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Audio: Hodgson, Rolston discuss center's demotion to Sabres' fourth line

By John Vogl

Cody Hodgson has been at the front of the Sabres' centers all season -- until tonight's 2-0 loss to Boston. Coach Ron Rolston sent him to the fourth line between wingers Patrick Kaleta and John Scott.

Hear both discuss the move by clicking the audio files below.

Cody Hodgson

Ron Rolston

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Live from First Niagara Center: Bruins at Sabres

Myers, Pysyk beneficiaries of Leopold trade

By Jay Skurski

With Jordan Leopold sent to St. Louis on Saturday, the Buffalo Sabres have to replace more than 21 minutes of ice time.

In their first game without the veteran defenseman, the beneficiaries were Tyler Myers and rookie Mark Pysyk.

Myers skated a game-high 28 minutes, 13 seconds in the shootout loss, while Pysyk was on the ice for 13:52 – a game after being a healthy scratch in Florida.

"It felt good," Myers said of the extended work. "It's whatever the coaches are going to decide how to play us. I think all the 'D' has been doing a really good job of adjusting to what has been given to them."

Myers didn't learn of Leopold's trade until arriving at First Niagara Center for the game.

Continue reading "Myers, Pysyk beneficiaries of Leopold trade" »

Vanek wants to stay with Sabres but would 'look the other direction' if Buffalo decides on long-term rebuild

Vanek

By John Vogl

Thomas Vanek knows the Sabres are in position for a rebuild. He also knows he might not be part of it.

General Manager Darcy Regier has talked during the past two days of looking toward the future, which might leave the team's leading scorer as a trade target before Wednesday's deadline.

"Every year you think about that, but obviously this year probably more than any other year because of the position we’re in and one year left on my contract," Vanek, who will miss tonight's game against Boston with an upper-body injury, said in First Niagara Center. "Obviously, you think about it, but at the same time it’s part of the business. If it happens, it happens, and we’ll move on.

Continue reading "Vanek wants to stay with Sabres but would 'look the other direction' if Buffalo decides on long-term rebuild" »

Postgame audio: Another lead blown, another shootout loss

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres fell to 4-4 in shootouts this year with Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals but it never should have got to that point. They had a 3-1 lead in the third period and were on a power play when Troy Brouwer scored a short-handed goal and then the Capitals tied it with 39 seconds left on Mike Green's goal.

Somehow Buffalo gained a point on the playoff "race" and is still just three points out with 13 games to play. It feels like it should be 13 points. Or 23. Or 33.  But imagine if the Sabres had simply held their third-period leads -- or won the shootout -- in either of the last two games and were only one back. Bizarre.

Anyway, here's a quick tour of the locker room and be sure to read John Vogl's report on his exclusive postgame chat with Ryan Miller

Ron Rolston

Jhonas Enroth

Ville Leino

Miller doesn't view Regier's comments as evidence of immediate Sabres overhaul

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller is just as curious as anyone as to what Darcy Regier's plans are for the trade deadline.

Regier said tonight he is open to listening to trade offers for any and all Sabres players. The general manager added he wants to build around a group that will be in Buffalo on a multiyear basis.

Miller's contract -- and those of Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek -- expires at the end of next season, but the goaltender doesn't view Regier's comments as evidence of an immediate overhaul heading toward Wednesday's trade deadline.

Continue reading "Miller doesn't view Regier's comments as evidence of immediate Sabres overhaul" »

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Sabres' Regier gives clearest indication yet that he's leaning toward core overhaul

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller wondered aloud this month whether veterans such as himself, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek were still the Buffalo Sabres’ core. Given the team’s struggles, the goaltender didn’t know whether management viewed a rebuild as its ideal course of action.

General Manager Darcy Regier gave his clearest indication to date he is contemplating franchise overhaul.

“Where our hockey club is right now we have to be open to listening to just about anything and everything, and I am listening,” Regier said tonight after trading Jordan Leopold to St. Louis. “We have to be open to everything, and I think the players recognize that as well.

