October 20, 2011 - 4:14 PM
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Nathan Gerbe joined most of the Sabres on a yacht with owner Terry Pegula on Wednesday night, so the left winger wasn’t watching the NBC drama "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." He learned he should have tuned in.
The episode focused on a Buffalo family that had its car stolen while their baby was in it. The child’s aunt explained to police how the baby's parents named him.
"She wanted to name the baby Ty," the woman said, "but he wanted Nathan, for Nathan Gerbe.’’
As one officer, played by rapper Ice-T, gave a look of unfamiliarity, the other cop said: "He leads the Sabres in penalty minutes."
Said Gerbe, who got multiple messages about the unexpected appearance: "It’s funny. I was laughing."
October 20, 2011 - 12:39 PM
SUNRISE, Fla. -- After five games, Tyler Ennis is still waiting for his first point. Lindy Ruff is giving new linemates to the Sabres' left winger, and Ennis hopes the results will be different.
Ennis will skate alongside center Derek Roy and right wing Drew Stafford tonight when the Sabres visit the Florida Panthers. Ennis' former mates, center Ville Leino and right wing Brad Boyes, will have Cody McCormick on their left. Nathan Gerbe, who was with Roy and Stafford, is reuniting with his preseason line featuring center Paul Gaustad and right wing Patrick Kaleta.
"I’ve just got to work hard," Ennis said after the morning skate in BankAtlantic Center. "That’s all I can control. The puck hasn’t been going in, but what I’m going to control is my work ethic and going to the net. Hopefully, good things will happen."
The starting six defensemen remain the same and Ryan Miller will start in goal for Buffalo, which practiced without forward Jochen Hecht. He's been out since suffering a concussion on the second day of training camp.
"He just wasn’t feeling very well, so I kept him off the ice," Ruff said. "It might be just a one-day thing."
Ruff's chat with the media is below.
October 20, 2011 - 12:00 PM
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kevin Dineen, who coached the Sabres' minor-leaguers the previous three seasons, had several former players to say hello to today. The Florida coach is seeing many of them for the first time. Hear from him and Florida defenseman Brian Campbell below.
October 18, 2011 - 1:30 PM
MONTREAL -- Marc-Andre Gragnani has known since Saturday night he had a rough game against the Penguins. The Sabres' defenseman learned for sure today that it won't cost him a spot in the lineup.
Gragnani will again be on the blue line for the Sabres tonight when the visit the Montreal Canadiens. Buffalo has Mike Weber waiting for a chance to play, but he'll keep waiting.
"You don't want a player to be in a situation where it's one poor game and you've got somebody sitting there you're waiting to put in," coach Lindy Ruff said after the morning skate in Bell Centre. "He has been a difference maker for us in a lot of situations, and he needs to bounce back. It might have been one of his toughest games, especially puck possession-wise, and we're just hoping he can show us in a game and a city that I think he's going to like playing in that he can bounce back and play well."
Gragnani, a Montreal native, likes that one bad showing doesn't equal a spot in the press box, but even he's not sure it's a sound policy.
"I don't think I have any leeway. I'm not saying that it shouldn't be like that, but that's how I feel," Gragnani said. "Being the only rookie on defense, and look at the guys that we have on this team, it's a hell of a D corps, so if I'm not performing like I should be, it's only right that I shouldn't be in the lineup. He obviously puts the six D that he thinks he has the best chance to win, so if I'm not up and ready to perform like I did last year and I did in the first three games of the season, I shouldn't be playing."
To hear Gragnani's interview and Ruff's marathon session with the media, click the audio files below.
October 17, 2011 - 1:31 PM
Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said after practice forward Jochen Hecht is progressing and getting better. Ruff acknowledges that when Hecht is good to go, he'll have a difficult decision as to which forward to pull from the lineup.
On an aside, Hecht wasn't practicing on a regular line Monday. If you want to read the tea leaves, it would seem to indicate Hecht won't be a go Tuesday night in Montreal but things do have a habit of changing over the course of 24 hours.
