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Live from Sabres at Anaheim

Hodgson starts process of fitting in with Sabres, will skate between Ennis, Stafford

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- First and foremost, Cody Hodgson just wants to fit in. The newest member of the Sabres will get his first chance to do that with Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford.

Hodgson, the center acquired from Vancouver on Monday, joined Buffalo on the ice for the first time today for the morning skate in Anaheim. He'll play his first game tonight when the Sabres visit the Ducks, and he's set to skate with Ennis on his left and Stafford on his right.

"I’m excited to get going," Hodgson said in Honda Center. "Just try to fit in with the team as best as possible. I’m excited to be here, and hopefully it’s a good fit. I think we can complement each other. I know a few guys already, and I’m looking to have a good time. It’s fun."

The arrival of Hodgson and the departure of Paul Gaustad forced coach Lindy Ruff to juggle his lines. The first of the four will remain the same with Derek Roy in the middle of left wing Thomas Vanek and right wing Jason Pominville. Ville Leino will center Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Kaleta, while Brad Boyes will be flanked by Matt Ellis and Corey Tropp.

The biggest changes belong to Ennis and Leino. Ennis had been playing well since a recent switch to center, but he goes back to left wing. Leino, who prefers the wing to center, is back in the middle.

"There’s nothing etched in stone with those lines," Ruff said. "We don’t get a chance to practice them, so we really don’t know what they’re going to look like. We can usually take a look at different lines even during the game. When you bring players in it’s always a little bit disruptive because some guys move out of their spots. With Gaus going out, somebody has to go in that spot. A lot of times it takes a little bit of time.

"It’s more about trying to create two lines that can give us more of a solid offensive look. If we spread it out, we end up going to a three- or four-line look. I think we’d like to take a look at the top two lines getting the bulk of the ice time first."

More ice time will be a bonus for Hodgson. He was averaging just 12:43 per game in Vancouver, yet he still racked up 16 goals and 37 points in 63 games.

"There’s just some tweaks and stuff I’ll have to think about, but on the ice I try not to think too much and just go play," Hodgson said. "There’s good players, and like I said just try to fit in and do the best I can."

---John Vogl

---Twitter.com/BuffNewsVogl

Cody Hodgson

Lindy Ruff

Sabres' Ruff curious about whether Kassian's physical game can reach full potential

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Zack Kassian is just 21 and has the potential to become an NHL stud. He’s 6-foot-3, 228 pounds and averaged a point per game in the minors this season.

Still, it seems Sabres coach Lindy Ruff wasn’t quite sold on the right winger, who went to Vancouver along with defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani on Monday in exchange for center Cody Hodgson and blue-liner Alexander Sulzer.

"I liked what he was doing on the offensive side of it for the most part," Ruff said today of Kassian, who had three goals and seven points in 27 games with Buffalo. "Good puck protection and hanging onto pucks. I’ve got a curiosity on where his physical game is going to go, and that’s it.

"But he’s a young player. You never know with young players. It’s a little bit of hit and miss. There’s a lot of inconsistency usually, so in his case there’s a lot there. It’s whether he’s going to get it to that full potential."

The coach is glad to get Hodgson, who will make his debut Wednesday when the Sabres visit Anaheim.

"I know we’re getting a real good player," Ruff said. "I’ve heard nothing but good things about Hodgson on the offensive side of it."

---John Vogl

Sabres' Miller unhappy to see Gaustad dealt: 'If I had any more influence Paul would still be here'

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ryan Miller and Paul Gaustad are the closest of friends. They've been roomates. They've traveled through Europe together. They were teammates for a decade -- a run that ended Monday when the Sabres sent Gaustad to Nashville.

Miller is not happy with the transaction.

"It was a pretty tough day," Miller said today after practice in Anaheim Ice. "I’m not going to lie. I’m not real happy about the way it all turned out. But that’s the business of hockey.

"Like I’ve said, we don’t make those decisions. That’s more proof because if I had any more influence Paul would still be here. I appreciate the way he plays. He’s been one of my best friends for a long time there. Obviously, that’s going to continue, but it was nice to have him as a teammate and have those other intangibles."

