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Miller, Vanek, Ehrhoff highlight Sabres' lineup vs. Leafs

The Sabres have taken the ice for the morning skate in First Niagara Center, with the players set to travel to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs tonight. The lineup will be:


Thomas Vanek-Derek Roy-Jason Pominville

Nathan Gerbe-Paul Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta

Colin Stuart-Cody McCormick-Brad Boyes

Michael Ryan-Matt Ellis-Corey Tropp


Jordan Leopold-Christian Ehrhoff

Brayden McNabb-Mike Weber

Marc-Andre Gragnani-T.J. Brennan


Ryan Miller

Drew MacIntyre

---John Vogl

Hecht remains out for the weekend

Jochen Hecht will not play in the Sabres' three games this weekend, coach Lindy Ruff announced after Thursday's double session in First Niagara Center. Ruff said Hecht, who needed stitches in the lip after a collision with Shaone Morrisonn early in camp, is being held out but should skate next week. Hecht, remember, could not get back on the ice during the playoffs due to what was later learned to be concussion symptoms.

"A little bit of it is us being precuationary here," Ruff said.

The coach set his goaltender rotation for the home-and-home against Toronto, with Ryan Miller going Friday in Air Canada Centre and Jhonas Enroth going Saturday night at home. 

Update on our previous note on Tim Connolly: The Leafs have confirmed the former Sabre missed Thursday's practice for personal reasons. He will play Friday against his old team but will not travel to Buffalo for Saturday's game.

The Sabres announced that the Rochester Americans will open their training camp Monday afternoon in Blue Cross Arena, so the club should be paring its roster significantly in the next couple of days. There are still 52 players in camp.

---Mike Harrington

Around the boards: Connolly, Conacher, Carolina

---Tim Connolly didn't practice today in Toronto for what his teammates are telling reporters were personal reasons (TSN says it's family-related).  No word yet on his status for the Sabres/Leafs games the next two nights. 

---Big night for former Canisius star Cory Conacher, who got a goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning against St. Louis Wednesday. Conacher even played on a line with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.  The undrafted free agent is pushing hard for a roster spot and impressing coach Guy Boucher, as this St. Pete Times story says. Conacher is expected to play again Friday against the Florida Panthers.

Also on the local college front, former Niagara star Matt Caruana was returned by the Leafs to the Toronto Marlies, where he scored six goals in 33 games last season.

---The Carolina Hurricanes have signed GM Jim Rutherford to a four-year extension.

---Mike Harrington

Carpet walk to precede Saturday's game

The Sabres said today that Saturday's preseason game against Toronto is a sellout, but even fans without tickets can watch the players' annual carpet walk into the building beginning at 4:30. There's no red carpet this year -- it's going to be a blue and gold walk.

The players will be arriving in convertibles at the arena plaza area. MSG's Kevin Sylvester and Janet Snyder from KISS 98.5 FM will be the hosts.

---Mike Harrington

Modano calls it a career through social media

ModanoPerhaps the greatest American-born player in hockey history announced his retirement in the last half-hour -- on Twitter and Facebook.

Mike Modano, who put the Stanley Cup over his head on that unforgettable June night here in 1999 while with the Dallas Stars (right), took to social media to announce he's calling it a career and will have a press conference to chat it up on Friday. Modano tweeted the announcement that links to a message on his Facebook page.

Wrote Modano:

After a long summer of thinking about my future, I've come to the decision that it's time to retire as a player from the NHL. There's way too many people to thank here at this time and too much to say, so I have a press conference scheduled for early Friday afternoon. Check back Friday late afternoon for more. What a great ride it's been!

Modano retires with 561 goals and 1,374 points in a long career that stretched from Minnesota to Dallas and ended last year with Detroit. It all started with two playoff games for the North Stars way back in 1989. He's the all-time scoring leader in points and goals for Americans and becomes the last player still active during the 1980s to retire.

---Mike Harrington

Photo: Getty Images 

Miller, new defensemen among those playing tonight in Montreal

Several of the Sabres' big names will make their preseason debuts tonight in Montreal against the Canadiens. The game group was on the ice this morning in First Niagara Center before making the afternoon flight and then heading right to the Bell Centre (preseason affairs are hops, skips and jumps when it comes to travel and such). The game is at 7:30 and it's radio only with no TV or online streaming.

