our recent good form.

Coach Ted Nolan is really believing in this team and giving them time to develop, although there is still a long way to go for us to get back into the playoff picture it certainly seems that things are on the up.

My other team over the pond, the Belleville Bulls, are still performing well and looking good for a playoff spot.  The excellent early season form though has now died off as a 7 game losing streak proved last month.

However form seems to have picked up over the last week or so and the team still sit 3rd in the Eastern Conference, hopefully the team can keep up the recent momentum and have a strong Christmas period.

Finally back over the pond to the Nottingham Panthers who find themselves at the right end of the table and challenging for the elite league title.

Now although the team doesn’t seem to be a team in the traditional ‘Sexy Neilson Hockey’ style, this team certainly epitomises the sense of ‘TEAM’.  An injury to Craig Kowalski has seen Mattias Modig return between the pipes for a 2nd spell.

The team densely as I have said before certainly look strong but the forwards have seem to struggle to find some consistency and form.  This hasn’t been helped by several injuries that we seem to pick up every weekend.

Panthers though despite this find themselves sat 3rd in the league and just a point behind the Clan and Steelers.  With a busy Christmas period coming up I’m sure we’ll see whether we are genuine contenders in the new year!

One thing I do have to say though is that there does seem to be a lot of parity in the league this year and it could be a real fight right down to the wire.

Finally ‘Blue Peter’ Has A New Owner

News broke on 26th November that the Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust have completed the purchase of the locomotive No. 60532 ‘Blue Peter’.

This really is fantastic news for what is one of my favourite preserved steam locomotives.  I always thought it was such a shame that the loco was just sat in the round house at Barrow Hill.

Luckily for me now it seems that RSL&GT are looking at returning the locomotive to steam to run once again on the main line.

With Flying Scotsman also on it way back into the steam the thought of seeing a line up of A1 ‘Tornado, A2 ‘Blue Peter’, A3 ‘Flying Scotsman’ and an A4 from 60007 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’, 60009 ‘Union of South Africa’ or 60019 ‘Bittern’, all in steam is something to get very excited about.

This would quite possibly be even bigger than the line up of all 6 A4’s that I was fortunate to see and pay a visit to last year.

The actual timetable for Blue Peter to be returned to steam is not yet known but even so I have to admit it is certainly something to get very excited about.

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Another N Gauge Building Takes Shape!

This weekend saw me complete another of the Metcalfe Models Card Kits for my N Gauge Model Railway Project.

The kit that I completed this time was PN109 -‘Railway Station Buildings’, I must say the kit was superb and really like the little touches, such as the coping stones for the roof and adding the matchsticks to the barge boards to give the building so depth.

As you can see from the images above and below I do have a small amount of excess Uhu Glue that needs removing but overall the model was very easy to put together and looks fantastic.

The structure of the buildings once built is very good with plenty of strength and even though the waiting shelf is a very small building it really does look great!

I look forward to putting both building in place on my layout, once I have a baseboard that is!

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It All Began With A Street!

So following my last blog looking at my ambition for an N Gauge model railway, I actually found myself some spare time and started the project that weekend.

As I mentioned, I have now decided on my track plan and amongst all of the model stuff that I have collected so far I have a couple of Metcalfe cardboard model kits.

Over the weekend and a couple of nights this week I have taken my time and actually built my first kit, a low relief section of houses and shops.

I have to say I’m very happy and proud of how they have turned out. The instructions with the kits are very good and as long as you take your time and do it all at your own pace I’m sure anyone can do them.

I still have a couple of little tidy up jobs to do on the models but I’m sure I’ll get it all done at some stage.

Having now completed my first kit, I am now keen to move onto my next one as I start to build up some of the town scene ideas that I have floating round in my head.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the kits themselves look fantastic once they are complete!

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A Model Ambition – Getting Back Into A Hobby!

Time for something completely different now as I look at one of my little projects that I hope to get underway shortly.

Coming from a railway family the world of model railways has always been something that I’ve really wanted to get my teeth into.

Watching several excellent YouTube videos from the like of Everard Junction and Glebe Road Junction just fuelled my thinking even more with some fantastic tips and ‘how to’ videos.

My problem though has always been the lack of space to actually put up a layout so naturally starting on in OO gauge is not possible.

When I was a child though my Dad bought me an N Gauge set from the model shop at Steamtown, Southport.  It was a minitrix Duchess set with 2 mk1 coaches, but me being an LNER fan I asked to swap the Duchess for a model of ther greatest loco of them all A4 Mallard.  Luckily they agreed the swap and I still have the loco now, although it is in need for some TLC.

Despite this model though and years of thinking about a layout with my Dad, we never actually got round to building anything, despite having several running sessions.

Over the last few years though I have really started to rediscover some of the things that I once forgot about and one of these was model railways.

I decided to make an effort and actually purchase a few trains, coaches, track and some metcalfe building kits.

I started with just the standard Peco Starter Set Track pack but then after looking through the Set Track Plan book decided to go with the layout plan you can see above and ordered all the track from Hatton’s website.

Having been brought up around the BR Blue era I decided that most of the coaches and loco’s would be from this era but at the same time I wouldn’t just stick to the one era, after all I do love Steam Locomotives and some of the recent releases from both Dapol and Graham Farish are superb.

So what’s next? Well I guess it’s time to get a baseboard built and then put some track down and start to get on with the show.

The big debate I was having was whether to go DCC or not but for my first layout back I think I’ll just stay as things are, maybe go for the DCC once I know what I’m doing.

I have decided though that this one will just be a small layout and having watch ‘Simon’s Shed’ on YouTube, you can see that just starting small can then lead into bigger things once you have confidence.

I look forward to bringing you updates of my layout once things start to progress further.