MINNEAPOLIS -- Robyn Regehr, reportedly asked by Calgary to waive his no-movement clause to be traded to the Sabres, has been doing his due diligence on Buffalo and Western New York, a source said this afternoon.
The defenseman has called at least one former teammate who is familiar with Buffalo. Regehr has calmly been discussing the scenario that would see the 31-year-old leave the only NHL team for which he's ever played.
Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr has been asked to waive his no-movemen clause to accept a trade to the Buffalo Sabres, according to a tweet posted by TSN's Darren Dreger.
There was no information on who the Sabres would be sending to Calgary for Regehr and no source named for the report.
Regehr turned 31 in April. The 6-foot-3, 226-pounder has played all 827 of his NHL games with the Flames. He is a stay-at-home defender with 29 goals and 163 points in his career. He has had a plus rating for seven straight seasons.
He has two years remaining on his contract at a salary of $4.02 million each season, according to capgeek.com.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Greetings from Minnesota. Just wanted to add one more name to today's draft story. Grand Island's Larry Smith, who plays for Sioux City of the United States Hockey League, is the 196th-ranked North American skater, according to NHL Central Scouting. He could be in line for a late-round selection.
He was originally not in today's story about local draft prospects, but through the magic of the Internet he is now.
ABOVE 30,000 FEET, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN ATLANTA AND MINNEAPOLIS -- Greetings from Flight 877, which is taking me from Atlanta to Minneapolis for the NHL draft. Why Atlanta, you might ask? That was the connection from Buffalo. That's a lot of north-south-north, but it kept a couple of pennies in Uncle Warren Buffett's piggy bank.
Kind of sad to connect in Georgia, where I used to live and work. That might be my last NHL connection to the city, thanks to the horrible decision to move the Thrashers to Winnipeg.
The NHL schedule is set to be announced today, likely at noon. Odds are good I'll be picking up the rental car at that time, but we'll still have the news and analysis for you here at BuffaloNews.com.
Speaking of news and analysis, here's some ...
*Jamie Oleksiak is one of several players with Western New York ties looking forward to hearing his name called this weekend at the draft in Minnesota. Defenseman Adam Clendening of Niagara Falls is expected to go in the first two rounds. Williamsville defenseman Chris Bradley, West Seneca blue-liner Alex Lepkowski and Cheektowaga goaltender Scott Diebold may get picked in the later rounds.
In addition, the sons of two former Sabres will take the next step toward becoming a professional. Forward Alexander Ruuttu, son of Christian, is the 16th-ranked European skater. Defenseman Dillon Donnelly, son of Gord and born in Buffalo in 1993 while his father patrolled the Sabres' blue line, is expected to be a mid-round pick.
*The 2011 draft will be held Friday and Saturday, and the Sabres used a new tool to prepare for it. They hosted a four-day scouting combine two weeks ago, welcoming 35 prospects to Buffalo for testing and interviews. This draft, when it's the Sabres' turn to select, they'll have firsthand knowledge of potential picks.
*Jerry Sullivan writes prevailing wisdom says the Sabres need a top center. But they need an experienced, physical defenseman more. They were brutal in their own end in the playoffs. They're wasting Ryan Miller's prime until they address the problem. If Bieksa decides to test the waters, the Sabres should seriously consider it.
*My good friend and prospect guru Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com has plenty of predraft info.
*The New York Islanders are one step closer to getting a long-awaited new arena. Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and Islanders owner Charles Wang announced a lease agreement that would keep the NHL team on Long Island if voters approve the replacement of the aging Nassau Coliseum in an Aug. 1 vote. Construction costs for the arena are estimated at $350 million.
The NHL's best gather tonight for the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas (my liver and wallet are glad I'm not there, but the rest of me wishes Ryan Miller and Tyler Myers were up for awards like last year). There aren't any Buffalo players among the finalists, but you can still make a pick or two and get ready for Dierks Bentley to get a little sideways during the show.
The Buffalo Sabres will hold their summer development camp from July 5-10 at Niagara University's Dwyer Arena, the team announced Monday in a press release. The public will be allowed to watch an on-ice session each day.
The camp will feature more than 35 Sabres prospects. The roster won't be announced until a later day but the team's 2011 NHL Draft picks are scheduled to attend the six-day camp.
The players will take part in both on-ice and off-ice workouts designed to give prospects the fundamentals the Sabres' system. They will also learn the conditioning programs of an NHL player, NHL rules and the techniques for becoming a professional athlete.
