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Roy meets media in wake of surgery

Injured center Derek Roy spoke to the media this morning for the first time since suffering his torn quad tendon Dec. 23 against Florida. Roy, who limped into the interview room and was walking with a cane, said surgery on the tendon went well and he's embarking on minor rehab work. The timetable remains 4-6 months although Roy refused to completely rule himself out if the Sabres made a deep run into the playoffs. Of course, the Sabres have a lot of work to do to ever get to that point.

Roy was injured when he was run into the boards by Florida's Dmitry Kulikov. His leg took blunt trauma as he slid into the boards.

"I felt a sharp pain and started skating around and I said, "I might want to get off the ice,' " Roy recalled. "Once I started walking on it, it's a little different putting pressure on it. I came to the room and they couldn't figure out what was going on and spotted the tendon was gone."

"It's tough because you spend all summer getting ready for the season and 35 games into the season, you're out for the rest of it," Roy said. "... You run in the boards a lot and nothing happens. And all of a sudden that one time and you're out for the season. It's definitely tough."

The Sabres are back on the HSBC Arena ice for their first practice here since Dec. 22, prior to the World Junior Championships. Mike Weber, injured in San Jose, skated on his own before practice and we'll wait for an update from Lindy Ruff on his status.

(Post-practice update: Ruff said Weber is day-to-day and has not been ruled out for Tuesday's game against Philadelphia. Kaleta remains on the shelf.)

Click below for the complete audio of Roy's session with reporters.

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

Ice chips, pre-practice style

Clearing the notebook now that the World Juniors are out of town and we can return to the NHL schedule:

---The Sabres return to practice today in HSBC Arena in the midst of a 4-0-1 run that has them back to .500 at halfway mark of the season (18-18-5). They're 10th in the East, eight points behind Boston and Montreal.

---The Penguins have one goal in two games without Sidney Crosby. And it's likely he'll be out a few more games as well so they have to figure out where to get some offense. They host the Bruins tonight on Versus.

---Things are no better for the Bruins with David Krejci underperforming, Milan Lucic slumping, and Marc Savard a shade of his former self. 

---Have you checked the Western Conference standing lately? Four points separate No. 4 Nashville from No. 12 St. Louis (From 4-12 in the East is an 18-point difference!). The defending champion Blackhawks have climbed from 12th to sixth just by winning the last two games. They beat the Islanders, 5-0, on Sunday and announced before the game that they'll put up statues for ex-Chicago greats Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull outside the United Center. Move over, Michael Jordan.

---Things are really bad in San Jose, where the Sharks were shut out again Sunday by the Ducks and have dropped to 11th place in the West. They've lost four straight games and have been shut out twice in the last three (by Ryan Miller and Jonas Hiller). Worse yet, they have just five goals in their last five games.

---In a last farewell to the World Juniors, the ratings for Wednesday's Canada-Russia final were astonishing north of the border. A record audience of 6.88 million viewers watched on TSN and its French counterpart, RDS. The audience peaked at 9.3 million viewers during the third period. The 6.23 million who watched on TSN marked the highest audience ever for the network, Canada's equivalent of ESPN.

If you missed any of our World Juniors coverage, be sure to check out our special section on this site.

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

Midseason voting

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With the Sabres at midseason, here's your chance to give a shout for a few awards. (I used shout instead of vote because Otis Day and the Knights are playing after the Auburn pep rally today. Otis, my man!) 

---John Vogl

Sabres hit the midway point

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Greetings again from sunny Scottsdale, where I'm just finishing up the Sabres' midseason report. They hit the halfway point Saturday night with a 2-1 overtime victory against Phoenix.

Here are a few stats through the first 41 games:

*Sabres rank 23rd in the NHL in points (41) and points percentage (.500).

*They rank tied for 21st in goals allowed (2.9) and 18th in goals (2.6).

*They are 22nd in one-goal games (9-7-5), and that includes a 4-0 record in shootouts.

*Their power play ranks 17th at 16.9 percent, though it has struck in four straight and nine of 12.

*Derek Roy, despite being lost to injury in late December, remains the top scorer. Drew Stafford, Jordan Leopold and Thomas Vanek have produced, while Rob Niedermayer, Nathan Gerbe, Paul Gaustad and Mike Grier have not.

