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Sabres, Myers finalize seven-year extension, reportedly worth $38.5 million

The Sabres and defenseman Tyler Myers wrapped up their contract extension talks this morning, with the sides agreeing to a seven-year deal.

TSN is reporting the deal is worth $38.5 million. Myers will make $12 million, including a $10 million signing bonus, in the first year of the deal (2012-13). The remain salaries, according to TSN, are $6 million in 2013-14, $5 million in '14-15 and '15-16, followed by $4 million, $3.5 million and $3 million. The annual salary cap hit is $5.5 million

"We had two sides that wanted to stay together," Myers' agent, J.P. Barry, told The News on Wednesday. "Tyler wanted to remain a Sabre, and having this done at an early stage was something that he wanted. He's happy that the club approached him about wanting to do this early."

The 21-year-old is entering the final year of his three-year, entry-level contract that pays $1.3 million per season. The new long-term pact will keep him in Buffalo through 2018-19.

The Sabres have called a news conference featuring owner Terry Pegula, team President Ted Black and General Manager Darcy Regier for 2 this afternoon in First Niagara Center.

---John Vogl

Myers' agent: Deal with Sabres 'not far away'

Contract extension talks between the Sabres and defenseman Tyler Myers are nearing their final stages, with Myers' agent telling The Buffalo News the sides are "not far away at all."

"We’ve been working for the better part of the last week here, and we’re definitely proceeding here every day," J.P. Barry said by phone late this afternoon. "We’re working hard on trying to get something finalized.

"We’re still here doing some stuff today, so we hope to continue today. We’re not far away at all."

The last hurdle in the talks, Barry said, is finalizing the term. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported early today the deal could be for six years and $33 million. Barry said it will be a long-term extension for Myers, who is entering the final season of his three-year, entry-level deal with an annual salary of $1.3 million.

"We’ve had a couple of time frames that we’ve talked about, and that’s what the work is here today," Barry said. "I expect to talk to [General Manager Darcy] Regier again soon.

"We had two sides that wanted to stay together. Tyler wanted to remain a Sabre, and having this done at an early stage was something that he wanted. He’s happy that the club approached him about wanting to do this early."

---John Vogl

Sabres making special deliveries

A lucky group of Sabres season-ticket holders are getting a special delivery today, courtesy of some of the biggest names in the organization.

Owner Terry Pegula, President Ted Black and players Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff, Jason Pominville, Ville Leino, Nathan Gerbe and Derek Roy are personally delivering the tickets to random fans throughout Western New York and Southern Ontario.

The players are riding in limos, while Pegula chose to drive his own vehicle. The News is trailing Pegula and Black on their stops.

The first stop was just at the home of Barb Hummell in West Seneca. She has been a hockey season-ticket holder in Buffalo for more than 60 years, 20 with the Bisons and 41 with the Sabres.

She introduced Pegula to her dog, Sabre, and asked if the rumors of an impeding extension for Tyler Myers were true.

"Tyler ain't goin' anywhere," Pegula told Hummell.

---John Vogl

Sabres, Myers close to extension, but nothing expected today

Contract talks between the Buffalo Sabres and defenseman Tyler Myers are indeed moving forward, but a deal between the sides will not be announced today, The Buffalo News has learned.

Myers, entering the final season of his three-year, entry-level deal, is nearing an extension. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported today the deal will be for six years and approximately $33 million.

A source told The News the sides are talking and the conversations are "going in that direction" toward an extension, but nothing is expected to be finalized today.

Myers, who is expected to embrace an even bigger role with the team during his third full season, finished last year with 10 goals and 37 points. He is set to earn $1.3 million in the final year of his opening deal.

---John Vogl

Report: Sabres, Myers close to extension

The Sabres are reportedly close to locking up their biggest rising star.

Buffalo and defenseman Tyler Myers are nearing completion of a long-term contract extension, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported early this morning. McKenzie said the deal is said to be for six years and $33 million.

Myers, the NHL Rookie of the Year in 2010, is about to enter the final year of his three-season, entry-level contract.

