Shootout host Kevin Sylvester took time out of his busy schedule to answer fan submitted questions here on Sabres.com. The questions below were selected from the over 500 that were submitted.
When will they attempt to lock up Ryan Miller? Thomas J from Buffalo, NY
KEVIN SYLVESTER: Ryan has two years remaining on his contract as he signed a three-year extension last summer. Teams cannot negotiate a contract extension until one year or less is remaining on the original contract. What is the most ridiculous thing you would do/give up for the Sabres to win a Stanley Cup? Wes from Cortland, NY
SYLVESTER: Great question! So many answers. I would wear Robi’s clothes for one season. I just wish I could do something for the Sabres to win a Stanley Cup! No offense to you Kevin but for The Shootout, I know how Rob Ray and Mike Robitaille got there. It was because they were players for the Sabres. But my question is, how did you get there? Megan N.
SYLVESTER: No offense taken. I have been a broadcaster and reporting for all of my professional life. Specifically with the Sabres, I was a reporter covering the team for both WGR and WBEN radio from the mid to late 90’s. I hosted the Lindy Ruff radio show on WBEN for his first three seasons as coach, and covered the team extensively during their cup run in 1999. I also did a lot of work for Adelphia, now Time Warner, as a college hockey and junior hockey play-by-play commentator ( I actually called several of Brian Gionta’s games as a Niagara Scenic). I think I bring a more journalistic approach to the show to go along with the great experience Rob and Mike have. It’s a fun job and I consider myself fortunate to work with the guys and the team. Just wanted to start off by saying I'm a huge fan of you, Razor and Robi on the shootout. My question is who do you believe will be the locker room voice of the Sabres this season? My guess would be Miller. I also just wanted to add that I cannot wait to see this team in action. No other team in the NHL has younger talent like we have in Buffalo. Thanks Kevin and am looking forward to watching you guys in the fall here in Chicago! Kyle Brion from Oakfield, NY
SYLVESTER: Thanks Kyle. I can’t wait either. I think you’re correct with Ryan Miller
being a voice in the room. In addition, Teppo Numminen is well respected and looked up to as is Adam Mair. I’ll add Brian Campbell and Paul Gaustad as players ready to take on more of a leadership role. I was wondering what your opinion is on how to improve our defense. Clearly as the playoffs showed we have two glaring weaknesses in our defense and I was wondering if you think we should bring up guys like Nathan Paetsch or Michael Funk, or perhaps trade them for someone. Possibly even go as far as buying out Jaroslav Spacek's contract. Thanks for answering in advance. Alex Kapaan from Lockport, NY
SYLVESTER: I think we still have the personnel to play better defense. I do think they need to play more physical and get production from the point on the power play. I think Paetsch can help in both categories and I also expect Spacek to be more consistent this year. He’s still a big talent. As far as a trade goes, getting a defenseman via a trade is so hard to do, because every team in the league is looking to get better on the blue line which drives the price so much higher. Who, in your opinion, is your favorite Sabre and why? Tom Sheridan from Rochester, NY
SYLVESTER: Henrik Tallinder because I always enjoy talking with him about non hockey stuff and his native country of Sweden. Now that Buffalo has set it roster with signing Vanek and releasing of Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, which players do you feel have to step their game in order to stay with this club? Christopher Kapulka from Buffalo, NY
SYLVESTER: Let’s first remember that Drury and Briere were not released, they chose to sign with other teams as free agents.
As for who needs to step up, Derek Roy
, Ales Kotalik, Tim Connolly, Jason Pominville
, Max Afinogenov, and Drew Stafford
come to mind. That’s a pretty good group of guys that can fill the net and are going to see more ice time this year. Which team do you dislike the most? Dylan from East Aurora, NY
SYLVESTER: That’s easy…..OTTAWA! But I admire their skill.Do you think the Buffalo Sabres will have the two captain system again like they had in the 2006-2007 season? If so, who do you believe will be the captain(s)? Charlie Schutt from Wheatfield, NY
SYLVESTER: Great question. I could see Teppo Numminen being named captain. But Jochen Hecht
or Brian Campbell could also be wearing the “C”. Campbell’s a guy who seemed to thrive when given more responsibility last season. Now that the Sabres are without Drury and Briere, there's little question that their offensive output is going to be down from last season? Ted Meier from Franklin, NC
SYLVESTER: The team scored 298 goals and led the league last year. Those two players accounted for 69 goals and 95 assists. Big numbers for sure.
However, the rest of the team scored 231 goals and had three players (Roy, Campbell, Vanek) with over 40 assists. I look for those players, as well as the other skilled forwards (Afinogenov, Pominville, Stafford, Connolly, Kotalik) to score more goals and increase their assist totals with the ice time that went to Drury and Briere. With the free agent market shrinking by the day, do you think Buffalo still has a shot at signing a free agent to make up for the lost of Drury or Briere? If so can you tell me who and could it be Forsberg? Frank from Rotonda West, FL
SYLVESTER: I think arbitration will make things interesting with potential trades for all teams and free agency. As for which players, your guess with the remaining list is as good as mine. Forsberg is an awesome player when healthy, but I don’t see the fit here with the money he would command. Also, take a look at the current roster, it’s good. What do you and the rest of the broadcast team do during the off season? Also, will you all be back next season? Toby from Alfred Station, NY
SYLVESTER: The broadcast team is pretty extensive when you included all the talented people behind the scenes. We’ve been hard at work evaluating last season and planning for the upcoming season. The fact that I’m able to answer your first question should answer your second.