Ryan Miller will be in goal for the Sabres tonight with Jhonas Enroth and also on the ice will be Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Jason Pominville, Robyn Regehr and Christian Ehrhoff. They all sat out Monday's 3-1 win over Carolina. 

The defense tonight will include Regehr, Ehrhoff, Tyler Myers, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Drew Schiestel and Dennis Persson. Roy will center Vanek and Pominville on the main forward line. The Tyler Ennis-Ville Leino-Drew Stafford line that debuted Monday will play again while Luke Adam will be between Brad Boyes and Nathan Gerbe. Matt Ellis will center Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno.

"It's going to be exciting to be behind the bench and get a good read on them," Ruff said. "It's a blending in process. We want to see how Regehr can play with Myers. ... I'm excited to see how they do."

Adam, who played with Kassian and Foligno on the team's kid line Monday,  is getting another look tonight with some veterans.

"I want to see what Luke can do in different situations whille still evaluating the Folignos and Kassians," said Ruff. "Luke is going to play with good offensive players and that's no disregard to Marcus and Zach. Sometimes when you play with established players, you ramp it up a little bit. We'll give him an opportunity and see when he can do with them."

In other news, the Sabres have signed goaltender Jeff Jakaitis to a one-year AHL contract. Jakaitis split time last year between the AHL and Central Hockey League, going 22-17-3, 2.58 for Dayton of the CHL, 4-1, 3.19 for the Portland Pirates and 1-2, 3.60 for the Worcester Sharks. 

With Drew MacIntyre and David Leggio already under contract, the Sabres appear to have their goaltenders for Rochester. So Jakaitis would appear to be headed for Buffalo's newest affiliate, the Gwinnett Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League. They announced last night that the Sabres and Phoenix Coyotes will combine to stock their team.

---Mike Harrington

Sabres send 10 players back to juniors

The Sabres have made their first cuts of training camp, sending 10 players back to their junior teams and another back to his minor-league squad.

Mark Pysyk, Buffalo's first-round pick in the 2010 draft, and West Seneca's Alex Lepokowski head the list of junior trims. The defensemen will head back to Edmonton of the Western Hockey League and Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League, respectively. Also getting sent down were: forwards Steven Beyers (Barrie, OHL), Dan Catenacci (Owen Sound, OHL), Cedrick Henley (Val D’Or, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League), Steven Shipley (Niagara, OHL), Kevin Sundher (Victoria, WHL) and Gregg Sutch (Barrie, OHL); defenseman Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (Rimouski, QMJHL); and goaltender Nathan Lieuwen (Kootenay, WHL).

In addition, Ryan Rondeau has been returned to Laredo of the Central Hockey League.

The Sabres still have 52 players in training camp (30 forwards, 17 defensemen and five goaltenders).

---John Vogl

Sabres skate without Hecht; Boyes returns

The Sabres are practicing without Jochen Hecht today in First Niagara Center, as the veteran forward is nursing an injury.

Hecht left practice early Sunday after getting clipped near the mouth and needing stitches.

"A couple guys a little nicked up," coach Lindy Ruff said. "Jochen has missed a couple days, Brad Boyes has missed a couple days, with nothing but minor stuff. It looks like they should be back on the ice tomorrow."

Boyes, who was walking around the arena with a heating pad on his lower back, is back and taking part in the afternoon practice session.

---John Vogl

NHL Network host to join Sabres' broadcast crew

The Sabres' television crew will soon be getting a new face. Brian Duff, who headlines "On the Fly" on the NHL Network, will join the telecasts as the game-night host for the broadcasts without Rick Jeanneret.

Kevin Sylvester normally handles the pregame, postgame and intermission duties, but he is sliding into the play-by-play role for 25 games as Jeanneret eases his travel schedule. When Sylvester is in the booth, Duff will take his spot downstairs.

Duff, a resident of the Toronto area, did broadcasting work for the Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers prior to joining NHL Network.

---John Vogl

Live from the FNC: Welcome to the preseason

Welcome back to our perch high atop HSB. ... Oh. Sorry. ... First Niagara Center for tonight's preseason opener between the Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes. We're all going to have to get used to that one too. I think PA announcer Jay Moran even took a breath and a hiccup when welcoming fans. I caught the hesitation.