With the the 2010-11 season over, it's time to look ahead to the 2011-12 campaign.
As usual, the online gambling site Bodog.com has found me with their odds, and I'll pass them to you -- along with the usual disclaimer:
Gambling is bad. Your money is much better spent on concerts, whiskey and women.
Odds to win the 2012 Stanley Cup
Vancouver Canucks 5/1 Boston Bruins 8/1 Washington Capitals 17/2 Philadelphia Flyers 9/1 Pittsburgh Penguins 9/1 San Jose Sharks 9/1 Detroit Red Wings 12/1 Tampa Bay Lightning 12/1 Chicago Blackhawks 15/1 Los Angeles Kings 16/1 Anaheim Ducks 22/1 Montreal Canadiens 22/1 Buffalo Sabres 25/1 Nashville Predators 25/1 New Jersey Devils 30/1 Phoenix Coyotes 35/1 Calgary Flames 35/1 Carolina Hurricanes 35/1 Dallas Stars 35/1 New York Rangers 35/1 St. Louis Blues 45/1 Toronto Maple Leafs 60/1 Ottawa Senators 60/1 Colorado Avalanche 65/1 Edmonton Oilers 70/1 Minnesota Wild 70/1 New York Islanders 70/1 Winnipeg 80/1 Columbus Blue Jackets 90/1 Florida Panthers 125/1
The New York Rangers planned to buy out captain Chris Drury, but the New York Post reports they are stuck with the center and his $7.05 million cap hit for next season.
Drury has a degenerative condition in his left knee that apparently will make him medically unable to play in 2011-12, the Post reported. The newspaper says Drury will have to report to training camp in September for the team physical. If he fails, he would then qualify for a long-term injury exemption when the season begins.
In order to get the full value of the $7.05 million exemption, the Rangers would have to go that far over the cap. But the Post reports the inability to buy out the injured player means Drury's cap hit will remain on the Rangers' summer cap, which can exceed the 2011-12 season cap by 10 percent.
Sabres fans will hear familiar voices during the broadcasts of every game next season, even the ones without usual play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret.
Danny Gare and Kevin Sylvester will call the majority of Buffalo's road games, the team announced today. The Sabres were looking for replacements for Harry Neale and Jeanneret, who announced he was cutting back on travel, and they tabbed two well-known faces and voices.
Gare has his jersey number retired by the team thanks to a stellar playing career in the 1970s. He has done numerous television and emcee jobs for the Sabres, and he was also a broadcaster for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"This is a very exciting opportunity for me, and I’m looking forward to getting back into the fold with the Sabres organization," said Gare, who will work the color commentary role. "I think Kevin is a very good broadcaster, and our styles will complement each other well."
Sylvester has been on the Sabres' broadcast team since 2005 as a game and studio host. He filled in for Jeanneret several times in recent seasons during the longtime announcer's vacations.
"I am thrilled for the opportunity to call away games," Sylvester said. “I have tremendous respect for RJ’s mastery of Sabres play-by-play and am happy that he will continue. I’m also excited to share the booth with Danny Gare, whose experience and knowledge of the game will be great assets to all Sabres fans."
Jeanneret will work 10 to 15 road games, depending on the yet-to-be-released NHL schedule. The rest will belong to Sylvester and Gare.
"Of the numerous applicants we received for these positions, we realized that our most qualified candidates came from within," Sabres President Ted Black said. "Both Kevin and Danny have a familiarity with the players and the organization, and there is also an existing comfort level with our fans. These were important factors in our decision-making process."
Well, the NHL season is over. They're celebrating in Boston and cleaning up in riotous Vancouver. As usual, the folks in Buffalo watched it all with interest.
NBC Sports has released the overnight viewership numbers for Boston's 4-0 win in Game Seven, and the Buffalo market ranked third in the United States with a 10.6 rating and 17 share. Boston was first with a record 43.4/64, while Bruins' minor-league affiliate town of Providence was second at 25.9/38.
Chara was the first to lift the Cup after the Bruins' decisive 4-0 victory in Vancouver over the Canucks in Game Seven of the championship series Wednesday. He raised it to the sky again when he was the last player off the team's plane following a noisy overnight flight that landed at Logan International Airport at about 8:30 this morning. Then he lifted and shook it one more time when the team got off the bus in front of TD Garden minutes later.
