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Video: Pegula on Penn State

Here's an interview with Terry Pegula the Big Ten Network did in the fall after the Penn State hockey donation was announced.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Business as usual on ice, in locker room for Sabres

"What's the news of the day on Twitter?" goaltender Ryan Miller wisecracked as reporters gathered in front of his locker today in the wake of the swirling rumors of the Sabres' potential sale to Pennsylvania businessman Terrence Pegula

The players took the ice like they do all the time with the only difference being they had a 30-minute scrimmage today -- and had to talk about the ownership situation afterwards.

"I don't have an every-day relationship with Tom Golisano but he's been tremendous to me as a player," Miller said. "He did a great job at coming at the right time and helping the Buffalo franchise so I have a lot of respect for what he's done for hockey. But as far as the ownership, we don't see him every day so we have to do our business. If there's rumors surrounding it, if there is an actual sale or anything, you continue to do your business and your job."

"We're under contract with the organization. If the organization changes hands, it's something to consider just from an environment standpoint. What's the landscape look like and who's going to be around. But we're far from that. We're in a stage where hey, did you hear he might sell the team?" Well, they've been talking about that since he bought the team."

Click below for the full audio of Miller's conversation with the media today:

Patrick Kaleta, the Angola native who is the lone local player on the team, had basically the same reaction.

"From what I know being from here and starting off here, when we were in trouble with the NHL owning us, he stepped for us and bought us," Kaleta said. "Really from that point, we've turned it around and played really well. Every time I've encountered him, he's been extremely nice. I've been extremely grateful for what he's done for the organization. I don't really pay attention to what goes on, what happened this morning, what the rumors are. I'm not going to do anything different but come to the rink and work and try and become a better hockey player."

Coach Lindy Ruff wanted no part of all the talk.

"I've heard speculation before and it's no use for me even commenting on the speculation because I know nothing," he said. "It's not difficult. It really isn't. We've got to focus on playing, playing better, and playing better offensively. We're in great shape as a team with the owner we have. Our focus is Friday night for us."

That's the team's next game, here against Columbus. Ruff said Kaleta, who missed most of Saturday's game in Montreal and Drew Stafford, who has missed the last 11 games, should both be ready to play.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Statement from Larry Quinn

Sabres Managing Partner/Minority Owner Larry Quinn has issued the following statement:

"Reports regarding the sale of the Buffalo Sabres tend to surface from time to time. There have been several inquiries in the past few years regarding this subject. Our company policy is we do not comment on them because people make inquiries all the time. Some of these inquiries are serious, some are not, some make the media and others do not.  The report that a $150 million letter of intent has been signed is simply not true.”

The Sabres have further clarified that statement to me, indicating no letter has been signed at any price and not just at the figure quoted by The Hockey News earlier today. We'll have to see where this goes. A story changing by the hour.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Pegula is real deal

The rumor mill has been churning for years about the next owner of the Buffalo Sabres, but it was usually baseless chatter cooked up in blogs and message boards that was kicked aside as nonsense.

Terry Pegula's quest to buy the Sabres is very real, very possible and, it appears, quite probable.

Pegula has more than enough money and would become one of the richest -- if not the richest -- owner in the NHL. Tom Golisano is looking to sell the franchise to someone who will keep the team in Buffalo. Pegula is a passionate Sabres fan who lived in the area for several years. My guess is he would love to bring a Stanley Cup to Buffalo.

I haven't spoken to Pegula yet, but everything I hear about the guy has been positive. It sounds to me like he could be the ideal owner of the franchise. At this point, I would be surprised if an agreement wasn't reached.

Western New York should start get ready for a new era of Sabres hockey.

--- Bucky Gleason 

 

Canada tabs four Sabres prospects for junior camp

Big news on the World Juniors front -- Sabres prospects Zack Kassian, Brayden McNabb, Marcus Foligno and Mark Pysyk -- have all been named to the Team Canada selection roster for the tournament that opens in Buffalo on Dec. 26. It would appear that Kassian, who is having another stellar season in Windsor, is a lock for the team with McNabb also having an excellent chance at the final roster. Kassian has 12 goals in 21 games, equal to his total in 39 games for the Spitfires last year.

The four-day selection camp, in which the 39-man roster will be trimmed to 23 players, begins in Toronto on Dec. 12. There's a chance NHLers like Los Angeles' Kyle Clifford or Boston's Tyler Seguin could be added as well. Canada's first game in the tournament is Dec. 26 against Russia.

The Team USA camp roster will be announced during a press conference at HSBC Arena on Dec. 7, USA Hockey announced Monday.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Kaleta missing as Sabres return to the ice

His fight and his short-handed goal made Patrick Kaleta one of the key players in Friday night's win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. But Kaleta played just 3 minutes, 27 seconds Saturday in Montreal, although he was on the bench for most of the third period of the 3-1 loss. Frankly, in the crush of a Saturday night deadline, myself and the other three media members on hand for Lindy Ruff's press conference forgot to ask the coach if it was an injury or a benching for unknown reasons.

Turns out is must have been an injury. Kaleta is not on the ice as the Sabres open practice today in HSBC Arena. Also missing, as expected, are the injured Tim Connolly and Rob Niedermayer.