Mike Harrington here on the blog with John Vogl manning the game story and notebook this evening while I do some other duties for our preview section -- which comes out Thursday, Oct. 6.  (Get your print copy -- hint/hint). Bucky Gleason will be in his customary columnist role this season. I think it's going to be his 14th season covering the team at The News (might even be 15) in addition to his time spent with the AP.

I know a lot of you are hoping this season runs to June and we'll be with you in print and online every step of the way as long as it goes, all the way to Europe and from sea to shining sea across North America. Even Winnipeg,  while our man Vogl continues to mourn the loss of trips to his beloved Atlanta.

We're in preseason mode here so we'll have some random thoughts during the game that will be focused more on who's looking good, playing with whom, etc., rather than the brute game updates our out-of-towners need.

The slugs are gone from the scoreboard, replaced by the classic circle logo and "First Niagara Center" is up on the board. It wasn't there eight hours ago when I was watching practice. Quick work. "HSBC Arena" is gone from the main marquee outside too, replaced I'm sure in the next day or two.

The "We Live Hockey" slogan the team is using got a nice run here on the HD board with a quick video featuring alumni like Jim Lorentz, Danny Gare, Michael Peca, Matthew Barnaby, Richie Dunn and Larry Carriere talking about where they're from and the places they've played in but pointing out how they now live in Buffalo. Cool.

The Hurricanes are not dressing Jeff Skinner or Cam Ward in this one. Brian Boucher -- yep, he of Philadelphia in the spring -- is starting in goal. The Sabres are starting AHL signee Drew MacIntyre and Jhonas Enroth will relieve. Sabretooth still in preseason mode with his repel -- team already on the ice and he nearly took out poor Alex Biega.

Sabres starters: Foligno-Adam-Kassian-Brennan-Biega.

Kudos to the NHL for a touching video remembering all those lost in the Russian plane crash as well as Wade Belak, Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard. Big round of applause when he was over.

Exhibition season on. Game on.

---Mike Harrington

First Period

14;16 left: I forgot how much I miss TV timeouts to help blog. Patrick Kaleta took his first unnecessary penalty of the preseason, a charging call that was clear retaliation for a hit he took. At least he went off with Anthony Stewart (high sticking). Ville Leino had an impressive opening shift. Great puck control. sick hands while working with Stafford and Ennis. He's an upgrade in the middle.

Big names out for Buffalo include Miller, Vanek,  Roy,  Pominville, Regehr and Ehrhoff. That's some major money in the stands tonight.

12:00 left: The Canes' first shot is a slapper from Stewart on a 2-on-1. Nice stop by MacIntyre after Biega got caught.

The Buffalo lines: Foligno-Adam-Kassian, Ennis-Leino-Stafford, Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta,  Whitmore-McCormick-Tropp. Defense: Brennan-Tropp, Sekera-Myers, Gragnani-Weber.

Nice scoreboard greeting from someone I was supposed to know I guess. No graphic so I'm clueless. Vogl, a huge wrestling guy, had to fill me in that it was C.M. Punk. Again, I guess I'm supposed to know him.

7:15 left: Sabres going to their first PP after a tripping penalty on Justin Faulk. Shots are 5-2 for the Canes. Ennis just fired wide prior to the call after a nice drop pass from Stafford.  Buffalo killed off a penalty and Stafford was one of the killers along with Gerbe (Kaleta-Gaustad were the other forwards). I'd like to see elite forwards like Stafford and Vanek got more PK time this season. They need to be on the ice, not buried. Let's see if Lindy Ruff hears my call.

4:00 left: Stafford looks really strong with the puck thus far. Gragnani struggled at the point on that PP playing with Myers and the Leino line. The Adam line got PP time with Brennan and Sekera.

2:38 left: Boucher's best save on an Adam snapper. Nice feed from Kassian on the 3-on-2. In a scoreless game, the Canes have a 7-4 edge in shots.

End-1st: Zip-zip.  Shots 8-7 for the Canes. Pretty nondescript period. But keep in mind the amount of Buffalo talent not on the ice in this one. Whole new world.

Second Period

Of note: A bunch of you caught me on Twitter saying "Live from the Arena". I told you I was in preseason mode too. ... Leino the only Sabre with two shots on goal in the first.

