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Ridiculous Hands Dept: Patrick Kane's new stickhandling video

By Mike Harrington

When we last saw Patrick Kane, it was nearly three weeks ago and he was parading the Stanley Cup around to Niagara Falls, South Buffalo and West Seneca (props to Imperial Pizza, by the way).

He's back on the ice now and in this case, I realize it's a commercial for his stickbrand. I get that. But we can still marvel at the abilities here shown by No. 88 in this video that's going all over the place today. Pretty amazing stuff.

Sabres' Myers hopes physical, mental workouts allow defenseman to become himself again

By John Vogl

Tyler Myers employed new tricks over the summer to improve his body and mind. Why?

"You have a year like you did last year, you want to change some things," the Sabres defenseman said today.

Last year was as forgettable as it comes for Myers. Fresh off cashing a $10 million signing bonus, he arrived in training camp out of shape and never got right. He labored through 39 games, putting up only eight points and a minus-8 rating, before breaking a bone in his leg during the final weeks.

"I’ll be the first to say, that’s not me as a player last year," Myers said in First Niagara Center. "I have to be much better, and it’s just a matter of taking it day by day and focusing on improving each and every day, right up until that first game, and then continuing that throughout the season."

Myers appears in peak form physically during training camp. He spent much of the summer training in Buffalo, and he even brought a Sabres strength and conditioning intern back to his home in Kelowna, British Columbia, for more work.

"I still got the benefit of seeing friends and family at home, but the way he pushed me in mornings and what we got out of the Sabres’ program, I’m really happy I did that," Myers said.

The 23-year-old was a mental wreck at times last season, his confidence broken by the on-ice troubles and off-ice comments. He's trying to get ahold of the head games.

"It’s just a matter of the way you handle different situations and make sure you stay on yourself to continue that each and every opportunity you can," he said. "The mental side of it is something that’s pretty new to me. I’ve never really branched off in that area before in the past to this depth, I would say, but the steps that I’m taking with that they’re really helping me."

To hear Myers' frank, 14-minute chat, click the audio file below.

Sabres' Miller inducted into Michigan State Hall of Fame; Hank Bullough, too

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller made a quick departure from Buffalo after his first practice of training camp. The goaltender had a memorable reason.

Michigan State has inducted its highly decorated alumnus into its athletic Hall of Fame. The ceremony was Thursday night in East Lansing, Mich.

"Great to be back on campus at MSU," Miller wrote on his Twitter account. "Very honored to be inducted into the athletic hall of fame along with my cousin Kip. #GoGreen"

Miller won the Hobey Baker with the Spartans in 2001 and was a two-time All-American. Along with Kip, who also played hockey, Miller was joined in the Hall by former Buffalo Bills coach Henry "Hank" Bullough, Morris Peterson (basketball) and Jenna Wrobel (volleyball).

Miller is not taking part in the Sabres' practices today. They began at 7:50 a.m. Team owner Terry Pegula is in attendance, so there is likely a team function later, hence the early start time.

Here is the Michigan State news release on the class and its feature on Miller.

Video: Vogl, Harrington at training camp

Twitter is target of Tortorella's first rant in Vancouver

By Mike Harrington

The word is coming via the Vancouver Province about what John Tortorella said after Canucks practice today and it's spreading all over Twitter. Maybe that was his intent.

The new Vancouver coach isn't banning the social media behemoth from his locker room, which would be rough for folks who love Roberto Luongo's wildly entertaining feed that has nearly 185,000 followers. But he'd like his players to can a lot of it.

"It’s the most narcissistic thing I’ve ever seen,” Tortorella said. “I’m not going to handcuff them and treat them like little kids. There’d better be no information come out of the locker room with that damn Twitter. It’s nothing but trouble to me. ... Our locker room is our locker room, and I believe our guys understand that. I just hope they respect the sanctity of the locker room."

Oddly enough, Tortorella is on Twitter himself and has nearly 37,000 followers.

"I think it is tremendous for charity work. It helped me tremendously with our dog walk out in New York and we raised a ton of money," he said. "But not for, 'Here I am, I’m having a roast beef sandwich, I am saying hello to my fans.’ That is just ridiculous.”

So i guess that means for real narcissicm and hockey talk, you should be sure to follow my Twitter account here and to follow the work of colleague John Vogl here. I may have had roast beef for lunch today, just for the record.

