2011–12 Buffalo Sabres season
The 2011–12 Buffalo Sabres season was the 42nd season of operation (41st season of play) for the National Hockey League franchise that was established on May 22, 1970. Their season began October 7, 2011 against the Anaheim Ducks in Helsinki, where the team named Jason Pominville the 13th full-time captain in team history. Pominville filled the vacancy left by Craig Rivet, who was claimed via waivers by the Columbus Blue Jackets during the previous season.
|2011–12 Buffalo Sabres|
|General Manager||Darcy Regier|
|Alternate captains||Derek Roy|
Paul Gaustad (Oct.–Feb.)
|Arena||First Niagara Center|
|Goals||Jason Pominville (30)|
|Assists||Jason Pominville (43)|
|Points||Jason Pominville (73)|
|Penalty minutes||Patrick Kaleta (116)|
|Plus/minus||Tyler Ennis (+11)|
|Wins||Ryan Miller (30)|
|Goals against average||Drew MacIntyre (1.38)|
The Sabres signed several free agents. This was due to the new ownership giving permission to the managing staff to bid for free agents. The previous ownership allowed free agents to leave rather than pay for free agent contracts. The Sabres home also underwent a makeover. The interior of the arena was painted Sabres colors, blue and gold. The players locker rooms also received an extensive multimillion-dollar upgrade. The naming rights were transferred from HSBC to First Niagara Bank and the arena took on the name First Niagara Center. 
The Sabres participated in the 2011 NHL Premiere, playing their first two regular season games in Europe. After a 2–0 start in Europe, the Sabres returned home and continued to play well. They had a record of 10–5 going into a November 12 game against the Boston Bruins, where, in the first period, Ryan Miller left his crease to play a puck and was hit by the Bruins' Milan Lucic. Miller suffered a concussion and neck injury on the hit and would go on to miss nine games. Lucic was penalized for charging on the play but was not suspended or fined by the League. During the middle part of the season, injuries plagued the team. By the All-Star break the Sabres sat in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and had 225 man-games lost to injury. Jason Pominville was the only Sabre named to the All-Star Game roster. Luke Adam was one of 12 rookies selected to participate in the All-Star Skills Competition.
During the 33 game stretch from the Bruins game (November 12) to January 24, the Sabres had a record of 9–19–5. The poor play included a team record 12-game road losing streak and a run of five consecutive regulation loses on a single road trip.
Things then began to turn around with a shootout win at the New Jersey Devils on January 24, the final game before the All-Star break. The Sabres then went on an 18–5–5 run, going from 14th in the Eastern Conference back into the eighth and final playoff position on March 24 with a 3–1 win at home against the Minnesota Wild. On March 27, the Sabres faced the Washington Capitals for a pivotal game for the final playoff position. The teams entered the game tied at 84 points, with the Capitals holding the tie breaker advantage. The Sabres won the game by a convincing 5–1 score. In the second period of the game, the Sabres were ahead 3–1 and down injuries to two defensemen. Christian Ehrhoff and Andrej Sekera were both injured in the period and the Capitals were going on the power play when Robyn Regehr took a hooking penalty. The penalty left the Sabres with only three available defensemen. On the ensuing power play, Alexander Ovechkin bobbled a pass at the blue line, where Jason Pominville took the puck and scored a short-handed goal to put the Sabres up 4–1. Ryan Miller made 44 saves, improving to a personal record of 8–0–2 in his last ten games and 14–1–3 in 18 games. The win put Buffalo in sole possession of the eighth playoff spot and even in games with Washington.
The Sabres' position in eighth place was short lived, however, due to two consecutive regulation losses, first at home to Pittsburgh and then at Toronto. At home on the back end of the home and home with Toronto, the Sabres fell behind 3–0 in the first period and 5–3 in the third. The Sabres then rallied to score two goals in the final five minutes of the third to tie the game at five. In overtime, Dion Phaneuf took a delay of game penalty, where Derek Roy ended the game on the ensuing power play with his second goal of the game. The win pulled Buffalo even in points with Washington at 88. Washington still held the tie breaker advantage, with each team having two games left to play.