19:37 left: Canes score first as Brandon Sutter dekes McIntyre on a breakaway after getting a loose puck away from Brennan. Canes lead, 1-0

15:30 left: Ice time and health will be a huge key for Stafford this year. Nice shot there that Boucher made a good save on. Interesting Lindy called Ennis-Leino-Stafford a "paper" line, as in you write it on paper and then see what works. So far, this one looks like it's a shade above paper status. Excellent start.

12:04 left: The Adam line certainly dominated during the Traverse City prospect tournament but it's a little different in the real NHL, even in the exhibition season. Adam is clearly the most comfortable and that stands to reason. Foligno just flubbed a chance for a 2-on-1 when he didn't have his stick on the ice for an Adam pass.

10:57 left: Enroth comes in to big cheers. MacIntyre stops 9 of 10.

8:57 left: Sabres have just two shots in the period and nine in 31 minutes. Not much offense on the ice and it shows. 

5:22 left: They just dropped this one on the HD board -- Blue and Gold carpet walk by the players outside Saturday at 5 prior to the Leafs game.

3:00 left: Not a good night for Gragnani. Struggling with the puck on the power play. In the wake of Sekera's $11 million contract, Gragnani is in a tough spot to crack the top six of this club even in the wake of his terrific work in the playoffs in April.

 2:00 left: Enroth with the save of the night on Jamie McBain. He looks sharp and crisp in the crease. Get him 22 games this year, Lindy!

End-2nd: Canes still lead 1-0. Shots are 18-14 for Carolina (10-7 in that period). It ended with Justin Krueger nearly topping into the box where Rob Ray reports from, helped by a spin from Gerbe.

Third Period

Of note: Leino leads both sides with four shots. Buffalo has a 16-15 edge in faceoffs. Not a whole lot of intensity until the last couple minutes of the second period. Hardly unexpected. The Sabres' first practice was Saturday. A lot asking them to go right into five games in seven days. Unusual schedule this year. ... Justin Peters takes over for Boucher in the Carolina goal.

19:13 left: Sabres keep their momentum as Gaustad scores on a nifty backhand pass from Kaleta. Game tied,  1-1.

15:51 left: Restoring the laptop from an outage and the Gaustad line is at it against. Gaustad with a sick pass to Gerbe for a tap-in to Peters' right. Sabres lead, 2-1.

12:00 left: Sabres on the PP. As for as unheralded kids go,  I like Derek Whitmore's game tonight. Been strong with the puck a couple of times, doesn't seem nervous. He should have a good run with the Amerks.

9:15 left: Don't like on the power play -- too many point shots not getting through. Bet there's been five blocked by the Canes tonight. I'm sure Christian Ehrhoff helps that issue.

8:40 left: Foligno stopped on a 3-on-1 from in tight. A pass to Adam in the slot might have been the better choice there.

6:09 left: I don't care that it's the first preseason game. I like when a team knows it's winning time. Down 1-0 after 40 minutes, Sabres have two goals and an 11-3 edge in shots in the third. Nice.

It's over: Sabres hold on for a 3-1 win with Gaustad and Enroth your key performers. Kaleta gets an empty netter right at the horn. The final shots were 27-21 for Buffalo but the 'T' box on the shot counter boards remained empty. Making me figure those totals quick on the fly. I'd Like that bug fixed by Oct. 13, please.

Kaleta and Gerbe (1-2-3) both with three points in the third period. Gaustad (1-1) with two and he went 8-4 in the circle. 

They announce a sellout of 18,690. This place cleared out over the final 10 minutes. You people all going early to avoid a snowstorm or what?

MacIntyre, Enroth to split crease in Sabres' opener

Lindy Ruff wants to get a look at the new guy, so Drew MacIntrye will be the Sabres' starting goaltender in their preseason opener tonight.

MacIntyre was signed in the offseason to be the third goalie in the organization, giving Buffalo an experienced fallback behind rookie backup Jhonas Enroth. The 28-year-old MacIntyre is entering his ninth season as a pro and is highly regarded, as his minor-league salary of $200,000 would suggest.

"We’ve got another goalie we brought into the system, we’re going to take a little look at him tonight," Ruff said in First Niagara Center, where the Sabres host Carolina at 7 p.m. "With five games in seven nights, we’ll probably split the next one then kind of go every other game. Goalies like playing full games. They don’t really like playing half a game, so I’ll discuss the preseason, the tail end of it, with both Jhonas and Ryan [Miller] and go from there."

