Sabres Trade for Veteran Center Staal

Yesterday, the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild made a deal. Buffalo sent Marcus Johansson to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Eric Staal. At first, I was confused. However, after I did some research, I like this deal for the Sabres. Last season, Johansson showed some signs of being productive but didn’t play up to level we expected him to. Recording only 30 points (9 G, 21 A), he really wasn’t much of a factor.

When I looked at Staal stats, they were better than I expected. With 47 points (19 G, 28 A), this is a good pickup for Buffalo. Even though he’s getting up there in age, I feel like he can be a reliable player for the Sabres. The team also gets a position they needed, a second line center. Now it’s up to General Manager Kevyn Adams to get more players who can score. I would like to see Buffalo get a player like Tyler Toffoli, Mike Hoffman or Tomas Hertl. It’s not a major pickup but I think Staal will be decent for the Sabres.

Phillips and Martineau Reflect on Four Years of Hilbert Basketball

Hunter Martineau and Masia Phillips are both four year Hilbert men’s basketball team members. The two guards came in together as freshmen, both far away from their homes, and built a bond right here in Hamburg. Phillips, who is from Queens in New York City, has made a name for himself with the program. He is well accomplished in the sport having scored over 1,000 points and received all conference honors. Phillips, a program great, is Top 10 in ten of the program’s statistical categories.

Martineau, a modest kid from Erie, Pennsylvania, has also left his mark on program history. Hunter accumulated 1,000 points over his career and now sits at the top in assists for Hilbert’s basketball program. Hunter isn’t new to awards and acknowledgement, he has received all conference honors all 4 years and was once named team MVP. What’s even more impressive than that, while being a beast on the court, he is also a beast in the classroom. Hunter was inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma National Honor Society.

The Scribe reached out to both Phillips and Martineau to talk about their experiences with the program and also the community surrounding the school. In addition, we got to hear about the hardships they faced, the brotherhood that was formed, and a little sneak peek into their future endeavors.

The Scribe: Masia, you grew up in New York City, the mecca of basketball. Can you explain how basketball was a part of your early life and how it moved you forward as a person?

Masia Phillips: My older siblings and cousins all played basketball. I got to grow up watching them play. As I got older, I just got into it around 6 years old. I was playing in a house ball coached by my mother. I started meeting friends through basketball and continued that through middle and high school, and college. That’s why I love the game so much.

TS: Hunter, amongst other things, you are known by your incredible self-discipline and willpower. Can you tell us how basketball helped you develop self-discipline and do you use that skill in your everyday life?

martineau_lay_up

Courtesy of Hilbert College Athletics

Hunter Martineau: Basketball taught me self-discipline, if you want to be the best, you have to train like the best. You have discipline yourself to get up every day, get in the gym, get in the weight room. You can use that discipline to do homework, getting up and going to class.

TS: What can you guys tell us about playing for Hilbert? How difficult was the transition from high school to college?

MP: The transition was pretty tough, the game is much faster, much more you need to learn.

HM: The transition for me personally was a bit different. My high school had 4,000 students, Hilbert is only pushing 1,000 if that. Some of the high schools had teams that were just as competitive, but the games were slower because Florida schools don’t have a shot clock, it was a different game. (Masia) I think there was more competition in high school because everyone plays together, there are teams with multiple Division 1 talent.

TS: For Your tenure on the team, you have seen players come and go. What has helped you two to stay focused and committed to the program for 4 years.

HM: My family loves to watch me play, if I was quitting on myself, I was also quitting on them as well. At the same time, my passion for the game, I don’t think I would ever quit unless it’s for dire circumstances.

MP: I had lots of thoughts of leaving the program, but I always had my family to keep me in a space where I can forget about it and just play. If it wasn’t for my family or the love I have for the game, the story would’ve been different.

TS: How do you guys balance being a student athlete?

HM: I try not to save everything for the last minute, whether it’s homework, you want to get shots up, or spending time with your significant others.

MP: I just try my best to know and remember my schedule.

TS: Are the accomplishments something you guys set out for? How did you balance personal goals and team goals?

