In the bigger picture – often referred to as the Next Chapter around here – it’s pretty cool and it certainly bodes well for the team that this bi-weekly blog has Jack Eichel
and Sam Reinhart
earning the lead space just a couple of weeks apart
Reinhart’s second multi-goal game of the season was his first NHL hat trick on Sunday in Winnipeg.
And there’s a lot to take from his star performance, that in many ways simply emphasizes the things he’s done well all year.
For example, his ability to play with anyone.
It was hard to know just where Reinhart would fit when we started drafting mock line combinations in the summer. Would he play center or wing? Could he really play in this team’s top six as a rookie?
Sunday was another example of how well he does fit, in all situations.
An early line change had him set up by Johan Larsson for the first goal.
His second goal came from a shooters position on the power play.
And the empty netter was a by-product of the trust he’s earned from the coach, to be out there with Ryan O’Reilly and Evander Kane for a defensive zone faceoff with a minute to go in a one goal game.
His durability and conditioning should also be highlighted.
As he navigated through the early part of the schedule, he averaged around fourteen minutes per night over the first 18 games. And only once did he get north of 16 minutes in a game.
In the past 24 games, he’s averaging 18:20 per night, and only once has he been south of 16 minutes.
And lastly, his toughness.
There was plenty of concern – among analysts anyway – regarding his physical strength coming into this year. Well, he has had many a night where he has been the target of opposition defenders – like Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba on Sunday – and he continues to bounce back up, stay engaged in the battle, and never shy away from the tough areas.
Twenty goals and forty points are now very realistic targets now for Reinhart. And his teammates recognize that as well.
Chad Johnson and Linus Ullmark have quietly provided the Sabres with good goaltending through 42 games.
Our Beyond Blue and Gold crew was hoping to have them get a little bit louder during a recent afternoon around downtown. I’d say it was mission accomplished.
Make sure you tune in this weekend on MSG for the premiere of our latest BBG offering.
You’ve come to expect seeing Rob Ray and Brad May as part of our game night telecasts. My friend John Vogl over at The Buffalo News profiled the pair this past weekend.
FYI - We are working on a Rob Ray episode of Beyond Blue and Gold. However, the FCC is expressing concern...
LIFE ON THE ROAD
A bit of a throwback for this one, unrelated to travels with the team, but this still pertains to an NHL city and is very much related to what I’m always looking for when we travel – and that is the concert scene.
My wife and I had the good fortune of attending both Foo Fighters shows in Boston this past July, as the band celebrated their 20th anniversary and the release of the album "Sonic Highways."
Back when Dave Grohl and company were releasing each new track on "Sonic Highways," one at a time, in each of the eight cities that provided the inspiration for the album’s eight songs, the band would do a pop-up show in each market. The New York show at Irving Plaza was recorded live and repeated often on Sirius XM.
The highlight of that show for me was when the band concluded their cover of Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure.”
Grohl said – and I’m paraphrasing here – “Well, show’s over. Can’t play another song after that. How can you follow the greatest song ever recorded?”
And while more songs eventually did follow that night (and every night), I think he’s right.
Sadly this becomes all the more relevant as we mourn the loss of David Bowie to cancer at the age of 69.
I was 10 years old when the song was recorded, too young to understand what the song meant, and certainly not old enough to recognize the greatness of Freddie Mercury and Bowie.
I think this article captures it beautifully from the standpoint of what Bowie brought to it.
So how does this tie in with Life On The Road?
Well, despite the Foo’s setlist changing from night to night on their U.S. tour, especially the cover songs, we managed to be treated to “Under Pressure” on back-to-back nights at Fenway Park.
It was the biggest reason I decided to purchase tickets for both shows – the chance to hear that song at least once.
Thank you, David Bowie, for inspiring and influencing so many incredible musicians.
May you rest in peace.
IN THE COMMUNITY
The Sabres are still without a win in Chicago since 2007. But off the ice, we have scored big victories there on two occasions with displaced Blue and Gold supporters, and Buffalonians longing for home.
A huge thanks to Sabres alumni, broadcasters, and the coaching staff for their participation and to Delta Air Lines, Labatt, and New Era for making our Thursday night at Lincoln Station a great one for all who attended.
The end of this week will mark a return home for the team, with games on the 15th and 16th at First Niagara Center. Please consider this when coming to the game on Saturday.
#DUFFALO THREE STARS
For the period ending Jan. 12, 2016
A huge thanks to Ben and the great staff and patrons of this wonderful “Buffalo Bar” in Chicago!
2.The Saint Paul Grill
My absolute favorite hotel bar/restaurant on the NHL circuit. The food is phenomenal, and the bar is a sight to behold. Nothing but great memories from this gem.
3. Anchor Bar, Charlie the Butcher and Fowler's Chocolates
We couldn’t have done the latest episode of Beyond Blue and Gold without the true Buffalo hospitality from these three fine establishments. Thank you!