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Pre-Season Quick Hits

The tragedy stricken summer of hockey continues. When KHL team Lokomotiv's plane struck a tower and crashed into the Volga river their families, friends, and fans were dealt a horrific blow in what has been as sad of an off-season as I can ever remember. Tragic deaths are not new to the sport, Tim Horton, Pelle Lindbergh, Dan Snyder, the list unfortunately goes on and on. However this is the first time that an entire hockey club, and coaching staff have perished simultaneously, clearly the most infamous event in the sport's history. I won't take credit for this idea because I have seen several comments across the internet suggesting the same thing, but to reiterate, I do believe the NHL should don the Lokomotiv crest on ALL jerseys this year in memory of the fallen KHL squad. My condolences to their families, friends, and fans, and this on the heels of Rick Rypien, Wade Belak, and Derek Boogaard...truly a black summer.

I still believe when the dust settles Luke Adam will find a way to sneak onto the NHL roster. Sure he could stand to improve his skating, and there is no denying Zack Kassian is ahead of him on the development trail, but the Sabres are thin down the middle and Adam could provide some stability at center. I don't like Hecht or Boyes at center, and I still prefer Leino at wing, but if Ruff keeps him at center I'd still rather have Adam centering the 3rd line and Gaustad on the 4th to provide more scoring depth.

With that said, as much as Kassian is impressing at camp I don't see him cracking the NHL roster at the start of October. He's a lock to be the first forward call-up from Rochester, but if he's not going to start in a top 9 role (and Buffalo has too many wingers for that to happen) I'd rather he get 20min a game in the AHL on a nightly basis than watch from the press box with the big club. I'm sure Darcy Regier has a trade or two planned, or may bury enough vets in the minors to make the necessary room for Kassian at some point this season, but I don't expect to see him in blue and gold when the Sabres take on the Ducks in Helsinki on 10/7.

The idea of NHL teams wearing the Lokomotiv crest got me thinking. Speaking of honoring teams, should the Sabres wear the black and red albino Buffalo head jerseys once a year in honor of that era team? The NJ Devils wear their Christmas colored uniforms annually around St. Patrick's day, and the Flyers wore their all orange uniforms a few times a year before finally going back to them full time last season. How about every time the Dallas Stars come to Buffalo for a road game the Sabres wear the black and gold, and have Hull and Hasek drop the ceremonial first puck together. Ok...bad idea...but seriously, Terry Pegula is adamant about honoring the teams history, would you like to see them wear those uniforms once a year?

Last season in the NFL (2010), NFL teams averaged 2.496 touchdowns per game. In the 2010 NHL season teams averaged 2.795 goals per game. Funny how non-hockey fans complain about low scoring games when on average you will see more goals in an NHL game than you will see touchdowns in an NFL game.

Brandon Hess
Follow me on twitter @SabreHess

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