I would expect this to be a lengthy practice. The Sabres don't play again until Columbus comes to town Friday, in their longest respite of the season other than the NHL all-star break. Lindy Ruff can almost go back to training camp mode. Maybe he should spent part of the practice with the goalies out of the net so his shooters can get come confidence back.

With so many guys out of the lineup, Chris Butler is skating with the forwards today just so the four lines can be filled out. Drew Stafford is on a regular line and you would imagine Ruff wants to see him back in the lineup Friday. The lines look like this:

McCormick-Roy-Vanek
Gerbe-Hecht-Pominville
Ennis-Adam-Stafford
Butler-Gaustad-Grier 

An eagle-eye on Twitter (thanks, PhilBBG) points out to me what even my eyes missed. No Colin Stuart. The betting is that Stafford is good to go and Stuart is back in Portland.

Post-practice update: Stuart is back in Portland. Kaleta reaggravated his bruised sternum Saturday in Montreal but coach Lindy Ruff is hopeful he'll be ready Friday.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Three stars

Live from Montreal: Sabres vs. Habs

MONTREAL -- Greetings from high atop the Bell Centre -- and I mean, high-high-high by the catwalks and retired banners in one of my favorite buildings in the NHL. It's the Sabres and Habs in what could be a war of attrition as both teams played last night. Things went appreciably better for the Sabres in their 3-1 win over the Leafs while the Habs were no-shows in a 3-0 loss at Atlanta. Backup Alex Auld took the loss in that game despite 44 saves.

No backups tonight as it's a marquee matchup between reborn Carey Price and Ryan Miller, who was solid last night after missing two games with groin tenderness.

We have a 7:15 start (thanks for nothing, Hockey Night in Canada). Can't even give you a good restaurant recap today. Flew into Newark, got here this morning, neither team skated and it was snowing like you wouldn't believe. Probably harder than it was walking out of HSBC Arena last night. No Schwartz's Deli trip. This time.

The roar is deafening as the Habs take the ice here. Every night. Quite a scene. Back with updates after the anthems.

Sabres starters: Stuart-Hecht-Pominville-Montador-Leopold. Goal: Miller.
Habs starters: Moen-Cammalleri-Gomez-Georges-Gill. Goal: Price.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Third Period

9:06 left: We're under way.

18:27 left: Miller robs Kostitsyn, who was alone in front. Dispirited Sabres very soft on the puck along the wall since Montreal's second goal.

16:15 left: Sekera breaks his stick on a slapshot and charges back for the puck stickless behind the Buffalo net, taking out Miller after the goalie went to play the puck. Nearly created an empty net and an easy goal. This has to be Sekera's worst game of the year, easily his worst since he was paired with Myers.

14:34 left: Miller robs Giontat from in front in his bid for a hat trick. Habs have only three shots of the period.

7:56 left: The "Car-ey, Car-ey" chants really going now as Price preserves the shutout by robbing Gerbe from in front.

1:30 left: Now it's the "Ol-e, Ol-e." Shots are 34-32 for Buffalo. Only suspense is Price's shutout.

1: 13 left: Leopold breaks the shutout with 1:13 to go. His seventh, which is more than any Buffalo forward not named Vanek or Roy. Habs 3-1.

It's over: A 3-1 loss. Final shots were 35-33 for the Sabres.

Second Period

Of note: First periods have told the tale for the Canadiens this season. They entered the game 14-2-1 when leading or tied after 20 minutes -- and 0-6-0 when trailing after 20. The Sabres, meanwhile, were 5-2-1 when leading after the first period but 4-10-2 when behind or tied. ... Subban had five shots for the Habs and no one else had two. Montreal won 15 of 20 faceoffs, a clear reason why the Habs' puck control was nearly complete over the second half of the period. Montreal had 12 shots in the final eight minutes. Weber, of all people, had three shots for Buffalo. Memo to forwards: Show up, please. Memo to Sabres in general: Five penalties in one period on the road is way too much.

8:08 p.m.: We're under way.

16:20 left: Pouliot goes for roughing after crunching Montador into the boards. Two close calls for Sabres so far -- Price stopped Roy on a give-and-go with Vanek and Vanek off the post after he had Price beat over the glove.

14:46 left: Good work by Price. Hecht put an Ennis rebound behind the goalie but out the other side and Price has stood tall otherwise. Five shots so far on this PP.

13:13 left: Amazing what you can do when you stay out of the penalty box. Shots are 8-1 for Buffalo in this period.

12:00 left: Two saves in 10 seconds by Miller, a beauty from in front on Gionta and a glove stop on Plekanac. Few seconds earlier, Pominville just missed on a great feed from Ennis. Excellent back-checking by the Habs on Ennis.

11:31 left: Another Sabres power play as Alexandre Picard goes for hooking.

9:07 left: Hard to complain about the PP tonight other than no goals. Hemmed the Habs in but Price was up to the test, especially on a one-timer from the slot on Gerbe. Shots are 24-21 for Montreal but 13-4 for Buffalo in this period. Habs, remember, were outshot by 23-4 in the second last night in Atlanta. Good response by the Sabres to that brutal final eight minutes of the first.

