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With Grigorenko decision looming, fate decided for other junior eligibles

Galchen
The Canadiens are keeping No. 3 overall pick Alex Galchenyuk. (Getty Images)

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres are still up in the air with Mikhail Grigorenko even though the decision to keep him in the NHL seems like a no-brainer from this view. He's talented, he's creative and he plays center -- an area this team is woefully thin at. You want to see Grigorenko or Matt Ellis? You want them to force Ville Leino back to center, as Lindy Ruff mused about today? Please.

Keep the kid.

Still, it's only been 50-50 among other NHL teams about keeping key junior eligibles or sending them back. Here's a quick rundown:

Continue reading "With Grigorenko decision looming, fate decided for other junior eligibles" »

No word on Grigorenko, better word on Vanek

Mik
No decision on Mikhail Grigorenko yet. (Harry Scull/Buffalo News)


By Mike Harrington

The Sabres had an optional practice today in First Niagara Center, a clear result of the tight schedule that saw the club open the season with five games in eight days. Several players, notably the top-line forwards, stayed off the ice with what coach Lindy Ruff termed "light groins" and Ruff said it was more important for them to be rested for tomorrow's visit by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Two guys who took the ice, however, garnered most of the day's attention. Rookie Mikhail Grigorenko had a full practice, even working on faceoffs with assistant coach Kevyn Adams, and Thomas Vanek skated in several drills after missing Sunday's loss in Washington with a muscle strain believed to be in his back or rib cage.

Grigorenko said the Sabres have yet to tell him if he's staying in the NHL or returning to his junior team in Quebec. Ruff said he was optimistic Vanek would return to the lineup tomorrow.

Continue reading "No word on Grigorenko, better word on Vanek" »

Sabres' postgame audio: Grigorenko, Ruff, Miller talk after 3-2 loss to Capitals

Lindy Ruff

Mikhail Grigorenko

Ryan Miller

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Live from Verizon Center: Sabres at Capitals

Hall of Famer Rick Jeanneret ready to get his season started today

WASHINGTON -- Rick Jeanneret has been calling Sabres games for more than 40 years. The butterflies have long since disappeared.

Still, he's a little anxious as the puck gets ready to drop for the Sabres and Capitals.

"We’ll find out how rusty I am very shortly," Jeanneret said this afternoon during a broadcast booth chat in Verizon Center. "I’m long past the days of being nervous, but I am anticipating it quite a bit because I’m not so sure I’m going to be right up to snuff to begin with here. I think once things get under way, I’ll be fine."

Jeanneret is back after missing the opening four games with an illness that required a brief hospitalization. He's spent the last week recuperating and following doctor's orders.

"I spent a lot of time with the iPad and a lot of time on the Kindle reading," he said. "I really didn’t do a whole lot more than that. I was told to rest, and I tried to keep my nose to the grindstone and obey the orders. That’s basically all I was doing.

"I did keep in touch with the team, and they were letting me know what was happening. Mostly, from the top down, they just said, 'Stay away and get better. Don’t even think about coming back until you are.' It was the typical Buffalo Sabres’ treatment of employees. It was top shelf."

---John Vogl

Injured Vanek is out for Sabres against Capitals; Grigorenko will play final game of tryout

By John Vogl

WASHINGTON -- Only three players on the Sabres are producing, and one of them won't play today.

Continue reading "Injured Vanek is out for Sabres against Capitals; Grigorenko will play final game of tryout" »

Bulletin: Jeanneret returns Sunday

RJBy Mike Harrington

The Sabres have confirmed that Hall of Fame broadcaster Rick Jeanneret (right) has made the trip to Washington and will return to the air for Sunday's game against the Capitals.

The game begins at 3 p.m and Jeanneret will join Rob Ray on the call for MSG and WGR Radio. Jeanneret has missed the first four games of the season due to an undisclosed illness.

(Jeanneret photo: Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Ruff hopeful Vanek plays, may sit Grigorenko to buy more time

By Mike Harrington

Thomas Vanek missed Saturday's practice in Amherst as coach Lindy Ruff went ahead with his line shuffles, just as he promised following Friday's game. Ruff said he anticipates Vanek will play Sunday in Washington. Mikhail Grigorenko may not.

The 18-year-old rookie has played four games and one more will force the Sabres to make a decision about keeping him or returning to juniors. They didn't get much of a look in Friday's 3-1 loss to Carolina as Grigorenko played just two shifts over the final 40 minutes.

