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Postgame audio: Rolston, Gerbe, Ott wrap up Sabres' 4-3 shootout win over Panthers

Ron Rolston

Nathan Gerbe

Steve Ott

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Live from BB&T Center: Sabres at Panthers

Sabres fans can cross O'Reilly off wish list as Flames sign Colorado holdout to offer sheet

By John Vogl

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The biggest name on the trade market has been snatched up. It's now just a matter of seeing where Ryan O'Reilly plays.

The Calgary Flames have signed the holdout restricted free agent to a two-year, $10 million offer sheet. The Colorado Avalanche, who couldn't sign the center and have been entertaining trade offers, have seven days to match the offer. If they don't, they will receive a first- and third-round pick from the Flames as compensation.

The Avs have balked at O'Reilly's $5 million asking price, so they likely will be hesitant to match the offer. It includes a $6.5 million salary in Year Two, which then becomes the base for O'Reilly's qualifying offer when his deal expires.

The 6-foot, 200-pounder has a growing reputation as a solid two-way center. The 22-year-old had 18 goals and 55 points in 81 games last season, his third in the NHL.

Though the Sabres already have young centers, they are believed to have at least inquired about O'Reilly. The Avs, according to a source, were asking for a roster player, a prospect and a draft pick.

The Flames changed that with the offer sheet, which is the sixth one since 2007, according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.

Sabres set to scratch struggling Foligno against Panthers

By John Vogl

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Marcus Foligno, one of the many Sabres forwards who are struggling to find the net, won't get a chance tonight. The left winger will be scratched against the Florida Panthers, his first benching of the year.

Foligno has no goals in the last 15 games and only one in Buffalo's 20 outings.

"I’ve got to know that I have a long career ahead of me and just keep working and learn from this," Foligno said.

With legendary tough guy George Parros playing for Florida, John Scott will take Foligno's spot in the lineup. T.J. Brennan will be the defensive scratch. Jordan Leopold will sit with an injury, though he did skate today.

Ryan Miller will start in goal. Read his thoughts on the tumultuous season by clicking here.

Ron Rolston

Miller happy to see Sabres hitting reset button

By John Vogl
News Sports Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Ryan Miller, likely more than anyone on the Sabres, understands what a championship would mean for Buffalo. He’s been in the organization for 11 years, and he’s talked often about leaving behind a winning legacy.

With the Sabres near the bottom of the NHL and longtime coach Lindy Ruff sitting home unemployed, Miller’s plan to be part of an established winner has taken a significant detour.

Continue reading "Miller happy to see Sabres hitting reset button" »

Sabres excited to finally get a win, but they're aware they have a long road ahead

By John Vogl

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The music was blaring and hands were high-fiving in the Sabres' dressing room following their 2-1 victory Tuesday night over Tampa Bay, but it was back to the everyday scene today for the NHL's 29th-place club.

Buffalo is well-aware that improving to 7-12-1 doesn't do much in the grand scheme.

"It’s one game," left wing Jochen Hecht said. "To get back into the playoff picture, we’ve got to put a string together of four or five games in a row."

Continue reading "Sabres excited to finally get a win, but they're aware they have a long road ahead" »

Sabres focus on scoring during practice -- with good reason

By John Vogl

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The messages being delivered by Ron Rolston during the Sabres' practice today center around bearing down on offense and scoring goals.

Here's why:

*Jochen Hecht has no goals in 20 games.

Continue reading "Sabres focus on scoring during practice -- with good reason" »

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Postgame audio: Rolston, Kaleta, Weber celebrate Sabres' victory

By John Vogl

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Sabres' penalty killers carried them to a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay, the first NHL win for interim coach Ron Rolston.

Mike Weber led the Sabres with 6:46 of short-handed time, while Patrick Kaleta played 5:48 and blocked three shots. To hear from them and Rolston, click the audio files below.

Ron Rolston

Patrick Kaleta

Mike Weber

Live from Tampa Bay Times Forum: Sabres at Lightning

Sabres' offense needs to break out of slump to keep pace with Lightning's ability to strike

By John Vogl

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay averages nearly four goals per game. The Sabres have totaled two goals in their last three games.

Obviously, Buffalo needs to pick up the pace to have any chance against the Lightning.

Tampa Bay leads the NHL with 69 goals in 18 games, an average of 3.8 per outing. The Lightning have scored 33 goals in third periods. Buffalo, by contrast, has 47 goals all year.

"They’re a team that gets up and down real quick," Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston said after the morning skate in Tampa Bay Times Forum. "Both offensively and defensively we’re going to have to play faster."

The Sabres' offense could get a boost if the power play wakes up. Buffalo is in a 2-for-46 drought. Tampa's penalty killers rank tied for 12th with a 82.8 percent success rate.

"For us, I think it’s more of a confidence thing both on the power play now and five-on-five to generate offense," Rolston said. "I think we’re getting some quality looks and some chances, and now it’s just finishing, not squeezing our stick."

The Sabres will scratch defenseman T.J. Brennan and forward John Scott. Ryan Miller will start in goal against Tampa's Mathieu Garon.

Ron Rolston

Conacher's buddies at Canisius tell Tampa's stellar rookie to take it easy on Sabres

By John Vogl

TAMPA, Fla. -- Cory Conacher went to quite a few Sabres games when he played for Canisius. A few of the Griffs had season tickets, so they'd ride down to the arena to watch the games.

Tonight, Conacher gets to face the Sabres.