Continue reading "Sabres' Regier gives clearest indication yet that he's leaning toward core overhaul" »

Audio: Darcy says everyone is on the table

By Mike Harrington

Darcy Regier has just finished talking to the media about the Jordan Leopold trade and about the trade deadline in general. Pretty interesting comments -- especially where he says he has talked to all 30 NHL general managers and is listening about any and every player in the Sabres organization. He also acknowledged it will be tough to keep all of his big-money players with the cap going down next year.

Translation: At least one of Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville or Thomas Vanek will likely be an ex-Sabre by 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Click the audio file below.

Darcy Regier

Live from First Niagara Center: Capitals at Sabres

Sabres trade Leopold to St. Louis for two 2013 draft picks

By John Vogl

The Sabres' stockpiling of future assets has begun as Buffalo traded defenseman Jordan Leopold to the St. Louis Blues this afternoon for a second-round pick and conditional fifth-round selection in this year's draft.

Reports indicate the fifth-round pick becomes a fourth-rounder if the Blues win a playoff series.

The 32-year-old Leopold is in the final year of a three-year, $9 million deal with the Sabres and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Continue reading "Sabres trade Leopold to St. Louis for two 2013 draft picks" »

Crosby KO'd by puck as Pens win 15th straight; host Sabres next

By Mike Harrington

Jarome Iginla got his visa troubles worked out and made his debut for the Penguins today, so that will take some of the circus atmosphere away from the Sabres' visit to Consol Energy Center Tuesday night. But only some.

The Penguins beat the Islanders, 2-0, to win their 15th straight game and pull within two of the NHL record they set in 1993 -- but they lost Sidney Crosby after he was drilled in the mouth early in the first period.

Crosby appeared to take a Brooks Orpik slapshot flush in the mouth and the impact knocked him clear off his feet. He made it to the locker room on his own power but did not return to the game. Postgame update: Coach Dan Bylsma said Crosby lost some teeth and went to a hospital for "oral surgery". There is no word on his status for Tuesday.

Crosby is leading the NHL in scoring with 56 points and came into today 10 ahead of Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos. The Penguins' 15 wins in a row are tied for the second-most in NHL history with a 15-gamer the Islanders put together in 1982 when they were in the midst of their four straight Stanley Cup runs.

Red-hot Ovechkin big test for struggling penalty killers

Ovi
Alexander Ovechkin leads the NHL with 10 power-play goals. (Getty Images)

 

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres' woeful power play has been a major talking point all season but they've scored in five of the last six games and improvement is readily apparent. The penalty kill, however, has taken a huge step backwards at the same time.

Heading into tonight's game against Washington, the Sabres are 27th in the NHL on the PK at 77 percent (Hmmm. A 30th-ranked power play and a 27th-ranked PK unit. That might account for being a non-playoff team). Even worse, Buffalo is 29th on the PK at home at 73.9 percent.

The Capitals, meanwhile, are second in the NHL on the power play at 24.1 percent and tied for second on the road at 22.8. Alexander Ovechkin leads the league in PP goals, with 10 of his 16 coming on man-advantage situations.

Ovechkin has tallied 19 goals and 12 assists in 29 career games against Buffalo, including two goals in two games this season. He's also coming off NHL First Star of the Week honors after piling up five goals and eight points in four games ending Sunday. And he's on a six-game point streak (6g, 4a)

Buffalo has allowed a power goal in four straight games, including two in Thursday's shootout loss in Florida. In that stretch, the Sabres have killed just 11 of 17 penalties. Under interim coach Ron Rolston, they've killed just 49 of 67, a 73.1 percent clip that would put them last in the NHL if it was their season total (Florida is currently last at 74.1).

Continue reading "Red-hot Ovechkin big test for struggling penalty killers" »

Enroth in, Vanek out for visit by Caps

By Mike Harrington

Lineup notes first from Ron Rolston after today's optional morning skate: Thomas Vanek will not play tonight against Washington but did take the morning skate and looked a little better, so it's possible he could play tomorrow against Boston. John Scott and Mark Pysyk will be healthy scratches, with Brian Flynn back in the lineup tonight after sitting out Thursday's shootout loss at Florida.