Other notes, Ruff referred to the fourth line of Paul Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta-Cody McCormick as "the dirt and the oil for us.
"They're hard to play against, they're a good defensive. They're a line I can throw out there when we've had a little trouble in our own end. ... They've been in on some good opporutnities but for the most part we're relying on them to provide some of the dirty work for us."
Ruff also said it's not a given that defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani will be one of the six in the lineup Tuesday even though the game is in Gragnani's hometown. Gragnani is on the Sabres' top power-play unit but struggled with the puck in his own end during last Saturday's win in Pittsburgh.
"We know what he provides for us. He's made some great plays on the power play for us. It's the defending that Marc still has to work on. ... No guarantee (he'll play Tuesday)," Ruff said.
Below is audio from Ruff's meeting with the media following Monday's practice, one in which Patrick Kaleta scored on a shootout toward the end, a tally similar to the one-handed backhand against the grain Forsberg used during the 1994 Olympics.
October 15, 2011 - 1:08 PM
PITTSBURGH -- Jhonas Enroth gets the call in goal tonight as the Sabres meet the Penguins in Consol Energy Center and coach Lindy Ruff insisted after today's optional skate that he's turning over a new leaf in the way he uses his backup goalie.
"We plan on using Jhonas a fair amount," Ruff said. "So in back to back situations we're defeinitely going to use him. The overall plan for him is every three or four games to get him in. He had a great preaseason for us, had a great finish to the year for us so I don't have any hesitation putting Jhonas in."
Ruff, of course, has had plenty of second thoughts about using backups since Martin Biron was traded in 2007. But Enroth seems like he won the coach over with his play last March when Ryan Miller was injured. Enroth was 9-2-2 overall last season with a 2.73 goals against average.
"We've got faith he can play well for us and that's important," Ruff said. "We're in a busy part of our schedule and we're looking for him to step in."
"I'm very excited," said Enroth, who has been idle since the Oct. 4 exhibition in Mannheim, Germany. " It's going to be a lot of fun to finally get a game under my belt."
Although Enroth is used to being a starter, he said he's adjusting to the fact he won't be getting every-day work.
"The biggest difference is you have to practice harder, stay out there a little bit longer every day and try to stay sharp that way," he said. "When it comes to a game, it's always the same thing."
More from the pregame skates:
---The Sabres will continue to scratch Jochen Hecht, Matt Ellis and Mike Weber, who is a Pittsburgh native. Cheap plug: Read more from Weber in Sunday's Sabres notebook.
---Sidney Crosby skated fully for the Penguins but there is no timetable as to when he will return from his concussion. Crosby does not speak to the media on gamedays while he is not in the lineup. Evgeni Malkin (leg) is out tonight while East Amherst's Brooks Orpik (abdominal) skated on his own prior to the team. Coach Dan Bylsma said Orpik, who has yet to play this year, is improving.
Bylsma noted the two short-handed goals the Sabres gave up last night against Carolina and said teams that play 1-3-1 sets or four forwards on their power play (Buffalo does both) can be susceptible to quick breakouts if they lose puck battles along the boards. The Penguins are dangerous killing penalties but Ruff said the Sabres won't change their approach.
"We're not going to get defensive on the power play," he said. "We're just going to make some smarter decisions. ... There's no chance you're going to be successful on the power play if you take a defensive approach. We're not going to do that. If you give up the odd opportunity being overly aggressive, that's OK but we're not going to do what we did last night."
October 14, 2011 - 9:19 AM
Fans in Buffalo know all about the Sabres, so here's a quick look at tonight's opponent, compliments of the notes sent Thursday night by the stellar Carolina Hurricanes PR staff:
*Tonight’s game marks coach Paul Maurice’s 900th regular-season game behind the Carolina franchise’s bench. Maurice is just the seventh coach in NHL history to coach 900 games for a franchise, and trails only Nashville’s Barry Trotz (986) and Buffalo’s Lindy Ruff (1,068) among active coaches in games coached with their current teams.