The rookie will skate alongside Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell when the Tampa Bay Lightning host Buffalo in Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Continue reading "Conacher's buddies at Canisius tell Tampa's stellar rookie to take it easy on Sabres" »

With belief tenuous, Rolston concerned staggering team is simply hoping to win

By Mike Harrington

Interim coach Ron Rolston said after Saturday's slopfest against the Islanders he was suprised at how fragile the Sabres looked when things went bad. He reiterated those feelings today after practice prior to the team's charter flight to Tampa.

"You go into a hockey game and some teams in this league hope they're gonna win and some teams know they're gonna win that night," Rolston said. "The better teams are the 'know-win' teams and we're right now the 'hope' team. To get from hope to know is a process. To get there, you've got to do a lot of things well and you have to do it for 60 minutes. We're still hoping and our job is to get to the point we're knowing."

Maybe a two-game roadie to Tampa and Florida -- away from the Buffalo media and the rousing boos and catcalls of First Niagara Center -- will do this team good?

Continue reading "With belief tenuous, Rolston concerned staggering team is simply hoping to win" »

Red Wings shuffling off to Buffalo's division?


CBC's "Hot Stove" segment on realignment from Saturday night.

By Mike Harrington

I watched the Red Wings-Canucks game Sunday night with a different eye, knowing that it's very possible Joe Louis Arena will be a regular stop for the Sabres come next season. 

That was the word late Saturday night from CBC's Elliotte Friedman, who broke on Hockey Night in Canada that the NHL and NHLPA are well on their way to agreeing on a realignment proposal similar to one the players voted down last season but with some key differences.

It will still be a four-conference arrangement but the difference this time is the two Eastern conferences will have eight teams each while the two Western ones will have seven (last year's proposal had it reversed). It will look like this:

Continue reading "Red Wings shuffling off to Buffalo's division?" »

The silent owner's daughter speaks, er, tweets her disgust

Tweet
By Mike Harrington

Terry Pegula's beloved investment can once again fall into 30th place in the NHL overall standing tonight but it's not likely to happen. To pass the Sabres, the Columbus Blue Jackets** would need to get two points in Chicago, which has opened the season with a league-record run of 17 straight games with a point from the start of the year (14-0-3).

(**You know things are hitting rock bottom when you're in the same category as the Jackets, a woebegone franchise that has won exactly zero playoff games since it was born in 2000).

Still, the Sabres are already dead last in the East and 29th in the NHL. And nobody thought that's where they would be closing in on the halfway mark of the shortened season.

Another low point was Saturday's 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. And while the owner stays silent -- even after firing coach Lindy Ruff -- at least one member of the Pegula family is talking about the mess at One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza.

Continue reading "The silent owner's daughter speaks, er, tweets her disgust" »

Postgame audio/video: Whole lot of nothing vs. Islanders


Steve Ott postgame comments (Sabres.com)

By Mike Harrington

What? You want me to say something pithy, entertaining and/or inspiring? Seriously? I got nothing, absolutely nothing, after the Sabres' 4-0 loss to the Islanders Saturday night. 

Click above for some of the night's best comments, from Steve Ott.

Two positives: Ten shots on goal and much more zone time on the power play -- and Columbus lost so the Sabres didn't fall into dead-last in the NHL overall standing. Of course, the Sabres are, in fact, 15th in the East.

The team is off Sunday, practices Monday and then flies off to Tampa. It's not going to be a vacation but this team needs a few days out of town after all that's happened since Wednesday.

Click the files below to go around the locker room after the latest loss.


Ron Rolston


Ryan Miller


Mike Weber

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Live from First Niagara Center: Islanders at Sabres

By the numbers: Tonight's key points to start the climb out of last place in the Eastern Conference

Tavares
Islanders center John Tavares has seven multi-point games this year, second in the NHL to Steven Stamkos' eight. (Getty Images)

 By Mike Harrington

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Thanks to Alex Ovechkin's hat trick and the Capitals' 5-1 win over New Jersey earlier this afternoon, the Sabres have slipped into 15th and dead last place in the Eastern Conference. 

And things could get even worse in Ron Rolston's home debut tonight against the New York Islanders: If the Sabres lose tonight in regulation and Columbus gets a point at St. Louis, the self-proclaimed "Hockey Heaven" will be dead last in the NHL. Ooof.

A few more numbers to ponder for tonight:

---Thomas Vanek is now tied for the NHL scoring lead with Sidney Crosby at 25 points and Vanek has gone pointless in five of the last six games. John Tavares of the Islanders is tied for fifth at 22 points and his 11 goals are one behind Vanek and Pittsburgh's James Neal for the NHL lead.

---Watch the second period tonight. The Islanders lead the league with 23 goals in the middle stanza -- while the Sabres' 28 goals against are the most by any team in any period. I asked Ryan Miller about the middle-period troubles Thursday night in Toronto and he attributed it to long changes, which is still because every team has that issue. Then Miller fessed up to the changes combined with the team's lack of puck possession.

"Long changes and we don't have the puck and we're not getting the puck deep. There you go," Miller said. "Start form the simplest thing to do and build from there. Guys have to execute. It's brought up, it's mentioned, it's highlighted. You got me.

"I'm trying not to be caught up in it too much. I'm trying to do my job but you guys ask me questions about the game and that's my evaluation. We're trying to figure it out. I think we got a pretty good handle on it. We've just got to execute."

Continue reading "By the numbers: Tonight's key points to start the climb out of last place in the Eastern Conference" »

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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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