The 12th-place Sabres sent Gaustad, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and a fourth-round pick in 2013 to the Predators for a first-round pick this year. That pick doesn't help the Sabres win faceoffs or kill penalties, Miller feels, though the team did acquire center Cody Hodgson from Vancouver in a separate deal.

"He does the things that are not easy to do every night," Miller said of Gaustad. "It’s just too important for a hockey team, and it is a little frustrating in that regard.

"Personally, he’s a close friend, and also I think he’s a big part of the team. No matter the way you view hockey, you have to understand how important players like Paul can be and how long it takes to develop a guy that plays that way at such a high level. Winning those faceoffs is not easy. Killing those penalties is not easy. Not a lot of guys are willing to do that job every night, and he was."

Hodgson and fellow newcomer Alexander Sulzer, acquired from Vancouver for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani, were not with the team at practice. They flew to Buffalo for physicals, and Hodgson, a Canadian, also had to meet with immigration officials about his visa. His paperwork has cleared and he is on his way to Anaheim. He will play Wednesday against the Ducks.

To hear Miller and coach Lindy Ruff, click the audio files below.

---John Vogl

---Twitter.com/BuffNewsVogl

Ryan Miller:

Download audio

Lindy Ruff:

Download audio

Hear audio from today's trade subjects

A few more links as we put the trade deadline to bed:

Vancouver Sun columnist Iain MacIntyre calls the Cody Hodgson-Zack Kassian deal "one of the most unpopular trades in Vancouver in years."

TSN had interviews with Hodgson, Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani. Here are the links to those chats:

Cody Hodgson

Zack Kassian

Marc-Andre Gragnani

Gaustad had a conference call with Nashville media and said he was looking forward to getting a chance at more playoff hockey. Click below to hear that audio.


Paul Gaustad

ESPN's Scott Burnside and Barry Melrose clearly question what the Sabres are doing by getting even smaller up front in this video recap of deadline day.

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

Video: Gleason, Harrington on Sabres' trades

News Sabres Reporter Mike Harrington and NHL Columnist Bucky Gleason discuss the Sabres' moves on trade deadline day:

 

Video: Regier news conference following trades

The Sabres have traded center Paul Gaustad to Nashville, along with a fourth-round pick in exchange for a first-rounder.

Additionally, the Sabres shipped winger Zack Kassian and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani to Vancouver for center Cody Hodgson and defenseman Alexander Sulzer.

Here is a video of highlights from General Manager Darcy Regier's news conference:

Here is the full audio:

Download

Sabres' Ryan Miller: 'I don’t think we scrap an entire project'

Ryan Miller admits it's been a rough season. He understands why people see the Sabres and want moves made.

But the goaltender doesn't think an overhaul is the best way to go about it.

"The fan element is you want things to happen, you want drama to happen, and you want your team to be the best right now," Miller said today after practice, a few hours before the 3 p.m. trade deadline. "We weren’t playing good hockey, and everybody pulls out all the stops and hits the panic button.

"Honestly, they had a right to be angry and concerned, but I think we’ve sorted a few of the issues that had to with the way we were playing our system. I think we’ve been a lot more consistent lately. It’s the kind of hockey we need to play.

"I don’t think we scrap an entire project. I think the fans have to realize that sets you back years. What we’re looking for is the right tweaks and the right adjustments. That doesn’t come from just throwing everybody out the window."

Miller is among those watching what has been a slow deadline so far.

"We’re all kind of waiting to see what’s going on," he said. "As you can see, there’s not a lot of movement in the league right now because honestly there’s a lot of parity and there’s a lot of teams that feel they’re really close, and you don’t just scrap everything every time something’s not going your way. You try and build up to something."

---John Vogl

Practice begins -- with all Sabres on the ice

The Sabres are on the ice at First Niagara Center and it's business as usual: The only player missing is the concussed Jochen Hecht and Lindy Ruff is standing on the bench watching with James Patrick running things.

That means everyone who might be the subject of trade rumors -- think Paul Gaustad, Derek Roy, Brad Boyes, Jordan Leopold -- is on the ice practicing with the team. No trades yet. Boyes is back on his line, meaning he would be good to go Wednesday in Anaheim if he stays.