*Strong in the Circle: Alternate captain Brandon Sutter notched his first assist of the season on Wednesday against Boston. In his fourth NHL season, Sutter is proving to be a formidable force on faceoffs, having won 45-of-73 (61.6%) of draws thus far in 2011-12. Sutter won 44.3 percent of faceoffs in 2010-11.
*Skinner Streaks Snapped: 2011 Calder Trophy winner Jeff Skinner has five points (1g, 4a) in the first four games in 2011-12. Skinner’s three-game point streak and two-game assist streak were snapped on Wednesday against Boston. He manufactured a five-game point streak and had assists in three consecutive games in his rookie season. Skinner skated in all 82 games last season, collecting 62 points (31g, 32a) and 46 penalty minutes.
HURRICANES vs. SABRES SERIES NOTES
·Carolina trails all-time 67-91-20-1 (179), including 38-39-13 (90) at home and 29-52-7-1 (89) in Buffalo.
·The Hurricanes and Sabres tied the 2010-11 four-game series, each going 2-1-1.
·The Carolina franchise has earned points in every season series (dating back to 1979-80 and includes games as Hartford), but has won only six of the 30 series during that span.
·Buffalo is the only NHL team with which the Carolina franchise has not conducted a trade of any kind.
·The Canes are 3-7-0 in their last nine trips to the First Niagra Center.
·CAR career point-per-game players vs. BUF: Jamie McBain – 4 pts (1g, 3a) in 4 games
·Cam Ward is 6-6-2, with a 2.87 GAA and two shutouts in 14 career appearances against Buffalo. Brian Boucher: 3-4-0, 2.14 GAA in seven games.
·BUF career point-per-game players vs. CAR: – Derek Roy – 28 pts (12g, 16a) in 23 games
·Ryan Miller is 11-5-4 with a 2.61 GAA in 20 career appearances against the Hurricanes. Jhonas Enroth: 1-0-0, 0.97 GAA in one game.
·No player on either team’s roster has played for both Carolina and Buffalo. Carolina assistant coach Tom Barrasso was drafted by the Sabres in the first round, fifth overall, in 1983, and played his first five-plus NHL seasons with Buffalo.
October 13, 2011 - 10:49 PM
ROCHESTER -- Here's what's still in my notebook and my mind after the Amerks' dismal 5-1 loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Thursday's home opener.
---The Amerks need offense. And I'm not talking Matt Ellis. Their center play has been poor so far. Michael Ryan has to lead the offense and he's been invisible so far. Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno have been ordinary at best. The lack of offense was a fear.
---Had a good chat with T.J. Brennan, who was brutal in this one but said he's moved on already. He took responsiblity and said he knows as a third-year AHL player that guys look to him for leadership.
"We have 10 guys born after 1990 so it's not exactly time to hit the panic button," Brennan told me. "Guys are learning how good this league is. It's not a joke. You have to play every night. We'll learn quick."
---There was definite disappointment in not putting on a better show for the crowd of 9,217.
"We wanted to come out firing and it didn't work out that way," Brennan said. "I hope it's not one game and they come and give up. You have to have a short-term memory here."
---Joe Finley and Nick Crawford on defense tonight with Dennis Persson and Drew Schiestel both out with injuries. The Amerks are denying a Hamilton Spectator report that Schiestel is out 4-6 weeks with a sprained knee ligament suffered in Saturday's opener at Hamilton, Schiestel's hometown. Hmmm.
--Loved the way the Amerks handled the alumni reunion, both on the red carpet in the atrium and on the ice. And great moment to see the announcement of Joe Crozier's impending induction to the AHL Hall of Fame.
---If you're a Sabres fan, you should come to a game here. The seating bowl was redone a few years ago and sightlines are great. Pegula & Co. forked over 200K for a new video board. There's no shots on goal counter anywhere I saw. Needs to be fixed.