7:56 left: Oof. There's a killer. Terrible crossice pass by Vanek in the Montreal zone is picked off by Kostitsyn and Habs break on 2-on-1 on Weber. Perfect pass to Gionta, who beats Miller. No chance for Weber or Miller. Habs lead, 2-0.

7:24 left: Another Habs penalty. Ellers for holding.

4:22 left: The crowd is chanting "Car-ey, Car-ey" after another failed Buffalo power play. Imagine that. They wanted to run Price out of town this summer after the stunning trade of Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis. The bounceback years of Price and Boston's Tim Thomas are two of the biggest stories of the season in the NHL.

3:14 left: Gionta whistles one over Miller's shoulder to make it 3-0 Habs. Looked like Miller was screened by Sekera. Myers loses the puck to Plekanac, who makes a great feed to the slot. With this offense, I think it's safe to call this one over, isn't it?

5.9 left: A slugfest at center ice between McCormick and Travis Moen, again started by Cammalleri, who then moved out of the way and put Gerbe's shirt over his head. Cammalleri has a lot of Ken Linseman in him. Starts a lot. Finishes nothing.

End-2nd: Habs lead, 3-0. Shots are 27-24 for Montreal. It was 16-7 for Buffalo in that period. No rewards.

First Period

18:28 left: The Habs are certainly ornery after last night's game. Hal Gill was in a Sabre's face afte rthe first eight seconds and Lapierrer us off for interference on McCormick, who had hit P.K. Subban. Kind of a bad penalty we saw from the Leafs last night.

16:20 left: Not the same power play start as last night. The best save was by Miller on a breakaway by Tom Pyatt. Terrible pass from Sekera to Ennis got it going. Habs running all over the rink. Subban just crushed Kaleta and the crowd is roaring. A no-show in Atlanta will change your team's mood, eh?

13:17 left: Miller with the great glove grab on a tip from Jeff Halpern gets us to out first TV timeout. I've had some questions about Miller's glove this season. No issue there. Sharp-sharp-sharp. Shots are 5-5 and we have our first appearance from Youppi, the former Expos mascot who now works for the Habs, with the strains of "Minnie the Moocher" thrown in.

11:46 left: Habs doing a good job keeping the Sabres to the outside. Don't think any of Price's six saves thus far can be called difficult. Miller has already made two boffo ones.

10:37 left: Habs to the power play as Morrisonn goes for interference. Clean hit on the boards of Halpern -- but Halpern didn't have the puck as it was already by him.

8:44 left: Miller with the glove again to snag one from Plekanac. That's 43 of 44 saves for Miller in the last 72 minutes.

7:28 left: Sabres getting hemmed in and back in the box again, this time a cross-checking call on Montador. Nice work at the point for the Habs by old friend Jaroslav Spacek, one of the most imitated Sabres ever. Great voice. The media misses his wisecracks.

7:06 left: There's a disaster. With no one on him in the zone, Sekera fires the puck over the glass. Delay of game. Two-man edge for 1:38.  Sabres lead the league with four goals against in the 5-on-3.

6:19 left: Miller can't stop 'em all. Andrei Kostitsyn with a tap-in after Gionta's shot was stopped by Miller after a sick feed from Plekanac.. Habs lead 1-0.

4:42 left: Sabres survive. Fifth goal of the year down two men. That's a killer. Shots are 13-7 for the Habs. There was no excuse for Sekera's shot over the glass. Puck didn't look like it was rolling and he had plenty of time. Gotta bear down in that situation, especially when you're already short-handed.

2:33 left: Sabres get a break with an icing call. Shots are 16-7. Miller's 15th save was a doozy, on former Sabres prospect Mathieu Darche, who walked in alone after going right around Sekera. No. 44 will want to forget this period.

1:13 left: Judging by the Habs' reaction, you can't check Mike Cammalleri? Weber just did and everyone in red basically went beserk trying to get him. Hecht and Cammalleri end up in the box. But Habs get a power play as Weber goes for charging in addition to Hecht-Cammalleri's coincidental roughing calls. No referee had an arm up on Weber. And what about Georges' bull rush on Weber? Nothing. Terrible. 

End-1st: The Sabres somehow hold on for dear life and get out of the period down, 1-0. Shots were 20-8 for Montreal. Two great saves by Miller in the final 20 seconds. Kostitsyn nearly had his second but couldn't corral a loose puck on the doorstep.

Three stars: Sabres 3, Maple Leafs 1

Live from the Arena: Sabres vs. Leafs

Happy Black Friday from a non-shopper high atop HSBC Arena as we get set for the battle for 11th place in the Eastern Conference and fourth in the Northeast Division, aka the second meeting of the year between the Sabres and Leafs.

Ryan Miller will be back in goal and that's all fine and well but this team has to score. One goal the last two games doesn't cut it. Miller said this morning "that's not the norm for this team" but we'll have to see. 

Lots of action this afternoon, including the Isles snapping their 14-game losing streak with a 2-0 win over the woeful Devils, Carolina's 3-0 win in Boston and Pittsburgh's wildly entertaining 2-1 win over Ottawa (shots were 44-40 for the Senators and Marc-Andre Fluery followed up his shutout here Wednesday with 43 more saves!). The Sabres are in Montreal tomorrow night but there will be no disadvantage with the back-to-back becase the Canadiens are in Atlanta tonight. The Thrashers are currently eighth in the East with 23 points (the Sabres and Leafs are tied with 19).