The Sabres would go on to pick up only one point in their final two games, ultimately failing to make the playoffs.
On April 3, 2012, following their final regular season home game, the Sabres announced a new record for average paid attendance of 18,272 per home game.
The Sabres attempted to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive season. The attempt fell three points short and the Sabres finished in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
|1||y – Boston Bruins||82||49||29||4||40||269||202||+67||102|
|2||x – Ottawa Senators||82||41||31||10||35||249||240||+9||92|
|4||Toronto Maple Leafs||82||35||37||10||31||231||264||−33||80|
x – Clinched playoff spot; y – Clinched division.
|1||AT||z – New York Rangers||82||51||24||7||47||226||187||+39||109|
|2||NE||y – Boston Bruins||82||49||29||4||40||269||202||+67||102|
|3||SE||y – Florida Panthers||82||38||26||18||32||203||227||−24||94|
|4||AT||x – Pittsburgh Penguins||82||51||25||6||42||282||221||+61||108|
|5||AT||x – Philadelphia Flyers||82||47||26||9||43||264||232||+32||103|
|6||AT||x – New Jersey Devils||82||48||28||6||36||228||209||+19||102|
|7||SE||x – Washington Capitals||82||42||32||8||38||222||230||−8||92|
|8||NE||x – Ottawa Senators||82||41||31||10||35||249||240||+9||92|
|10||SE||Tampa Bay Lightning||82||38||36||8||35||235||281||−46||84|
|13||NE||Toronto Maple Leafs||82||35||37||10||31||231||264||−33||80|
|14||AT||New York Islanders||82||34||37||11||27||203||255||−52||79|
x – Clinched playoff spot; y – Clinched division; z – Clinched conference.
Schedule and resultsEdit
|1||September 19||Carolina Hurricanes||1–3||Buffalo Sabres||Enroth||1–0–0|||
|2||September 21||Buffalo Sabres||3–1||Montreal Canadiens||Miller||2–0–0|||
|3||September 23||Buffalo Sabres||2–1||Toronto Maple Leafs||Miller||3–0–0|||
|4||September 24||Toronto Maple Leafs||2–3||Buffalo Sabres||Enroth||4–0–0|||
|5||September 25||Buffalo Sabres||1–4||Columbus Blue Jackets||Miller||4–1–0|||
|6||September 30||Buffalo Sabres||4–5||Washington Capitals||SO||Miller||4–1–1|||
|7||October 4||Buffalo Sabres||8–3||Adler Mannheim||Enroth||5–1–1|||
|2011–12 Game Log|
†Denotes player spent time with another team before joining Sabres. Stats reflect time with Sabres only.
‡Traded mid-season. Stats reflect time with Sabres only.
Awards and recordsEdit
|Ryan Miller||NHL First Star of the Week||March 5, 2012|
|Ryan Miller||NHL Second Star of the Week||March 26, 2012|
|Marcus Foligno||NHL Rookie of the Month||March 2012|
|Ryan Miller||NHL Third Star of the Month||April 2, 2012|
On October 25, 2011, Brad Boyes played in his 500th consecutive NHL game, becoming the 20th player in NHL history to reach that mark. This streak ended at 513 when he was injured in the November 23 game.