---John Vogl

Miller: Winning is a process

Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, back in town and ready for training camp, made a point earlier this week to say that winning is a process. He has been impressed with the offseason moves and management's approach, but he also believes it's another stage in the Sabres' development.

He wanted to make sure people didn't misinterpret the Sabres' push toward winning this season as if they weren't trying to win in another seasons. Otherwise, he suggested, it would trvialize everything they had been trying to accomplish to this point in their careers.

"For some of our shortcomings over the years, not finishing those great runs, we’ve had positive seasons, Miller said. "We’ve had winning records. I don’t want to brush it off and say, 'Now, it starts.' It’s not that I don’t recognize things are changing, but I feel we’ve all put a lot of work in. That goes for Lindy and Darcy and the whole organization.

"There are certain things we’re going to have a little more assistance with, and they’ve definitely evolved as managers and coaches. The sense seems to be that there has been a little bit of an evolution, which needs to happen."

Miller is certain to be a key to their success. He took a step back from his career year in 2009-10, when he led the United States to the gold medal game in the Olympics and won the Vezina Trophy. He made a conscious effort to take a mental break after the season. Oh, one another change was getting married. He exchanged vows with actress Noureen DeWulf during a ceremony in Los Angeles.

"On my wedding day, thought I would be nervous and scattered," Miller said. "I was more centered and focused than I’ve been anywhere, including on the ice. Everything happened easily. The words just came out of my mouth, and it was easy. It’s because I feel good about myself as a person and the person I’m with."

Sounds like Miller is in good frame of mind, a good sign to be sure.

--- Bucky Gleason


Pominville, Roy ready to go

A large number of the Sabres were on hand Monday at Park Country Club for the team's annual alumni golf tournament and there's good news on the injury front: Jason Pominville and Derek Roy both said they are 100 percent physically and ready to start full workouts with the team on Saturday.

Pominville, you'll recall, missed the last two games of the playoff series against Philadelphia after suffering a severed tendon while Roy returned for Game Seven after missing more than four months with his torn quad. Roy was far from 100 percent for that game but said he was improving every day. He took a few weeks off when the series ended to get back to his regular regimen.

For his part, Pominville needs to be officially cleared Friday by team doctors at his annual physical but expects no issues. He's been full-go on his own for several weeks. The injury required several dozen stitches but could have been much worse had it severed his Achilles tendon. Pominville said former backup goalie Patrick Lalime came into the locker room immediately after the leg was cut early in Game Five in Philadelphia.

"I didn't want to look so I asked Patty how bad it was. And he goes, "Oh, it's OK," Pominville recalled. "But I could tell by the look on his face he was pretty grossed out."

Ryan Miller met the media for the first time as a married man, as he tied the knot with longtime girlfriend Noureen DeWulf Sept. 3 in Los Angeles. Asked it how went, Miller smiled at reporters and laughed, "you jumped right into that."

Miller had his first on-ice session in Buffalo Monday morning at the Northtown Center with goaltending coach Jim Corsi and backup Jhonas Enroth. He spoke for a few minutes about the team's new offseason philosophy and gushed when I asked about having some new veteran defensemen in front of him like Robyn Regehr and Christian Ehrhoff.

"I like the way they play," Miller said. "By the time we're done with our games, we're watching some Western games and I like their style, the edge they play with. Ehrhoff is another guy coming in here who can skate really well and I'm excited to have Regehr too. A great guy off the ice but on the ice most people would agree he's not such a nice guy.

I like that element in a defenseman. It's a good attitude to set up our D-corps with. Every game is going to be a grind and a battle. Other teams know they'll have to go through guys with that attitude so that's good."

The team is still finalizing its plans for the weekend as the ice is going into First Niagara Center but won't be used until Monday -- the day of the exhibition opener against Carolina -- because of the wrestling card in the building this weekend. The team is expected to skate Saturday and Sunday in the Northtown Center.

---Mike Harrington

Sabres' Myers eating up food, interview time in NYC

For the fourth time, the NHL has brought some of its top stars to the New York City area for a preseason promotional tour. For the first time, Tyler Myers is there.