"We got it done, we brought it back to Boston and this is where it belongs," coach Claude Julien said.
*Parked cars were set on fire, others were tipped over and people threw beer bottles at giant television screens in Vancouver following the Canucks' 4-0 loss.
People chanted obscenities and some leaped over raging bonfires as riot police moved in to try to restore order in the downtown streets strewn with garbage and filled with acrid smoke. Flames shot about 10 yards into the air off the cars and some bystanders tossed firecrackers.
The Vancouver Sun has front-to-back coverage of the rioting, with videos, pictures and essays.
(My buddy George Richards of the Miami Herald suggests on his On Frozen Pond Facebook page the rioting is due to the seamy underside of the city. I can't disagree. As I wrote for our 2010 Olympic Preview, "Vancouver has a homeless and panhandling problem that permeates the city, with an estimated 3,000 living on the streets. Vancouver also is lenient about drug use. The aroma of marijuana wafts through many neighborhoods, and the city is also the controversial home to North America's first supervised drug injection site."
It is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in North America -- if you're looking at it from the outside.)
*Although Brad Marchand appears headed for a long NHL career, he'll always have trouble topping what he did as a rookie while driving the Bruins to the Stanley Cup. Marchand had two goals and an assist in the Bruins' 4-0 victory, ending his first NHL playoff campaign in sparkling fashion.
*Roberto Luongo insists the Canucks will be back.
"We're devastated, but we're a good team and we'll be back," said the dejected Luongo, his voice breaking slightly as he fought back tears.
*(I don't gamble on sports -- anyone who's seen my caveat when I put up odds knows that -- but I wonder what I could have earned for picking Boston to beat Vancouver in the finals way back in October.)
Will Roberto Luongo be a rock in net tonight for the Vancouver Canucks? Or will Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas be the one to lead his team to Stanley Cup glory? John Vogl and Mike Harrington take a look at Game 7.
Roberto Luongo survived the pressure to win an Olympic gold medal last year in Rogers Arena. He's going to have to defy the detractors again to win the Stanley Cup tonight in his home barn. Here's a look at today's front page from the Vancouver Province, which clearly puts the onus on the Canucks' goaltender to get it done in Game Seven.
The Hall announced a dozen inductees for the 2011 class this morning, with an introductory news conference set for 3 this afternoon in HSBC Arena. Former Bills All-Pro guard Ruben Brown and two-time Super Bowl champ Jim Burt of Orchard Park will give remarks on behalf of the class.
The other honorees are: Curtis Aiken, basketball standout for Bennett and the University of Pittsburgh; Don Colpoys, baseball player, coach and administrator; Jim Lorentz, longtime player and broadcaster for the Sabres; Phil Mankowski, major league baseball player; Steve Mesler, bobsled gold medalist at the 2010 Olympics; and Cindy Miller, golf professional and teacher.
Four others will join the Pride of Western New York, which honors deceased athletes: Cookie Gilchrist, Bills fullback; Lewis “Deerfoot” Bennett, a long-distance runner in the 1800s; Michael Broderick, a founder of the West Side Rowing Club; and William Morgan, credited with inventing volleyball.
The dozen members represent the 21st class inducted to the hall since its inception in 1991. The hall now has 240 members.
This is it. The last game of the 2010-11 NHL season. It'll be either Tim Thomas and the Bruins or (insert someone finally stepping up here) and the Canucks winning the Stanley Cup tonight.
*The Vancouver Canucks have traded home victories of increasing intensity with the Boston Bruins for six games, with their veteran goalies dueling before a backdrop of bites, taunts, dangerous injuries and gut-wrenching road losses. The Presidents' Trophy-winning Canucks and the profoundly resilient Bruins will play their 107th and final game when their draining seasons finally end in Game Seven tonight.
Both teams are ready to enjoy their drastically shortened summers, but nobody can bear the thought of coming this far without drinking from the Stanley Cup.
"Everything in the past is in the past," Vancouver center Ryan Kesler said. "If we win [tonight], we become legends."
*The Canucks are counting on fan support as they try to hold serve in a series already featuring six home victories. Only three times in Stanley Cup finals history has a home team won all seven games: in 2003, 1965 and 1955.
*The hockey sticks were loaded on the plane. The goalie pads were placed in the baggage compartment. The skates were stowed on board.
What about the aggressive playing style that brought three dominant victories at home?
