Here’s a quick look around this morning’s various newspaper stories about the Bruins and Sabres, leading up to their tilt this evening.
Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe
writes that the Bruins have been told that several Bruins are under consideration for Team USA’s entry in the IIHF World Championships, held in Moscow April 27-28 (Thanks for the correction Petr)."Chiarelli added that Team USA has asked Mowers, along with all of the Bruins’ US-born players, to participate in the upcoming world championships in Moscow…Chiarelli said Brandon Bochenski and Phil Kessel will be part of the US squad, while Tim Thomas and Alberts have yet to decide.
also reports "Chiarelli was impressed by Hannu Toivonen’s work in net against the Canadiens.""I thought he played very well -- looked big in net," said the GM. "He was aggressive in there, but not overly reactive. He was confident, made some big stops. Two stops come to mind -- one a glove save and also a shoulder save. In the past, I don’t think he would have made those . . . and he looked efficient doing it."
As of yesterday, Toivonen was scheduled to start again this evening.
When he does, he will be facing one of the most powerful offensive forces on the planet, and they just keep getting stronger. Looking to Buffalo, it looks as if the Sabres, who resembled a M*A*S*H unit for much of this season, are getting healthy -- just in time to face the Bruins.
Tim Graham of the Buffalo News
writes:Sabres coach Lindy Ruff revealed after Wednesday’s practice (Maxim) Afinogenov could be available to play all three of the team’s remaining regular-season games. They play the Boston Bruins on Thursday night in HSBC Arena and then finish up with afternoon road games against the Washington Capitals on Saturday and the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
Afinogenov, last season’s team scoring leader with a career-high 73 points, has missed the past 21 games with a broken left wrist. He shoots left-handed. Afinogenov was cleared to shoot and puckhandle Saturday for the first time since the injury, and the results have been positive thus far.
In other Sabres news, forwards Jochen Hecht, Adam Mair and Thomas Vanek were given the day off for various bumps and bruises, but all three are expected to play Thursday.
Apparently the President’s Trophy is not a concern for the Sabres, either. The Associated Press writes this morning that Buffalo’s main prize is omnipresent in their locker room.Just inside the door to the Buffalo Sabres’ locker room hangs a portrait of the Stanley Cup, a reminder of the team’s sole objective this season.
Players pass the black-and-white picture every time they hit the ice. That’s why there was little fanfare after practice Wednesday, a day after Buffalo clinched its first Eastern Conference regular-season title in 27 years and first Northwest Division title since 1997.
Forward Jochen Hecht lumped those accomplishments together as "little things."
"Everything we do now really doesn’t matter," Hecht said. "We’re focused. We’ve accomplished a little thing with winning the conference. But it’s not our main goal."
So don’t bother asking the eight-year veteran how he feels about being one goal shy of his first 20-goal season, or that the Sabres have a chance of winning the President’s Trophy, awarded to the team that finishes first in the NHL standings - something Buffalo has never done.
"It’s a nice trophy to win," said Hecht, whose Sabres trail West-leading Detroit by a point for the league lead. "And our main goal is the Stanley Cup."
So I wonder if they will take tonight’s game with Boston lightly -- fat chance!
Keep it here…