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Sabres say Neuvirth needs to ‘feel some love again’

Mar 6, 2014, 10:42 AM EST

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders Getty Images

Often the odd goalie out in Washington over the last few years, Michal Neuvirth has a fresh start waiting for him in Buffalo following yesterday’s last-second deadline deal.

To hear Sabres GM Tim Murray explain it, all Neuvrith needs to succeed is a little love.

“For whatever reason, he’s a backup [in Washington] and he’s just not as important as he wants to be,” Murray said, per the Buffalo News. “I think when he gets to feel some love again or whatever you want to call it and has an opportunity, then he can get his game back.”

At 25, Neuvirth has a curious resume. He’s played in nearly 150 NHL games but has been used sparingly over the last two seasons, making just 13 appearances last year and another 13 this year as well. It’s a far cry from his breakout 2010-11 campaign when, at the age of 22, he went 27-12-4 with a 2.45 GAA and .914 save percentage, posting four shutouts.

Neuvirth has one year left on his deal (with a reasonable $2.5 million cap hit), so it stands to reason he’ll be given plenty of chances to revive his career in Buffalo. With Ryan Miller gone and Jaroslav Halak heading to Washington, the Sabres are now in the midst of a young goalie battle featuring Neuvirth, Jhonas Enroth and AHL netminders Matt Hackett and Nathan Lieuwen.

(This isn’t ruling out the possibility of drafting another goalie, as the Sabres have a boatload of picks in ’14 and ’15.)

For now, though, the goal is to throw Neuvirth into the mix in the hope that all the goalies will get better by fighting for the No. 1 job.

“We have to create inter-competition,” Murray explained. “This is the start of it.”

  1. patthehockeyfan - Mar 6, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    “For whatever reason, he’s a backup [in Washington] and he’s just not as important as he wants to be,” Murray said, per the Buffalo News. “I think when he gets to feel some love again or whatever you want to call it and has an opportunity, then he can get his game back.”

    Sounds more like an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show.

    • Mike Halford - Mar 6, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      How Neuvy Got His Groove Back

      • patthehockeyfan - Mar 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM

        You’re going to get me fired, Halford. Your reply has my colleagues wondering why this non-stop laughing is coming from my office.

  2. jpelle82 - Mar 6, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    they kinda treated neuvirth like the red-headed step child this year, i dont blame him for asking for a trade. i do think neuvirth’s attitude problem and running his mouth during the lockout didnt help him any either going into this season. i think he was just so disgruntled and disrespected he probably didnt care about the caps anymore. given the chance i wouldnt be surprised if he’s the #1 in the near future.

    • prosportswashington - Mar 6, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      he also gives up alot of soft goals, he doesn’t focus for a full 60 minutes

  3. vbcaps - Mar 6, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    Good luck to him…still not sold he can be a legit #1 capable of taking a team to the promise land come playoff time but he is young and has potential

  4. billsin20xx - Mar 6, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    On a related note I can’t believe the Sabre’s are so dysfunctional they are letting him use Miller’s #30 without any thought of honoring it in some way. I don’t believe it deserves to be retired like 7, 11 and 39, but it could be ‘put away’ for a few years like Drury’s was.

    • billsin20xx - Mar 6, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      And to top it off Conacher can’t have his number, 89, because of Mogilny! He’s going to use 88 instead – so no using Mogilny’s number but it’s OK to use Millers….

    • billsin20xx - Mar 6, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      Sounds like the Sabre’s might have listened for once – his number has been changed to 34 for tonight –

  5. penguins87and71 - Mar 6, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    All you need is love…..

  6. smarshall3789 - Mar 6, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    I hope he becomes the number 1 in buffalo he’s got the potential and talent to do it! In the end this could be a great pick up for the sabers to get a good young goalie that can take over and still come relatively cheap!

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