HM: I’m not much of a scorer, so the 1,000 points is something that I never set out to do, but was pretty cool. I’ve always been a passer, it wasn’t a goal of mine, but I saw it happening if I played well. Those records really don’t mean much, you never want to let them get to your head.

MP: In high school, I never got to the 1,000 points. That kind of bothered me because I was a 4 year varsity player. It was personal for me to get 1,000 points, but that never got in the way of goals that the team had.

TS: What can you guys say about the brotherhood formed with teammates and the relationships built with classmates?

HM: I’m very fortunate for all the guys that have come through here. I truly believe that there were mostly good guys that came through. The amount of friendships and relationships I have built is the reason why you come to a small school like this.

MP: Being on a sports team, you get to know people real quick and people get to know you real quick.

TS: Why did you guys pick Hilbert?

HM: I’m from Erie, Pa (Lived in Orlando for 9 years where he played high school ball), the school isn’t too far, I have good support nearby, and it seemed like a good fit.

MP: The biggest city in the nation has a lot of problems sometimes. I just wanted to get away from home, and challenge myself to be on my own.

TS: Having lived here for four years, what can you say about life in WNY? Is there a possibility of you coming back?

MP: Buffalo is a calm city, I like it. It’s not that big of a rush, no crazy night life. Definitely not what I’m used to, but I got used to it. I don’t know if i can start my life after college here, but I’ll definitely come back and visit.

HM: Buffalo is a great city. It’s actually very similar to earlier where I grew up. As long as there’s an airport that can connect me back home to Orlando, I’ll always consider Buffalo as a second home. Bills fans are very passionate, and I love Buffalo wings.

TS: What are your future plans for education and basketball? Is it over?

HM:  For me at least, I think my basketball career in a competitive sense is over. I’ll be doing mens league and coaching but I’m done. I plan on working my way up to an athletic director.

MP: Basketball wise, as of right now is over, I’ll still be playing here and there. I want to become a risk analyst, I also want to work for the city of New York.

 

Jezioro: The Bills’ Big Offseason

With the NFL Draft approaching, the Buffalo Bills do not have a first round pick as of right now. That’s because they made a blockbuster trade that reverberated around the league, acquiring one of the best receivers in the league. Let’s take a look at that trade and the other moves the team has made so far.

Stefon Diggs

This is the biggest acquisition in the offseason for the Bills. Buffalo finally got what they desperately needed, a true number one wide receiver. Last season, Diggs had a great year with the Minnesota Vikings. He had 63 receptions, caught six touchdown passes and recorded 1,130 yards. To get Diggs, the Bills gave up their first, fifth, and sixth round pick in this years draft. They also gave up their seventh round pick in 2020 and a fourth round pick in 2021. While it was a haul, I think it’s worth it. You have a proven talented receiver in Diggs and on top of that, a good wide receiver core. Along with John Brown and Cole Beasley, quarterback Josh Allen has an amazing opportunity to prove that he is the franchise QB for Buffalo. The speed that Diggs has is amazing and I can’t wait for him to utilize it as a Bill.

Josh Norman

I like this deal for the team. It’s a one year deal for the former Redskins cornerback and if he can play like the shutdown corner he was in Carolina, this signing is a home run for Bills General Manager Brandon Beane. Last season, Norman had only one interception. I have a feeling that he will have a better season with the Bills playing opposite Pro-Bowler Tre’Davious White as the starting corner. Buffalo also has a much more talented core than Washington. I feel like Norman won’t have to feel pressured considering he doesn’t have to cover the best receiver on the opposing team every single play during a game.

Mario Addison

I absolutely love this signing by the Bills. The defensive end had 34 tackles and 9.5 sacks with the Carolina Panthers last year. With Buffalo losing defensive end Shaq Lawson in free agency, Addison is a great replacement for Lawson. He can also play linebacker but I think he’ll spend most of his time playing DE. Adding to an already dangerous defensive line, this is a good signing.

Quinton Spain

Bringing back Spain was a great decision by Beane. Last year, he did not allow a single sack all season. That is unheard of in a league full of great defensive players who can get to the QB. The offensive line was inconsistent last season but Spain was fantastic and I’m pumped the Bills brought him back.

