Big Bear and other notes …

The biggest surprise of the Thursday presser in my eyes was Lindy’s declaration that Steve Bernier is in “elite shape.” Believe it or not, that gives me greater hope for Bernier’s future. He’s obviously big and strong, but disappeared for long stretches during his time after the Campbell trade. I’m assuming he disappeared for long stretches before the trade, too, or he wouldn’t be here. But if Bernier’s problem is simply maintaining focus, I think he’s in the right room.

• Most coaches are tough on good players and Lindy’s admission that Henrik Tallinder “wasn’t where I had him,” shows that he’s not going to let up on his top defenseman. He also called Tallinder “a tremendous talent,” which is clearly true. But Tallinder should be a perennial all-star — his reach, passing, and speed are as good as almost anyone in the league. Ruff said Tallinder was plagued by nagging injuries, but expect the blueliner to come back with more vigor next year. If the Sabres are to rebound, he’ll be one of the catalysts.

• Larry Quinn added that under the most recent league formula, home teams only keep about half of their revenues from playoff games. His point was that missing the playoffs isn’t as costly as it once was. It still has to hurt a team that’s increased its payroll from more than 65 percent, though.


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