Sabres' Rolston glad to have Hodgson long term, says Myers is in great shape

By John Vogl

Ron Rolston's first day of training camp featured three practice sessions, one scrimmage and a full roster. The Sabres' coach liked what he saw.

Rolston is happy to have newly signed Cody Hodgson in the fold and is confident the center will improve. The coach says Tyler Myers is in great shape, much better than last year when the defenseman's conditioning was an issue. Rolston also is eager to watch Ville Leino and all the position battles during camp.

The full audio is below.

The Hodgson deal: Potential over production but cap games too

Cody Hodgson with perhaps the best goal of the Sabres' 2013 season, March 5 at Carolina.

By Mike Harrington

It was just two weeks ago I wrote a column that said Cody Hodgson did not deserve a long-term contract. The Sabres gave him exactly that Wednesday, awarding a six-year, $25.5M whopper to a 23-year-old who has played just 68 career games in the Blue & Gold.

I still don't like it. But at least I get it too. 

GM Darcy Regier told us several weeks ago he's not a fan of young players getting long-term deals and reiterated that stance today, a view certainly advanced by Tyler Myers' struggles after he signed his seven-year, $38 million extension. Hodgson is the Sabres' No. 1 center for now but at worst he's going to be No. 2 someday if Mikhail Grigorenko becames the top dog down the middle. (That's certainly not happening this year at least and probably not next year either).

Hodgson had 15 goals last season, so he projects out to a 26-goal scorer in a full, 82-game season.  But he's a defensive liability, at times a passenger in the neutral zone or a turnstile in the defensive zone. He handled questions about those areas head-on today.

He's again worked hard over the summer, training with former NHLer Gary Roberts. The Sabres like his off-ice work ethic and feel that's a sign of maturity. Hodgson said he feels he'll have more power and explosiveness to work off opponents in the defensive end.

"He's very professional, very dedicated and committed to getting better," Regier said today. "He's a very good professional at a young age. In his case, he's a year older or two years older than some guys who did get the long-term deal. He wants to be counted on and he wants to be recognized in a leadership position. He wants the opportunity to be in positions where he wants to make a difference."

Continue reading "The Hodgson deal: Potential over production but cap games too" »

Hodgson eager to reward long-term faith shown by Sabres

By John Vogl

Cody Hodgson has been in Buffalo for a while working out, so he was confident a contract was coming. As the hours ticked closer to training camp, however, he felt a few nerves.

Not anymore. Armed with a six-year deal worth a reported $25.5 million, Hodgson opened camp today as the team’s confident No. 1 center.

“When they have that much faith in you, you want to try that much harder and make sure you reward them for that opportunity,” Hodgson said in First Niagara Center. “It was a great summer of training. Obviously, I had a lot of time to make sure I got a lot more explosive, a lot more power.”

Hodgson finished last season as the Sabres’ second-leading scorer. He’s back with the top guy, skating alongside right wing Thomas Vanek. Marcus Foligno, who ended last year as center, is getting an early look as the top-line left winger.

Hodgson has always wanted a top-line role. He entered camp last year competing with Tyler Ennis for the job. The contract and depth chart make Hodgson the clear go-to guy this season for coach Ron Rolston.

“You just want to do what you can and complement the players you’re playing with,” said Hodgson, who has struggled defensively but hopes to make major strides. “This year, we’re going to get a chance to know the systems a little better. Having Ron know right from the start of training camp what we’re doing system-wise, I think we’ll all get on the same page.

“I was working on power, strength, making sure I can muscle guys off pucks. Hopefully, that will translate into good team defense.”

He’ll have plenty of time to get to know the team with his contract covering the next half-dozen years.

“I’m really happy to have some concrete knowledge of where I’m going to be for a few years,” Hodgson said. “Playing in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Rochester and Buffalo the last couple years, you’re never really sure where you’re going to be. I’m really happy I’ll be able to buy a house or something. To have some security, it’s nice.”

Sabres' depth chart on Day One of training camp

By John Vogl

The Sabres will have plenty of competition for roster spots during training camp, with numerous centers, wingers and defensemen vying for a starting job. The depth chart could change on a daily basis once exhibition games start, but here are the top lines and pairings on Day One based on the practice groups put together by coach Ron Rolston.