The time is now for the Bills to not only win the division, but finally win a playoff game. They had a great chance to win against the Texans in last year’s wildcard game, but it didn’t end up the way they wanted to. As for Allen, no excuses. He has some dangerous weapons and Diggs should help him out.

All stats are from NFL.com and the details from the Diggs trade is credited to WGR550.com.

Jezioro: AFC East Predictions

With NFL free agency underway, the focus now shifts to the NFL Draft taking place in April. The Buffalo Bills have already made some moves signing free agents, but the biggest acquisition they made was trading for wide receiver Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings. The following day was even better when Bills killer Tom Brady left the New England Patriots after 20 years of dominance, signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Besides Brady, the Patriots lost some key pieces on defense, but the mastermind of Bill Belichick is still there. The head coach is without Brady for the first time in two decades, giving the Bills a realistic chance to take over as division winners. However, there are a couple of things that need to happen in order for them to accomplish that goal.

First up is better play from quarterback Josh Allen. Last season, Allen showed some signs of being a good quarterback, but he struggled in some situations. It’s expected to have a second year player to struggle. It’s going to happen. However, there were times where Allen was just awful. This year, he needs to step it up. Buffalo’s passing offense was not good last season, despite having some good receivers (John Brown and Cole Beasley). Now that Diggs is a Bill, there are hopes that the passing offense will be top ten in the league. No excuses, Allen needs to take it to the next level this upcoming season.

Next up is the offensive line. They need to protect Allen better so he doesn’t have to escape the pocket every single play. If they can give him good protection for a good part of each game, then Allen will be successful. They can’t be perfect every play but for the majority of each game will be ideal. A good example is the game against the Dallas Cowboys last season on Thanksgiving. There was a play where the offensive line blocked so well that Allen just stood perfectly still like a statue for two or three seconds, but it seemed like ten seconds. That’s how much time Allen had to find an open receiver and throw the ball. If they can play good consistently, then it will be really good for the team and Allen.

Lastly, sophomore running back Devin Singletary needs to do a better job of protecting the ball. As a rookie he dropped the ball four times. He has the speed to be a good running back but if he can just fix up his ball handling, then he’s all set to go.

Staying healthy and winning the most games in the AFC East also needs to happen but that’s common sense. The most important thing is Allen improving, that’s the number one thing in my opinion. There are other scenarios that need to happen but it is critical that Josh gets better. With the improvements made in the offseason, it is very possible the Bills could win the AFC East for the first time in a long time.

Q&A: The Bandits’ Chase Fraser

Chase Fraser, the third-year forward for the National Lacrosse League’s Buffalo Bandits, is having a great season. In only eight games played this season, Fraser has 16 goals and 10 assists. The Bandits are looking to win it all this year after losing to the Calgary Roughnecks. At this moment, the Bandits are currently sitting in second place in the North Division and have the second-best record in their division (7-4). With a very lethal offense, the team has a great chance to get back into the finals this season. Recently, the Scribe’s Zach Jezioro had a chance to interview the star forward.

The Scribe: What made you want to become a lacrosse player?

Chase Fraser: I was watching a game and I saw a huge brawl break out. I said to myself “I want to be in that.” Also, my brother plays lacrosse as well

TS: Who inspires you the most?

CF: My uncle.

TS: Why did you choose the number 95?

CF: It was the year I was born.

TS: After a disappointing finish last season, what’s motivating the team to win it all this year?

CF: Having a gritty attitude and also having a stronger mentality.

TS: Is there any atmosphere like Banditland?

CF: Not even close, nothing compares to it.

TS: What do you hope to achieve by the end of your career?

CF: Winning a championship with whatever team I play for, finishing top ten in points, and winning the MVP.

TS: What’s it like playing with this group of players?

CF: It’s great. We always make sure we’re on the same page and we always motivate each other.

TS: What’s it like playing for John Tavares?

CF: It’s awesome, he brings so much knowledge and it really benefits me and the rest of the team.

