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Video: No late fail for Oilers' Nail in wild OT win over Kings

By Mike Harrington

Thursday's late-night special had a spectacular finish as the Edmonton Oilers rallied for a 2-1 overtime win over the struggling Los Angeles Kings after a wild final minute of regulation.

The Oilers tied the game, or so it seemed, with 1:05 left on a goal by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. But after a sudden discussion by officials, the goal was wiped out due to goaltender interference and fans at Rexall Place erupted. The ice was showered with debris and the game was delayed for about 10 minutes.

When it resumed, the Oilers scored the tying goal (again) as No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov swatted a rebound out of mid-air past Jonathan Quick with 4.7 seconds left -- and then took off down the ice for a knee-sliding celebration that reminded everyone of Theo Fleury circa 1991. Sam Gagner won the game with a goal in OT. With young stars all over, Edmonton has been great fun to watch so far.

Continue reading "Video: No late fail for Oilers' Nail in wild OT win over Kings" »

From the Sabres' dressing room following 6-3 loss to Hurricanes

By John Vogl

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Sabres were universal in saying what caused their 6-3 loss to Carolina on Thursday night.

Continue reading "From the Sabres' dressing room following 6-3 loss to Hurricanes" »

Pick the three stars: Hurricanes 6, Sabres 3

Live from PNC Arena: Sabres at Hurricanes

Audio: Gerbe, Enroth set to make season debuts for Sabres versus Hurricanes; Leino heads to IR

By John Vogl

RALEIGH, N.C. -- As expected, Nathan Gerbe and Jhonas Enroth are back.

Gerbe, who missed the first two games after offseason back surgery, will make his season debut tonight against Carolina. He will skate alongside center Mikhail Grigorenko and wing Steve Ott.

Continue reading "Audio: Gerbe, Enroth set to make season debuts for Sabres versus Hurricanes; Leino heads to IR" »

Sabres' Grigorenko focused on next game, not five games

By John Vogl

If Mikhail Grigorenko plays both games of the back-to-back set with Carolina (the Sabres visit the Hurricanes tonight and host them Friday), Grigorenko will have used up four games of his five-game tryout.

The Sabres say they’re still deciding whether to keep the 18-year-old or return him to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Quebec coach Patrick Roy told the Canadian Press he doesn’t expect the center to return.

Continue reading "Sabres' Grigorenko focused on next game, not five games" »

Audio: Sabres' Gerbe says he's ready to play; Enroth set to make first start

By John Vogl

Nathan Gerbe is excited. His back feels good, so that means he's ready to be back.

The Sabres left winger got through a full practice on a regular line today in First Niagara Center, and he feels ready to make his season debut Thursday in Carolina.

"I hope I’m playing," said Gerbe, who still had to meet with doctors to be formally cleared to come off injured reserve for his offseason back surgery.

Continue reading "Audio: Sabres' Gerbe says he's ready to play; Enroth set to make first start" »

Gerbe returns to full practice for Sabres, skating with Grigorenko, Ott; Leino absent

It appears Nathan Gerbe may be ready to rejoin the Sabres.

Gerbe, who started the season on injured reserve after back surgery, is skating on the third line this morning with center Mikhail Grigorenko and wing Steve Ott. Coach Lindy Ruff will give an official statement on Gerbe's status following practice, but the winger's placement with the regulars is a strong indicator he will play Thursday in Carolina.

Ville Leino, meanwhile, is absent from practice. He's been dealing with a leg injury and missed the opening two games. He skated with Girgorenko and Ott throughout training camp and participated in Monday's morning skate in Toronto on a limited basis.

The other lines for Buffalo during practice are: Thomas Vanek-Cody Hodgson-Jason Pominville; Marcus Foligno-Tyler Ennis-Drew Stafford; John Scott-Jochen Hecht-Patrick Kaleta; and Matt Ellis-Cody McCormick. All eight defensemen and two goaltenders are present.

---John Vogl

Jeanneret improving but will miss third straight game when Sabres visit Carolina

One of the most popular men in the Sabres' organization will miss his third straight game Thursday.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Rick Jeanneret will not accompany the team to Carolina, he said this morning via text message. Though he's "getting there," the ill Jeanneret is not ready to join the team for its road trip.

There was no immediate word on who would replace Jeanneret in the broadcast booth. WGR's Paul Hamilton handled the radio-only broadcast Sunday versus Philadelphia, while the Sabres' Kevin Sylvester did Monday's television/radio simulcast in Toronto.