---Got a few tweets about disastrous lines at concession stands too. The concourses are old and tight and that's a problem. But folks behind the counter have to work too. I went at 6:15 -- 45 minutes before faceoff -- to check it out and they were already out of pizza and trying to make more? Gotta be more prepared than that.
---A veteran baseball writer gets really messed up covering Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for 14 years and now being told he's covering Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
October 13, 2011 - 7:01 PM
ROCHESTER -- We're live on the scene here in Blue Cross Arena for the Amerks' home opener against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. It's a festive night, the first back under the reign of the Sabres. The current players and more than 50 alums entered the arena via a red carpet through the glass-enclosed atrium. So did Terry Pegula and Ted Black, who got big cheers from the several hundred fans gathered two hours before faceoff.
The alums have just been introduced again -- names like Rob Ray and Andrew Peters got big cheers among ones Sabres fans would know. There was a special ceremony honoring former Amerks and Sabres coach Joe Crozier, and the octogenerian got a standing ovation when it was announced he would be inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2012. A banner was then unveiled in the rafters.
On the ice, Dennis Persson and Drew Schiestel are both out tonight with lower-body injuries. The Hamilton Spectator reported that Schiestel, a Hamilton native, would be out 4-6 weeks with a sprained knee after catching his foot in a rut on the ice but Amerks coach Ron Rolston said in the last couple days that was not the ice and the injury was not that severe. We'll see.
Drew MacIntyre, just back from Europe with the Sabres, will start in goal. The defense will be T.J. Brennan and Shaone Morrisonn. Up front will be Jonathan Parker centering Colin Stuart and Michael Ryan.
Stay tuned for more observations on the Sabres' prospects, who will hopefully put on a better show than they did in Saturday's 5-2 stinker in Hamilton.
Ceremonies: The Amerks get an A. Dimmed the lights, introduced the alums just like we saw in HSBC in April. Great moment with Crozier. Players came on via dry ice effect. Then Terry Pegula made a quick appearance for the ceremonial faceoff and got a roaring standing ovation. He was joined by daughter Jessie, wearing a white Lindy Ruff No. 22 Amerks jersey and she dropped the ceremonial first puck.
Line/defense combos: Up front, the Amerks are going with Stuart-Parker-Ryan, Whitmore-Voakes-Kassian, Foligno-Varone-Tropp, Boychuk-Turnbull-Legault. On defense, it's McNabb-Biega, Morrisonn-Brennan and Finley-Crawford.
First Period thoughts: It took me until the first intermission to realize I was on the wrong wireless network and that's why I wasn't hooked up. Tech problems should be over now but the Amerks' problems aren't. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton leads it 2-0 and had a 9-5 edge in shots through 20 minutes. The buzz in the crowd was killed by Eric Tangradi's goal at 5:10, which came as he walked out alone in front and deked past MacIntyre after a brutal back pass in the corner from T.J. Brennan, who is certainly experienced enough to know better. WB/S made it 2-0 at 18:04 on Brian Strait's knuckleball past MacIntyre from the left circle.
The Amerks' forwards have done very little thus far with just two shots. The team's best chance came when Morrisonn moved up and fired wide from the slot. The crowd's only real buzz was when Sabretooth showed up and was joined by the Amerks' moose mascot. A moose? I'm told that was a local radio promotion in the 80s that just stuck.
Second Period: A great tic-tac-toe passing play results in a goal by Wilkes-Barre's Colin McDonald at 2:10 to make it 3-0. The WBS radio guy is right in front of me and he's a Ted Baxter-like parody. Standing up, rocking back and forth, waving his arms. Lots of silliness. And he roars "Old McDonald got a goal." At least he left out ee-eye, ee-eye oh. The Amerks have skated much better as the period as gone on but have yet to score. Michael Ryan, in particular, doing some work getting some chances in front.
