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NHL releases full proposal; TSN says Fehr's initial reaction to deal is not optimistic

NHLPA head Donald Fehr speaks to reporters Tuesday in Toronto (AP Photo)

DETROIT -- The PR battle changed pretty dramatically Tuesday in the NHL lockout.

With no signs of anything cooking, the NHL issued a stunning and wholly unexpected new proposal to try to salvage a full 82-game season. The highlight was a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues, still a big cut to the players but a point that virtually everyone agreed these negotiations would have to reach.

The league continued on the offensive again today, issuing a full summary of its proposal on, along with a detailed explanation of each point.

TSN is reporting, however,  that NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr sent a letter to the players late Tuesday and is not optimistic about the proposal. That's not surprising as there are certainly going to be contentious points. The players, Fehr said, still take a $231 million hit in year one. Fehr & Co. will continue to dissect the deal and the players are scheduled to convene Thursday in Toronto, where we'll probably find out how much traction this deal really has.

Out here in baseball land, where the Tigers are just about done sweeping the Yankees out of the ALCS, there was plenty of talk at Comerica Park about the deal Tuesday night. This is, after all, a place dubbed "Hockeytown."

There are other points the players certainly won't like. Under the proposal, forget big second contracts in the Jeff Skinner or Taylor Hall vein. Entry-level deals go from three years to two and the free agency qualification would move from seven years service/27 years of age to 8/28. 

The players aren't going to like the fact that guys stashed in AHL or loaned to Europe would now count against the cap. So no more deals like Wade Redden or, thinking close to home, Ales Kotalik or Shoane Morrisonn.

This proposal is not take-it-or-leave-it. It's a starting point. We now have negotiations. An offer likely to be met with a counteroffer. Not the this-is-what-you-must take tenor the league has been working under. It's a sign of hope. Does it mean there will be real hockey on Nov. 2? That's the goal. Now it's up to them to hash out a deal.

---Mike Harrington
Twitter: @BNHarrington 

Video: NHLPA leader Donald Fehr talks about NHL's 50-50 proposal

The NHL Players' Association has provided video of Executive Director Donald Fehr talking about the NHL's proposal of a 50-50 revenue split.

---John Vogl

Transcript of Gary Bettman news conference following 50-50 proposal

The NHL has provided a transcript of Gary Bettman's news conference in Toronto following the league's proposal of a 50-50 revenue split with the players:

Good afternoon, everyone. Bill Daly and I just spent the last hour with Don and Steve Fehr, and I would like to briefly report to you on what was discussed. As I think all of you know we have been extremely disappointed, and that's an understatement, that we've been unable to get these negotiations on the essential elements moving forward. So, today, we began by discussing with Don and Steve that if we were to drop the puck on November 2nd for the start of the regular season, we could preserve an 82-game schedule for the regular season and play full playoffs as we normally do and be done before the end of June.

We very much want to preserve a full 82-game season, and in that light, we made a proposal, an offer, really that is our best shot at preserving an 82-game regular season and playoffs, and this offer that we made obviously was contingent upon having an 82-game regular season.

A lot of you know we don't negotiate publicly, and I'm not going to break that habit because I don't think it's constructive. The fact of the matter is, we offered a 50-50 share of HRR, hockey related revenues, and we believe we addressed the concern that players have about what happens to their salaries as a result in this year of reducing the percentage from 57 to 50%.

Beyond that, I don't want to get into the substance other than to say we believe that this was a fair offer for a long-term deal, and it's one that we hope gets a positive reaction so that we can drop the puck on November 2nd -- which backing up, entails at least a one-week training camp. So we have about nine or ten days to get this all put to bed, signed, sealed and delivered, in order for this offer to be effective and for us to move forward.

We hope that this effort that we've undertaken today would be successful because we know how difficult this all has been for everybody associated with the game, particularly our fans.

How confident are you that this is going to go forward?

Well, we certainly hope it will. We've given it our best shot.

What was the reaction?

The reaction was that they obviously need to study it, and so we told them that we're available to them. But they're going to need some time to review it, and I respect that portion of the process. Obviously, they've got to understand the offer and get comfortable with it.

Was it just the core economic issues in terms of the offer?

We had a number of significant elements that we believe can and should serve as the basis of a deal to get us playing hockey.

Why do this today?