There are a TON of Leafs fans here as you would imagine. And the large Sabres' flag that gets passed around over the heads of the fans in the 100 level just got held up and scrunched up in Section 102 by some of those blue-clad scoundrels before some Sabres fans came to the rescue. And there were HUGE renditions of "O, Canada" in the crowd. 

No sellout by the way. Thank platinum pricing. Lots of empties up top.

Sabres starters: Stuart-Hecht-Pominville-Myers-Sekera. Goal: Miller
Leafs starters: MacArthur-Grabovski-Kulemin-Schenn-Kaberle. Goal: Gustavsson

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Third Period

9:22 p.m: Puck dropped with Leafs on PP.

18:40 left: Sabres with another kill.

17:42 left: Miller with a good pad save on Kessel. Miller moving well tonight, out to the top of the crease, sharp with the legs. Doesn't look hesitant at all in the wake of the injuries.

16:46 left: Miller stones old friend MacArthur from the edge of the crease to his right.

14:30 left: Miller stops Kessel streaking down the right wing -- and Kessel appeared to get Miller in the neck area on the way by. Show me a replay. Thank you, MSG and apologies to Kessel. It was an inadvertant stick to the mask by Leopold, who was skating with Kessel behind the net. Super camera work there.

10:33 left: Sekera for hooking. Maybe it was, maybe it was a dive. But there's no way that should be called by the ref standing on the center red line. He's 100 feet away. 

9:02 left: Special teams the story of this night. Kaleta pots a short-handed goal, back-handing home a rebound of a Gaustad slapshot. Sabres lead 3-0 on their first shorty of the season. Toronto power play has been Laff-worthy tonight. Entered the game 3 for 36 on the road. Easy to see why.

4:53 left: Scrum in front and Francois Beauchemin chirps at Miller, who chirps back while Montador holds the Leaf off. Hip crowd chants "USA, USA." Orr goes for roughing. 

3:27 left: Kessel breaks the shutout by potting his own rebound. Sort of. Miller made the save and puck was sent right back to Kessel by Leopold. That's a shorty for the Lears. Sabres lead 3-1. It was the Leafs' 33rd shot of the night.

2:08 left: Attendance is 18,004. Leafs have outshot Sabres, 29-12, in final two periods. Miller is the No. 1 star of this one.

1:20 left: Leafs' net is empty. Icing call on Buffalo puts faceoff in Sabres' end.

58.4 left: Leafs ice the puck. Monster has to go back in net. Sweet Caroline time. Guess there's some good times in being 9-12-3.

It's over: A solid 3-1 win. Final shots are 36-28 for Toronto.

Second Period

8:34 p.m: We're under way.

19:02 left: The Hecht line pins the Leafs for the first 45 seconds. The Laff fans showed up en masse for the national anthem and the banner theft was crafty. Their team has been a complete no-show.

17:55 left: Big stop by Miller off slick rookie Nazem Kadri, who broke free in front. Kadri still looking for his first goal in his sixth game. Hey, has Clarke MacArthur been on the ice?

17:08 left: Vanek robbed again by Gustavsson off a great Ennis feed. Vanek's fourth shot of the game. Just noticed Pominville had five shots -- five! -- in the first period. He's got to start putting the puck in the net. Shots are 21-8 for Buffalo in this one.

15:11 left: Grier goes for hooking.

9:26 left: Leafs playing much better. Grabovski has been particularly good but he just shot wide from alone in front after Kaberle got through three Sabre inside the zone.

7:25 left: Big save by Miller on Kulemin, who stole the puck from leopold at the Buffalo line. We haven't had a whistle in a lonnnnnnnnnnnng time.

6:56 left: I had to open my mouth. Weber back to the box for the third time for holding, when he dragged down MacArthur. We've played 13 minutes of the period in just 17 minutes of real time. Shots are 9-5 for the Leafs.

In the crowd and on the HD board: Henry Winkler of Happy Days and Cindy Morgan from Caddyshack. They started the "Celebrity Lookalike" feature and put a picture of the Fonz on the board. Then cut to the real Winkler. Tricksters. The pair is here for the World's Largest Disco (kudos to Vogl for that note. I woulda had no clue).

4:50 left: Leafs 0 for 4 on the PP tonight and 0 for their last 32 against Buffalo.

3:23 left: Gaustad, he of one goal in 36 games, nearly tips one by Gustavsson reaching with one hand for an Ennis feed.

1:56 left: Ron Wilson certainly got on his team during the first intermission. They've been way more committed in this period. Shots are 12-5 for Toronto but Miller holding firm. Stupid blooper video time.

58.9 left: Grier to the box again for tripping. At some point, the Leafs' PP has to break through, right?

End-2nd: Sabres still lead 2-0 but almost a complete turnaround in shots. It was 15-5 for Toronto -- including the last 12. Sabres didn't have one for final 16 minutes.

First Period

18:05 left: Gaustad goes for boarding. Pretty dangerous hit from behind on Kessel. 