The Scribe: Line Changes

Scribe reporter Zach Jezioro recently did a podcast with two of his buddies about some things in the sporting world. On the episode, we discussed the Mookie Betts trade and our thoughts on it. Staying in the baseball category, we also gave our predictions about the AL East. Transitioning into the NFL, we talked about the Super Bowl and gave our thoughts about tight end Greg Olsen visiting the Buffalo Bills. Then, we talked about the recent struggles of the Buffalo Sabres. To wrap up the show, we touched a little bit on the Buffalo Bandits.

Hawks Edge Keuka

Hilbert college men’s basketball team won a nail-biter over Keuka College earlier this month, by the score 98-97.

The game was an extremely exciting contest for the fans as it went back and forth all afternoon long with the Hawks holding on after Keuka had a chance to win the game with the game’s final possession.

Hilbert started the game on fire being up as many as 13 points at one point in the first half, before going down early in the second half. However, they closed out the game strong and ended up winning the game by one point.

Any fan who bought a ticket was definitely entertained, but these games can be tough for the coaching staff to watch. Head coach Rob deGrandpre was happy that his team managed to hold on to the game and get the win, but not overly pleased with how they played.

“I like our start, I don’t like the fact that we give up a lot of points,” deGrandpre said. “It puts a lot of pressure on us to rally. I’m sure the people who bought a ticket tonight got their money’s worth but that’s not how we draw it up,”

One key to the high score was the amount fouls taken by Hilbert’s defense. To start the second half the hawks had seven defensive fouls in the first five minutes. That’s a lot of free points to be handing out to the opposing team.

“Usually in practice we certainly harp on defending without fouling,” deGrandpre said regarding the Hawks’ foul troubles. “It really comes back to being fundamental. You’ve got to be a disciplined team if you want to have success. And while we try to take advantage that when other teams do it, we can’t do that and expect to win games”.

A huge positive in Saturday’s win was the way bench stepped up for the Hawks, scoring 39 points. deGrandpre pointed out, “The good news for us is we have other guys that can step up and contribute and they did for us tonight. One of the keys going into the game was for the bench to contribute and give us a lift.”

One of those bench players that provided the team a huge lift was Kyreese Fisher who had five points in the Hawks win Saturday afternoon. He provided a spark on defense and was trusted to be on the floor in the final minute with the hawks protecting a lead.

“Coming off the bench I just try to focus on my defense because I need to ty and bring energy to the game,” Fisher said. “The easiest way for me to do that is being up on defense and pressuring the opponent.”

Another Hawk who really brought his game was senior Alex Karamanos, who played 27 minutes for the hawks and scored 24 points in the contest. He was very energetic and physical all night long being hard to handle for Keuka.

“We’re all really close and we all trust each other that any five of us can make a shot and I think that’s how we keep our composer and it worked out pretty well,” Karamanos said.

The Hawks are now 4-1 on the season and will play their next game on Tuesday November 26th at 6:00pm in University of Pittsburgh Bradford.

AFC Playoff Predictions

It’s currently week 15 in the NFL and the playoff race is starting to get hot. For the first six weeks it looked like only the NFC would be a competitive race down the stretch but here we are in week 15 and it’s pretty tight for those beloved spots. So let me give you my not so biased, bills favored playoff bracket predictions.

In this article we’re going to focus on the AFC. right now as it stands the Patriots lead the east, the Ravens lead the north, the Texans lead the south, and the Chiefs lead the west. I’m not so certain all of these teams are leading their divisions at the end of the year with the Bills, Steelers, Colts, and Raiders all breathing down their necks respectively. Anyway let’s categorize the tiers of the Afc.

THE LOCKS

New England Patriots– The defense is hanging tough but people are slowly starting to score on them, not their biggest worry with the way the offense has been struggling and that can be a major issue that even Bill Belichick and Josh Mcdaniels might not be able to fix. Dare I say Tom Brady has hit the wall? And yes of course another cheating allegations looms large.

Remaining schedule:  @ CIN; vs BUF; vs MIA

Final record: 12-4

Baltimore Ravens– They’re the hottest team in football winning 9 in a row and holding onto the win vs Buffalo by sixteen yards. Lamar Jackson is by far getting it done and the defense is the hottest in football. BLITZ BLITZ BLITZ

Remaining schedule: vs NYJ; @ CLE; vs PITT

Final record: 13-3

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS– The offense speaks for itself, Andy Reid is pushing all the right but and the defense is even making plays which could make the Chiefs the scariest team in football.

