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HOCKEYVILLE 2010 BLOG

Tuesday, 09.28.2010 / 7:34 AM / News
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
Sabres.com’s Erin Pollina will keep you updated as the Buffalo Sabres travel to Dundas, Ontario for “Hockeyville 2010.” Posting blog entries throughout the day, she will give you an all-access look at the event and preseason match-up against the Montreal Canadiens.


The following high definition (HD) channels will be showing tonight's Sabres/Senators game from Hockeyville (Dundas, Ont). Tune in at 7:00 PM on:

  • Time Warner Buffalo: Channel 700
  • Time Warner Rochester: Channel 1044
  • DirecTV: Channel 638
  • Dish Network: Channel 450


7:30 A.M.
2010 Hockeyville (NHL.com)

For the second time in three years, the Buffalo Sabres are participating in Kraft’s Hockeyville festivities – and once again, I’m tagging along for the ride.

Before we take off, I have to say that after traveling with the team in 2008 to Roberval, Quebec for the event, I’m thankful for proximity today. Taking a short 90-minute drive across the border to Dundas, Ontario certainly has its benefits.

Not only is everyone a bit more rested (getting to Roberval required a flight from Toronto to Chicoutimi and a 90-minute bus ride), but it will likely be a lot easier to navigate as – for the most part – everyone speaks English.

It’s something you tend to take for granted, but getting acclimated in a new city becomes exponentially harder when you can’t ask for directions, find the media entrance or even order off the menu after the game (I remember Kevin Sylvester asking the French-Canadian waitress for ‘pizzaghetti’ by mistake at a small restaurant in Roberval – which is exactly what it sounds like by the way).

I’m also expecting more Sabres fans. The crowds in Roberval were incredibly gracious, and thrilled, to meet Sabres players – but their allegiance was obviously tied to the Montreal Canadiens. With Dundas being so close to HSBC Arena, it might be neat to see a few more Blue and Gold jerseys this time around.

I will try to provide as many pictures and details as I can throughout the day. If you have any questions that you would like me to ask the team about the event, send it here and I will do my best to get a few quotes.


10:42 AM

The Buffalo Sabres are warming up in Dundas. The Ottawa Senators will take the ice in about 30 minutes. Here is tonight's lineup for the Sabres:

FORWARDS: 26 Thomas Vanek - 19 Tim Connolly - 29 Jason Pominville, 42 Nathan Gerbe - 20 Rob Niedermayer - 21 Drew Stafford, 46 Dennis McCauley - 72 Luke Adam - 54 Zack Kassian, 65 Travis Turnbull - 8 Cody McCormick - 23 Colin Stuart

DEFENSE: 57 Tyler Myers - 27 Shaone Morrisonn, 4 Steve Montador - 44 Andrej Sekera, 6 Mike Weber - 33 TJ Brennan

GOALIES: 30 Ryan Miller, 1 Jhonas Enroth 


11:07 AM

Here's a quick look at the JL Grightmire Arena in Dundas. The quality of the video isn't great, but here goes:



11:56 AM

The Senators are on the ice now. Here is (most of) their lineup for tonight's game:

FORWARDS: 73 Jarkko Ruutu - 22 Chris Kelly - 25 Chris Niel, 73 Pete Regin - 15 Zach Smith - 18 Jesse Winchester, 43 Roman Wick - 58 Cody Bass - 44 Ryan Keller, 68 Mike Hoffman - 37 Cory Locke - 16 Bobby Butler

DEFENSE: 5 Brian Lee, 39 Matt Carkner, 47 Andre Benoit, 36 David Hale

GOALIES: 40 Robin Lehner and 30 Brian Elliott


12:10 PM


The Buffalo Sabres have just finished addressing the media - and discussed the excitement surrounding Dundas. The players also talked about the difficulties in playing on a smaller ice surface, and how not having as much room will affect their game.

Head Coach Lindy Ruff estimated the rink is about 185 x 80 feet.

"But we're going to try to put the best show on we can. The people in this building are excited," Ruff said. "Considering I'm from a small town, it's great to be back in a small rink."

To listen to Ruff's full interview, as well as comments from Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville and Tyler Myers, click here.


12:21 PM

We were just informed that tonight's Hockeyville game will be broadcast locally on the MSG Network.


12:29 PM

From NHL.com's Magalie Lafreniere:

"The rain didn't deter any fans from greeting their favorite players outside the J.L Grightmire arena this morning, some had even been there since 7a.m..

By the time the Sabres bus had arrived in the parking lot there was a complete downpour. Cheers went up for Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller, but the biggest ovations were reserved for Tyler Myers and Steve Montador, who stayed out in the rain until they had signed every last autograph.

School children who had won passes to attend the morning skate, as well as members of the Dundas Minor Hockey Association, were on the edge of their seats watching Coach Lindy Ruff run drills with his team."


