Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo’

Season 61 – Preview

October 13, 2016 - By
Season 61 – Preview

(10/13 PM Update)

For the third summer in the last 4 years, the Amerks roster looks good…ON PAPER.  “Blah Blah Blah”, “Yeah, whatever”, and “So what”.  I hear you, guys.  But it’s October – so I’m going to put on my hopeful and optimistic mask for the time being.

I was excited about Cunneyworth returning last season and being joined by Paul Fixter. That clearly didn’t work out and an encouraging clean sweep of the coaching staff was made, resulting in a planned move of Dan Lambert becoming head coach.  I REALLY like this guy.  I’ve said before that the last time a rookie head coach replaced a Hall of Fame head coach we won the cup – with Torts replacing Boxie in 1996.  I feel like Lambert is a straight shooter and has a desire to win here.  I’m just as excited about the assistants.  Brad Tapper seems like a no-nonsense guy who understands that competing for a Calder Cup is still important and Chuck Weber was a head coach I liked here in 2010-2011 and with a little roster luck might have won here that season.   I think we’ve needed more fire from our coaching staff and these [...]Read More

Time flies regardless

October 4, 2016 - By
Time flies regardless

5 seasons have passed since the Sabres purchased and re-affiliated with the Amerks.  While the on-ice product has been mostly miserable and sometimes embarrassing this last half-decade, there have been some players I’ve enjoyed watching here over that time period.  Here are 10 (and why) in no particular order:

  1.  Freddie Roy – A throwback to the 80’s and 90’s type of Amerk.  Played like he was a foot taller than he was.  I said no order but he is #1…and its not even close.  #Roychester
  2. Travis Turnbull – Missing a lot from this time period was passion…not the case here.  Frozen in my memory is Turnbull, after winning a spirited scrap, WWE’ing a WHOOO and pumping his fist to the crowd.  Not sure why he wasn’t given more of an NHL looksie – could do it all really.
  3. Derek Whitmore – Local boy proud to wear the crest.  Could put the puck in the net, too, which is incredibly rare here in recent years.  Another local player may want to listen to a few of Whitmore’s interviews. #Pride  #Respect
  4. Matt Mackenzie – Criminally underrated defensive Dman at this level as evidenced by a team leading +11 in 2013-2014….and I don’t [...]Read More

No excuses this season

April 18, 2016 - By
No excuses this season

It’s over.  One of the more disappointing seasons of at least the past 35 years has mercifully finished.

This isn’t last year’s team who could say Buffalo’s tanking devastated their roster.  It’s not a season like 2008-2009, 2010-2011, 2011-2012 or 2013-2014 where significant injuries both here and above (Florida+Buffalo) led to too many ECHL’ers playing each night.  There is no dual affiliation excuse or financial issues hanging over our head excuses.  There was no revolt against a coach like in 2009-2010 (allegedly).  There was a great veteran core ON PAPER.  There were legit prospects.  There was an experienced coaching staff.  We had strong depth right down 390 in Elmira.   There are NO excuses.  This team didn’t play to expectations and ended up 26 out of 30 teams in the AHL.

And it didn’t just end…it ended with some of the most miserable, disinterested and embarrassing play I’ve ever seen from a professional team – especially at home:

  • Lost their last 6 home games by combined score 38-10.
  • Lost 8 of their last 10 at home by a combined score of 54-21.
  • 7x in those last 10 home games they had a 4+ goal deficit at some point.  Seriously?
[...]Read More


March 30, 2016 - By

Playoff wins by era this century:

  • Last 5 years of first Buffalo era:  (2000-2001 – 2004-2005) = 15
  • 3 years of dual:  (2005-2006 – 2007-2008) = 2
  • 3 years of Florida:  (2008-2009 – 2010-2011) = 3
  • First 5 years of second Buffalo era/Buffalo owned (2011-2012 – 2015-2016) = 2

And compared to:

Last 5 years of last century:  (1995-1996 – 1999-2000) = 47

Any question as to why long-time fans are frustrated?

