The Amerks are on the road tonight against the Grand Rapids Griffins at 7pm for what should be a pretty competitive hockey game. The two teams are both currently riding three game winning streaks. The two teams are fighting towards a playoff spot. The Griffins are currently six points behind the Amerks in the standings but the Griffins also have three games in hand on the Amerks.
Rochester has the upper hand this season winning three out of four games played. The results from those games are:
Rochester 1 @ Grand Rapids 4 (Jan 25 2012) Final
Rochester 4 @ Grand Rapids 3 (Jan 21 2012) Final SO
Grand Rapids 1 @ Rochester 2 (Nov 12 2011) Final
Grand Rapids 2 @ Rochester 7 (Oct 16 2011) Final
After the game tonight they’ll play one more time on April 10th in Rochester.
Jacob Lagace is the only injury right now and did not make the trip, he’s out with a wrist sprain. Shawn Szydlowski was called up as his replacement. Michael Ryan is also out injured but at this point in the season I think everyone has written him off. It’s unfortunate because he wanted to play and contribute but it just wasn’t meant to be.
There’s no need to overanalyze the game too much. If the Amerks play like they have the last three games they should be very successful this weekend. Four lines playing their roles and scoring. All six defensemen playing their roles as well and the goaltender making the saves. If the team fails to play at their best for 60 minutes it’ll be a close game with an advantage given to the opposition. That’s how it’s been all season through 56 games and that’s how it’ll be through the remaining 20 games.
After playing in Grand Rapids on Friday night the Amerks will get back on the bus for a game at 5pm in Toronto on Saturday and then back to Rochester to play at 6:05pm on Sunday.
The deadline for moves in the American Hockey League is Monday March 5th at 3pm Eastern Time. I wrote about the deadline here where you can read more. Essentially, the playoff rosters have to be submitted to the league and there’s still time to make changes. Players with NHL contracts can’t be traded but they can be loaned between teams. When I asked Ron Rolston about any possible moves on Thursday morning he said that he hadn’t talked to the Sabres all week but a conference call was planned for today.
While Regier has the final say on all matters hockey within the organization, Devine oversees operations in Rochester. (Yes, he needs an amendment to his job title; his duties span well beyond just amateur scouting.)
Devine said this afternoon that a couple teams have phoned, wondering if the Amerks/Sabres may be looking to make any moves.
He said yes, and probably most definitely, but not until the needs are discussed on Friday.
“We want to find out exactly what Ron is thinking,” Devine said. “What we do will have a lot to do with what Ron has to say and then if something can be done.”
It’s interesting to note that the Sabres did put a claim in on Brad Staubitz who was waived by the Minnesota Wild. He ended up being claimed by the Montreal Canadiens who are lower than the Sabres in the standings so they got first dibs.
Four players that could be of interest that are not under contract next season are T.J. Brennan, Drew Schiestel, Alex Biega and Dennis Persson. Of those four players TJ Brennan is the one least likely to go anywhere. His game has really matured this season with Brayden McNabb and both have potential futures ahead of them with the Sabres. Dennis Persson has been in the Sabres organization and not gone anywhere but at times has shown glimpses of being a solid defenseman. The same could be said about Drew Schiestel and Alex Biega. Those three players may not be in the future plans for the Sabres so the hope will be that someone else would give them a chance and give something back to the Amerks.
All of that is great but why has it taken until the first weekend of March to make the needed moves to give the Amerks an added scoring touch for their run to the playoffs? Any help will be appreciated and credit will be given to the Sabres but it sure would be nice for them to make the right moves during the off season.