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It's (finally) Hockey Day in Buffalo and here's today's game plan

By Mike Harrington

Greetings and welcome to Sabres season! Bet many of you never thought we'd say that this year.

But lo and behold, here we are at First Niagara Center getting ready for today's opener against the Philadelphia Flyers.

I'll be joined here today by John Vogl, Bucky Gleason and photographer Harry Scull. Here's a look at our coverage plans for the Sabres-Flyers game, which will air on Ch. 2 and WGR Radio with a 12:30 faceoff:

---I'll be on the WGR Radio roundtable from 11-11:40, discussing the season with Brian Koziol, Paul Hamilton and Brian Duff. Hamilton is doing the radio play-by-play today for the ill Rick Jeanneret. 

---At noon, I'll host a special opening day chat on the Sabres Edge blog for 30 minutes.

The link to the pregame chat is right here.

---Then stick around for our in-game blog all afternoon and a special 15-minute "Sabres flashchat" we'll have during the second intermission. We'll have intermission flashchats from time to time throughout the season; make your questions good, as only the best will make it in that short timespan!

---After the game, be sure to look for audio from the locker room and our postgame video wrap-up.

Today's Buffalo News includes our annual NHL preview section, featuring everything you need to know about the Sabres and presented through the auspices of award-winning Graphics Editor Vince Chiaramonte, sports page designer Andrea Zagata and cover artist Dan Zakroczemski.

In our cover story, Vogl talks about the Sabres' situation at center, where Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson are vastly inexperienced compared to most teams' No. 1-2 guys down the middle.

Vogl's team preview discusses a Sabres team that might have lost some offense but picked up some sandpaper edge that has been missing.

My main contribution looks at the question of whether a goalie -- Ryan Miller, perhaps? -- can steal a short season for his team. 

Follow this link for Vogl's four reasons for optimism and his four reasons for pessimism.

What do I think the Sabres have to do in a short season? Not stumble out of the gate at home.

Vogl talks to Pat LaFontaine to take a look back at the '94-95 Sabres, who finished 22-19-7 and were a first-round loser to the Flyers. 

Bucky Gleason says it's all on Lindy Ruff now. 

In our Mixed Media column, Greg Connors says NBC is ready to finally get this thing going. The network did a great job yesterday showing the Kings' banner-raising and then switching to Flyers-Penguins.

Outside of the preview section:

In announcing Darcy Regier's contract extension, owner Terry Pegula said Saturday "this looks like a good team." We'll see. 

Ville Leino's status for today's game is uncertain due to a leg injury.


NHL | Philadelphia Flyers | Sabres
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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 |