Because if we want to have an 82-game regular season, if we want to preserve an 82-game regular season and you back up the timetable in terms of the schedule, we needed to do it.

By the way, in terms of the schedule, so everybody understands, the compression that would be involved is one additional game every five weeks. Beyond that, we don't think it would be good for the players or for the game. But if you look at what our ability would be to schedule 82 games and you work back from November 2nd, if we didn't do it now, if we didn't put an effort on the table that we thought was fair and could get us playing hockey, if we didn't do it now, then it probably wasn't going to happen for a while. Because, again, it's done in the spirit of getting a full season in.

Is it 50-50 across the board?

It's 50-50 across board.

How long of a contract will this be?

I'm not going to get into the specifics. We proposed a long-term contract. We think that's in everybody's interest. We think that's what our fans want.

Can you explain how you address the rollback or the escrow?

There is no roll back, and I'm not going to get into the specifics. It would not be constructive at this point in time. The union has some work to do, and we respect the process. I probably have gone further than I usually have in terms of discussing what we've proposed than at any other time. But I'm not comfortable going any further. I'm more concerned about the process right now and getting us back on the ice.

How worried are you they might say no and more of the season will be lost?

I don't even want to go there.

Is the league amenable to playing an abbreviated schedule?

We're focused on getting the puck dropped on November 2nd and playing a full 82-game regular season and full playoffs. That's what this offer is all about.

Have you made plans to meet later in the week?

We're going to be on-call to them. They have some work to do internally. Obviously, we didn't put this proposal, this offer, together overnight, and they're going to need a little time to review it. I'm hoping that review will get us to a positive and constructive place.

---John Vogl

NHL proposes 50-50 revenue split, wants 82-game season to start Nov. 2; union to examine offer

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, center, arrives with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, right, as the NHL and its locked-out player resume negotiations in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

The stalled collective bargaining talks between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association took a major shift today, with the league proposing a 50-50 revenue split with the players. The offer is contingent on a full 82-game season that would start Nov. 2.

"We very much want to preserve a full 82-game season, and in that light we made a proposal, an offer really," Commissioner Gary Bettman said in Toronto. "It is our best shot at preserving an 82-game regular season and [Stanley Cup] Playoffs.

"We're focused on getting the season started on Nov. 2. That's what this offer was about."

(The full transcript of Bettman's news conference is available here.)

Union leader Donald Fehr told reporters in Toronto he will take the offer to his membership via a 5 p.m. conference call today.

"They would like to get a full 82-game season in," Fehr said. "We, of course, share that view and would like to get a full 82-game season in. And, so, what our hope is that after we review this that there will be a feeling on the players' side that this is a proposal from which we can negotiate and try to reach a conclusion."

The initial proposal by the NHL called for players to get 43 percent of all hockey-related revenue. The league's proposal prior to today offered the players up to 47 percent of revenue, which totaled $3.3 billion last season.

The NHLPA's most recent proposal would have given the players between 52 percent and 54 percent of revenues, based on 7 percent yearly growth.

"We haven't been able to run any numbers yet much less formulate a response," Fehr told reporters this afternoon.

(Video of Fehr's news conference is available here.)

One of the biggest stipulations set forth by the union during talks is its desire to avoid any type of salary rollback. In other words, players should be paid their previously negotiated salary. Reports say the NHL would provide "salary protection" in the first year of the deal, with players getting any money they lose repaid over time.

The new CBA would be at least six years in length, according to reports.

Defenseman Jordan Leopold, who has been representing the Sabres during talks, said in a text to The News, "Hopefully, I will have some info for you tomorrow."

---John Vogl

Goal by Lancaster's McLaughlin wows ESPN broadcaster

Dylan McLaughlin has a fan in ESPN's John Buccigross. One look at McLaughlin's goal from the weekend explains why.

McLaughlin, from Lancaster, registered an early nominee for hockey play of the year Saturday night. Playing for Cedar Rapids of the United States Hockey League, the 17-year-old streaked down the right side, accepted a pass, then put the puck and his stick between his legs and shot top shelf over the Green Bay goaltender.

"If this isn't on SC Top Ten, I'm walking off the Sportscenter set tonight," Buccigross wrote on Twitter on Monday.

McLaughlin, who attended Lancaster High before leaving for the USHL, was the ninth overall pick by Sioux Falls in the 2011 USHL futures draft. The center was traded to Cedar Rapids in the offseason.