Remaining schedule: vs DEN; @ CHI; vs SD

Final record: 11-5

BUFFALO BILLS– That win in Dallas was so huge for national attention but more importantly for their playoff hopes. The defense is top 3 again this season and the offense is starting to hit their stride. WIN AND YOU’RE IN BUFFALO!!!!

FInal record: 11-5

Remaining schedule: @ PIT; @ NE; vs NYJ

BUBBLE TEAMS

HOUSTON TEXANS–  The path to the playoffs is beat the Titans twice, easy as that. Their defense isn’t looking too hot with Clowney gone and Watt hurt but Desean Watson will keep you in any game, but it’s very possible that the Texans miss the playoffs.

Remaining schedule: @ TEN; vs @ TAM; vs TEN

Pittsburgh Steelers– For the longest time the Steelers were dead in the water but the Defense has brought them all the way up to sixth place and the offense is staying out of their own

Remaining schedule:  vs BUF; @ NYJ; @ BAL

Final Record: 10-6

TENNESSEE TITANS– The Ryan Tannehill resurgence is happening!!. I’d like to pat myself on the back for predicting him taking over for Mariota when he signed there. Their defense is a real threat now it’s a matter of them vs the Texans twice that will ultimately determine their season especially with the Saints coming to town in between.

Remaining schedule: HOU; vs NOLA; @ HOU

Final record: 9-7

IN THE HUNT BUT NEED A MIRACLE

OAKLAND RAIDERS– They would need to win out and hope for some help but stranger things have happened so it’s not impossible

Remaining schedule: vs vs JAC; @ LAC; @ DEN

Final record 8-8

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS– To me the Brisset injury weeks ago took the wind out of their sails but with the Titans and Texans playing each other twice a win out from INdy could give them a shot.

Remaining schedule: @ NOLA; vs CAR; vs JAC

Final record 8-8

The rest of the crew

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS– Did I say San Diego, whoops I meant Los Angeles. The fan base in LA is atrocious and the stadium gets filled by opposing fans week in and week out. Anyway the Chargers need to start thinking about life after Phillips Rivers.

 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS– Foles needs to come back better next year because of that contract or Minshew mania needs to make everyone forget about that so far putrid Foles deal. Either way Doug Marrone is out the door and has no fingers left to point at other people. Just two years ago they were one stop away from a super bowl appearance. Funny how that works doesn’t it?

DENVER BRONCOS– The Broncos defense is good and really good at that but their offense is very poor and they can’t find a way to win tight games, hence the -21 point differential. All in all they aren’t in bad shape for the big picture but John Elway better find his quarterback of the future unless Drew Lock is the answer.

CLEVELAND BROWNS- MAybe next year Brownies and maybe next year Odell Beckham jr. will stop being selfish and Freddie Kitchens will figure it out.

MIAMI DOLPHINS– the Dolphins definitely aren’t the 2016/2017 Cleveland Browns dilemma as the Fitzmagic is getting them a couple wins and I really like Brian Flores as a coach. Maybe this full on rebuild works but I want to see Josh Rosen to get put in a good system with good players around him because he’s been thrown in the worst offenses back to back seasons and hasn’t gotten a fair chance.

 NEW YORK JETS– J-E-T-S suck suck suck! Remember when some national media had the Jets in the playoffs in the summer, welp that died pretty fast just like the ghosts that Sammy Darny sees on the field apparently, and yes Adam Gase should be canned too.

CINCINNATI BENGALS– Their defense sucks and they were starting Ryan Finley at quarterback. Clearly this is a rebuild and they’re definitely going after the likes of Joe Burrow, Tua taga, Jusstin Herbert, and Jaylon Hurts. But as buffalonians we will always love Andy Dalton

AFC PLAYOFFS

Wild Card

4v5     Bills @ Texans

3v6     Steelers @ Chiefs

BYES: Patriots and Ravens

That’s my outlook and projection to date, hopefully reality includes the Bills with a bye and a home game.