Enroth will play the second half of tonight's game.

"Jhonas will come in in relief like he may have to during the season," Ruff said.

---John Vogl

Myers, Leino, Kassian highlight Sabres' roster for preseason opener

The Sabres' first lineup of the preseason will feature established stars, a prime newcomer and three of the team's top prospects.

Tyler Myers, Ville Leino, Drew Stafford and the line of Zack Kassian, Luke Adam and Marcus Foligno highlight Buffalo's roster for tonight's game against Carolina in First Niagara Center (7 p.m.,, Goaltender Jhonas Enroth is expected to start for Buffalo (POST-PRACTICE UPDATE: Coach Lindy Ruff said Enroth will play the second half of the game, while Drew MacIntyre will start). The Sabres play five games in seven nights to kick off the 2011-12 campaign.

The lineup:


Tyler Ennis-Ville Leino-Drew Stafford

Nathan Gerbe-Paul Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta

Marcus Foligno-Luke Adam-Zack Kassian

Derek Whitmore-Cody McCormick-Corey Tropp


Andrej Sekera-Tyler Myers

Mike Weber--Marc-Andre Gragnani

T.J. Brennan-Alex Biega


Jhonas Enroth

Drew MacIntyre

---John Vogl

Sabres inadvertently scoop Senators on new jersey

The Ottawa Senators have been working hard on a third jersey, designing one to reflect their heritage. They have a big unveiling set for Oct. 1, and they've been building interest in the event.

Then the Sabres Store put the jersey on its rack.

The Senators sent out a release today confirming that their new jersey was prematurely released in Buffalo. Photos had shown up on the Internet, and the Sens said the jersey was mistakenly sent by Reebok to the retailer prior to its official release.

“While we are very disappointed to have our new jersey revealed in this manner, we are pleased to see the early comments from fans are extremely positive,” said Jeff Kyle, Senators vice president of marketing. “We believe that this jersey will be a top seller in the National Hockey League this season, especially as fans learn the story behind how it was designed.

“We have spent over two years developing this uniform and one of the most interesting aspects is that we did it in conjunction with a Senators fan. We look forward to telling the story of how a fan helped us develop a uniform that incorporates elements of the early Senators teams into what we feel will become a truly iconic symbol of Senators hockey."

---John Vogl

Hecht gets nicked at camp

Jochen Hecht became the first Sabre to get dinged up at training camp.

Hecht got clipped in the mouth during the Sabres' final practice group of the day. He left the ice for stitches and returned, but he is not back out for the group's second on-ice session.

The injury likely should not force him to miss any additional time.

---John Vogl

Gragnani's start with Sabres inifinitely better than last year

The Sabres are halfway through Day Two of training camp, and Marc-Andre Gragnani is walking around with a smile. That's because he's walking.

The defenseman suffered a knee sprain on the opening day of camp last September and missed a month.

"I’ve already doubled my experience of camp from last year," Gragnani said today after finishing his second session in Northtown Center at Amherst.

Last year's injury to the 24-year-old cost him any chance to make the Sabres early in the season. After finishing the year in Buffalo and leading the team in points during the playoffs, he worked this summer to stay in peak form.

"I was a lot more strict with myself, going to bed earlier and getting up earlier, never missing a meal, not going out – I don’t want to say at all – but almost, seriously, not at all," said the Montreal resident. "It was all the sacrifices that I need to do if I want to play here and succeed. I don’t want to just play here. I want to play here and be a factor and have a great year and move forward."

---John Vogl

Sabres hire Numminen as third assistant coach

Late in Teppo Numminen's playing career, the Sabres looked at him as another coach on the ice, a wise veteran who could teach on the fly.

Numminen's career as an actual coach began today when the Sabres started training camp. Coach Lindy Ruff has hired Numminen to be the third assistant on his staff, joining James Patrick and Kevyn Adams.

"It was exciting," Numminen said in Northtown Center following the team's first workouts. "It’s been in the back of my mind. When I was playing when I was young, I said that’s the last thing I want to do is be a coach. My dad was a coach, a [Finnish] national team coach, so as a family I grew up there with all the good times and bad times. That was never my option, then the last 10 years when I was playing I wanted to do something, so coaching was coming up in my thoughts.

