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NHL on NBC: Sad-sack Sabres host Pittsburgh

Feb 18, 2012, 10:09 PM EST

Buffalo is sad

Happy Hockey Day in America! Be sure to check out PHT throughout the day as we bring you features and previews of all the events, including a nine-hour NHL block of programming across NBC and NBC Sports Network.

Pity the Buffalo sports fan – so optimistic, then so disappointed.

The Bills start out 5-2, lose eight of their next nine, and finish 6-10.

The Sabres add millions upon millions to the payroll, and entering Sunday’s home game versus Pittsburgh (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) have approximately the same odds of making the NHL playoffs as, well, the Bills do of making the NHL playoffs.

Happy Hockey Day in America, Buffalo!

The Sabres enter Sunday’s game coming off their fourth straight defeat, 4-3 in a shootout to Montreal on Friday at the First Niagara Center. The loss dropped Buffalo into a tie for last place in the Eastern Conference, leaving coach Lindy Ruff to state the obvious.

“Obviously, I’m very disappointed, embarrassed,” Ruff said. “We’ve dealt with a lot, but to be where we’re at is a big disappointment.”

The Penguins have dealt with a lot this season as well – specifically the absence of captain Sidney Crosby (concussion) for all but eight games, plus the extended absences due to injury of forward Jordan Staal and defenseman Kris Letang.

However, unlike Buffalo, Pittsburgh will almost certainly be making the playoffs.

The Penguins earned a big win over in-state rival Philadelphia on Saturday, defeating the Flyers 6-4. It was an odd affair, highlighted by a pair of shorthanded goals scored less than two minutes apart — Jordan Staal scored 4-on-5, Matt Cooke scored 3-on-5 — with the guy that put Pittsburgh shorthanded, Pascal Dupuis, realizing how big a victory it was.

“That’s huge,” Dupuis said. “[The Flyers] were ahead of us in the standings, and you want to catch teams, especially down the stretch like that. It was a big win for us.”

The Penguins will look for a second consecutive win Sunday against a Buffalo team they’ve enjoyed success against this season. Pittsburgh embarrassed Buffalo the last time out by an 8-3 score, highlighted by a five-point effort from Evgeni Malkin, who also notched a hat-trick. That outing was especially tough for both Sabres netminders — Ryan Miller allowed five goals on 15 shots and backup Jhonas Enroth didn’t fare much better, allowing three goals on 11.

  1. trbowman - Feb 19, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    “Pity the Buffalo sports fan – so optimistic, then so disappointed.

    The Bills start out 5-2, lose eight of their next nine, and finish 6-10.

    The Sabres add millions upon millions to the payroll, and entering Sunday’s home game versus Pittsburgh (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) have approximately the same odds of making the NHL playoffs as, well, the Bills do of making the NHL playoffs.”

    Yep. :(

  2. m1k3g - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:48 AM

    I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank NBC and the NHL.

    I’m a huge fan of hockey and the NHL and I think the whole Hockey Day in America thing is an awesome concept.

    So sincerely, thanks again for making sure that even though I pay $160 for the NHL Center Ice package, I will not be able to see my favorite team (Pittsburgh) play today – on Hockey Day in America. Way to treat your most devoted fans and show us how much we’re appreciated.

    I won’t be watching any of your coverage tomorrow, and I hope others do the same.

    • habsman - Feb 19, 2012 at 9:10 AM

      Please explain. Do you live in Pittsburgh? Are you blacked out?

      • lvpensfan - Feb 19, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        Probably lives on the west coast. I live in Las Vegas and have the same problem. NBC is broadcasting the Sharks-Wings game. Don’t understand why they don’t broadcast the alternate game on the NBC sports channel. Paid $160 for NHL package and can’t watch my favorite team on “National” Hockey day. Another fail by the NHL.

      • m1k3g - Feb 19, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        lvpensfan is correct.

        I live in California. And when he says “Don’t understand why they don’t broadcast the alternate game on the NBC sports channel”, he echoes my sentiments exactly.

        NBC has so many channels; why not just broadcast the games across all of them and let people choose what they want to watch?

      • lvpensfan - Feb 19, 2012 at 12:43 PM

        Im sure the episode of Bill Dance Outdoors is an exciting one. Im guessing he catches another fish. Basically the NHL has told all of us west coast Pens and Sabres fans to suck it on “National” Hockey day.

  3. buffalomafia - Feb 19, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Owner Terry Pegula doesn’t know jack about hockey! In todays Buffalo News he said Regeires & Ruffs jobs are safe! Wtf! Other teams that are better than the Sabres fire management all the time when there team does bad!

    Also what is taking so long to trade away the underacheivers?

    I went to a Sabres vs Toronto pre season game thinking they looked good & needed a top notch center? Boy was I fooled! They need to revamp the team from top to bottom!

    Pegula is another Galissano who has money & promises Buffalo fans a cup without having any knowledge of hockey besides being a fan?!

    I will admit I am a frustrated fan! But its the same ol’ same ol in mediocrity sports in Buffalo! Enough is enough!

  4. Andee - Feb 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    This has been a frustrating year for Buffalo sports. The Sabres were supposed to soften the blow of the Bills meteoric rise and inevitable free fall. This hasn’t happened of course, as they are actually worse than the Bills. Ryan Miller seems disinterested, and Enroth isn’t exactly pushing for his job these days.

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