*Ryan Miller ranks 24th in goals-against average (2.62) and 21st in save percentage (.913).

---John Vogl

 

Three stars

Post-Coyotes recap

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Technically, the Sabres are not .500. They are 18-18, but they also have five losses after regulation. Still, they haven't been even in the win-regulation loss columns since they were 1-1, so they'll take it after a 2-1 overtime win against Phoenix.

"It’s huge, not only to cap off our first big road trip, and also we’re back at .500 here," said Drew Stafford, who scored the winner with 1:48 left in OT to make the Sabres 2-0-1 on their road trip. "We had a good step there. It’s just a matter of carrying into home play next week."

The Sabres will have to do it for a while without defensemen Mike Weber, who was replaced by Chris Butler for tonight's game.

"Weber blocked a shot in the San Jose game and got hurt," coach Lindy Ruff said. "He’s going to be out a period of time. I don’t know exactly how long. It’s one of those upper body, outer extremity things."

---John Vogl

Live from Sabres at Phoenix

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Greetings from the amazing desert, where we'll get to more about mountain climbing, Buffalo transplants and Twitter when I get caught up with the Sabres Notebook and other matters, but first some breaking news as the Sabres and Coyotes take the ice. The Coyotes are going with backup goaltender Jason LaBarbera rather than Ilya Bryzgalov, who was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy last season.

Bryzgalov missed the Coyotes' previous game for personal matters but was expected to play tonight. Instead, he's backing up LaBarbera, who shut out Colorado on Thursday.

More when the puck drops.

FIRST PERIOD

8:01 p.m.: Lineup sheet is out, with the Sabres making a swith. Mike Weber is out and Chris Butler is in. Nathan Gerbe is the healthy scratch, while Patrick Kaleta is out with his hand/wrist injury. Butler hasn't played since Dec. 18. Weber practiced Friday.

8:06 p.m.: The start of the game will be delayed briefly as the Coyotes salute defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who recently played his 1,000th game. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, who was Jovanovski's assistant coach in Florida, came out early to watch the ceremony while the Sabres stayed in the dressing room for most of it.

8:12 p.m.: Strong national anthem sung by Michael Wieser, who is a season-ticket holder. I guess that's one way to market hockey in the desert -- buy tickets, sing the anthem! Really, though, he was good. There will be a lot of noise for the Sabres --- puck drops and "Let's Go, Buffalo!" roars through.

There are a lot of Western New York transplants in the house, including good friends Tom and Tracy Doody, Jason Bohen, Sue Borczynski, Kim Lawrence and her fiance, Tony. Looking forward to a fast game so I can join them for sodas. Ha! Actually, a fast game would be good for deadlines, too.

8:20 p.m.: Wish granted early. Game is flying with few whistles. It's 0-0 with 14:39 left.

8:21 p.m.: Blue and Gold really took over the arena area this afternoon from all the blue and orange, and green, yellow and neon lime that Auburn and Oregon wear. Still a lot of that, too.

8:23 p.m.: First commercial comes with 13:09 left, score at 0-0 and the Sabres holding a 3-1 shot edge. So I wore an Auburn hat this afternoon while Tom and I climbed Camelback Mountain, and it got a lot of "War Eagle" shouts from the other climbers. And, man, was that mountain packed. There were more people on it today than the two other times I reached the summit combined (and then some). Very nice day for it, though, with sun blazing and temps in the high 50s. You work up a sweat, so that was perfect.

8:26 p.m.: Coyotes get the first power play, with Jason Pominville off for hooking with 12:05 left.

8:28 p.m.: Sabres kill the infraction with only one shot allowed.

8:34 p.m.: "Goooose" chant echoes as Paul Gaustad works the puck below the goal line with 6:52 left. No score. Shots are 5-2 Buffalo. 

8:37 p.m.: The Sabres get a power play with 4:40 left as Phoenix captain Shane Doan heads to the box. Shots are 6-4 for Buffalo. Just heard Seattle beat New Orleans.