End second period: Good to see some life from the Amerks but they trail, 4-0, despite an 18-6 advantage in shots in the period. They had a two-man advantage for nearly two minutes but Brennan and Marcus Foligno, among others were stoned by Brad Thiessen. Then disaster struck. Brennan tried to feed Kassian out top and the pass missed. Brian Lerg beat Kassian to the puck and pulled away from him for an ice-length breakaway and then beat MacIntyre. Yep, a goal with his team two men shot. Ugly. Haven't seen that too often in my life. Lots of boos from the crowd of 9,217.
Third Period: The Amerks fell behind, 5-0, and finally score with 3:33 left as Marcus Foligno gets his first pro goal with a slapshot from the right circle off a Kassian back pass.
The final was 5-1. The Amerks had a 30-23 edge in shots but fall to 0-2. They've been outscored 10-3 thus far.
October 13, 2011 - 12:07 PM
Saying he has to be extra cautious because of Jochen Hecht's concussion history, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff ruled out the recovering forward until at least next week. Hecht, who missed the opening two games in Europe, will be on the sidelines again for Friday's home opener against Carolina and Saturday's visit to Pittsburgh.
"Jochen won’t be ready for this weekend,'' Ruff said after practice in First Niagara Center. "We gave him a little extra today, but we need to be sure this time around. We need to pound him physically and take him to the limit, which we haven’t taken him to the limit yet. We’re getting close, but it’s not a case where we’re going to put him in and guess or put him in because we’re close.
"In Jochen’s case, there’s a history, which changes a lot of things. The couple of instances at the end of last year, that history makes his situation different than anybody else’s. You monitor how he feels. If his head doesn’t feel right -- which he hasn’t given it the, "Jeez, I feel great. I feel good." -- he still doesn’t seem like he’s there yet, and that’s why you keep him out of contact. The real heavy stuff we’ll ramp up in the next few days. We don’t know if we get to the battle stuff if he’ll make it through it."
Hecht feels he is continuing to progress. Injured on the second day of training camp, he hasn't suffered any symptoms since before departing for Europe on Oct. 1.
"It’s been small steps, and I’m taking my time, making sure," Hecht said. "It’s been good, but I’ve still got to get my legs underneath me. I’ve been off for three weeks, so I’ve got to get my conditioning back. I’m still trying stuff out there, did a little extra with [Matt Ellis] at center ice there, banging heads. I’m going in the right direction."
To hear Ruff's news conference, click the file below.
October 12, 2011 - 2:03 PM
Derek Roy missed the second half of last season with a leg injury, and he missed most of the preseason with a shoulder ailment. As could be expected, the opening two games have been a bit of a struggle for the Sabres' center.
Roy has one assist, one shot and a minus-1 rating so far as the Sabres have started 2-0. The third game is Friday's home opener against Carolina.
"It could be better, obviously," Roy said today after practice in First Niagara Center. "The first games you’re trying to get into it. I missed a lot of months of hockey, then I missed a lot of training camp as well. It was a tough few games battling a couple injuries and trying to get through it. This week was great just to get back home, see the [new dressing] room and get excited. Everybody is excited here to play on Friday.
"I’m right there. I can see it. I felt better in the second game and started skating with the puck a little more, felt more confident and I’m just trying to work on little things in practice to try and sharpen up my game."
In addition to getting up to game speed, Roy is working with a new left winger. He and Nathan Gerbe had never played together before the European openers, and it takes time to get chemistry.
"I don’t think Derek is quite up to speed yet. It’s going to take a few games of really hard compete to get to that really high level," coach Lindy Ruff said. "He’s playing OK, but OK for Derek is not the level he needs to be. I just think quicker plays, quicker decisions. When he’s really on his game, he’s getting opportunities and he’s setting up the people around him."
October 11, 2011 - 9:22 PM
The Sabres have named Cliff Benson, who was working as a senior adviser, to the role of chief develoment officer. He will oversee the Sabres' foundation and other projects involving the team and community.
"I am so glad Cliff finally decided to join us in a more formal capacity," team President Ted Black said. "Cliff is a close friend to [owner] Terry [Pegula] and me, and he was the one who introduced the two of us. Together we look forward to doing great things to leave a positive and lasting impact on our region."