16:50 left: Say what you want about their fan base but the Leafs contingent give this place a buzz it just doesn't have any other night. The rink is alive tonight. 

16:00 left: That's the 29th straight penalty the Sabres have killed against Toronto, dating to March 27, 2009.

15:46 left: Kaleta drills Kulemin and Luke Schenn challenges him. Kaleta obliges and they go. Schenn ends up on top but Kaleta gives it the "raise the roof" gesture going to the box and the crowd responds. That might be the best rock-em-sock-em bout of Kaleta's career. A flurry of lefts from both. They both get five.

15:10 left: This is one onery game so far. Colton Orr just challenged Gaustad for the earlier hit and got a couple good shots from behind. Weber jumped in to stop it. Hmmm. Wonder if that's a third-man in. Or is it a fight if Gaustad is covering up? Update: Wow -- six-minute tripe minor to Orr and just two for Weber. Huge break for the Sabres. 

13:55 left: Just a few seconds after Luke Adam whiffs on a wide-open net for his first NHL goal, Adam sets the screen as Jordan Leopold rifles one home to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead. That ends the Sabres' shutout streak at 121 minutes, 13 seconds. Leopold's sixth. He's third on the team. I don't know whether to say good for him or shame on the forwards. (The AP's Bob Matuszak points out the Sabres have scored on their first shot twice in the last three games. The other was Vanek's goal Saturday against Tampa).

13:39 left: The Gaustad hit on Kessel seems to have the Leafs running around and forgetting hockey. Now Kris Versteeg is gone for elbowling a punch to the face of Gerbe. 

12:30 left: Roy has had three shots blocked on this 5-on-3 from the point. Gotta get them through.

12:10 left: Like I said, get them through. Vanek with a rifle from the left point for his ninth to tie Roy for the team lead. Adam gets an assist for his first NHL point. 2-0 Sabres

9:10 left: Not too many "Go Leafs Go" chants right now, eh? Shots are 7-3 for Buffalo. This is just the third game all season the Sabres have scored twice on the power play. And it took just under eight minutes for them to get there.

8:45 left: Weber goes for charging. Definite hit in the back. Undisciplined. He's way more aggressive than Rivet but he has to be under control too.

8:06 left: Grier wide on a short-handed breakaway after a great stand-up play and feed from Myers. Gotta hit the net there. Put it in and the Leafs are pondering timeouts, goaltending changes and close to total collapse.

6:39 left: That's 30 straight penalty kills against Toronto by the Sabres.

4:49 left: You have to wonder if Pominville is ever scoring again. Three chances from the doorstep in 16 seconds (thanx to JVogl for that count!). 

4:10 left: Miller stops Kessel on a breakaway after Sekera lets the puck get right through him at the Buffalo line.

1:25 left: Vanek robbed all alone on the edge of the crease. Even had time for a deke too. Super shift by Adam, who kept the puck in at the line and found Vanek. Shots are 15-5 for the Sabres. Easily one of their best periods of the year.

End-1st: Big cheers for the Sabres, who lead 2-0 and have a 16-5 edge in shots.

Miller clears last workout, returns to net tonight

After getting sidetracked by injury for the second time this season, this time by groin tenderness, Ryan Miller is back in goal tonight for the Sabres against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Miller passed his final workout this morning and reported no troubles.

Miller has owned the Leafs in his career, going 22-8 in 30 career starts against them with a 2.23 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. The wins are the most against one team and the goals-against and save percentage are Miller's best among clubs that he's met at least five times.

"It's been an interesting month as far as little nagging things," Miller said today when asked about his injury troubles. "It's something I really haven't had in my career usually. I'm pretty resilient like that unless it's something major. But back to back in the last few weeks, things have popped up that I've had to address."

It remains to be seen how close to 100 percent Miller can get or if he will be in maintenance mode most of the season.

"I'd like to think I can get right in," he said. "My heart rate is right where it's supposed to be. My conditioning is pretty good. The frustrating part is how you feel on the ice trying to do everything that's normal without thinking about it. Honestly, that's been getting better even though I had a little groin thing coming up. Other parts have been feeling better, feeling more loose."

Coach Lindy Ruff said Miller playing tonight means he could be available to go back-to-back tomorrow in Montreal. Miller said he's hopeful that will be the case.

"You don't know until you try," he said. "We'll get through tonight, see where we're at, talk to Lindy and go from there."

Miller has been dogged by knee, hip and groin problems this year and is just 6-6-2 with a 2.62 GAA and .909 save percentage. But it's really not going to matter what he does if this club doesn't start to score. The Sabres have just one goal the last two games despite the fact Jhonas Enroth and Patrick Lalime combined to give up only three.

Derek Roy (elbow) will play tonight. There are no changes to the lineup, meaning the scratches will remain Craig Rivet, Chris Butler and Drew Stafford.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Roy seems OK, Miller may be ready too

Derek Roy should be ready for Friday's game against Toronto. It's looking better for Ryan Miller. Mike Weber stays in the lineup. Craig Rivet stays in the press box. There's your capsule summary of Thursday's practice in HSBC Arena. 