|Brad Boyes||200th Career NHL Assist||October 7, 2011|
|Ryan Miller||400th Career NHL Game||October 7, 2011|
|Drew Stafford||200th Career NHL Point||October 15, 2011|
|Brad Boyes||500th Career NHL Game||October 22, 2011|
|Thomas Vanek||400th Career NHL Point||October 27, 2011|
|Corey Tropp||1st Career NHL Game||November 4, 2011|
|1st Career NHL Goal
1st Career NHL Point
|November 8, 2011|
|1st Career NHL Assist||November 11, 2011|
|Nathan Gerbe||100th Career NHL Game||November 12, 2011|
|T. J. Brennan||1st Career NHL Game
1st Career NHL Goal
1st Career NHL Point
|November 23, 2011|
|Zack Kassian||1st Career NHL Game
1st Career NHL Assist
1st Career NHL Point
|November 25, 2011|
|1st Career NHL Goal||November 26, 2011|
|Brayden McNabb||1st Career NHL Game||November 26, 2011|
|Joe Finley||1st Career NHL Game||December 2, 2011|
|Derek Roy||400th Career NHL Point||December 2, 2011|
|Tyler Ennis||100th Career NHL Game||December 2, 2011|
|Drew Stafford||100th Career NHL Goal||December 16, 2011|
|Derek Roy||500th Career NHL Game||December 16, 2011|
|Thomas Vanek||500th Career NHL Game||December 16, 2011|
|200th Career NHL Assist||December 20, 2011|
|Derek Whitmore||1st Career NHL Game||December 20, 2011|
|Marcus Foligno||1st Career NHL Game||December 20, 2011|
|Brayden McNabb||1st Career NHL Goal
1st Career NHL Point
|December 26, 2011|
|1st Career NHL Assist||December 31, 2011|
|Cody McCormick||300th Career NHL Game||January 3, 2012|
|Jason Pominville||500th Career NHL Game||January 16, 2012|
|Mike Weber||100th Career NHL Game||January 16, 2012|
|Jason Pominville||400th Career NHL Point||January 18, 2012|
|Ryan Miller||25th Career NHL Shutout||February 8, 2012|
|Tyler Myers||200th Career NHL Game
100th Career NHL Point
|February 17, 2012|
|Ville Leino||200th Career NHL Game||February 25, 2012|
|Marcus Foligno||1st Career NHL Goal
1st Career NHL Point
|March 10, 2012|
|1st Career NHL Assist||March 12, 2012|
|Travis Turnbull||1st Career NHL Game||March 21, 2012|
|Christian Ehrhoff||200th Career NHL Assist||March 21, 2012|
|Travis Turnbull||1st Career NHL Goal
1st Career NHL Point
|March 23, 2012|
|Robyn Regehr||900th Career NHL Game||April 3, 2012|
|Andrej Sekera||300th Career NHL Game||April 3, 2012|
Updated April 7, 2012
The Sabres have been involved in the following transactions during the 2011–12 season:
|June 25, 2011||To Calgary Flames
|To Buffalo Sabres |
2nd-round pick in 2012 – Jake McCabe
|June 29, 2011||To New York Islanders
4th-round pick in 2012 – Loic Leduc
|To Buffalo Sabres|
|June 29, 2011||To Chicago Blackhawks
|To Buffalo Sabres|
Conditional 7th-round pick in 2012 – Judd Peterson
|February 27, 2012||To Nashville Predators
4th-round pick in 2013 – Juuse Saros
1st-round pick in 2012[c] – Mark Jankowski
|February 27, 2012||To Vancouver Canucks
|To Buffalo Sabres|
Free agents signedEdit
Free agents lostEdit
Claimed via waiversEdit
Lost via waiversEdit
Lost via retirementEdit
Buffalo's picks at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
|Round||#||Player||Position||Nationality||College/Junior/Club Team (League)|
|1||16||Joel Armia||Right Wing||Finland||Ässät (SM-liiga)|
|3||77||Daniel Catenacci||Center||Canada||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)|
|4||107||Colin Jacobs||Center||United States||Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)|
|5||137||Alex Lepkowski||Defense||United States||Barrie Colts (OHL)|
|6||167||Nathan Lieuwen||Goaltender||Canada||Kootenay Ice (WHL)|
|7||197||Brad Navin||Center||United States||Waupaca High School (USHS-WI)|
- National Hockey League (2010). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book/2011. Triumph Books. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-60078-422-4.
