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Sabres' Miller eager to enjoy his 500th game while knowing it won't be his last

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller is eager to make his 500th appearance in a Buffalo Sabres uniform Friday. It's a milestone he's thrilled to reach.

But, he says, it's not a finale.

"There’ll be more hockey games," Miller said today after practice in First Niagara Center. "It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s nice to just be able to talk about it right now. I think I’ve got a lot more hockey in me, so [it's nice] being able to just kind of reflect and enjoy a moment, but it’s going to be another hockey game and I have to prepare and compete. I’m just trying to enjoy that part of it. That’s what I like to do. That’s what I know to do."

Miller will become the 62nd goaltender to play 500 and just the 20th to do it with the same team.

Though Miller will certainly play again, there are questions as to where. He has only one year left on his contract, and the Sabres are rebuilding.

"There’s been a lot of ‘could be last game as a Sabre’ the last few years," Miller said. "I’m just trying to enjoy the moment. It’s going to be my 500th game. I’m going to approach it the same way I’ve approached the other 499: Just put your pads on and try to do your best. See where it kind of goes, go out and have fun, try and make the saves and see where it all shakes out."

Miller's previous start in Buffalo was rocky, with the goaltender getting pulled after allowing four goals in 22 minutes. The fans jeered him, and he gave them a wave during play.

"I’m not mad at the fans," he said. "It’s heat of the moment. You get emotional.

"Some people were giving me some grief, and I just picked my hand up like, ‘OK, I hear ya.’ It wasn’t a screw you. It wasn’t a, ‘I hate you guys.’ It was, ‘You know, I hear ya. Enough. I get it. Just let me try and do what I’ve got to do.’

"I’ve done more than my fair share to go out and prove that I’m part of this community and give back as much as I can. We don’t even talk about all the stuff I try and do to make this feel more like my second home. That’s where I’m going to leave it. I care about the people here. If they’re frustrated with the way we’re playing, I can acknowledge it and we can move on."

The Sabres will again be without Ville Leino when they host the Islanders in the season finale.

"He had some issues with his lung, yes, that he’s dealing with," interim coach Ron Rolston said. "He’s actually a lot better. He’s doing well right now. Obviously, it’s a serious injury, but it wasn’t anything that was major."

Ryan Miller

Miller in line to reach rare goaltending milestone with 500th game, all with Sabres

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller wants to start the Sabres' season finale Friday. If he does -- and there's no reason to think he won't -- the goaltender will play in his 500th career game, all with the Sabres.

Here are a few charts that show how rare the milestone is:

Continue reading "Miller in line to reach rare goaltending milestone with 500th game, all with Sabres" »

'May Day, May Day' -- 20 years ago tonight

By Mike Harrington

Many thanks to Brad May for tweeting within the hour to remind us that a huge game in his career and Sabres history just began 20 years ago tonight. Unforgettable goal with an unforgettable Rick Jeanneret call in the first video and a seven-minute recap of the entire game below that one. (The Sabres won it, 6-5, after trailing, 5-2. Lots of people forget that point).

Just another reminder of how much you miss playoff hockey when it's not around.

Kings' Brown gets two games for elbow on Pominville

By Mike Harrington

Kings captain Dustin Brown is gone for the final two games of the regular season for his vicious elbow on Jason Pominville. Click the video above for the explanation from NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan.

Numbers games: Playing to the opponent

By Mike Harrington

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised about the Sabres' 4-2 win Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. That's two wins over the East-leading Penguins at Consol Energy Center and a loss against them in Buffalo in a game the Sabres were leading well into the third period.

What gives when the Sabres play good teams? In the last couple weeks, interim coach Ron Rolston and several players were as baffled by this thought when I asked them as I am.

Steve Ott told me there's much more fear of embarrassment when you play a good team and your level of play rises. Makes sense. More attention to detail, fewer mistakes.

The results are evident. Check out the numbers. They're just plain goofy.

Continue reading "Numbers games: Playing to the opponent" »

Jones tops final Central Scouting draft rankings


Seth Jones draft capsule (NHL.com)

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres are off today, have their final practice Thursday and play their final game of the season Friday night against the New York Islanders. Plenty of decisions to make, notably on Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller, before the draft is held June 30 at the Prudential Center in Newark.