4:26 PM


Tyler Myers, Steve Montador, Nathan Gerbe and Drew Stafford were the Sabres representatives that visited a pair of schools this afternoon [check back later for video footage]. Speaking at William Osler and Dundana Elementary Schools, the players gave a brief speech, answered questions and discussed life as an NHL athlete.

Now the city is gathering for a pep rally outside of the arena - complete with a skills competition for kids. There will also be a special guest in attendance as we're told that Commissioner Gary Bettman will be among the 1,100 (or so) fans at JL Grightmire Arena tonight.

For now, click play above to see a video of the Sabres' arrival into Dundas.


5:01 PM

The Sabres are serving as the 'home team' for tonight's game - which is inadvertently providing an added benefit for Buffalo. Due to the configurations of the locker rooms, the Sabres only need to walk a few feet to get to the ice. The Senators, however, have to not only walk through the crowd to get to their bench, but they also have to make their way down a short flight of stairs - which is probably not something you want to be doing on skates.


6:38 PM

The Sabres and Senators are warming up. Tim Connolly is serving as tonight's captain for Buffalo with Craig Rivet out of the lineup. Drew Stafford and Thomas Vanek are wearing the A's.


FIRST PERIOD

7:18 PM - We're underway in Dundas... and off to a quick start. It took nearly seven minutes of play before the first whistle was blown. To be exact, six minutes and 46 seconds.

7:22 PM - Mike Weber is called for holding. Ottawa on the power play.

7:29 PM - Buffalo kills off it's first penalty successfully - but now have to fight off another with Steve Montador in the box for holding the stick.

7:30 PM -  Rob Niedermayer puts Buffalo on the board with a shorthanded goal. Sens goalie Robin Lehner attempted to direct the puck behind the net, but Niedermayer swooped in to intercept it and shoved a backhand in with a wraparound. BUF 1 - OTT 0

7:41 PM - End of the first period.


SECOND PERIOD

7:46 PM - Don Cherry and Ron MacLean from Hockey Night in Canada make an appearance in the building much to the delight of the younger fans.

8:06 PM -
Cody McCormick and Erik Gryba drop the gloves after getting tangled up off the draw - but the refs break it up before any punches are landed. McCormick receives the only penalty; two minutes for roughing.

8:09 PM  - Immediately after his penalty expired, McCormick got back on the ice looking to finish what he started - and took on Cody Bass inside the Ottawa zone. Both are in the box for fighting.

8:32 PM - McCormick and Gryba tussle at center ice for Round II. McCormick earns the extra roughing penalty giving the Senators a power play opportunity.

8: 36 PM - Patrick Wiercioch slides into the slot and rips a shot to beat Ryan Miller gloveside. We're all tied up: BUF 1, OTT 1

8: 37 PM - End of the second period.


8:48 PM

Before the third period gets underway, check out some video of fans during the pre-game pep rally:



THIRD PERIOD

9:02 PM - Tyler Myers took a hit along the boards and looks like he's in pain. He's still on the bench though...

9:06 PM - Myers is back on the ice.

9:11 PM - Jason Pominville accepts a long pass from Luke Adam and beats Lehner up top. Buffalo regains the lead: BUF 2, OTT 1

9:25 PM -
Dennis McCauley lands a hard open-ice hit on Matt Carkner who retaliated and threw a punch. Buffalo will end the game with a power play as a result.

9:30 PM - FINAL SCORE: BUF 2, OTT 1 - Stay tuned to sabres.com for recap, post-game reaction and more.


9:42 PM

It's funny - as you listen to the discussions surrounding Hockeyville, most of the attention is given to the players. 'How will they adapt to playing in such a small rink? What's it like to play in such a tiny venue?'

I'm not saying that they shouldn't get the attention... they are main event. But when I spoke with people who grew up in Dundas, and some of the smaller towns nearby, I was reminded that this is really about them. This is about showcasing their town and saving an arena that's much bigger than it's given credit for.

As one resident told me:

"Years ago, the city of Dundas was amalgamated from Hamilton. The town of Hamilton made it clear that the Dundas arena would be put up on potential surplus site for the city with the intention of closing it and putting an additional ice pad on the other side of town.

"It might have made a lot of sense from the cost perspective, but if you ask any kid in Dundas where they want to play a hockey game - they want to play at this arena. The seating goes all around, and you come out through the tunnel and it's where they hold the championship games for high school hockey. Everyone wants a chance to play here because they sing the national anthem, they announce your name, they blow the big horn and they have loud music when you score a goal.

"It's not a perfect building, but it has a lot of character and history to it. And more importanly, it means a lot to the kids. This is what they dream about when they skate out to center ice - for them, this is playing in the big leagues."

At least for today, they got the chance to say it was.

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