8:39 p.m.: A Phoenix fan named Kasandra just got engaged on the Kiss Cam (hi RC).

8:41 p.m.: LaBarbera stops Andrej Sekera and Jason Pominville to help kill the penalty.

8:45 p.m.: Solid pressure by the Sabres, but the teams hit intermission scoreless. The Sabres hold a 13-6 edge in shots.

SECOND PERIOD

9:03 p.m.: And they're back. Some goals would be nice to allow me to get some running to have a story possibly ready by 10:20 deadline. Good thing Saturday nights are the latest deadlines of the week.

9:06 p.m.: Nice save by LaBarbera on Shaone Morrisonn with 18 minutes left.

9:10 p.m.: Still no score with 15:01 to go. Sabres' shot edge cut to 16-10.

9:13 p.m.: the Sabres head to the first commercial with a power play upcoming, with the Coyotes' Wojtek Wolski earning a tripping call with 13:34 left. So Doody and I hit the daily double today, with post-hiking lunch at my favorite restaurant in North America, The Mission in Scottsdale. As always, ridiculously good. Quality custom-made guacamole, decent mango and jimaca salad and fantastic pork shoulder tacos.

9:15 p.m.: The Sabres score just eight seconds in the power play. Jordan Leopold gets his career-high 10th goal, firing from the point through Thomas Vanek's screen with 13:26 to go.

9:17 p.m.: Miller keeps it 1-0 with a great golve save on a wide-open Shane Doan with 12:57 left.

9:22 p.m.: The Coyotes will return from the second commercial with a power play. Luke Adam is called for tripping with 9:35 left. The Sabres' shot edge has been trimmed to 19-18.

9:27 p.m.: Hard-charging Coyotes tie the game with 7:29 to go, just after Adam's penalty expires. Adrian Aucoin's shot from the point bounces off Miller's pad directly to Scottie Upshall, who buries it into an open net. Coyotes take a 20-19 shot edge.

9:29 p.m.: The Sabres head into the final commercial tied, 1-1, with 5:40 left. Phoenix now has a 22-19 shot edge.

9:38 p.m.: The Sabres limp into the dressing room still tied at 1-1. The Coyotes took 19 of the period's 26 shots.

THIRD PERIOD

9:54 p.m.: The Sabres are 4-1-4 when tied after two periods. The Coyotes are 1-1-3.

10:01 p.m.: Big rise from the crowd of 13,905 as Mike Grier buries Doan with 15 minutes left. It's still tied.

10:07 p.m.: It's still 1-1 with 11:48 left. Shots are 29-24, Phoenix. I can tell already because of the time crunch my Twitter story will have to wait till another game, unfortunately.

10:11 p.m.: Solid scoring chances by the line of Drew Stafford, Jochen Hecht and Tyler Ennis, but it remains 1-1 with 8:48 to go.

10:16 p.m.: Leopold goes for hooking with 6:48 to go.

10:22 p.m.: Butler heads to the penalty box with 2:36 after getting a high-sticking call. The Coyotes hold a 32-28 shot edge in the 1-1 game.

10:27 p.m.: It's off to overtime, 1-1. Shots still 32-28.

OVERTIME

10:29 p.m.: So long, first edition. Hello, OT.

11:21 p.m.: Oooops, Stafford scores with 1:48 left to give Sabres a 2-1 win.

---John Vogl

No morning skate in BCS City

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Sabres will use this morning to meet and rest as they prepare to face Phoenix and attempt to close their road trip with a 2-0-1 record. There will be no morning skate.

Although there's a game, not many folks out here would notice. The painted desert has turned shades of orange and blue, and green, yellow and neon lime. The area is pigskin crazy as college football's national championship game is Monday between Oregon and Auburn (War Eagle! says the guy who spent 18 months just down the road from the Loveliest Village on the Plains and covered the Tigers for the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer in 2000).

It should be an interesting few days, for sure (and yes, I'm staying for the game). First, though, my fellow Frontier grad Tom Doody and I will climb Camelback Mountain for the third time in three years. Gotta love the NHL schedule makers!

As for other hockey news:

*Jochen Hecht will enter Jobing.com Arena on one of the best runs of his career, a six-game point streak that overlaps the Sabres' four-game unbeaten streak. He's been getting increased minutes in the middle with Roy gone, and for the most part he's making it work.