Marcus Foligno-Cody Hodgson-Thomas Vanek

Steve Ott-Mikhail Grigorenko-Ville Leino

Tyler Ennis-Johan Larsson-Drew Stafford

Zemgus Girgensons-Kevin Porter-Brian Flynn

Corey Tropp-Cody McCormick-Patrick Kaleta

Luke Adam-Mike Zigomanis-Joel Armia


Christian Ehrhoff-Tyler Myers

Henrik Tallinder-Mark Pysyk

Mike Weber-Rasmus Ristolainen

Brayden McNabb-Jamie McBain

Alexander Sulzer-Chad Ruhwedel


Ryan Miller

Jhonas Enroth

Matt Hackett


Sabres, Hodgson agree to six-year contract extension

Restricted free agent Cody Hodgson has agreed to a six-deal deal.

By John Vogl

The Sabres have their top center under contract for the next six years.

Restricted free agent Cody Hodgson has agreed to a long-term deal, ensuring Buffalo will have its full roster Thursday when it takes the training camp ice for the first time.

"Hey Sabres fans, I'm excited to let you know I'm going to be a Buffalo Sabre for the next six years," Hodgson said this evening on a Vine video released by the team.

The value of the contract was not immediately available. A report says he'll earn a total of $25.5 million for an average of $4.25 million per year.

“We are extremely excited to have signed Cody to a long-term deal,” General Manager Darcy Regier said. “We feel he is going to be an important piece of our organization’s success in the future and look forward to watching him develop as a player.”

Regier said this morning he and Hodgson's agent, Ritch Winter, were moving toward closing a deal. They had discussed both long- and short-term contracts. They obviously chose the former.

The 23-year-old Hodgson was the Sabres' second-leading scorer last season. He recorded 15 goals and 34 points in 48 games. He needs to work on his defensive awareness, but he is Buffalo's clear No. 1 center heading into the season.

Rolston starts first camp hoping to bring new philosophies to the ice

By Mike Harrington

Ron Rolston was an interim coach last season, handed the difficult task of keeping things together after the February firing of Lindy Ruff. Rolston went 15-11-5 and got the job on a full-time basis in May, and it all led to Wednesday when the team arrived for the 46-year-old's first training camp as an NHL head coach.

It's the first time since 1996 that a head coach other than Lindy Ruff has directed the Sabres at the start of camp, and Rolston said the gig is the culmination of a career dream.

"It's exciting in a sense that it allows you to have some preparation time and do a lot of thinking over the summer in philosophies," Rolston said as the team arrived at First Niagara Center for physicals and skill testing.

How different will a Rolston team look?

"The philosophy of play will be one where we continue to improve on the things we worked on at the end of last year. We've got to get way more difficult to play against," Rolston said. "From there, our puck possession has got to be a lot better. For the most part last year we were a rush hockey team. Limited power play offense, limited offensive zone play. Those are areas that have to get better for us."

Rolston announced that defenseman Teppo Numminen will move from the press box to the bench to work with the defense and power play. New assistant Joe Sacco is also expected to be behind the bench. The team also confirmed the hiring of Buffalo native and former Niagara assistant Jerry Forton, which was reported by John Vogl nearly a month ago.

Continue reading "Rolston starts first camp hoping to bring new philosophies to the ice" »

Regier hopes to re-sign Hodgson soon, says trade window closed at moment with Miller, Vanek

By John Vogl

It sounds like Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek could remain with the Sabres for a while. General Manager Darcy Regier hopes Cody Hodgson sticks around, too.

Buffalo's veterans gathered for physicals today and will begin skating Thursday, and Regier hopes Hodgson will be on the ice in First Niagara Center. The team has yet to work out a contract with the restricted free agent, who was second on the team in scoring last season.

"We continue to work on his contract," Regier said today. "I’ve had conversations with his agent on a couple of occasions this morning. I spoke briefly with Cody. Both sides are working hard on this.

Continue reading "Regier hopes to re-sign Hodgson soon, says trade window closed at moment with Miller, Vanek" »

Tallinder on Myers: 'He's going to be an exceptionally good player still. Just give him time'

By Mike Harrington

We had not heard from Henrik Tallinder since he was traded back to the Sabres from New Jersey in July. But everyone figured he would be happy with the deal -- and he confirmed the feeling Wednesday in his first meeting with the Buffalo media.