Jhonas Enroth, who was up on emergency recall, went back to Portland and Miller got through a full practice and looked better than he has at any point this week. The final decision will be made Friday morning but coach Lindy Ruff said today: "The goal would be to use him. If he's ready we're going to use him."

Roy, meanwhile, was feeling better after getting crushed in the elbow by a Tyler Myers shot and also getting felled by a stubborn ocular migraine headache. The headache started just as Ruff was holding his pregame meeting with the team. Roy was having vision issues during the game and some dizziness and was on and off the bench over the final two periods.

"I've never had that before," Roy said today. "It was the first time. I couldn't really see and it's tough to go out there when you can't see. It was the first time so it was kind of scary."

Roy said the elbow got better as the game went along. He stayed out of drills Thursday as a precaution.

"I couldn't feel my whole arm for a while," Roy said. "It was pretty painful but I just slammed a Red Bull and went back out there."

Rivet was passionate during a five-minute chat with reporters that he will keep working hard and, in fact, feels better now than at any point this season.

"[Ruff] is going to go with who he's confident with and that's the bottom line," Rivet said. "Right now, we need to win some hockey games. He's going to go with who he's comfortable with and the guys that aren't playing need to be the hardest-working guys on the team."

Ruff and Rivet both said they're not ready to entertain the notion Rivet can no longer be captain. The focus, at least for now, is to get Rivet's game back in a position to crack the top six. 

"You can still be a captain," Ruff said. "Craig has been a good teammate. He's been a good leader. He's had a tough time in games. Right now I'm just standing pat."

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Enroth back to Portland; Roy limited

Happy Thanksgiving from HSBC Arena, where it's business as usual for the Sabres this morning with a practice to get set for Friday's showdown for 11th place in the East here against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Two quick news items: Ryan Miller and Patrick Lalime are manning the nets. No sign of Jhonas Enroth. Portland has three straight games this weekend and it appears Enroth has been sent back to the AHL. That means Miller must be healthy enough to start tomorrow night. We'll find out from Lindy Ruff after practice.

Derek Roy is on the ice but wearing a non-contact jersey and not doing much in drills so far. Just what a team in a scoring slump needs: An injury to its top scorer. Roy got drilled by a Tyler Myers shoot-in right on the elbow last night and Ruff said after the game Roy was also having vision problems. Roy said he was feeling ill (probably dizzy) and did not speak to the media after the game so we'll have to see what that's all about. Drew Stafford is taking a regular turn and thus might get back into the lineup if Roy can't go.

Craig Rivet continues to skate on the extra defense pair with Chris Butler so it looks like Mike Weber will stay in the lineup. Based on the way Weber played last night, no reason to take him out. The lines on the ice look this way:

Ennis-McCormick-Vanek
Stuart-Hecht-Pominville
Grier-Adam-Stafford
Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta

Defense pairs remain: Sekera-Myers, Leopold-Montador and Weber-Morrisonn. 

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Pick the three stars

Live from the Arena: Sabres vs. Pens

Greetings and Happy Thanksgiving (Eve) from high atop HSBC Arena as we get set for tonight's Sabres-Penguins game. If you missed it from earlier today, here's the recap of the Sabres' roster moves:

Out: Connolly (groin), Miller (groin), Stafford (shoulder), Niedermayer (knee), Rivet (healthy), Butler (healthy).

In: Enroth, Stuart, Adam (Portland callups), Weber (from healthy to lineup).

The Sabres will have to be on their toes right away. Check out the starting lineups:

Penguins starters: Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis-Letang-Orpik. Goal: Fleury
Sabres starters: Gerbe-Gaustad-Grier-Sekera-Myers. Goal: Enroth 

Sidney Crosby is on an NHL-high nine-game point streak (9-11-20). Second to him? None other than Thomas Vanek at seven games (4-6-10). With Crosby red-hot, the Penguins are 5-0-1 in their last six games overall and their 15 road points (7-3-1) are tied for tops in the league.

It's going to be very interesting to see the line combinations Lindy Ruff uses tonight. What he had in the morning skate today was dramatically different than yesterday. See above. Nathan Gerbe was on a scoring line yesterday. Not so now. Stay tuned.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Third Period

8:52 p.m.: We're under way.

18:40 left: Talbot for interference. There's the makeup call. Didn't those end in about 1989? 

18:30 left: Gerbe high from the slot on a great setup from Pominville. Gotta hit the net there.

18:02 left: Great stop on Vanek from the doorstep.

16:36 left: Great stop on Ennis. Linesmen blow a close offside call on Leopold at the point to end things. Got one right during the PP on Sekera, who didn't keep it in.

16:25 left: Kunitz to the box for slashing. Sabres back to the PP.  And Roy not on the bench -- or the ice -- again. 

15:32 left: Fleury stops Myers sneaking in from the point.. Nice feed by Vanek. 

14;23 left: Ennis kills another good PP with a high stick on Orpik. Good zone time again for the Sabres. No conversions. Lindy won't be able to have another tirade about it though. They're working hard.

12:17 left: Good job by Sabres, topped by a nice Enroth save on Letang. Shots are 7-4 for Buffalo in the period and 26-26 overall.

9:34 left: Hecht and Pominville just fail to connect. Good work by Hecht to get the puck out of the zone and bring it up ice. Pass to Pominville at the edge of the crease just failed to connect.