*Lindy Ruff would eventually like to be a general manager, but the short-term goal is to win No. 501 as a coach tonight against the Coyotes, which would push Ruff into a tie with Pat Burns for 14th place. Ruff reached 500 wins in 1,024 games, all with the Sabres.

"That longevity with one team speaks for itself; 500 wins speaks for itself," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said to the Arizona Republic. "He's one of the top coaches in this league. The ability of a coach to change his message, make sure he's got all his players on board, that's a lot easier said than done.

"For one coach to stay in one place that long, deal with a lot of the same players over that length, that speaks volumes about his ability to a interact with people, to coach different kinds of people and find wins with people."

*Vancouver, which beat Edmonton, 6-1, set a franchise record by going unbeaten in regulation for 15 games (13-0-2), and established a new mark for its best 20-game stretch at 17-1-2. The Canucks remain first overall in the NHL with 59 points, and host Detroit (57 points) today with top spot on the line.

*Clarke MacArthur didn't want the game to end. He was having too much fun. "It was one of those games when every shot is going in," he said after the Toronto Maple Leafs' 9-3 rout of the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday night. "Everything worked against them."

*Although he traded his captain, Jamie Langenbrunner, to the Dallas Stars for a conditional second-round draft pick on Friday, New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello dismissed talk that the last-place team is in a rebuilding phase.

"I despise the word 'rebuilding,'" Lamoriello said in a conference call. "We have to look at the reasons why we're in this position. Maybe it's talent. Maybe it's chemistry. We have to be very careful and look at the big picture."

Lamoriello did not rule out future deals, but did emphatically deny any thoughts of trading All-Star goaltender Martin Brodeur, who has been a careerlong Devil and led the franchise to three Stanley Cup titles.

---John Vogl

Quiet day in the desert

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Greetings from the beautiful Phoenix area, where the Sabres held a brief practice today. Nothing to report from their session in Glendale, with status quo expected for their game Saturday against the Coyotes.

The Sabres are 3-0-1 in their past four games, and the wins are part of a six-game point streak for Jochen Hecht (three goals, four assists).

"I put the work in, and to finally get rewarded is a nice feeling," he said today. "It’s helped the team get a little bit of a winning streak going."

---John Vogl

Sharks postgame notes

SJC -- Good morning -- good early morning -- from San Jose Airport, where they gouge you $3.49 for a Vitamin Water. That's easily the worst of the 29 NHL airports (plus the large number I've hit through leisure travel). I should've gone to SFO.

Anyway, here are some notes sent by one of the finest media relations staffs in the league, the Sharks (Boston and Washington are up there, too), about Thursday's 3-0 win by the Sabres:

*Dany Heatley set a franchise record with 11 shots on goal. The previous record for shots in a game was 10, most recently achieved by Devin Setoguchi on Nov. 11, 2008 vs. Nashville.

*Ryan Miller’s shutout (20th of his career) is the first shutout for Buffalo against San Jose in the all-time series (28 games).

*Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan: “Let’s talk about the first period, we go back a couple days I sat in that locker room and I listened to a group of players and coaches talk about their team and how important starts are and how they were going to come prepared, and we get that, that’s pretty disappointing.”

“That sums up our game the first team that played the first period unacceptable, after that not a bad effort but way too late, it’s that simple.”

“When you’re sloppy defensively and you’re not committed defensively you usually don’t execute offensively.”

---John Vogl

Postgame wrap from Ruff's 500th victory

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Lindy Ruff is thrilled his 500th win came during a convincing 3-0 win over San Jose, one in which the Sabres showed they can be a really good team when they play from start to finish.

"That might be one of our best games of the year in all-out compete level," said Ruff, who became the 16th coach to get halfway to 1,000. "It means I’ve had a lot of good players to get to that point. To get 500 with [General Manager Darcy Regier] at the same time and be with one organization, the organization I grew up playing in is special."

Ryan Miller was at his best since early December, but he credited the team for his third shutout of the season.