---John Vogl

Amerks/Sabres lose Tropp for season with knee injury

(Mark Mulville/Buffalo News file photo)

Corey Tropp needed just 24 seconds to score the first goal of the Amerks' season. He needed less than 15 minutes to score their second.

His next goal won't come until next year.

Tropp left with seven minutes left in Rochester's opener Friday because of a severe right leg injury, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported today that the right winger has suffered damage to the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments and will undergo season-ending surgery.

"Appreciate all the support," Tropp wrote on Twitter. "Tough break but that's life."

Tropp was in Rochester only because of the NHL lockout. He was scheduled to be a third- or fourth-line winger for the Sabres. The 23-year-old played 34 games with Buffalo last season, recording three goals, eight points and 20 penalty minutes.

---John Vogl

Forever in bronze: The French Connection unveiled


Photo by Mark Mulville/Buffalo News: Cory Martin, Gilbert Perreault, Terry Pegula and Rene Robert.

There's no NHL hockey going on right now and there might not be any for a while. But say this for the Buffalo Sabres: They still put on a good show Friday night with the official opening of Alumni Plaza.

The French Connection statue is spectacular, with nuances like Rick Martin's bushy 70s moustache, the laces of the jerseys and the skates all done in intricate detail. The Alumni Plaza mural is awesome and the brick project to honor all former players and fans who chose to buy in and join them is off to a great start.

I would imagine the Sabres would put the great video montage they used as part of the ceremony on their Web site. Well worth a look (we'll link it at some point). 

Rene Robert was effusive in his praise of Terry and Kim Pegula. Robert, remember, was more than a little outspoken about the treatment alumni got under Tom Golisano and Larry Quinn.

"From the get-go that he bought the team, his intentions were to bring the alumni back and make them feel part of the family again," Robert said. "Past owners had their agendas to what they wanted to do. I'm not saying they're right or wrong. Terry had his own vision how he was going to build this team for the future by bringing the past with the present and future and I think he's doing everything the right way."

Joe Crozier, the coach who put the line together in 1972, told me in the arena pavilion after the ceremony what made the line work after Robert was acquired from Pittsburgh.

"It just fit very well,' he said. "I put him in the right side. Martin went deep on the left, Perreault went from end to end lugging the puck and Robert was the high man trailing on the play. It seemed like I would play them about 40 minutes a game because the other team couldn't check them that much.

"It's unbelievable. Perreault used to bring me coffee every morning in practice and we'd start doing our exercises. He asked me to put him in the Hall of Fame. I spoke both French and English and I did. We were very close and it's great to hear them talk about that closeness now."

Kudos to the sculptor, too. Texas-bases Jerry McKenna did a fabulous job and writer Kevin Snow has the story behind the work here. McKenna has done many busts for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and his personal website has plenty of them on display.

Each figure is about 7-feet high and weighs around 750 pounds. They sit on a 19-foot wide pedestal that is 10 feet deep to resemble an ice surface.

Old friend Ron Moscati took the picture that was used for the statue. The Buffalo News retiree, who turned 80 in August, said he knew he had something big the instant he developed the shot in 1975 for the Courier-Express.

"They don't skate together. One's on one side, one's over there. To get them together, keep them in focus and do all the things you need to do is almost impossible," Moscati said. "And I knew I had something from the beginning. There were other owners I couldn't really get to do something with it and understand what we had. Then this guy [Pegula] comes in from nowhere and he feels about them like the rest of us who are fans. ... He hit it right on the button."

Sure did.

---Mike Harrington
Twitter: @BNHarrington 

Amerks make roster moves in advance of tonight's opener

ROCHESTER -- The puck is about to drop on the Rochester Americans' regular season. But not for every player who participated in the team's training camp.

The Sabres' minor-league club has assigned forwards Riley Boychuk and Shawn Szydlowski to the Texas Brahmas of the Central Hockey League.

(Side note: I covered the CHL for two seasons in the early 2000s. It's a long way from the NHL, but it's fun hockey to watch because anything can happen on the ice, in the stands or the parking lot. One story I covered back then involved a Memphis player allegedly trying to run over a Columbus Cottonmouths player with his car.)

Boychuk, 21, appeared in 26 games with the Amerks last season, recording two assists and 18 penalty minutes. Szydlowski, 22, played in 53 games, collecting eight assists and 21 penalty minutes.