(Miller said last night in Pittsburgh he wants to play here Friday night so he gets in his 500th game as a Sabre. Deserves the milestone, fan reaction aside).

Anyway, once the teams get to The Rock on draft day, they'll have an interesting cadre of talent to choose from. NHL Central Scouting has released its final rankings for the draft today and Portland defenseman Seth Jones, the American-born son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, is the No. 1 North American skater on the board. Nos. 2-3 are Halifax teammates Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin.

The lottery to determine the No. 1 pick in the draft will be held Monday featuring all 14 non-playoff teams. It will be at 8 p.m. and televised by NBC Sports Network.

Continue reading "Jones tops final Central Scouting draft rankings" »

Pominville KO'd by elbow in Wild win; Kings captain Brown could face Shanaban


The Dustin Brown elbow on Jason Pominville.

By Mike Harrington

The Wild pulled out a huge 2-1 win over the Kings Tuesday night that should go a long way to allowing Minnesota to make the playoffs (and prevent the Sabres from getting a second lottery chance, since they own the Wild's No. 1 pick for Jason Pominville).

Pominville has four goals, five assists and nine points in nine games for the Wild but you wonder if he's going to be out for a little bit after taking a blatant elbow to the head in the second period from Kings captain Dustin Brown. Pominville left the ice woozy from the shot and didn't return. Remember, he suffered a concussion once before in his career after taking that terrible shot from behind from Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson in October, 2010 and missing nine games.

(10:30 a.m. update: Wild coach Mike Yeo had no update on Pominville last night and the team is not practicing today so there's no word yet on the injury. But Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer Mike Russo makes the obvious concussion speculation and says the Wild may need a callup).

Brown, meanwhile, is likely to hear from NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan. (And here's the official word from the league: Brown has a hearing today. 

Watch the video above and make your call in our poll below.

Live from Consol Energy Center: Sabres at Penguins

Grigorenko focused on Penguins with probable trip to Amerks in the background

By John Vogl

PITTSBURGH -- Mikhail Grigorenko had a laptop by his side today, and he was studying clips of his return to the Sabres' lineup. It was a solid re-debut Monday, with the center putting up one shot in 15:18 of ice time while winning 9 of 15 faceoffs against the Jets. He'll look to improve on the performance tonight against the Penguins in Consol Energy Center.

After Friday's season finale, it appears the Sabres' top prospect will join his fourth team this season. The Rochester Amerks start the AHL playoffs this weekend, and Grigorenko is expected to report.

Continue reading "Grigorenko focused on Penguins with probable trip to Amerks in the background" »

Video: Postgame reaction after Sabres 2-1 loss to Jets

Vote for your three stars

Live from First Niagara Center: Jets at Sabres

Sabres tickets are going once, going twice ... sold?

By John Vogl

More and more Sabres fans have been choosing to stay home rather than journey to First Niagara Center. The number of empty seats in the 100 Level has been increasingly noticeable, and that's where plenty of season-ticket holders reside.

There's little reason to expect the trend to end tonight.

There are 1,066 tickets available on StubHub.com as of this writing, and they are going for as little as $11.50. Since the Winnipeg Jets are hardly a traditional rival and the Sabres have been eliminated from postseason contention, demand will be down. It wouldn't be a surprise if the building resembled the bankruptcy era of being half full.

Continue reading "Sabres tickets are going once, going twice ... sold?" »

Enroth in goal as Sabres look to stop repeated groundings by Jets

By Mike Harrington

Jhonas Enroth gets the call in goal tonight as the Sabres host the desperate-for-points Winnipeg Jets in First Niagara Center. After Friday's meltdown against the Rangers, it seems to make sense that Enroth would play tonight and in the finale here Friday against the Islanders with Ryan Miller getting the start on the road Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

No sense in pushing the frazzled relationship between Miller and Buffalo fans, right?

Interim coach Ron Rolston refused to go down that road when asked today if it was realistic to think Miller could play here anymore.