He's loving it.

"It’s been really cool," Myers said today by phone. "Being my first experience at this thing, it’s pretty exciting to be here with all the players that were asked to come.

"I’ve got a couple nice dinners the last couple nights, so it’s not too bad."

Aside from the good eats, Myers has been busy with interviews and appearances -- lots of interviews and appearances. He's joined by the likes of Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby and Tim Thomas.

He's ready to be joined by all his fellow Sabres when training camp starts Sept. 17

"I basically just looking forward to getting back at it," Myers said. "I’ve been skating with the guys – most of the guys are back in town – so it’s nice to get on the ice with them and start getting ready for the next season."

---John Vogl

Sabres have slugless scoreboard, walls without tomato coloring

The outside of the arena at the foot of Washington Street looks the same with its HSBC lettering, but things are changing inside First Niagara Center.

I was in the building Thursday night for the Keith Urban concert, and two changes inside the arena bowl were quickly evident. The scoreboard no longer has the Sabres' old "slug" logo hanging from the bottom. Also, the wall at the top of the 100 Level is no longer the tomato color. It's gold and blue to match the Sabres' colors.


Now, as a quick aside regarding the concert, here's a message to anyone who was in Section 207 and telling people to sit down: Really? Really? It's a concert. It's supposed to be fun and loud and, in the right situations, make you stand up and dance.

I have to concur with News music reviewer Jeff Miers on this one: If you want to sit idly by instead of participate in the festivities, buy the concert DVD and stay home on the couch. I'm sure the performers didn't sweat their guitar-playing fingers off in dive bars just so they could pack an arena and have 15,000 "fans" sit and produce golf claps.

---John Vogl

Lokomotiv to be rebuilt

The president of the KHL has said that Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, which was decimated by a plane crash Wednesday, will be rebuilt and begin play next week.

Alexander Medvedev said the other teams in the KHL should offer up to three players from their roster for Lokomotiv, and the league president said teams have been receptive to the plan.

Also, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today called for immediate changes in the country's troubled aviation industry - including sharply reducing the number of airlines - as Russia mourned a crash that killed 43 people.

---John Vogl

Two Russian gold medalists from Buffalo World Juniors among the dead in plane crash

In addition to the former NHLers killed Wednesday in the crash of the plane carrying KHL team Kokomotiv Yaroslavl, the victims include two members of the Russian team that won the gold medal at the World Junior Championships in January at HSBC Arena.

Forward Daniil Sobchenko, San Jose’s sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft, and defenseman Yuri Urychev are confirmed among the dead.  Sobchenko had four goals, tied for second on the team, and three assists in seven games of the tournament. Neither player registered a point during the five-goal third period that stunned Canada in the gold medal game.

One of his Sobchenko's goals, assisted by Urychev, was the tying tally late in the second period of the Russians' 6-3 preliminary-round loss to Canada. He had two more in an 8-2 win over Norway, and talked to Amy Moritz of The News after that game. His final goal came in an 8-3 win over the Czech Republic. The latter two games were played at Niagara University's Dwyer Arena.

Urychev had a goal and three assists, with his goal the first tally in a 4-3 overtime win over Finland in the quarterfinals. 

Sobchenko and Urychev were both 20 and were born 10 days apart in 1991.

---Mike Harrington

Sabres' Vanek has family ties to plane crash victim

Though no former Buffalo players were involved in today's plane crash in Russia that decimated an entire hockey organization, Sabres forward Thomas Vanek does have family ties to a victim.

Josef Vasicek, a former Carolina Hurricane who was among the 43 dead, is linked to Vanek by marriage. Vasicek is the brother of Vanek's sister-in-law (in long form, Vasicek is Vanek's brother's wife's brother).

Luke Decock of the Raleigh News and Observer recalls his time covering Vasicek on his Hurricanes blog.

---John Vogl


No former Sabres in Russian plane crash

The official roster of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the Kontinental Hockey League team that was tragically decimated today in a Russian plane crash, lists no former Buffalo Sabres players or draft picks.