"I was a little bit surprised," Tallinder said today after taking his pre-camp physical. "I didn't know that Buffalo was interested. I knew something was going to happen because I had a long conversation with the [Devils GM Lou Lamoriello] after the season and we made it both pretty clear what we wanted. Then Buffalo got involved and I was a little bit surprised."

Tallinder spoke to the media before coach Ron Rolston, who surprised the gathering by saying Tallinder will start camp paired with Mark Pysyk and not with Tyler Myers. The prevailing wisdom was that a Myers-Tallinder pairing was a lock, giving Myers' Calder Trophy-winning season in 2010 with Tallinder. Rolston, however, said Myers will start with Christian Ehrhoff.

For his part, Tallinder said Myers can quickly get back to his star-studded rookie season.

"I think Tyler is an exceptional young man and player," Tallinder said. "When he came in his first year, I've never seen a guy that talented and that good at that age. Or very few of them, that I"ve played with at least. I think he's still young. I think you guys have been pretty hard on him too. He's going to be an exceptionally good player still. Just give him time. Let him play."

Tallinder played just 64 games with the Devils the last two years due to injuries and the fact he fell out of favor with coach Peter DeBoer. He said his goal this year is to be a regular on the crowded Buffalo blueline and he knows the team needs him to be a leader with its young defense corps.

"I might not be the most vocal guy but if I have something to say, I'm saying it," Tallinder noted. "I'm not afraid any more of saying what I want."

Click below to hear Tallinder's welcome-back session with the media today:

Henrik Tallinder

Audio: Ryan Miller returns to Sabres, glad to be back in Buffalo

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller said a proper goodbye to Buffalo at the end of last season, waving to Sabres fans after the final game and preparing for a possible move in his hockey career.

The move never came. The goaltender is back in Buffalo, and he has no complaints.

"It’s good to be back and absolutely ready to go," Miller said in First Niagara Center as the Sabres gathered for physicals. "I have a great connection with the city, and I’ve enjoyed my time here. I’m just looking forward to getting started and do it all over again."

Miller said today he has a lot to prove this year, as he does every year, and he feels he's in a good place both on the ice and off it. He wants to compete at a high enough level to get the Sabres into the playoffs and make the U.S. Olympic team.

The 33-year-old, who is entering the final year of his contract, said he's prepared to be professional about the trade speculation that will accompany him throughout the season. He said there have been no recent talks about an extension, but he hasn't closed the door on the option.

Miller also explained his decision to sell his Buffalo home at the end of last season. Though it looked like another sign he wanted out of town, he says he had long planned to sell the townhouse before the final year of his contract so he didn't get lowballed and get stuck with the home. He's renting now.

The complete audio of his interview is below.

Former first-round pick Gillies is only surprise on Sabres' training camp roster

By John Vogl

Colton Gillies has yet to prove he's a first-round talent. He'll get another chance in Buffalo.

The 24-year-old forward, selected 16th overall by Minnesota in 2007, will attend Sabres training camp on a tryout basis. In 154 NHL games with the Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets, Gillies has produced six goals, 18 points and 72 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-4 winger had one goal and two points in 27 games with Columbus last season.

The rest of the 60-player roster features holdovers from Buffalo and Rochester, offseason signees and the organization’s top prospects. The players will have physicals Wednesday and their first on-ice sessions Thursday in First Niagara Center.

Download 2013 Training Camp Roster

Sabres' training camp opens to public Thursday; scrimmages daily

By John Vogl

The Buffalo Sabres are going to try to get their competitive juices flowing immediately. They’ll have scrimmages every day at training camp, including the first on-ice session Thursday as the 2013-14 season gets underway.

The Sabres announced a partial camp schedule this afternoon, and intrasquad games highlight the opening week. The club will be split into three groups, with all three practicing and two facing each other in a scrimmage.

The sessions in First Niagara Center are free and open to the public.

The schedule:

Thursday -- Session One: 8:45-9:45 a.m.; Session Two: 10-10:45 a.m.; Scrimmage: 11:15 a.m. to noon; Session Three: 12:15-1 p.m.

Friday -- Session One: 7:45-8:45 a.m.; Scrimmage: 9:15-10:30 a.m.

Saturday -- Session One: 8:45-9:45 a.m.; Session Two: 10-10:45 a.m.; Scrimmage: 11:15 a.m. to noon; Session Three: 12:15-1 p.m.