"We had a nice night," he said. "No real odd-man rushes, no tough chances on their power play. They had a few looks, but when you have help around you, I can commit to my reads and it turns into a night when our zone is a little more organized."

The Sabres are 3-0-1 in their past four games and head to Phoenix to play the Coyotes on Saturday.

"I think we’ve played pretty well for the last four or five games," Rob Niedermayer said. "It was pretty complete efforts. We’ve just got to keep pushing like this and give ourselves a chance every night."

---John Vogl

Select your three stars

Live from Sabres at San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- I'm not going to complain because it's been a great day in San Francisco/San Jose, but really ... middle of Silicon Valley and Internet takes 30 minutes to work?

Anyway the game's already started so ...

FIRST PERIOD

10:44 p.m.: It's 0-0 with 16:20 left and the Sabres are about to kill a Shaone Morrisonn interference call. Same lineup as last two games, with Nathan Gerbe and Chris Butler scratched. Craig Rivet is the seventh defenseman.

10:46 p.m.: Morrisonn draws one with 14:49 to go, as Torrey Mitchell goes for tripping.

10:50 p.m.: Sabres get 12 seconds of a five-on-three as Joe Thornton goes for hooking.

10:51 p.m.: It's back to five-on-four for the Sabres, who got the second power play with 13 minutes left.

10:52 p.m.: The Sharks' Logan Couture almost scores short-handed with 12:08 left after streaking toward Ryan Miller, who makes the save. The power play is over, though, as Drew Stafford was called for hooking on the odd-man situation. It'll be four-on-four for 1:09 when they come back from commercial.

10:53 p.m.: While the penalties are getting killed so far, one thing that didn't get killed today was my wallet, surprisingly. The San Francisco Giants are one of only two sports teams I like (the University of Michigan is the other), and I figured I'd spend a ton at AT&T Park today. Nope. No good sales, but got five cool World Series champs things nonetheless.

10:56 p.m.: Active end-to-end sequence with the Sharks' Antero Niittymaki making a pad save on Andrej Sekera, and Tyler Myers sweeping away a Patrick Marleau poke chance that was headed toward the Buffalo net with 10:35 to go.

10:58 p.m.: Ryane Clowe, who was mad at his team this week and blasted its effort, takes out a lot of frustration on Mike Weber. Clowe obliterated him in the one-sided fight with 9:40 left, with Weber skating to the penalty box with a bloody mouth and jersey. Weber did better against George Parros of Anaheim recently, and he lost that one, too, so you can imagine how bad this one was.

11:01 p.m.: Tyler Ennis keeps his stick out of the way this time as Luke Adam scores to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead with 9:17 left. Niittymaki makes pad save on Cody McCormick blast, and Adam backhands the rebound home from the slot.

11:05 p.m.: Miller makes a nice blocker save on Jamal Mayers with 5:52 left to keep it 1-0.

11:06 p.m.: Last commercial comes with Sabres holding a 1-0 lead and 10-8 shot edge with 4:54 to go. So did the usuals in San Fran (walked Golden Gate Bridge, stopped for some quick Dungeness crab in Fisherman's Wharf), but also made a trip to somewhere new -- the aptly named Grand View Park. If you get the chance, go. It's high atop a hill in the middle of the area, and you look down at downtown on the right, the Golden Gate straight ahead and the Pacific Ocean on the left. Awesome.

11:08 p.m.: Rivet raps one off the post with 4:47 left.

11:11 p.m.: It's 11:11 -- make a wish. If you wished for Jochen Hecht to give the Sabres a 2-0 lead with 3:24 to go, nice job. Hecht comes off the right boards to the slot, shoots past a diving Niclas Wallin and past Niittymaki.

11:14 p.m.: Steve Montador gets called for high-sticking with 1:56 to go.

11:15 p.m.: The power play lasts just 16 seconds as Dan Boyle gets whistled for holding the stick with 1:40 left. It's four-on-four again.

11:18 p.m.: The Sabres head to the dressing room with a 2-0 lead, as both teams have 12 shots.

SECOND PERIOD

11:35 p.m.: The teams are back, and after 20 seconds they are both back at full strength.

11:38 p.m.: The Sabres, faced with a tired fivesome on an icing, call timeout with 17:52 to go.