Raymond sustained a "vertebrae compression fracture" Monday night, the team said today. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk rode him into the boards 20 seconds into Boston's 5-2 victory that forced a decisive Game Seven on Wednesday night in Vancouver.
*The Ottawa Senators have a new coach, and new philosophy. Paul MacLean, an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings the past five years, was hired today by a team that failed to make the playoffs two of the last three seasons.
"I think it's important in the NHL today that the coach and players communicate," MacLean said at a news conference. "Communication with the players is important in empowering them and having them invest in what you're trying to do and what you're trying to accomplish. It's not me against them. It's us - the Ottawa Senators - against the rest of the league."
Happy Tuesday, though I'm sure Roberto Luongo would disagree.
*Inexplicably, the Canucks took the evening off for the biggest game of the season, Bucky Gleason writes from Boston following the Bruins' 5-2 victory Monday night. You have to wonder if the Canucks are crumbling under the pressure and the expectations of a nation that hasn't hoisted the Cup since Montreal won it all in 1993.
Game Six wasn't really a game, but a smackdown for the Bruins. The good news for the Canucks was that Roberto Luongo will be well rested Wednesday for Game Seven. He was sent to the bench with 11:25 remaining in the first period, or roughly four minutes too late.
*Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic and Andrew Ference scored in the first 8:35 to chase Luongo from his second straight game in Boston, and the Bruins emphatically evened the finals with a 5-2 victory in Game Six, sending the series to a decisive Game Seven in Vancouver on Wednesday night.
For the sixth time in the last 10 seasons, the finals have been stretched to their limit. The home team hasn't lost in this series, with Vancouver winning three one-goal games and Boston posting three blowout victories.
But Vancouver's inconsistent goalie didn't plan to dwell on his latest journey to a loss too long. He was already looking forward to the cross-continent trip back home.
"There's one game for the Stanley Cup, so you can't hang your head now and feel sorry for yourself," Luongo said after the Boston Bruins forced a seventh game with a 5-2 win over the Canucks on Monday night. "That would be the worst thing I could do."
*Brad Marchand wasted little time setting a Boston Bruins record for goals by a rookie in a playoff year. Marchand's ninth goal of the postseason broke a team rookie record set by Mike Krushelnyski in 1983 and tied by Bobby Joyce in 1988.
*Vancouver's Mason Raymond was driven backside-first into the corner boards by Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk. He stayed down on his stomach, unable to get up on his own. Eventually he was helped to his feet by linemates Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins. Raymond needed help just to step up to the bench. He couldn't walk down the hallway on his own power.
The official word from the Canucks that came in the first intermission was that Raymond was transported to a local hospital with an undisclosed injury.
Detroit Red Wings assistant Paul MacLean has been hired as the new coach of the Ottawa Senators. The Senators fired head coach Cory Clouston and two assistants in April after the team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
*The NHL's competition committee agrees with a recommendation to broaden the league's definition of illegal hits to the head.
BOSTON -- There is nothing greater in sports than the seventh game of a playoff series, and it's even better when a championship is on the line. The Bruins did their part again Monday with a 5-2 win over Vancouver to set up one game for the Stanley Cup.
Roberto Luongo was brutal once again in allowing three goals on eight shots before getting chased for the second time in the series. What is with this guy? He's a $10 million goaltender who was worth about 10 cents during the three games in Boston. He allowed 15 goals in the three starts and split town with an 8.05 goals-against average in TD Garden.
"They came out flying," Luongo said. "I obviously didn't make enough key saves to weather the storm early. We're going to put what happened tonight behind us as soon as possible and get ready for what is going to be a dream, playing in Game Seven in the Stanley Cup final."
If he has another stinker, it's going to be a nightmare for the Canucks. They lost in seven games i8n 1994, when Mark Messier scored the winner for the Rangers. The Canucks are looking for their first Cup in 40 NHL seasons. The Bruins are gunning for their first since 1972.
The Bruins deserve their share of credit. They were buzzing early, but Luongo failed to make a routine save on Brad Marchand for the first goal, allowed Milan Lucic to score 5-hole for the second goal and was gone with 11:35 left in the first period.
"Both teams have fought for 106 games to get to his point," said Bruins winger Milan Lucic, a Vancouver native. "It definitely doesn’t get any better than this. You dream about, as a kid growing up, playing in Game Seven in a Stanley Cup final. Here we are, in that situation. We have to go there, do what we need to do to win and embrace the situation."
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.
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.
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.