---John Vogl

Family packs, Student Surge promotion to return to FNC

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres have announced the return of family packs for select Silver level home games. The packs are priced at $199 and include four 300 Level II tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and four boxes of popcorn. The team says the savings of each pack is $104 over actual price.

The packs can be purchased for Silver games beginning with Friday's visit by Carolina.  

Other games available are Jan. 29 vs. Toronto, Feb. 7 vs. Montreal, March 2 vs. New Jersey, March 31 vs. Boston, April 11 vs. Montreal and April 14 vs. Tampa Bay. Tickets can be purchased at Sabres.com

The team is also renewing its "Student Surge" promotion for college students. Canisius is the sponsor and its students with valid ID can purchase 300 Level II seats normally priced from $39-$78 for just $25 on campus for all remaining games

A limited supply will also be available at Sabres.com to students from all other schools. Students may purchase one discounted ticket per ID and must present the ID at the FNC box office to pick up the tickets.

Falling Leafs: Off-day thoughts

Sun page
Today's Toronto Sun front page saluted red-hot Ryan Miller on a cold day north of the border (Newseum.org image)

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres are off today so we won't have any practice updates. They'll be back on the ice Wednesday** in First Niagara Center before heading to the airport for the flight to Carolina.

(**Couple of inquiries: We're in regular season mode now, which means practice is closed to the public. Game-day morning skates, the few of them that there may be in this shortened season, will be open for the Sabres only and closed for visiting teams).

I'm working on a little update on Jochen Hecht for Wednesday's paper. Monday was one year to the day of Hecht's last concussion, during a loss at St. Louis, and Thursday is one year to the day of his breakdown in the locker room after the morning skate in New Jersey, when it seemed like his career was done. Hecht has been pretty valuable on the penalty kill in these first two games, excellent value for a $1M pickup the week of "training camp".

Here's plenty of other things percolating in my mind after Monday's 2-1 win over the Maple Leafs:

---Ryan Miller was the story in this one. Made 34 saves and once again dominated the team he has more career wins against (28) than anyone. Nearly posted his fifth career shutout against the Leafs too. 

Miller in two games thus far: 1.50 GAA, .953 save percentage. Zero questionable goals against. Looks strong in the crease. Loved how there were few rebounds last night. Shots were sticking to his pads.

Lindy Ruff said this morning on his weekly WGR Radio appearance that Jhonas Enroth will play one of the two games this week against Carolina.

---Your goaltender is your best penalty killer but Miller had a lot of help. Didn't like Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold much in Sunday's opener against Philadelphia but I loved them last night. Leopold played a team-high 25:12 and had a game-high four blocked shots; Regehr played 4:49 of PK time out of his 17:42, blocked three shots and did an excellent job with his positioning.

---Calling Tyler Myers, calling Tyler Myers. Trainwreck so far. Unforced errors, bad passes. Bad two games for a guy making $12 million this year. And yes, the money changes how everyone looks at him. He's not on an entry-level deal; he's getting paid like a Norris Trophy candidate. 

---Cody Hodgson looks great down the middle. Two fluky goals without his stick but it's no fluke he was in position on both of them.

---Vanek attack. An NHL-high six points so far, tying the most in back-to-back games in his career. The way he stripped Nikolai Kulemin and fed Jason Pomvinille for Monday's second goal was a superstar play.

---Secondary scoring needed. Vanek-Hodgson-Pominville have five of the seven goals thus far. No goals yet from Foligno-Ennis-Stafford, although I thought Ennis had a strong game Monday.

---Faceoffs are an issue. The Leafs won a staggering 45 of 64 draws Monday -- including 21 of 25 in the third period. The Sabres have won just 12 of 44 in the first period of their two games. Win faceoffs, get possession. Lose faceoffs, scramble to get possession and too often only get the puck when it's in your net. Major area to work on.

---Team toughness. Drew Stafford, John Scott, Patrick Kaleta, Marcus Foligno. Lots of answers to challenges so far. Just as advertised. 

Audio: Miller, Ruff wrap up Sabres' 2-1 victory in Toronto

By John Vogl


TORONTO -- The Sabres and goaltender Ryan Miller ended a drought in Toronto on Monday night with a 2-1 victory over the Maple Leafs. Buffalo went 0-3 in Air Canada Centre last season, while Miller hadn't won in The True North since 2009.

Hear him and coach Lindy Ruff discuss the victory below.

