Tickets to the Sabres' two preseason games in HSBC Arena -- Sept. 17 versus Washington and Sept. 23 versus Toronto -- are on sale now. Tickets range from $45 to $20, with kids 12-and-under receiving tickets at half price with the purchase of an adult ticket (four childrens tickets may be purchased with each adult ducat).
In other hockey news (which is led by pretty much the same two items as when I went on vacation July 3):
*The Phoenix Coyotes' future will become a little clearer Wednesday when Judge Redfield T. Baum declares whether Jim Balsillie can participate in the bankruptcy auction for the team. The auction will be held Sept. 10, and Balsillie wants to buy the team and immediately move it to Hamilton, Ont. The NHL has already voted against Balsillie becoming a team owner.
If Balsillie is allowed to participate in the auction, his competitors will be the NHL (which would run the Coyotes while looking for another buyer) and Ice Edge Holdings, a group of Americans and Canadians who would keep the team in Phoenix but play five regular-season games in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They have already booked the dates.
*Dany Heatley is still an Ottawa Senator, and GM Bryan Murray is contemplating setting a drop-dead date for the trade Heatley has requested. If Murray can't find a suitable deal -- the Los Angeles Kings are the latest team to drop out of the running -- he has to decided on this no-brainer: Heatley will no longer be an alternate captain for the Senators.
"To me, [leaders] are the people who wear the A. I would suggest that Cory [Clouston, the Senators' head coach] and Dany would mutually agree that this hasn't been the case so far," Murray told the Ottawa Citizen.
*J.P. Dumont, let go by the Sabres in 2006 after they decided not to accept his $2.9 million arbitration award, is still on the first line with the Nashville Predators.
*Ian Penny has been selected to replace the fired Paul Kelly as interim head of the NHL Players' Association.
*Goaltender Roberto Luongo and Vancouver are expected to announce a contract extension soon.