Jhonas Enroth will be in goal, looking for his third straight win. Enroth is 2-0-1 in three starts under Rolston, posting a 1.66 goals-against average and .948 save percentage. He's stopped 64 of 67 shots in the last two, wins over the New York Rangers and Montreal.

The numbers alone say Enroth's confidence is dramatically rising, especially in the wake of snapping his 16-month winless skid March 12 against the Rangers. 

Continue reading "Enroth in, Vanek out for visit by Caps" »

Sabres GM Regier heads toward trade deadline focusing on next year, 'maybe even beyond that'

By John Vogl

Oft-used terms around the NHL trade deadline include "sellers" and "rebuild." They normally are used for struggling teams.

They can apply to the Buffalo Sabres based on General Manager Darcy Regier's mind-set heading toward Wednesday's deadline.

Continue reading "Sabres GM Regier heads toward trade deadline focusing on next year, 'maybe even beyond that'" »

With losses continuing and trade deadline looming, Sabres become agitated group

It was as if the Sabres had just spent a week in Siberia rather than Florida with how cold the atmosphere was today following practice.

Jason Pominville said talk about Wednesday's trade deadline doesn't bother him, then the captain clearly became agitated while discussing rumors. Ryan Miller said he's frustrated by Buffalo's repeated mistakes that have contributed to the team's 12th-place standing. Robyn Regehr questioned the way some players prepare for games.

All in all, it's not a happy time in Sabreland.

"I think we’re frustrated," Miller said in Northtown Center in Amherst. "I’m frustrated, as you can see. I would hope they all feel the same way I do. I don’t know, you’re going to have to ask them."

So what's eating Miller?

"Just we aren’t consistently playing to where we need to be, myself included," the goaltender said. "Every night there’s something else going on where you just look back and there’s mistakes; in my end, reads that need to be better. It’s just night after night. We’ve got to clean it up and be consistent."

The Sabres have back-to-back chances to clean it up or fall further behind. They host 11th-place Washington on Saturday in First Niagara Center and welcome fourth-place Boston on Sunday.

With the trade deadline looming, it could be the last games in Buffalo for several players.

"You hear your name, and I think you hear your name from people that want more followers on Twitter, will come out and say different things," Pominville said. "You hear your name here and there, but where are those things really coming from?

"I think we’ve just got to worry about playing. There’s going to be rumors every year. It’s the way it is. It’s the nature of the sport. It is what it is. We’ve just got to worry about what we have to do."

Pominville, who has a year left on his contract, has been mentioned in potential deals for the first time in his career. He's obviously not happy about it despite holding a modified no-trade clause in which he could name eight teams he won't accept a trade to.

"It doesn’t affect me at all," he said while clearly affected. "I just answered the question. It makes no sense to me right now. Again, I have a contract that has a clause in it, and I haven’t been asked anything. I’m not worried about it. I’ve just got to go out there and play. If something happens, then I’ll worry about it. Right now it’s just trying to win games."

The Sabres will have to beat Washington without Thomas Vanek. The left winger, who has an upper-body injury, missed practiced and is doubtful for Saturday.

To hear Pominville discuss rumors, click the audio file below.

Sabres sign Providence center Schaller, according to Friars teammates

By John Vogl

The Sabres have been looking to add centers during the past year, and it appears they've added another.

The team has signed college free agent Tim Schaller, according to congratulatory tweets sent by several Providence teammates. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder senior was named Best Defensive Forward in Hockey East Association this season.

Schaller, 22, had eight goals and 23 points in 38 games for the Friars. He won 56 percent of his faceoffs and served as an alternate captain.

Schaller has participated in development camps for the Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks. It's expected he will report to the Rochester Americans for the remainder of this season. The Sabres have not announced the signing.

Postgame audio: A shootout loss

By Mike Harrington

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Sabres had 40 shots on goal and scored four goals and couldn't beat the NHL's worst team. Pretty symbolic of their season. A 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers left Buffalo with just one point in two games down South. Hard to believe this outfit is just four points out of a playoff spot.

Going around the room.

Ron Rolston

Drew Stafford

Jason Pominville

Ryan Miller 

Live from BB&T Center: Sabres at Panthers

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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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