RYAN MILLER

LINDY RUFF

Vote for your three stars

Live from Air Canada Centre: Sabres at Maple Leafs

The FNC's opening montage

By Mike Harrington

TORONTO -- One thing the Sabres usually knock out of the park is their pregame video presentations and Sunday's production prior to the opener against the Flyers was no different.

If you weren't in First Niagara Center, the Sabres have posted it to their web site and you can watch it below (h/t to Sabres.com).

Scott on Stafford's surprise fight: 'It was a perfect job'

By Mike Harrington

TORONTO -- So Drew Stafford's fight with Scott Hartnell late in the second period yesterday continues to be a talking point here at the Air Canada Centre. The Toronto media swarmed the Sabres with questions about team toughness early this afternoon and Lindy Ruff got several inquiries as well.

I went into the corner of the dressing room to solicit the opinion of 6-foot-8 John Scott, the Sabres' new tough guy. To say he loved what Stafford did was an understatment.

"I think that's what every team needs," Scott said. "And with [Stafford] being an assistant captain he's setting an example for everything else. It was a perfect job there. You couldn't ask for anything better. I was really amped up on the bench."

Stafford obviously lost the fight but that was hardly important. Winning the war was far more significant. Here's a look at the tussle again:

Canisius' Conacher a bolt of fresh air in Tampa

By Mike Harrington

TORONTO -- Former Canisius College star Cory Conacher had a huge NHL debut Saturday night with a goal and an assist in Tampa Bay's 6-3 win over Carolina. Conacher added two assists this afternoon as the Lightning lost on Long Island, 4-3, in Vinny Lecavalier's 1,000th NHL game.

Here's a look at Conacher's goal (first ever in the NHL by a Canisius player, right?) and his postgame chat with the media.

5 p.m. update: Canisius reports that USCHO.com (the Web site for college hockey) says Conacher's goal is the first in the NHL for ANY player from Atlantic Hockey. Not just first goal by a Griff, first for the entire league!

Jeanneret update sounds like a player

By Mike Harrington

TORONTO -- Sabres spokesman Mike Gilbert told me this afternoon that legendary play-by-play voice Rick Jeanneret remains home and the team thinks it's possible he could be on the charter flight to Carolina on Wednesday afternoon for the game Thursday night.

In Lindy Ruff parlance, Jeanneret is day to day. 

Jeanneret missed Sunday's opener and was replaced by WGR's Paul Hamilton. Kevin Sylvester, the host of the purchased-by-the-club "Sabres Hockey Hotline" on WGR, will do tonight's game with Rob Ray on MSG. 

No lineup changes in road opener

By Mike Harrington

TORONTO -- The Sabres will go with the same lineup tonight in the Air Canada Centre against the Maple Leafs as they did for Sunday's opener against Philadelphia. Ryan Miller will be in goal against Ben Scrivens, who got the win for the Leafs Saturday in Montreal. Ville Leino is still out of the Buffalo lineup with a leg injury. 

"We'll just take it day by day," coach Lindy Ruff said of Leino. "He tried it again today and it didn't feel well enough to play."

The Sabres lost all three meetings here last year, going 0-3 in this city for the first time since 1973-74. Because this is their home opener, the Leafs were swarmed by the media in their dressing room after their morning skate.

"We had some tough battles late last year with them," Ruff said. "They're a much-improved team, played well against Montreal, didn't give up a lot on the defensive side of it and we're going to have to play well defensively. Our play away from the puck is going to have to be as strong as it was [Sunday]."

Miller is 27-14-0 against the Leafs in his career with a 2.44 GAA and .922 save percentage. His 27 wins and four shutouts against Toronto are his most against any opponent. Scrivens is a bit of a surprise over James Reimer but played well Saturday; he's 1-0-1 against Buffalo but with poor numbers (4.37/.883).

The Leafs are scratching veterans Mike Komisarek and Cody Franson on defense and going with Mark Fraser and Korbinia Holzer. Tonight's game will faceoff at around 7:25 with some elaborate pregame ceremonies planned.

 

Jeanneret will miss second straight game with illness; Sylvester to do Sabres' play-by-play

Rick Jeanneret, the Sabres' legendary broadcaster, remains ill and will miss his second straight game tonight. Kevin Sylvester wrote on Twitter this morning that he will handle the play-by-play duties for Buffalo's game in Toronto.

Jeanneret skipped the Sabres' season opener Sunday against Philadelphia. WGR's Paul Hamilton did the radio-only broadcast. Sylvester, who hosts a weekday morning Sabres show on WGR, will handle the simulcast call for the radio station and MSG television.

---John Vogl

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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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