The moves follow several transactions made Thursday. Defenseman Corey Fienhage was assigned to the Gwinnett Gladiators (ECHL), forward Jacob Lagace was sent to the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) and goaltender Nathan Lieuwen was assigned to the Greenville Road Warriors (ECHL). Goaltender Shane Madolora and forward Jamie Wise were released.

The Amerks host the Syracuse Crunch tonight. Syracuse is the new farm team for the Tampa Bay Lightning and features Canisius College product and reigning AHL MVP Cory Conacher.

---John Vogl

Patrick Kaleta and Drew Stafford spring surprise on kids

The Sabres' Patrick Kaleta and Drew Stafford surprise kids at hockey practice.

Once again, no progress made as NHL, players' union meet twice

The NHL and its players’ union held two fruitless negotiating sessions today.

The four main players in the collective bargaining talks – NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and union special counsel Steve Fehr – took part in the first meeting. Bettman and Donald Fehr sat out the second chat, which featured seven players at the table.

“We didn’t really move the ball forward that much,” Daly told reporters in New York. “We had no discussion on the major economic issues or system issues, so that continues to be a disappointment from our perspective. Hopefully, we can get to that at some point.”

The puck was supposed to drop on the regular season Thursday, but games are canceled through Oct. 24. Daly said the loss of the preseason and the first two weeks of real games will cost the league $240 million in revenue.

“It’s unfortunate for both of us,” Daly said. “It’s a significant amount of money that the players share in on a significant basis.

“Even more disappointing from our perspective, should be from our collective perspective, is obviously we felt like over the last seven years we built up a lot of momentum in the business. We’ve had a lot of growth. Who knows what a work stoppage like this will do to that momentum.”

The union again noted that the loss of games is not the fault of the players.

“Games are canceled because the clubs chose to institute this lockout and are not backing off from it,” Steve Fehr said in Manhattan. “It’s unfortunate.”

Although the sides likely have seven days to negotiate a deal before more games are canceled, Daly said no timeline has been established.

“I can honestly say I haven’t focused on that,” he told reporters. “We’ve got a little bit of time before we make that next move, but obviously days go by and decisions need to be made.”

The leaders from both sides are expected to talk again Thursday. The league is hopeful the players’ association will make a new proposal.

“We’re encouraging them to make a proposal,” Daly said. “We understand that they’ve been working on some concepts, some ideas. We’ve suggested to them just make the proposal.

“Any movement is better than no movement at all. If we move sideways, hopefully we’d move it forward, but even if we move backward it might be better than where we are now.”

---John Vogl

Amerks will have 16 games televised in Buffalo on Time Warner Cable

There's still no word whether anyone will get to watch the Buffalo Sabres this season, but the Rochester Americans will be on television in Western New York.

The Sabres' minor-league club announced today that Time Warner Cable SportsChannel will televise 16 of its games this season. The first of 14 home games will air Oct. 19 when the Amerks host Grand Rapids. The games will be simulcast with the Amerks' radio broadcasts, with Don Stevens doing play-by-play and former Sabre Ric Seiling serving as the color analyst.

Time Warner will also broadcast two road games and pick up the Syracuse play-by-play feed.

The full schedule:

Friday, Oct. 19 vs. Grand Rapids (7 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)*/713 (HD)

Friday, Nov. 2 vs. Hamilton (7 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)*/713 (HD)

Friday, Nov. 23 vs. Albany (7 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)*/713 (HD)

Friday, Dec. 7 vs. Adirondack (7 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)*/713 (HD)

Friday, Dec. 21 vs. Binghamton (7 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)*/713 (HD)

Saturday, Jan. 12 at Syracuse (7:30 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)*/713 (HD)

Friday, Jan. 18 vs. Syracuse (7 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)*/713 (HD)

Friday, Jan. 25 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (7 p.m.), Channel 87

Friday, Feb. 1 vs. Toronto (7 p.m.), Channel 87

Saturday, Feb.2 at Syracuse (7:30 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)*/713 (HD)

Wednesday, Feb. 20 vs. Texas (7 p.m.), Channel 87

Wednesday, Mar. 13 vs. Binghamton (7 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)* 13/713 (HD)

Friday, Mar. 15 vs. Albany (7 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)*/713 (HD)

Wednesday, Mar. 27 vs. Syracuse (7 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)*/713 (HD)

Friday, Mar. 29 vs. Toronto (7 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)*/713 (HD)

Friday, Apr. 5 vs. Lake Erie (7 p.m.), Main Channel (SD)*/713 (HD)

*Main Channels (SD) in the Buffalo area: City of Buffalo – 25; Suburbs of Erie County, Niagara County and Westfield, NY – 52; Olean, NY – 49; Dunkirk, NY – 27; Jamestown and Fredonia, NY – 41.

