Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!
Sabres Central

Sabres view with a Texan flair
By Sabretex
May 18, 2000

Amerks are in the finals!! One of the oldest rivalries in pro hockey has been put to rest, for this season at least, as the Rochester Americans swept the Hershey Bears to advance to the finals for the AHL championship. If the NHL affiliate didn't have the heart to go all the way, their future replacements are showing the right stuff.

With so much depth, I can see why the Sabres front office appears ready to gamble with roster flights at the expansion draft. By protecting two goalies, the Sabres leave more skaters exposed. Apparently Regier and Ruff feel that the Sabres can lose some veteran seasoning since so much talented youthful enthusiasm is very close by.

Indeed, the Amerks seem brimming with skilled, intense young players Jeremy Adduono, Domenic Pittis, and Dumont continue to score big goals long after their counterparts in the Big League have been sinking long puts. Dmitri Kalinin and Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre are holding the blue line with ferocity. With the expansion draft looming, some of these players have seen their last full season in a Rochester uniform.

Mika Noronen at 21 years old, has a bright and long future ahead of him in the NHL.
[MARK MULVILLE/Buffalo News]

Goalie Mika Noronen is rewriting the AHL record book for a rookie goaltender. He will be in the NHL soon as well, but apparently the GM's office would like to test him with another year in the minors. I guess that's where the essence of the gamble is.

Conventional wisdom says to leave the young goalie on the farm, let him develop there with some call-ups over the next season, and make sure this year isn't a fluke. Let Hasek work his "last" year, being that he is the Dominator, with Biron as the backup.

But why not go with youth between the pipes? Biron looked every bit the poised vet during his stint as the regular netminder. Couldn't Noronen develop just as quickly as Biron's backup as he could in Rochester? And what better way to determine that Mika is the real deal than by testing him out with NHL game time and practice?

Next season the Sabres will undoubtably have players from the Amerks on their squad. All the potential players seem very capable. But which players the Sabres protect for expansion will determine who would likely get the call-up.

I'd like to see the Sabres go out on a limb (for once) and let Hasek go. It kind of pains me to say it, but really, let him go. Trade him to fill in some of the holes in the lineup, since the team is pretty deep at goal, even if it is young and somewhat unproven. Take the gamble. And it's not as though trading Hasek won't get anything in return. Teams would give up their top player(s) for the Dominator.

Biron is up to the task. He would be the workhorse in net. Noronen has proven potential, which is enough for a backup. Ask Duane Roloson.

Although Adduono, Dumont and the like would be terrific Buffalo rookies, I'd rather see the vets a Hasek deal could fetch, coupled with a Biron\Noronen goal duo. And Mike Foligno behind the bench.

     HOME           SEASON'S RESULTS      SABRE TALK MESSAGE BOARD      NEWSROOM      99 PLAYOFFS    
THE PLAYERS      STATISTICS      SCHEDULE      PROSPECTS      LIVE GAME RADIO      HISTORY      TEAM INFO     
PHOTO GALLERY     MULTIMEDIA      SABRES POLL      TROPHY CASE      LINKS      THE STAFF      E-MAIL SABRESWORD

Copyright 2000 Sabres Central, all rights reserved