The lines are the same as well:

Vanek-Roy-Pominville
Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta
Leino-Ennis-Stafford
Ellis-Boyes-Kassian.

Cody McCormick is in a red non-contact jersey. All seven defensemen and both goalies are present. Corey Tropp is not here, meaning he's back in Rochester.

A reminder: Join us at 12:30 for our live chats, both text and video, and the latest updates.

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

Live chat, video broadcast as trade deadline approaches

BuffaloNews.com and the Sabres Edge blog will provide thorough coverage leading up to and following today's 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline.

It kicks off with The News' Bucky Gleason, John Vogl and Mike Harrington live chatting at 12:30 p.m. A live two-hour video broadcast starts at 1:30 p.m., hosted by Tim Graham and Jay Skurski, with updates from Vogl and Harrington from First Niagara Center. Any news conferences will be carried live as well.

From 'King Kong' Korab to Miroslav Satan to Brad Boyes, Sabres have been active at NHL trade deadline

The clock is ticking toward the 3 p.m. trade deadline. As history shows, the Sabres are going to do something.

Here is a rundown of notable deals the Sabres have made on the NHL's big trade day:

March 10, 1980 -- Traded Jerry Korab to Los Angeles for a first-round draft choice in 1982 (Phil Housley).

March 10, 1981 -- Traded Rick Martin to Los Angeles for a third-round draft choice in 1981 (Colin Chisholm) and a first-round draft choice in 1983 (Tom Barrasso); traded Don Luce to Los Angeles for a sixth-round draft choice in 1982 (Jeff Parker) and cash.

March 6, 1987 -- Traded Norm Lacombe, the professional rights to Wayne Van Dorp and a fourth-round draft choice in 1987 (Peter Eriksson) to Edmonton for Mark Napier, Lee Fogolin and a fourth-round draft choice in 1987 (John Bradley).

March 6, 1989 -- Traded Calle Johansson and a second-round draft choice in 1989 (Byron Dafoe) to Washington for Clint Malarchuk, Grant Ledyard and a sixth-round draft choice in 1991 (Brian Holzinger); March 7, 1989 -- Traded Lindy Ruff to the N.Y. Rangers for a fifth-round draft choice in 1990 (Richard Smehlik).

March 9, 1992 -- Traded Dave Snuggerud to San Jose for Wayne Presley. Traded Jay Wells to the N.Y. Rangers for Randy Moller; March 10, 1992 -- Traded Kevin Haller to Montreal for Petr Svoboda. Acquired Dave Hannan from Toronto for a sixth-round draft choice
(Chris Deruiter) in 1992.

March 22, 1993 -- Traded Mike Ramsey to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Bob Errey.

March 18, 1997 -- Traded Barrie Moore and Craig Millar to Edmonton in exchange for Miroslav Satan.

March 24, 1998 -- Acquired Paul Kruse and Jason Holland from the N.Y. Islanders in exchange for Jason Dawe.

DARCY REGIER ERA

March 23, 1999 -- Acquires Joe Juneau, third-round pick from Washington for Alexei Tezikov; acquires Rhett Warrener, fifth-round pick (Ryan Miller) from Florida for Mike Wilson

March 10, 2000 -- Acquires Chris Gratton, second-round pick for Wayne Primeau, Brian Holzinger, Corey Sarich, third-round pick; acquires Doug Gilmour, J.P. Dumont for Michal Grosek.

March 19, 2002 -- Acquires Bob Corkum from Atlanta for a fifth-round pick.

March 10, 2003 -- Trades Stu Barnes to Dallas for Michael Ryan, second-round pick. March 11, 2003 -- Acquires Daniel Briere, third-round pick for Chris Gratton, fourth-round pick.

March 9, 2004 -- Acquires Michael Grier from Washington for Jakub Klepis.

Feb. 27, 2007 -- Acquires Dainius Zubrus, Timo Helbling from Washington for Jiri Novotny, first-round pick; trades Martin Biron to Philadelphia for second-round pick; acquires Ty Conklin from Columbus for fifth-round pick.