---John Vogl

Hasek retires again; video tribute to Sabres' legendary goalie

Dominik Hasek is done. Again.

One of the two greatest players to wear a Sabres uniform has officially retired for the third time, Hasek told Czech Republic publication Sport. The 47-year-old was hoping to attempt another comeback this season -- he and his agent approached several teams, including the Sabres -- but the NHL lockout has resulted in no interest for the future Hall of Famer.

"It’s very sad,” Hasek told Sport according to a translation provided by the International Ice Hockey Federation. “But there is nothing you can do. I realized that it’s time to retire.”

Hasek hung up his pads after winning the Stanley Cup with Detroit in both 2002 and 2008, but he stayed away just one year each time. In 2011-12, his final season, Hasek played for Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League.

He rocketed to stardom while playing for the Sabres from 1992 to 2001.

---John Vogl

Sabres interested in showcasing USA Hockey prospects again

The original point of the All-American Prospects Game was to display U.S. kids to NHL scouts. With more than 150 talent evaluators in Buffalo to witness the inaugural event, USA Hockey scored.

“I think in the end, we could not have been more pleased," Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, said in a statement regarding the Sept. 29 game. “For an inaugural effort, our feedback has been extremely positive from fans, players, scouts, media and our sponsors.”

The full impact of the game won’t be felt until June, when NHL teams decide whether to draft the 38 players who competed in First Niagara Center. In the meantime, USA Hockey and the Buffalo Sabres will decide whether to turn the prospect showcase into an annual event.

“We are very interested in hosting again,” Sabres President Ted Black said today via email.

Said Ogrean: “Our staff is in the process of fully reviewing all aspects of the game, and we'll make a decision on the way forward likely by the end of the year.”

Attendance was disappointing for the event, with an announced crowd of 5,519 translating to about half that inside the arena. But from the beginning, the Sabres said the event was not about ticket sales. It was about building a stronger relationship with USA Hockey and showing the prospects a first-class time.

A private gathering the night before the game, which included a pep talk from Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, and a tour of the Sabres’ locker room and training area connected with the players.

“Going out on the ice in an NHL building was pretty surreal,” defenseman Ian McCoshen said. “It is a pretty spectacular facility that the Buffalo Sabres have.”

---John Vogl

Reports: NHL, players' union set to resume talks Wednesday, but money not on agenda

The NHL and NHL Players' Association have agreed to resume discussions on a collective bargaining agreement Wednesday, according to various reports, but financials are not expected to make an appearance.

"Major economic issues aren't on the agenda," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told USA Today via email today.

The league canceled the first two weeks of the season last week and likely has about 10 more days before it needs to cancel more.

---John Vogl

NHL's Bill Daly: 'The game deserves better, the fans deserve better'

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly has released the following statement regarding the league's cancellation of the first two weeks of the season:

"We were extremely disappointed to have to make today's announcement. The game deserves better, the fans deserve better and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better.

"We remain committed to doing everything in our power to forge an agreement that is fair to the players, fair to the teams and good for our fans.

"This is not about 'winning' or 'losing' a negotiation. This is about finding a solution that preserves the long-term health and stability of the League and the game.

"We are committed to getting this done."

---John Vogl

NHLPA's Donald Fehr: 'Players remain committed to playing'

Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players' Association, has released the following statement regarding the cancellation of the first two weeks of the season:

“The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner."

---John Vogl

Sabres lose four home games, but Daly says expect balanced schedule if NHL restarts

The NHL wiped out the first two weeks of the schedule today, and it's likely fans of the Buffalo Sabres were affected more than anyone else. The Sabres were scheduled to play four home games between Oct. 13 and Oct. 24, plus another game on the road.

The league will try to have an 82-game season if it can quickly reach a collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players' Association, but that's unlikely with no talks scheduled. Instead, expect a whole new schedule if there is a 2012-13 season because it would not be fair for teams like the Sabres to play fewer home games than road games.