11:40 p.m.: Boyle trips his buddy Mike Grier with 17:13 left to give the Sabres another power play.

11:42 p.m.: The Sabres strike again to take a 3-0 lead with 16:29 to go. It's similar to the power-play goal from last game, with Jordan Leopold feeding Drew Stafford along the goal line, and Stafford quickly finding Thomas Vanek at the top of the crease for the goal.

11:51 p.m.: A longgggggggggggggggggg run without a whistle finds the Sabres still up, 3-0, with 8:58 to go. The spirited run got the fans going. Miller made a nice blocker save on Benn Ferriero alone in front with 11:25 to go, and he also stymied nemesis Dany Heatley with 9:35 left.

11:57 p.m.: It's starting to get cold in here, but we'll be Phoenix in the morning! There's 7 minutes left.

12:02 p.m.: The final commercial comes with 3:22 left and Hecht headed to the box for interference. It's still 3-0, with the Sharks holding a 23-17 shot edge.

12:07 p.m.: Sabres kill the penalty.

12:10 p.m.: Sharks exit to boos and a 3-0 deficit. They do have a 25-17 shot edge, not that it matters so far.

THIRD PERIOD

12:27 a.m.: The Sabres are 10-1 when leading after two periods. Game on.

12:32 p.m.: Sellout crowd of 17,562 cheers as Mike Grier heads to box for delay of game with 16:51 left. Miller immediately stones Heatley again.

12:36 p.m.: Grier sits the whole two minutes as the Sabres kill the penalty.

12:40 p.m.: Niittymaki stops Vanek's blast with 9:45 left to keep it 3-0. Again, few whistles as teams are flying.

12:45 p.m.: Miller's best performance since his back-to-back shutouts in early December has the Sabres 5:34 away from a 3-0 victory.

12:55 p.m.: The Sabres, who despite getting outshot played well from start to finish, run their unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1) with a 3-0 victory.

---John Vogl

Miller 'just OK,' Ruff says

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Lindy Ruff doesn't need to look at the stats any more than anyone else to know one thing: Ryan Miller hasn't been as dominant as last season.

Miller will enter tonight's game against San Jose ranked 28th in goals-against average (2.77) and 27th in save percentage (.907). Those numbers are a long way from last year's Vezina Trophy-winning career bests of 2.22 and .929.

"I think just OK," was how Ruff assessed the season for the Sabres goaltender. "He’s been a victim sometimes of some pretty tough breaks with deflections and pucks off of people’s skates on the backside. At the same time, he’s had a tough time grabbing that one big save for us at a key time in the game. There’s nobody that wants it more than he does. Short-term, if we can get his goals-against down, it’ll help us win games."

Ruff spent time during training camp talking about how tough it would be for Miller and Rookie of the Year Tyler Myers to repeat their seasons.

"It was one of heck of a year, and to try to maintain even that level I thought was going to be tough," Ruff said. "Our short-term goal now is to try to get him back close to that level. He’s working hard in practice. Obviously, there’s disappointment. He wants it more than any of us.

"When you talk to him – and I’ve had good conversations with him – some of our breakdowns have been tough mistakes. You can push some of those breakdowns away if you get the big save. If you don’t, it makes the mistakes look even bigger."

Miller feels there's time to turn it around.

"You want to be consistent just as a team," he said. "We’ve had some funny bounces and stuff, but that’s going to happen over the course of a season. You’ve got to stick with it. It’s not something you can panic on at Game 39. It’s a pretty long season, so you just clean things up and keep playing. It all tends to even out in the end."

---John Vogl

Niittymaki to start for Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks are finishing their morning skate for tonight's game against the Sabres, and it appears Antero Niittymaki will get the start in goal. Fellow netminder Antti Niemi is still on the ice getting extra work with the Sharks' scratches.

Niittymaki is 12-4-3 this season with a 2.44 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. He is 0-3-2 in seven appearances against the Sabres, with a 4.33 GAA and .851 save percentage.

Niemi's only career appearance against the Sabres was the Sharks' 6-3 loss in Buffalo in December.