"Retiring two years ago and then realizing that I still care about the game and it’s still a passion for myself and I couldn’t get rid of the game, so then just a great opportunity came, and I’m just excited that it worked out."

During games, Numminen will be in the press box with a headset talking to his fellow assistants stationed on the bench.

"He’s going to give us a little bit of a European flair," Ruff said. "He was a consultant at the world championships for the Finns, who won last year. He’s going to be a good addition."

---John Vogl

Sabres' camp is in full swing; Myers' first partner is Sekera

The Sabres’ season has begun inside frigid Northtown Center in Amherst. The first practice day of training camp has the team split into three groups, with the opening pack on the ice. Practices are set to end at 1 p.m.

The groups:

Group A


Tyler Ennis-Ville Leino-Drew Stafford
Nathan Gerbe-Paul Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta
Marcus Foligno-Luke Adam-Zack Kassian
Derek Whitmore-Cody McCormick-Corey Tropp


Andrej Sekera-Tyler Myers
Mike Weber-Marc-Andre Gragnani
T.J. Brennan-Alex Biega


Jhonas Enroth
Drew MacIntyre

Group B


Thomas Vanek-Derek Roy-Jason Pominville
Michael Ryan-Travis Turnbull-Ales Kotalik
Riley Boychuk-Daniel Catenacci-Jacob Lagace
Cedrick Henley-Steven Shipley-Jonathan Parker


Jordan Leopold-Christian Ehrhoff
Robyn Regehr-Jerome Gauthier-Leduc
Nick Crawford-Corey Fienhage


David Leggio
Nathan Lieuwen
Ryan Rondeau

Group C


Matt Ellis-Jochen Hecht-Brad Boyes
Colin Stuart-Phil Varone-Shawn Szydlowski
Gregg Sutch-Kevin Sundher-Steven Beyers
(Empty)-Mark Voakes-Maxime Legault


Shaone Morrisonn-Dennis Persson
Drew Schiesetel-Joe Finley
Brayden McNabb-Mark Pysyk
Alex Lepkowski-Matt MacKenzie


Ryan Miller
Jeff Jakaitis

---John Vogl

Miller, Ruff speak on opening day for Sabres

The physicals and testing are done in First Niagara Center, and all the Sabres are clear to begin practicing Saturday when training camp begins in earnest.

Coach Lindy Ruff and goaltender Ryan Miller previewed the season today, and their audio is below.

---John Vogl


Lindy Ruff


Ryan Miller

Sabres' logo above the ice, players on it

Greetings from First Niagara Center for the first official on-ice session of the 2011-12 season.

The prospects, back from their tournament championship in Michigan, have just completed their final solo practice. The regulars will steal the show starting at 10 a.m. as they begin their on-ice testing and physicals. (Paul Gaustad got the jump on everyone, coming onto the ice at 9:43 a.m.) The first full practices will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Northtown Center.

While we wait to chat with the players, here's a shot of the changing scoreboard. The regular logo is now on the bottom -- a change from Thursday -- and surely the arena's name is coming soon.


---John Vogl

Myers, Sabres happy to have each other for 8 more years

The Sabres have locked up not only one of the NHL's best young defensemen, General Manager Darcy Regier said, they have one of the best defensemen period. And they have him for eight more years.

The Sabres and Tyler Myers took less than two weeks to hammer out a seven-year contract extension, signing the $38.5 million deal today that will keep the defenseman in Buffalo through the 2018-19 season. Myers was pleased the team initiated the talks just before the 21-year-old started the final year of his entry-level contract.

"I've wanted to be a Sabre for a long time, and I'm very excited," Myers said in First Niagara Center.

Myers, the 12th overall pick of the 2008 draft and 2010 Rookie of the Year, is in line to be the Sabres' cornerstone defenseman, a role he's seemed destined to fill since cracking the lineup as a 19-year-old.

"It's been nothing short of a terrific start to what I think will be a fantastic career," Regier said.

The signing added even more buoyancy to Sabreland, which has been floating in Hockey Heaven for months.

"Our team is better than last year," owner Terry Pegula said, "and we finished pretty good last year. That should be a good feeling for everybody."

---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 |

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 |

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 |