9:00 left: Roy back on the ice again.

7:10 left: Tampa Bay sat on its one-goal lead for 29 minutes Saturday night. The Penguins are trying to do it for 44 minutes here. That's on the Buffalo offense. 

6:35 left: Roy-Vanek-Ennis back together.

5:41 left: We've seen four combined goals in the last 115 minutes in this building. Just not enough. Can the Sabres really lose back-to-back home games with two goalies not named Ryan Miller allowed a combined three goals?  Attendance announced as 18,250 (440 shy of a sellout).

3:19 left: Ennis just wide from the slot after great work by Vanek to get him the puck. Few seconds later, Ennis deflected into the net. 

1:30 left: Penguins holding on.

1:01 left: Icing on the Penguins. Enroth to the bench.

That's it: A 1-0 loss. Final shots 30-29 for Buffalo.

Second Period

Of note: Uh-oh. Roy not on the bench to start the period.

 18:52 left: Roy returns to the bench. Sabres get their first PP thanks to a hooking penalty on Malkin. Roy takes his spot on the left point.

16:52 left: Pens kill it off. They're 18 for 18 the last six games.

16:28 left: Fleury's best sequence of the night, stopping Kaleta on a 3-on-2 as well as Ennis on the rebound. Shots are 6-0 for the Sabres.

15:42 left: Stuart pickpockets Deryk Engelland in the Pens' zone and goes in on Fleury but fires high.

13:12 left: Another good chance for Stuart from the slot and another good Fleury save. 

13:05 left: Fleury robs Roy from in front. Shots are 8-1 for Buffalo and 16-16 overall.

12:43 left: Enroth with a good save on Malkin. 

12:25 left: Fleury on McCormick, who's now with Roy and Vanek (Stuart is with Hecht and Pominville).

10:16 left: Fleury with another good save on Montador and Gerbe just wide on the rebound. Shots are 9-2 in this period. Fleury is easily the No. 1 star halfway through this one.

9:36 left: The Penguins burn their timeout after an icing call. Shots are 9-2 for Buffalo. Dan Bylsma needs to give his guys a break. Sabres with a huge edge in this period.

9:02 left: There's your momentum killer. Leopold gone for tripping Crosby.

6:30 left: Good kill fro Sabres. One shot for Pens.

4:53 left: Solid save by Enroth as Letang streaked down the right win. Enroth out to the top of the crease nicely. 

2:58 left: Stuart goes for goalie interference after a good shot. What a weak ticky-tack call that is. 

End-2nd: Pens still lead 1-0. Sabres had an 11-7 edge in shots. It's 22-19 for Pittsburgh through two. Like how the Sabres stood four abreast at the line on the Pens' power play. Don't like the Buffalo offense. One goal in five periods the last two games for the two backup goalies. They've only allowed three. Have to be better.

First Period

18:57 left: A few seconds after opening his Sabres career, Colin Stuart nearly bangs home a Vanek rebound. Stuart is on left wing with Vanek and Roy rather than Ennis. Plumb assignment right off the plane from Portland.

18:10 left: More Portland impact: Diving play by Mike Weber to break up a 2-on-1 and deny Matt Cooke's pass across the slot. No way Rivet makes that play.

17:33 left: So the lines look like this -- Gerbe-Gaustad-Grier, Stuart-Roy-Vanek, Hecht-McCormick-Pominville, Ennis-Adam-Kaleta. Defense pairs are Sekera-Myers, Montador-Leopold and Weber-Morrisonn.

14:29 left: If we're talking in basketball terms, the tempo is in the Penguins' favor. Shots are 6-4 for the Sabres but they need to take the air out of this game a little to stay with Crosby & Co. Great for fans so far, not sure it's great for the bottom line in the standings.

11:47 left: Enroth holds steady after a rough shift that saw Weber get wiped out on a borderline hit from behind from Mark Letestu and Adam make a weak, weak clearing attempt up the wall that the Penguins easily held in. The puck stayed in the for another 30 seconds before a diving Adam tipped the puck to center ice to partially redeem himself. Shots are 9-7 for Pittsburgh (it was 5-1, Buffalo).

8:09 left: It's been an eventful first period at home this season for Weber. He took the toughest Pens' hit earlier and now issued the Sabres' best hit, straightening up Tyler Kennedy. He's been aggressive, exactly what the Sabres need. Why exactly has he been in the press box basically all year? So many questions. Why take Ennis off the Vanek-Roy line for a guy (Stuart) who's never played a game for the team and has eight NHL goals in his career? Don't get it. Shouldn't you give Gerbe a chance on that line and put Stuart with Grier and Gaustad?

7:49 left: Roy off holding left hand and shaking right hand in disgust after getting drilled by a Myers shoot in at the Pittsburgh line. That's not a good thing. (Insert joke about hand already being hurt here).

6:08 left: Roy to the locker room, likely with an X-ray machine in his future. Gaustad and Talbot to the box after a scrap between the benches following a Gaustad push of Malkin. Gaustad and Talbot get double minors for roughing.