Feb. 26, 2008 -- Trades Brian Campbell, seventh-round pick to San Jose for Steve Bernier, first-round pick.

March 4, 2009 -- Acquires Dominic Moore from Toronto for second-round pick; trades Ales Kotalik to Edmonton for second-round pick.

March 3, 2010 -- Acquires Raffi Torres from Columbus for Nathan Paetsch, second-round pick; trades Clarke MacArthur to Atlanta for third- and fourth-round picks.

Feb. 27, 2011 -- Acquires Brad Boyes from St. Louis for second-round pick.

---John Vogl

While Sabres spend day bowling, team brass hunkers down with trade deadline approaching

Brad Boyes, between picking up back-to-back spares this afternoon at the Sabres’ bowling fundraiser, said he’s as calm as can be heading into Monday’s trade deadline.

“I’m fine. Been there, done it,” said Boyes, who as a pending unrestricted free agent is a prime candidate to be moved. “I’m not nervous or anything. In years past I’ve been that way, but now I’m feeling just whatever happens will happen.

“If I’m still a Sabre I’m going to go and play. If I’m not I’ll play somewhere else. My whole mind-set is I’m going into practice tomorrow as part of the team.”

The Sabres’ players (minus injured Paul Gaustad), staff, broadcasters and alumni are gathered at Transit Lanes to take part in the team’s Bowl-A-Rama, but the decision-makers are said to be hunkering down in First Niagara Center. General Manager Darcy Regier, owner Terry Pegula, team President Ted Black and coach Lindy Ruff stayed away from the alleys to discuss the team’s options as Monday’s 3 p.m. deadline approaches.

“It’s out of our control now,” Sabres captain Jason Pominville said between frames. “It’s tough, but who knows what’s going to happen? The group might still be together, or it might not. It’s part of what we do. It’s part of what other teams do.

“I really do think it’s out of our control. We’ve done our part to do the best we can to gain some ground and get back on track. The team or the people in place will do what they think is best for the team and the organization.”

Gaustad, the Sabres’ other prime trade candidate, is absent after getting dinged up in a fight Saturday night during the opening shift of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers. A source said he hurt his shoulder. It is unlikely to be serious enough to impact his trade value.

Boyes has missed two games with a left wrist injury. If he remains with the Sabres, he is hopeful of playing Wednesday when they visit the Anaheim Ducks.

“A guy kind of turned and shot the puck, and it kind of jammed my wrist,” Boyes told The News. “It was kind of a slap shot on my wrist. It didn’t feel good.”

--John Vogl

--Twitter.com/BuffNewsVogl

Sunday links and musings

WAITING AT JFK TERMINAL 5 -- The Sabres will be off today and back on the ice Monday morning before flying to Anaheim. Of course, the trade deadline is at 3 p.m. and it's hard to imagine they'll all be jetting west. Here's some thoughts in the wake of Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers.

The Sabres are 8-3-3 in their last 14 games and got three of four points over the weekend against the top two teams in the East. Still, Saturday's loss stung and that's particularly true for Patrick Kaleta. He got burned by Marion Gaborik on the tying goal and beat by Ryan Callahan on the winner,  although that one really started with Andrej Sekera firing wide on a good chance and Kaleta needing to be back to help out.

Kaleta was pretty distraught after the game but coach Lindy Ruff said he's not going to let the Angola native stay down for long. Kaleta and Paul Gaustad have done a great job in recent games, and they were again solid in helping kill off Tyler Ennis' penalty late in the third period that could have cost Buffalo a point.

I love Madison Square Garden. Great history there and now a spectacular first phase of a multi-year renovation. One quibble: The locker room hallway is completely new and the walls that were lined with pictures of Willis Reed, Rod Gilbert, Elton John, Ali-Frazier etc. are now gone and barren. That's a bummer. I LOVED walking down that famous tunnel during morning skates but it's' no more because of new courtside suites. That's not progress. Wish they could have found a way to keep that.

OK, back to hockey, In Bucky Gleason's Inside the NHL, you get the skinny on what every team might be thinking going to the deadline. On the Sabres, he says, "The Sabres need to figure out where they're going, how to get there and who's taking them."