Lokomotiv had several former NHL players on the roster, including coach Brad McCrimmon and forward Pavol Demitra.

"At first we didn't want to believe it, but right now there is no hope," a Lokomotiv official said according to a Russian report. "The team is gone."

KHL President Alexander Medvedev vowed to support the club, which is a three-time champion.

"We will do all that we can to ensure that top level hockey continues in Yaroslavl and that Lokomotiv remains one of the strongest clubs in the Kontinental Hockey League," he said.

---John Vogl

Report: Russian hockey team dies in plane crash

An airplane carrying a Kontinental Hockey League team has crashed in Russia, killing 36 of the 37 passengers. (Update at 10:50 a.m.: The death toll is now at least 43).

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl had several former NHL players on its roster as of Aug. 31, including Pavol Demitra, Karel Rachunek, Ruslan Salei, Josef Vasicek and Karlis Skrastins. No former Buffalo Sabres were listed on Wikipedia, while the team Website has been made unavailable.

Lokomotiv, which was on its way to play in Minsk, Belarus, is coached by longtime NHL defenseman Brad McCrimmon.

According to the Associated Press, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed immediately after leaving an airport near the city of Yaroslavl.

President Dmitry Medvedev, according to the AP, had announced plans to take aging Soviet-built planes out of service starting next year. The Yak-42 has been in service since 1980 and dozens are still in service with Russian and other airlines.

---John Vogl

Sidney Crosby to give health update Wednesday

The NHL's premier player is ready to talk about his health.

Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, who missed the second half of last season with a concussion, will join Penguins General Manager Ray Shero and doctors for a news conference Wednesday. Crosby reportedly is still experiencing symptoms from his January head bumps, though the severity of his problems are not clear. Hence, the former MVP will meet the media in Consol Energy Center.

---John Vogl

Jets jerseys unveiled

The Jets will be flying down the ice in these new jerseys, which were unveiled today.

---John Vogl


Winnipeg Jets set to let their jerseys fly

The NHL's newest team will unveil the league's newest uniform today. Winnipeg will display its sweater at a military base at noon, finally giving Jets fans an opportunity to see what the team will look like in its NHL return.

The jerseys have already made headlines. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency confiscated 40 allegedly counterfeit jerseys last month. Though the sweaters have the Jets official logo, a team spokesman said there are noticeable differences between the fakes and the soon-to-be-released real things.

UPDATE: The jerseys are out and can be seen here.

---John Vogl

Should NHL ban fighting?

Questions remain about the details of Wade Belak's death, the third such tragedy involving a tough guy to strike the NHL in the past four months. Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard also died under strange circumstances involving severe depression and/or drugs. There were separate sets of circumstrances, but are they connected in one way or another?

The debate rages on whether their deaths were somehow related to their roles as physical players who did their share of fighting. People for years have known it was a difficult job, but it is also something that can take a person on the road to ruin? Recent studies on concussions, if not common sense, make you wonder if fighters are more susceptible to problems.

Check out Sully's column Sunday after he interviewed Rob Ray. 

I've been all over the map on whether the NHL should institute a ban on fighting. My problem for years with fighting in the NHL was that there wasn't enough. My rationale wasn't about the entertainment value but whether the players should police themselves. You wouldn't see some of the cheap shots that happen if players were worried about having to answer for their actions, other than a penalty.

I guess my real beef is with the insitigator rule. The idea behind it was to cut down on fighting, but overall it might have done more harm than good. There are too many players in the league who stir up trouble with the idea they can draw opposing teams into penalties. In my opinion, it has led to fewer fights but more cheap shots. Overall, the game doesn't seem much safer.

Some want to eliminate fighting altogether and decrease health risks with the fighters themselves, but it could wind up having an adverse effect. Would players become more aggressive -- and cheaper -- knowing they didn't have to stand up for themselves after a dirty hit? Should they implement stiffer punishments for cheap shots and fighting? Should they dump the instigator penalty and go back to players policing the game?

Interesting questions, but no concrete answers.

--- Bucky Gleason

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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 |