4:56 left: The Pens take a 1-0 lead thanks to Adam's second brutal giveaway of the period. Crosby gets it away from Sekera in the right corner and makes a perfect feed -- what else? -- to a wide-open Pascal Dupuis in the slot for a quick one-timer. So Crosby's point streak continues. Ten games.

2:43 left: Good news -- Roy back on the bench and now on the ice. Bad news -- Vanek off for hooking Malkin in the Buffalo zone. 

0:43 left: The Sabres kill it off. 

End-1st: It's 1-0 for Pittsburgh and shots are 15-8 for the Pens. No shots for the final 6:27 for the Sabres.

Bulletin: Weber in, Rivet out for Sabres

The Sabres will scratch captain Craig Rivet again tonight when they host Pittsburgh. Mike Weber, who has played just two games, will be in the lineup in his place. Weber hasn't played since Oct. 26.

Rivet has been scratched four times this season. He was minus-4 in the past two games upon returning to the lineup.

"It's based on play," coach Lindy Ruff said. "We're going to have to play the guys that are playing the best right now. Mike hasn't been in but we feel that it gives us a physical defenseman, a guy with some edge and we're going to give him a shot."

Jhonas Enroth is up from Portland and will start in goal with Patrick Lalime backing him up. Enroth is 2-1-1 with a 3.43 GAA and .876 save percentage but gave the team life earlier this month by becoming the first goalie in NHL history to get his first two career wins via shootout.

"Winning is everything," Ruff said. "I think that he gave us a good effort in the games he played. We played well around him and we're hoping to do the same [tonight]."

---John Vogl

Roy, Ruff deny rumor of Connolly getting punched

Acting to end a rumor that began in the world that is Twitter, Sabres forward Derek Roy and coach Lindy Ruff denied today that a welt under Tim Connolly's eye came from a Roy punch Sunday night at Ryan Miller's "Catwalk for Charity."

"I didn’t do anything to him," Roy said. "Trust me. I would not hit a teammate at a charity event, that’s for sure. I’m the last guy in this dressing room, if you ask anybody, who would do anything like that.

"I heard it about it this morning. I’m just upset about it because I didn’t do anything. I don’t know who would smear my name like that. I didn’t do anything.

"Nothing happened. It was obviously a rumor. I don’t know who would make that stuff up. If you want to know what happened, ask him."

Connolly, who also has a groin injury, was not at practice today in HSBC Arena.

"Derek did not touch Tim Connolly," Ruff said. "What happened was [Connolly] had an incident that was related to something that he was going to perform at the charity event. It’s fairly funny. If he wants to tell you, he can go ahead. It has nothing to do with fighting. It has something to do with what he was trying to practice for part of the program, and he wasn’t very good at it, obviously."

The Roy-Connolly story began Monday night with "rumors all over Twitter." After putting on hip waders, rubber gloves, a gas mask and taking an anti-vomit pill, I ventured to the God-forsaken site and discovered what I expected to discover: One person posted the rumor, and a lot of other people copied and/or linked to the one comment, making it look like more than one person actually had an original thought.

If they had a thought, it should have been to go outside and enjoy the world rather than sit and stare at a computer screen.

---John Vogl

Miller won't play against Pittsburgh

Ryan Miller got through another day of practice today, but the Sabres' marquee goaltender will be scratched Wednesday when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit HSBC Arena. Miller won't even be the backup, coach Lindy Ruff said, so Jhonas Enroth is expected to be summoned from Portland.

"He’s real close, but I don’t think he’ll be ready to play tomorrow," Ruff said. "We wouldn’t put him in that [backup] situation if he can’t play.

"We had a good conversation, and it isn’t about playing one game. We took that precaution on Saturday, and it’s better today than it was yesterday, which is good. It’ll probably be better tomorrow. He’s close to going all out. He’s just not there yet."

Center Tim Connolly also will miss the game with a groin injury that forced him to leave practice Monday. He did not skate today.

"He’s got a groin injury, and he’s out for tomorrow," said Ruff, who had no timetable for a return. "I really can’t guess. The first three or four days will tell."

---John Vogl

The lines they are a changin'

The Sabres are on the ice in HSBC Arena, and the lines are nearly all new. The top line of Derek Roy in the middle of left wing Tyler Ennis and right wing Thomas Vanek remains intact, but the other three forward trios are different.

Jochen Hecht is centering for right wing Jason Pominville and left wing Nathan Gerbe, a scorer who is finally getting a shot on a scoring line. Paul Gaustad is flanked by right wing Mike Grier and left wing Colin Stuart, who was called up from Portland. Another call-up, Luke Adam, is between left wing Cody McCormick and right wing Patrick Kaleta.

The power-play units are: Pominville-Vanek-Gerbe, with Roy-Tyler Myers at the blue line; and Ennis-Gaustad-Adam, with Jordan Leopold-Andrej Sekera at the point.

---John Vogl

Sabres call up Adam, Stuart

The Sabres, who have been hammered by injuries, have recalled forwards Luke Adam and Colin Stuart from Portland.

Adam is up for the third time. He has no points in two games but leads the Pirates with 11 goals and 19 points in 17 games.

Stuart is back in the NHL for the first time since the 2008-09 season, which he spent in the Atlanta organization. He signed with the Sabres over the summer. He has four goals and 16 points in 18 games with Portland.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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