Few other thoughts on Saturday night (that I didn't really get to due to a major laptop meltdown): Ryan Miller had another strong game but everyone in the building knew Carl Hagelin's first-period goal was a softee. Haven't seen basically any of those from Miller the last dozen games or so. ... Callahan has killed the Sabres. A sensational shortie in Buffalo in December, a shootout winner earlier this month and now an OT winner. ... The Rangers seem like they're still in front in the Rick Nash Derby. I still say: Why? They're first in the East and they're going to give up the store for a guy who's never won a single playoff game in his career. I still say Nash has been comfortable making his money out of the limelight in Columbus. We'll see how he goes in New York or Toronto, if he lands in either spot.

If you missed the game Saturday, here's the full NHL.com highlight package:

Meanwhile, the Rochester Amerks had a crazy game Saturday night,  posting a 4-3 shootout win over Lake Erie -- in a 15-round shootout! Bless the heart of the Blue Cross Arena fan who posted the second-longest shootout in AHL history to YouTube so you can see it here.

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

Vote for your three stars

Video: Harrington looks at Sabres season

The News' Mike Harrington calls this season a strange mix of unanswered questions and unfufilled expectations:

Video: Bucky Gleason on Darcy Regier

The News' Bucky Gleason talks about Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier's reign in Buffalo:

No live blog

Due to internet difficulties, there will be no live blog from tonight's Sabres-Rangers game in Madison Square Garden.

Live from MSG: Sabres vs. Rangers

Quick notes from the Garden

NEW YORK -- It will be Ryan Miller in goal tonight for the Sabres against Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers. The last time they met, of course, it resulted in a 1-0 shootout win for the Rangers on Feb. 1 in Buffalo. 

Brad Boyes is not dressed for Buffalo but Lindy Ruff said in a pregame briefing that Boyes will certainly be ready for the team's West Coast trip. That's provided, of course, the Sabres find no takers for him at Monday's deadline. 

Brandon Dubinsky is still in the Rangers' lineup. He's widely believed to be going to Columbus as part of a Rick Nash deal. The Rangers seemed to open up more cap room for that today when they dumped Wojtek Wolski on Florida. 

The multi-year renovation of MSG is off to a great start. The new Madison Concourse is simply fabulous, with plenty of room, great food options and views of Manhattan through huge windows that didn't exist in the building's first 43 years.

Cheap plug alert: Read more about what's new here in Sunday's notebook. And be sure to catch our live game blog starting just before faceoff.

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

Saturday in the City: No AM skate, plenty of links

JFK TERMINAL 5 -- I have just landed in New York and received the official notice from the Sabres that they have canceled their morning skate in advance of tonight's game against the Rangers. Madison Square Garden is unavailable due to a St. John's-Notre Dame basketball game this afternoon and the Sabres had ice time at Chelsea Piers but opted to simply meet in the hotel and head to the rink for the game in the 4:30 range today.

So we'll speak to Lindy Ruff in the 5 o'clock hour about his surging team, which is now five points out of a playoff spot and 11th in the Eastern Conference standing as we head into the final game before Monday's NHL trade deadline. Just last Friday night after a shootout loss to Montreal, the Sabres were 10 points out and last in the East.

Still, Bucky Gleason writes this morning  that the schedule and the number of teams to pass leave the Sabres with a daunting task. It's made tougher when teams above the Sabres play each other,  which happens tonight when Washington plays at Toronto.

In John Vogl's game story, he recounts how Ryan Miller was again golden in net and Derek Roy earned a huge measure of redemption in the shootout.

My Sabres notebook talks to Andrej Sekera about his first goal in 22 games, the callup of Corey Tropp and several number-worthy items from the win.

The Bruins, meanwhile, are just 8-9-2 in their last 19 games and the Ottawa Senators can pull within one point of them with a regulation win tonight when the teams meet at Scotiabank Place (Boston will still, however, maintain three games in hand). They also play Tuesday in Boston.

In the Boston Globe, the Bruins were happy with Friday's game (minus the outcome). They should be, because they played a terrific third period and got a good showing from struggling backup goaltender Tuukka Rask.

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

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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 | [email protected]

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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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