Amerks 60th begins

October 8, 2015 - By
Amerks 60th begins

Typically, I don’t consider a hockey season to be a success unless the team gets out of the first round.  Sometimes that’s a reasonable goal and sometimes it’s not.  This season with the Amerks, it’s not only completely reasonable, but it may be a low expectation.  In fact, anything other than getting out of the first round should be considered a complete failure.


There are three main reasons for this opinion:


  1. Hockey is measured by winning in the playoffs. And this is the 2nd best league in North America and one of the best leagues in the world.  The Amerks are the 8th oldest professional hockey team in North America and one of the most storied hockey franchises in the world.  So, those who want to focus only a prospect development might not like this  – but too bad.


  1. It’s the Amerks 60th anniversary season AND it’s been 10 years without a playoff series win.


  1. No expense was spared in bringing in high level AHL talent this season. For example, Cal O’Reilly is being paid $700k to play here.



What I really want is a new [...]Read More

The Tank is over….and in Rochester….shouldn’t have ever been

April 17, 2015 - By
The Tank is over….and in Rochester….shouldn’t have ever been

This wasn’t a fun season.  The Buffalo Sabres tanking negatively affected the Amerks roster and as a result we had to suffer through a plethora of meaningless games down the stretch.  And… playoffs.  Again.  So, this will be the 10th consecutive season our beloved Amerks don’t get out of the first round and the 5th time in that same stretch that we don’t get to see any playoff games at all.

For most hockey fans – playoffs are what matters…and if you’re an Amerks hockey fan who followed the team in the 60’s or the 80’s&90’s – well, this is just intolerable right now.   AAA hockey is not like AAA baseball where winning is minimized.  In baseball, rosters expand for the big club before the season is even over.  In hockey – they freeze.  In baseball, the season ends a month earlier.  In hockey – it goes later.  Hockey IS playoffs.  And Amerks hockey even moreso.  It is built into the soul of the franchise.  Those banners over the ice and in the Hall of Fame upper atrium area shouldn’t be decorations – they should be the mission.

I am of the opinion that the Amerks didn’t need to be [...]Read More

Steve Donner Interview – Part IV

January 16, 2015 - By
Steve Donner Interview – Part IV

In today’s AHL, it’s getting harder and harder to achieve the string of successful seasons that we orchestrated here, and I’d like to think that that strengthens the legacy of what we accomplished.”

 LGA:  It seems unfair that your legacy is what happened at the end vs. bringing a Cup here and having several successful seasons generated in your vision.  What do you say about that?

Donner:  “True Amerk fans know my accomplishments.  In today’s AHL, it’s getting harder and harder to achieve the string of successful seasons that we orchestrated here, and I’d like to think that that strengthens the legacy of what we accomplished.  Curt would ask me how I did it for all those years.  And I would never trade it for anything.  The negative stuff … that’s just public life.  The media does what it wants to.”

LGA:  Do you think there is a place for you in the Amerk Hall of Fame?

Donner:  “I hope so.  We had the best winning percentage in the AHL over that first 10 year period.  We won the franchise’s last Calder Cup and had 2 other final appearances.  I’m very proud of it (his ownership tenure).  It’s the [...]Read More

Steve Donner Interview – Part III

January 14, 2015 - By
Steve Donner Interview – Part III

“We weren’t asking for handouts – we just wanted to keep some of our own revenue that we were generating.”


LGA:  On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being extremely difficult and 10 being extremely easy) how was the city of Rochester to work with regards to the War Memorial lease?

Donner:  “A rating is tough.  Maybe a 3-4 … overall.  Johnson was better to work with.  His administration was more like a 5-7.  Also the County Executive at the time was good to work with – Jack Doyle.  After Johnson, an extraordinarily hard line was taken. There were a lot of politics going on behind the scenes.  They weren’t going to not appease the only billionaire in town.  The only way to keep up was a better lease.  The city said no.   If you look around, how do you think Utica got a team back?  Binghamton…they got a sweet heart of lease.  Those communities want their team.  You know, we weren’t asking for handouts – we just wanted to keep some of our own revenue that we were generating.”