"Yes, it is realistic," was Rolston's cryptic answer.

Continue reading "Enroth in goal as Sabres look to stop repeated groundings by Jets" »

Eliminated Sabres hope to play spoiler against Winnipeg

By John Vogl

The Sabres’ practice today was their first gathering since officially being eliminated from playoff contention with Friday’s 8-4 loss to the New York Rangers.

“It’s definitely tough because we still had hope and we were trying to do everything we could to finish strong and try and get in the playoffs,” defenseman Andrej Sekera said. “Even though we aren’t in the playoffs, we want to win every game when we play. That’s why you’re in this sport – because you want to be a winner. We want to go out, do our best and try to win these last three games.”

The Sabres have extra incentive Monday against Winnipeg. They lost, 4-1, to the Jets two weeks ago in a game that put a severe dent in their playoff chase. Winnipeg is just one point behind the eighth-place Rangers for the final playoff spot (New York hosts New Jersey later this afternoon), and Buffalo can get payback by trying to ruin the Jets’ season.

Continue reading "Eliminated Sabres hope to play spoiler against Winnipeg" »

Grigorenko set to return for Sabres, who want to see what he'll bring in final three games

By John Vogl

Mihkail Grigorenko has been waiting for another shot at the NHL, and he's going to get it Monday.

The Sabres' prospect, who hasn't played for Buffalo since March 12, will be in the lineup when the Sabres host Winnipeg. Patrick Kaleta is out after getting hurt blocking a shot Friday, and the injury will give Grigorenko three games to show what he's learned during a whirlwind season.

"I was thinking about this," Grigorenko said today after practice in First Niagara Center. "I’m ready to play."

Continue reading "Grigorenko set to return for Sabres, who want to see what he'll bring in final three games" »

Poll: Is it time for Sabres fans and Ryan Miller to part ways?

By John Vogl

Buffalo's disgruntled fan base has kept Ryan Miller and the Sabres on a short leash this season. After Friday night's debacle, it's time to wonder if that leash has become a noose for the team's longtime goaltender.

Miller has received a lot of abuse during his decade in Buffalo, especially during the past few years as the Sabres tumbled from the rank of contender. The fans were all over him during an embarrassing 8-4 loss to the New York Rangers.

“They just want to see the team win,” Miller said (audio is here), “and we haven’t done it. We haven’t lived up to any kind of expectation. It’s been years and years of not getting it done.

“You don’t win over Buffalo fans by losing hockey games and putting up mediocre seasons. The last three years have been pretty much that.”

Continue reading "Poll: Is it time for Sabres fans and Ryan Miller to part ways?" »

Postgame audio: A disconcerting end to playoff hopes

By Mike Harrington

OK, so if you saw Ron Rolston's postgame presser on MSG, you'll understand the headline above. Sorry, couldn't resist.

The Sabres' interim coach showed plenty of fire with me following Friday night's 8-4 loss to the Rangers that ended Buffalo's slim playoff hopes. Fair enough. Would have been nice if his team had a little more on many nights since he's taken over, but I digress.

It was certainly an interesting postgame session with Rolston's anger and Ryan Miller's emotional but calculated words. Miller and Sabres fans seem to be a relationship headed for divorce with just about no repair possible.

What an ugly night. Click the files below to hear some of the post-mortems.

Ron Rolston

Ryan Miller

Thomas Vanek

Adam Pardy

Postgame audio: A disconcerting end to playoff hopes

By Mike Harrington

OK, so if you saw Ron Rolston's postgame presser on MSG, you'll understand the headline above. Sorry, couldn't resist.

The Sabres' interim coach showed plenty of fire with me following Friday night's 8-4 loss to the Rangers that ended Buffalo's slim playoff hopes. Fair enough. Would have been nice if his team had a little more on many nights since he's taken over, but I digress.

It was certainly an interesting postgame session with Rolston's anger and Ryan Miller's emotional but calculated words. Miller and Sabres fans seem to be a relationship headed for divorce with just about no repair possible.

What an ugly night. Click the files below to hear some of the post-mortems.

Ron Rolston

Ryan Miller

Thomas Vanek

Adam Pardy

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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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