"I look forward to working with Mayor Brown, city and county officials, community and business leaders to find ways to bring opportunities to Buffalo," Benson said. “Most of all, my wife Cheryl and I are thrilled to be a part of the great group of folks at the Sabres organization, led by Ted Black and Terry.”
Benson is charitably affiliated with Quaker Valley Hockey Association, Imani Christian Academy, Pittsburgh Kids Foundation, Silver Ring Thing and The Second Mile. Benson made three trips to Haiti to bring medical relief following the 2010 earthquake.
October 11, 2011 - 1:15 PM
Jochen Hecht's recovery from a training camp concussion took a step forward today, as the left winger participated fully in the Sabres' practice.
"Jochen was upgraded for contact today, so I would put him at the moderate level," coach Lindy Ruff said in First Niagara Center. "We didn’t really push him. I think he took it as far as he’s taken it so far and should continue to progress unless he has a setback during the week."
Hecht, injured on the second day of camp, has a chance of returning to the lineup this weekend. The Sabres host Carolina in the home opener Friday, and they travel to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
"I don’t think there’s any reason to rule him out right now," Ruff said. "I don’t there’s a good reason to say he could play Friday yet, either. We’re kind of in that situation where you evaluate after each practice. He will do extra after practice and be more involved in some physical stuff, then you wait to see the next day if there’s any ramifications on how he worked."
The Sabres' scoring line of left wing Thomas Vanek, center Luke Adam and captain Jason Pominville continued to get attention in the dressing room for their hot start. The interviews of Vanek, Adam and Ruff are below.
October 11, 2011 - 12:08 PM
Greetings from Sabres practice, where everyone is skating. The more interesting work is being done off the ice.
The Sabres' home opener is Friday night, and First Niagara Center is crawling with folks trying to transform the building from HSBC Arena to its new name. There are workers on the roof scrubbing off the lingering letters of HSBC and installing lights of First Niagara. In the atrium, painters are on ladders above the arena doors making sure people are welcomed to First Niagara Center, not HSBC Arena. And inside the bowl, a few people are going row-to-row in every section putting stickers on the end seats, which have the HSBC bank logo on them.
October 10, 2011 - 8:28 PM
Former Sabres captain Craig Rivet has taken two steps back to keep his hockey career going, signing with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL. Rivet, who started last season as the Sabres' captain and finished on the Columbus Blue Jackets' power play, hasn't played in the minors since the 1996-97 season.
"I'm just really excited to come to the rink and meet the new guys, get familiar with the surroundings," Rivet told the team Website today after reporting to what's considered a Double-A league. "It's not the level. It's the competition. I know that the competition here is still high. There's a lot of hungry guys that want to move to the next level, and that's what's exciting for me. It's not like I'm coming down here and not going to be playing against guys of caliber. These guys can play hockey."
October 10, 2011 - 1:44 PM
Jochen Hecht is getting healthier for the Sabres, and coach Lindy Ruff said when the center is finally ready to return from his concussion, he has a spot in the lineup waiting.
"Jochen, when he’s healthy, will have a spot," Ruff said following practice today in First Niagara Center. "Jochen is getting better. The next step for Jochen is to get involved in full practices and be able to take body contact, which right now he isn’t."
Ruff made it clear that if Luke Adam continues the fine start that produced two goals and two assists in the opening two games, it won't be Adam that sits for Hecht. Adam is centering left wing Thomas Vanek and right wing Jason Pominville.
"I’d say right now it’s pretty tough to take Luke out of the lineup," Ruff said. "He’s played well. We’ve played him there the last few games, and we got a good response. It’s given us a good offensive line. There’s no reason to change that."
To hear the rest of Ruff's chat, including his thoughts on the remodeled dressing room that was unveiled today, click the audio below.
Search Sabres Edge
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.
About Sabres Edge
Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, is in his sixth season covering the Buffalo Sabres. 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.
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011