"We will have to work that out when it becomes necessary," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an email to The Buffalo News. "But I doubt very much we would ask any team to play an 'unbalanced' schedule."

---John Vogl

NHL postpones the start of 2012-13 season, wipes away first two weeks of games

It was inevitable. Sooner or later, the NHL was going to postpone the start of the 2012-13 season.

The league has done it today.

The lockout that cost hockey fans the entire preseason will carry into at least the first two weeks of the regular season. The NHL announced it has wiped all games through Oct. 24 from the schedule after failing to find any common ground with the NHL Players’ Association on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The first puck was supposed to drop next Thursday. Commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners looked at the large gap in proposals and decided they would not come together with the union by then. With more than 100 NHLers scattered around the world playing for other teams, the NHL clubs will also need time to gather their rosters.

The owners’ decision will cost the Buffalo Sabres at least five games, including four at home. They were scheduled to open the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 13 in First Niagara Center. Detroit was set to visit Oct. 16, followed by the New York Rangers on Oct. 19 and New Jersey on Oct. 24. The Sabres were scheduled to visit the New York Islanders on Oct. 20.

The Sabres announced a policy for ticket refunds last month. The information can be found by clicking here.

This is the third time since 1994 that the NHL will not start as scheduled because of a lockout. In 1994-95, the league didn't drop the puck until January for a shortened, 48-game schedule. The entire 2004-05 season was lost to a labor dispute.

UPDATE NO. 1: Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly tells The Buffalo News to expect balance schedule.

UPDATE NO. 2: NHLPA releases statement.

UPDATE NO. 3: NHL releases statement.

---John Vogl

Some notes collected on Amerks while waiting for NHL to cancel start of season

With only one week until the scheduled start of the NHL season and no breakthrough in sight regarding CBA talks, the league could announce the postponement/cancellation of the opening games any minute.

While we wait, a few notes collected from the Amerks' preseason opener Wednesday night:

*Mark Mancari still has the hardest shot I've seen during my 11 seasons covering the Sabres and their prospects. It's a rocket, and no one else's could compare Wednesday. He earned his first of three assists when his blast got tipped wide of the net and caromed back to the front for a Luke Adam tap-in.

*Cody Hodgson had his NHL-caliber moments -- the most memorable was when his saucer pass from the left side of the zone landed perfectly on the right side for a T.J. Brennan one-timer -- but he didn't dominate like folks expected. Of course, it's just the first game of the preseason.

*David Leggio is fiery. The goalie from Williamsville ended last season in Rochester talking about a [expletive] goal he let in. He started this season yelling at the referee about a [expletive] call. He also carried the team through a sluggish first period with several good saves while the Amerks got outshot, 13-6.

*Adam still knows how to find the right spot on the ice to pour in goals. His speed in getting to those spots still needs work.

*The Amerks' power play should be impressive. The units: Hodgson-Marcus Foligno-Corey Tropp, with Brayden McNabb and Brennan on the point; and Phil Varone-Adam-Kevin Porter, with Mancari and Mark Pysyk.

*Zemgus Girgensons and Foligno can hit. Girgensons showed hustle at both ends of ice at times in his pro debut. He's just 18 playing in league filled with guys five to 10 years older.

---John Vogl

Sabres legends Perreault, Robert visit site of Alumni Plaza

A 7-foot-tall statue of the French Connection will be erected outside the Sabres' arena Oct. 12. One of the players to be immortalized has made a request.

"It’s a great honor to have our statue in front," Gilbert Perreault said today. "Just make sure that you’re going to keep our beautiful faces clean over the years."

Perreault joined former linemate Rene Robert at First Niagara Center for a luncheon and news conference previewing the unveiling. In addition to the statue, there will be plaques placed on bricks with the name of every player who wore Blue and Gold, including the late Richard Martin, the third member of Buffalo's legendary line.

"It’s truly an honor that the new ownership of the Sabres are remembering us, the old players, the alumni and the beginning of the franchise," Robert said. "This has been a long time coming, but it’s nice to see that finally there’s going to be a plaza remembering each and every one of us that played here, whether he played one game or 1,000 games."

---John Vogl

Gilbert Perreault

Rene Robert

John Livsey, Sabres vice president, sales and business development

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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 |