- "Sabres name Pominville as captain". October 6, 2011. Archived from the original on June 17, 2013. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- "New digs honor Sabres' past". Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- "NHL's Sabres to rename arena First Niagara Center". Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- "Bruins bounce Sabres for fifth consecutive win". ESPN. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- Miller skeptical of Milan Lucic
- Harrington, Mike (January 29, 2012). "First-half follies have Sabres stuck in the breakdown lane". The Buffalo News. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
- Morreale, Mike. "Pominville excited to spend time among All-Stars". NHL.com. National Hockey League. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
- "POMINVILLE & ADAM SELECTED TO ALL-STAR GAME". NHL.com. National Hockey League. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
- 4, Sabres 2
- 2, Devils 1, SO
- 3, Wild 1
- "Sabres climb past Caps, into 8th as Ryan Miller saves 44". ESPN.com. ESPN. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- "Crosby leads Penguins to 5-3 win in Buffalo". NHL.com. NHL.com. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- "Leafs damage Sabres' playoff hopes with 4-3 win". NHL.com. National Hockey League. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- Vogl, John (April 3, 2012). "Sabres display wow factor". The Buffalo News. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Bruins top Sabres 4-3 in season-ending shootout". NHl.com. National Hockey League. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- "AVERAGE PAID ATTENDANCE AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH FOR SABRES IN 2011-12". Sabres.com. NHL.com. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- Three Stars: Miller, Kronwall, Emery earn honors
- Malkin, Miller, Ovechkin named week's Three Stars
- Sabres' Foligno named Rookie of the Month
- Flyers' Bryzgalov earns First Star for March
- "Sabres Boyes hits 500 games in a row tonight". Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
- Reitz, Mark (November 23, 2011). "Ironman Brad Boyes "out for a period of time"". NBC Sports. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
- "Buffalo Sabres - Team - Roster". Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- SABRES ACQUIRE REGEHR, KOTALIK AND 2012 SECOND ROUND PICK FROM CALGARY
- BUFFALO SABRES ACQUIRE RIGHTS TO NEGOTIATE WITH CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF
- SABRES TRADE MONTADOR'S NEGOTIATING RIGHTS
- SABRES ACQUIRE HODGSON, SULZER, FIRST-ROUND DRAFT PICK AT TRADE DEADLINE
- SABRES SIGN VILLE LEINO
- SABRES SIGN MacINTYRE, WHITMORE AND STUART
- SABRES SIGN RYAN AND SZCZECHURA
- SABRES INK FORWARDS BOYCHUK, PARKER
- SABRES SIGN JOE FINLEY
- SABRES SIGN VARONE TO ENTRY-LEVEL CONTRACT
- SABRES AGREE TO TERMS WITH FORWARD BRIAN FLYNN TO NHL CONTRACT
- Leafs Sign Tim Connolly
- Vancouver Canucks sign Nolan Baumgartner and Mark Mancari
- Rob Niedermayer will play in Switzerland next season
- Bulletin: Senators sign forward Mark Parrish to a one-year contract
- Bulletin: Senators sign defenceman Tim Conboy to a one-year contract
- LALIME RETIRES, WILL WORK ON RDS HOCKEY BROADCASTS
- GRIER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT AFTER MORE THAN 1,000 NHL GAMES
- SABRES SIGN 2009 DRAFT PICK BRAYDEN McNABB
- SABRES AGREE TO TERMS WITH MARCUS FOLIGNO
- SABRES SIGN 2010 FIRST-ROUND PICK MARK PYSYK
- SABRES AGREE TO TERMS WITH DREW STAFFORD
- SABRES GET THEIR MAN
- SABRES AGREE TO TERMS WITH NATHAN GERBE
- SABRES SIGN CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF TO A LONG-TERM CONTRACT
- SABRES RE-SIGN CODY McCORMICK
- SABRES RE-SIGN DEFENSEMAN MIKE WEBER
- SABRES RE-SIGN PERSSON AND TURNBULL
- SEKERA AND ELLIS SIGN MULTI-YEAR DEALS
- ENROTH AGREES TO TERMS ON MULTI-YEAR DEAL
- SABRES LOCK UP GRAGNANI FOR ANOTHER YEAR
- SEVENTH (HOCKEY) HEAVEN
- Sabres sign Matt MacKenzie
- SABRES SIGN PROSPECT KEVIN SUNDHER
- SABRES INK GAUTHIER-LEDUC TO ENTRY LEVEL CONTRACT
- "SABRES AGREE TO TERMS WITH CATENACCI AND KNAPP". Sabres.com. NHL.com. Retrieved April 4, 2012.