“In the beginning, profits were invested 100% back into the team.  Because….pride in the city and to win championships.  Even [...]Read More

Steve Donner Interview – Part II

January 13, 2015 - By
Steve Donner Interview – Part II

“I wanted to make Rochester proud”

LGA: What do you miss the most about owning the Amerks?
Donner: “The People! I miss the fans the most – their happiness after a win. The joy of watching the clock count down on a game day. I was a fan first, so being able to do that in my home town – well – it was a passion more than a job. I wanted to make Rochester proud. I gave it all I had. I hate to see the franchise struggle. I really did give it everything I had. In the first 10 years of my ownership we had the best winning percentage in the AHL”

LGA: Who were some of your favorite players during your tenure as owner?
Donner: “Frawls, Metter, Sharky….Dane Jackson. Sharky (Craig Charron) was my first signing…EVER. Very proud that I gave him a chance when no one else would – and look what he accomplished here! And also a great community guy. Jody of course, too. Became a great GM…for TWO teams. The guys you win with always remain special, of course. Still talk with Torts and Boxie now.”
This segued into a great [...]Read More

Steve Donner Interview – Part I (Intro)

January 12, 2015 - By
Steve Donner Interview – Part I (Intro)

“They were the love of my life.”

In 1994, the Buffalo Sabres needed to divest money losing entities like the Rochester Americans – to be scuttled or sold – in order to finance and build the Marine Midland Arena, now known as the First Niagara Center.

Steve Donner had already made it known to close friend and former boss Seymour Knox as well as Gerry Meehan that owning the Amerks would be a dream come true. While he enjoyed his time as VP with the Tampa Bay Lightning, his wife missed WNY and he really had a strong desire to test his own philosophies on a franchise he owned. While a deal was going to take a little time, Donner took a chance and returned to Rochester to be President of the Amerks (with an option to buy) where he worked as marketing director in the early 80’s. So on a Wednesday night, watching a lackluster performance in front of a nearly-empty arena, then-Sabres President, Doug Moss said, “Are you SURE you want to buy this team?

With that, the Cinderella story of the 1995-1996 Calder Cup Championship team was born, and the growing development-only philosophy of the previous 2 [...]Read More

Does Buffalo care about winning in Rochester?

December 9, 2012 - By

-Written by Jason Bonno

Buffalo Sabres management is failing the Rochester Americans. The season, which arrived amidst much hoopla with the NHL lockout, is starting to come off the rails by the middle of December, with apparently no help in sight. To the contrary, the positive is just that, it’s only the middle of December and there are 55 games remaining. However, one has to wonder if Sabres GM Darcy Regier and Kevin Devine, who oversees Amerks hockey operations, really have any pulse on what is happening to the Amerks – and if they do, do they care?

It didn’t start well on the injury front, with the Amerks losing Corey Tropp for the season during their very first game. Many fans hoped for a replacement player right away. That the Sabres management would recognize losing their top winger in the first game could be a devastating blow, especially in a league with so much talent. But nothing happened. It was understandable, especially when Brian Flynn capitalized on his new opportunity. He has, perhaps, become the Amerks’ best forward and arguably MVP to date.

However, it didn’t end there. As it seems to happen to every year to the Amerks, [...]Read More

Amerks Announcer Don Stevens on Versus

August 5, 2009 - By

If you’ve missed hearing the voice of Don Stevens calling an Amerks hockey game all summer then you’ll be able to hear him on August 29th at 3pm on Versus as he does play by play for the Major League Roller Hockey Pro Tour Championship game.

I know that roller hockey is a popular sport, but I had no idea that this league existed.  If it wasn’t for Don Stevens doing play by play I probably never would have found this.  How many people really tune into Versus at 3pm on a Saturday?  Hit the guide button now on your DVR remote and set this to record.

Here’s the rest of the release from the league:

Major League Roller Hockey (MLRH)  has announced an agreement with the VERSUS Network to broadcast an MLRH Roller Hockey Special featuring the MLRH Pro Tour Championship game and the CO-ED Slamm Hockey Championships.  The program is set to air Saturday, August 29 at 3:00 PM EST.  The telecast marks the first time in over ten years that roller hockey will be seen on Network TV.

The Championships were played at the Pepsi Center in Buffalo and will be packaged into a one hour special.  [...]Read More