"It's like burning a game," Ruff admitted when I asked if it might have been better to simply scratch Grigorenko rather than dress him and not use him. Ruff then admitted that getting the rookie added practice time might be in the cards, so the team isn't forced into a decision just yet.

Continue reading "Ruff hopeful Vanek plays, may sit Grigorenko to buy more time" »

Vanek missing as Ruff shuffles lines -- just as he promised

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres have opened what will be no more than a 45-minute practice at the Northtown Center of Amherst and Lindy Ruff is making good on Friday's postgame promise of shuffling his lines.

Part of it is out of necessity as Thomas Vanek is not on the ice. Ruff said after the 3-1 loss to Carolina that Vanek would likely get today off after taking a tumble during the game and suffering an undetermined muscle strain (looked like a hard fall on his back).

Still, with only one goal from a forward in four games other than the line of Vanek-Hodgson-Pominville, things have to change. Here's how Ruff has the lines put together today:

Foligno-Hodgson-Pominville
Ott-Grigorenko-Stafford
Hecht-Ennis-Kaleta
Scott-Ellis-Gerbe/McCormick

Ville Leino is not practicing. All eight defensemen are present as are both goalies. Be sure to keep it here after practice for thoughts from Ruff and the players. 

On the air with NHL Network

Prior to Friday night's 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, Mike Harrington discussed the latest on the Sabres with Bill Pidto and E.J. Hradek of "NHL Live" on the NHL Network.

Watch the segment below:

Video: Postgame reaction after Hurricanes' 3-1 win over the Sabres

Audio: Grigorenko, Ruff sum up center's lack of use in Sabres' loss to Hurricanes

By John Vogl

Mikhail Grigorenko had the best seat in the house for most of the Sabres' 3-1 loss to Carolina. He was on the bench, watching.

Continue reading "Audio: Grigorenko, Ruff sum up center's lack of use in Sabres' loss to Hurricanes" »

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Live from First Niagara Center: Hurricanes at Sabres

Video: Discussion of the Sabres' start to season on the 'Bucky & Sully Show'

Watch all the segments of this week's show here.

Ref got too physical with Gerbe


By Mike Harrington

One of the bizarre moments of the NHL's first week came last night when Sabres winger Nathan Gerbe -- in his first game back after summer spinal surgery -- took a cheap hit from Carolina's Drayson Bowman and then tried to get in a few words with Hurricanes forward Chad LaRose.

But referee Dan O'Hallaron got in the way -- and got physical with Gerbe as well. Something tells me the stripes wouldn't have done that to too many other players. Especially ones who aren't 5-foot-5. That's got to be a reprimand and/or a fine for O'Hallaron but you won't hear about that one publicly.

Continue reading "Ref got too physical with Gerbe" »

Pregame audio: Leino dealing with hip issue

By Mike Harrington

It was an optional morning skate for the Sabres today in preparation for tonight's game against Carolina. Ryan Miller will be in goal, likely against Hurricanes backup Dan Ellis. The Sabres aren't expected to make any lineup changes, and coach Lindy Ruff said he's not looking to shift any lines yet, even though only Thomas Vanek-Cody Hodgson-Jason Pominville is producing any offense.

"The great thing is we got one of the hottest lines in the league," Ruff said of the trio, which has eight of the team's 10 goals. "The bad thing is it's the only line that's scoring right now. But I would take three goals out of a hot line over maybe two goals from two different lines."

One of the few guys on the ice was winger Ville Leino, who skated hard for 20-25 minutes before coming off the ice. Leino has yet to play this season with what has been revealed to be an injury to his right hip.

Continue reading "Pregame audio: Leino dealing with hip issue" »

Morning outlook: No lineup changes expected

By Mike Harrington

Don't look for any changes in the Sabres' lineup tonight for the 7 p.m. rematch against Carolina. The only players skating this morning in First Niagara Center are regular scratches Mike Weber, T.J. Brennan and Matt Ellis, and injured forwards Cody McCormick and Ville Leino.

The players and coach Lindy Ruff will be available to the media in the next half-hour or so. Carolina broadcaster John Forslund has tweeted that backup goaltender Dan Ellis is expected to start for the Canes.

Go to the video: Ridiculous passes from Vanek and Kane

By Mike Harrington

Who doesn't love a great pass? We had two absolutely sick ones Thursday night: Thomas Vanek to Jason Pominville and Patrick Kane to Marian Hossa for an overtime winner. Check 'em out:

 

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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 | jvogl@buffnews.com

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 | mharrington@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

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