Patty’s Day unis for the Bandits

The Bandits are hoping the luck of the Irish will help snap them from their current losing streak. For their game against Minnesota on Saturday, March 17, the Bandits will wear special St. Patrick’s Day jerseys.

Here is the info, straight from the Bandits:

The game-worn black and green jerseys will be auctioned off on Bandits.com, with the auction beginning at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 19 and ending at 9 p.m. on Sunday, March 25. Proceeds will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In addition, replica jerseys will be available for purchase in the team store, along with other St. Patty’s Day-themed Bandits items.

Futhermore, Bandits forward Luke Wiles will appear on Time Warner Cable Sportsnet’s “The Enforcers” tonight, March 12, at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 13 to discuss the jerseys and the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day game.

I like when teams do this sort of thing. It gives you a reason to check out the game and usually the designs are pretty fun. The jerseys look as if they will just be a modified version of their black road uniforms. In place of orange and purple, there will be green. The Bandits.com story has a picture.

Double Minors: Rochester roadtrip

Saturday afforded me the chance to check out a pair of games and sample some of the best BBQ in Western New York.

Rather than just stay at home for Saturday’s Sabres – Senators game, a few friends and I took a quick trip to Rochester for a Bandits game, Dinosaur BBQ and the Amerks – Senators game.

The purpose of the trip was to see the Amerks and see some of the talent the Sabres have in the pipeline. It ended up being a great day trip featuring a sports double header. The Bandits game was a loss. They are a team in complete disarray who don’t seem to have a clue which way is up. Buffalo was held to three goals fro most of the game until they finally went on a late run. The final score was 13-10, but that was hardly indicative of the domination the Bandits endured.

The Amerks game was far better. Joe Finley dropped the gloves just three seconds in and Rochester put on a clinic against the AHL’s cellar dwellers. Mark Voakes (0+3) and Travis Turnbull (1+2) paced the Amerks as six different players scored for Rochester.

David Leggio didn’t see his tenth shot until the third period and was largely untested for most of the night. He did allow one goal, but did mange to make a few impressive stops along the way. Leggio finished with 17 saves.

While Marcus Foligno was busy scoring his first NHL goal, there were a few bright spots from some of the players biding their time in Rochester this season. Paul Szezchura, Brayden McNabb and even Finley had some strong moments in the blowout victory.

The highlight of the day may have been grabbing a massive plate of BBQ between the games. Dinosaur BBQ is located about 100 yards from Blue Cross Arena. Would it be that difficult to put a location in downtown Buffalo? Seriously, are the people making decisions on the waterfront that obtuse? Continue reading

2ITB Roadie: Bandits, Amerks and BBQ

The Buffalo Sabres will skate into Ottawa tonight with the chance to at least draw even with Winnipeg this evening. If the Bruins can take care of business this afternoon, the Sabres will be playing for a share of eighth.

Now, I still contend that the team has yet to reach a point of watching the schedule on a nightly basis, but that day is drawing near. The Sabres have twice had a chance to draw even with eighth and have failed. Tonight is a game in which they will be rested (sort of) and is also one of those valuable “games in hand”. Winnipeg’s loss last night in Calgary came in their 68th game, this is game 68 for the Sabres. So far Buffalo has been strong when playing on a night their opponents are idle, but this game is yet another pivotal matchup.

Ryan Miller will be back in net tonight after getting a couple well deserved days off. I expect to see Ben Bishop in net for the Senators. Bishop is a massive goalie looking to make his mark on the league. He has waited a long time for his break and this season might be it. Buffalo’s oft-anemic offense will need to start rolling early tonight.

The main thing to watch for is two-fold. First, if Thomas Vanek is playing, I expect to see some new lines. John Vogl, Kevin Snow, Paul Hamilton and the rest of the Sabres media reported the shuffled lines at yesterday’s practice. However, those combinations came without Vanek and Patrick Kaleta. I expect to see some changes made in the hope to spark some more offense. If Vanek isn’t playing, seeing what Lindy Ruff comes up with (Marcus Foligno was recalled) will be equally interesting to a fully healthy lineup.

This special edition of The Morning Skate is because I’ll be taking the day to enjoy all the city of Rochester has to offer. So I’ll have Dinosaur BBQ and watch the Bandits and Amerks play.

The Bandits enter tomorrow’s game with their season in the balance. They simply cannot afford another loss if they expect to sneak in the playoffs and who better to snap their funk than their I-90 rivals?

One of the Bandits’ two victories this season came against Rochester, but this is a whole different Bandits team we are talking about. They have unraveled defensively and are getting offensive contributions from a small, core group. Things need to change in Banditland if a playoff push is to remain in the cards.