---John Vogl

'The Sabre' joins NHL Guardians

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A three-game trip to the West Coast is nothing for "The Sabre," who has traveled the world and been deeply affected by the different cultures he's experienced. Well, according to the NHL and comic book legend Stan Lee, anyway.

The league and Lee announced a partnership in October in which the creator of Spider-Man would make heroes based on all 30 teams. The character based on the Sabres was unveiled Wednesday night, the fifth in a daily run that will lead up to the All-Star Game at the end of the month.

G30_Reveal_Sabre 

According to the release: " 'The Sabre' spent his pre-super hero life as a scientist specializing in hydro-engineering. He's a man of deep thought, choosing to devote his life to green technology and its applications. His scientific endeavors have allowed him to travel the world and he has been deeply affected by the different cultures he's experienced. The government has tried to make him a liaison, but he's turned them down preferring to travel the world on his own dime and staying under the radar. He's a noble intellectual who would rather outthink his opponent than beat him to smithereens.

"As a superhero, The Sabre was the product of a hydroelectric experiment gone awry. As a result his body is totally comprised of water. He uses a specially designed hydro-suit that allows him to control his physical appearance although mostly he chooses a human form.  He has the ability to be liquid, solid or in a gaseous (vapor), state, depending on what's needed for the situation."

The league said development for each character came in discussions with each NHL club, so the creators could get a feel for how to incorporate the team and town into each individual superhero.

"This is really a fresh, new, original approach to superheroes, based on the local NHL team," Lee said. "When you think about it, the names of these teams, they sound like super characters. They're inspiring. In doing the National Hockey League Guardians, I just wanted characters that people would enjoy reading about."

---John Vogl

Inside the NHL -- Live Chat

Sabres finally score -- when it doesn't count

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Sabres closed practice today with the forward lines doing three-on-zero drills against backup goaltender Patrick Lalime. The line of center Luke Adam, left wing Rob Niedermayer and right wing Cody McCormick scored, so coach Lindy Ruff gave them another chance. They scored again. Given a third opportunity, they found the net a third time.

Lalime finally stopped the trio, which has just six goals (including none from Niedermayer) in a combined 82 games, and Ruff ended practice.

"It was good to see," Ruff said. "They’ve got to do it in the game, though."

---John Vogl

Video: Quinn fields questions on reports of Sabres sale

BUFFALO -- Buffalo Sabres Managing Partner Larry Quinn told reporters Wednesday the organization has no plans to make an announcement regarding the team "in the immediate future."

Quinn, during an afternoon news conference on the final day of the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship, said there is only one thing Sabres fans "need to know."

"The Buffalo Sabres are going to be here forever," Quinn told reporters when asked reports of a potential sale to businessman Terry Pegula. "And I think, from a fan's point of view, that's all they need to worry about."

Quinn, in remarks after the news conference, called Pegula a "great guy."

"I've known him for a long time," Quinn said. "And if he, in fact, does own this team some day, you'll be very happy with him."

Sabres' woes hit the road

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Greetings from an empty Shark Tank, where the Sabres are set to practice around 1:30 p.m. (4:30 for you Buffalonians). The guess here is they'll do some power-play work. They need it.

Shark2 
 

The Sabres went 1 for 8 during their 4-3 overtime loss to Colorado on Tuesday, though they should've been 2 for 8 if Tyler Ennis' stick hadn't been in the way. Either way, it's not good enough, especially on the road. The Sabres have scored just eight power-play goals in 19 road games, and their 11 percent success rate is 27th in the 30-team league.

Making matters worse for the Sabres' man-advantage unit is its run of allowing short-handed goals. They gave up one to the Avs and have allowed an NHL-worst eight short-handed goals. They allowed just three last season. They are on pace to allow the most shorties of Lindy Ruff's tenure, an astounding 17 allowed in 2005-06.

Here are the short-handed goal totals since Ruff became coach:

1997-98: 12

1998-99: 7

1999-2000: 10

2000-01: 5

2001-02: 6

2002-03: 11

2003-04: 9

2005-06: 17

2006-07: 13

2007-08: 8

2008-09: 5

2009-10: 3

2010-11 (through 39 games): 8

---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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