Download 2013 Training Camp Roster.

The Sabres' camp roster, available at the link above, comfirms last month's report in The News that Buffalo native, University at Buffalo grad and former Niagara University and Harvard assistant Jerry Forton has been hired as an assistant coach for Ron Rolston. The team had not previously acknowledged the move.

The Sabres list 60 players on the training camp roster, with 36 forwards, 18 defensemen and six goaltenders.

Among the forwards is former Columbus Blue Jackets winger Colton Gillies. The 24-year-old, who was selected 16th overall by Minnesota in 2007, had one goal and two points in 27 games with the Blue Jackets last year.

Cody Hodgson, the Sabres' No. 1 center, is also on the roster, though the restricted free agent has yet to come to terms on a new deal.

Highlights from Sabres' victory over Columbus in prospect tourney

By John Vogl

The Sabres opened defense of their Traverse City Prospects Tournament title with a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Here are the highlights, provided by the Amerks' staff.

Vanek not surprised to be a Sabre, hopes hard-earned victories can help Buffalo find playoffs

By John Vogl

Thomas Vanek remembers a time when the Sabres could skate onto the ice, have a lackluster performance and still leave with a victory. With two straight playoff misses and a rebuilding team in place, those days are gone.

“Whoever makes our team, we won’t be favored by anyone,” Vanek told The News today. “That’s OK. I think you can be a young team and a good team. I think we have two good goaltenders who can play.

“You have to battle, and every game’s going to be important for us. Teams in the past we’ve had, we had off nights and we would still win. I don’t think that’s going to happen too much anymore. I think we have to be on top of our game to beat the Detroits and those kinds of teams.

“In the past for us we’ve had good teams. Maybe our goals were a little too high. I think every team thinks it’ll work hard for that Stanley Cup, but I think you have to take it a step at a time. For us, I think it really is just to get into the playoffs.”

It remains to be seen whether Vanek will be in Buffalo come playoff time. He’s entering the final year of his contract and has been the subject of trade talks. Still, he’s not surprised he skated in First Niagara Center today.

“No, not at all,” he said. “My end-of-the-year meeting was good. I just said my thoughts. I never asked for a trade, so from that point on I’m not surprised that I’m still here. But at the same time, if they would have moved me, I wouldn’t have been surprised either way.

“This is just a story that until something happens people want to know. To me, it’s not an issue.”

Vanek said he hasn’t closed the door on a contract extension, but he wants to see how the young team and new coach Ron Rolston perform before he decides his future.

“I just want to see where it goes,” Vanek said. “I have that right, and I’m taking it. I don’t feel like I’m doing a disservice to anyone. Some people might agree with me, some don’t. That’s the way it goes either way.

“It’s a new coaching staff, it’s new everything, a lot of new players. I like Ron. I think the youth is good that we have, but I don’t know our young guys how good they can be. Until you see it over a good span of games, I don’t think anyone’s going to know.”

Hodgson on lack of contract with Sabres: 'We'll get something done'

By John Vogl

Cody Hodgson, clad in a Sabres practice sweater, skated with a bunch of his Buffalo teammates today. He hopes he’s still on the ice with them next week when training camp starts.

The Sabres’ second-leading scorer is without a contract just days away from the opening of the 2013-14 season. The restricted free agent is coming off his entry-level deal that paid $1.66 million annually, with $787,500 in base salary and $850,000 in bonuses, according to The center turned down Buffalo’s qualifying offer of $826,875.

“I like it here, and we’ll get something done,” Hodgson told The News in First Niagara Center.

Continue reading "Hodgson on lack of contract with Sabres: 'We'll get something done'" »

Two polls: Like the Sabres' new jersey? Is it better than the infamous slug?


By John Vogl

Reaction has been swift and extreme toward the Sabres' new third jersey, which was unveiled today. Here's a sampling:

Sports Illustrated wrote: Shield your eyes! The Buffalo Sabres’ new third jersey is hideous!

CBS Sports wrote: Steve Ott unveils Sabres' new third jersey and it's awful

Yahoo! Sports wrote: Buffalo Sabres reveal perhaps the NHL’s worst jersey

Voice your opinion in a couple of polls relating to the jersey.

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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 |

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 |

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 |