Like the Sabres, the Amerks are in the thick of a playoff race themselves. Luke Adam has been wearing #72 since his demotion (ugh) but has seven points in 11 games. He had a couple rough games upon his arrival, but has come around as of late. David Leggio had a great night against Binghampton tonight and I hope to see him again tonight. We shall see. Here are a few things I’ll be looking for from the Sabres prospects:

  • Shaone Morrisonn: I’m interested to see the big veteran. I liked his signing last year, unfortunately he didn’t work out. He has been steady for Ron Rolston and the Amerks this year, I want to see his game now; perhaps he still has a future in the show.
  • Defensive prospects: Drew Schiestel was loaned to Texas, which has freed up some playing time for other prospects. The defensive cupboard is going to be crowed in the next few seasons; Mark Pysyk and JGL are on their way and Brayden McNabb has shown his chops. I want to watch McNabb closely along with Joe Finley, T.J. Brennan and even Matt MacKenzie (if he plays). These guys have something to prove if they expect to stick around.
  • Phil Varone: Dude has been lighting it up for the Amerks. 8+33 in 60 games from the development camp invitee. I liked him (along with Johnathan Parker and Steven Beyers) in the summer and Varone has turned out to be a worthy addition to the pipeline. He is only signed with the Amerks for now, but I could see him getting a look from the Sabres.
  • David Leggio: I hope he gets the nod in net again, I’m interested to see where he stands in terms of development. The Sabres have some tough choices regarding all of their goaltenders in the coming months. Leggio is part of that group.

There will be Double Minors posted of the Amerks game, a Bandits recap and a brief write up on the Sabres. Stay tuned.

Bandits Postgame: Defensive stuggles continue as losing streak hits five

The Buffalo Bandits have been setting records for a number of years since 2000. This year is no different, however the record is not one to remember.

Buffalo set a franchise mark with their fifth-straight loss on Saturday, falling to 2-5 on the season. There seems to be a systematic failure at nearly every level on the team at this point in the season. Their 2-0 start seems light years away after Saturday’ 16-13 loss.

Anthony Cosmo was given his first start as a Bandit, but he didn’t last the full 60 minutes. Mike Thompson replaced the trade acquisition after Cosmo allowed 15 goals. Darris Kilgour was quick to direct the blame to his defense, perhaps the weakest unit for this struggling team.

Buffalo received big games from Mark Steenhuis (1+6), John Tavares (1+4) and Luke Wiles (4+1). However, the defense let the team down again. John Grant Jr. rolled up nine points (4+5) – which included his 500th career goal – while Gavin Prout and Adam Jones each had seven points of their own. Continue reading

Fourth-straight loss puts Bandits in a deep hole

Forgive me for delaying my recap of the Bandits most recent loss. This game comes one week prior to a bye and the NLL All-Star game. The 14-13 decision in Philly was Buffalo’s fourth-straight loss and it would appear something needs to be done in order to right the ship.

The Twitter jerseys that Philly rolled out are a really cool special edition uniform.

Mike Thompson was chased and Angus Goodleaf didn’t provide much additional support for Buffalo, who have given up at least 13 goals in three of their four losses. The rumor mill began to swirl yesterday that the Bandits were seeking some outside help, some say Anthony Cosmo – who is Minnesota’s property after the dispersal draft – may be the player the Bandits are targeting.

Acquiring Cosmo would be an interesting development for a team that has not received timely goaltending this season. A common thread in this losing streak has been questionable, untimely goals against. If Cosmo was able to step in and be a dominant force in net, he could be a big part of a turnaround for the Bandits. Continue reading

Bandits postgame: Skid continues with overtime loss

It took only 14 days for the Bandits to go from first to worst in the NLL East Division. Technically the Bandits are ahead of the Rochester Knighthawks by virtue of a tiebreaker, but they are still 2-3 and a full game behind the Toronto Rock for the division lead.

photo courtesy of Bandits.com

The Bandits recent slide is more of a testament to the parity in the NLL rather than Buffalo’s shortcomings. From top to bottom, every team has a handful of gamebreaking players which makes winning on a consistent basis a chore.

Last nights loss was the third different way the Bandits have managed to lose this season. After losing composure against Minnesota last Saturday and leaving goals on the table against Philly, the Bandits failed to capitalize on their second half momentum last night. They also let one of the league’s most dangerous goal scorers loose for the overtime game winner.

There was only one guy who we didn’t want to have the ball in the end. But for a young guy, Rhys Duch keeps doing it again and again. ~ Luke Wiles

Continue reading

Bandits Shootaround: Rebound needed against Stealth

Two-straight losses are staring the Bandits in the face. After two strong outings to open the season, the Bandits have dropped two in a row and have shown some different weaknesses during the stretch.

Buffalo gets a chance at redemption against a West Division rival at First Niagara Center this evening. The Bandits host the 2011 NLL runner-up, Washington Stealth. The Stealth are going through their own struggles, they are 0-3 and have averaged just eight goals per game this season.

The East Division standings are far tighter than the West, where Colorado has jumped to a commanding lead. With a Philadelphia loss and a Buffalo win this evening, the Bandits would be tied for the Division lead. Of course, the Wings would be just a half game back of the Bandits and Toronto Rock – who would be tied for first. Continue reading