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Sabres' postgame thoughts from Miller, Girgensons, Rolston

By John Vogl

NEW YORK -- The Sabres have been mocked and trashed by outsiders all season. After a lopsided 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers -- only 44 saves from Ryan Miller kept it close -- it seems the team realized it has serious issues.

"It’s just everyone looking in the mirror and understanding how deep of a [expletive] we are in right now," rookie Zemgus Girgensons said. "You have to help the other guys work their way up, and if we keep playing like this, not helping each other, we’re going to die individually. We’re going to stop being hockey players. No one will want players like that."

"When everyone wants this to stop, it’ll stop," Miller said. "We seem to be making more situations for ourselves than even the other team can create. It’s on us to dig out of it and start having the right attitude and right approach. It’s been a lot of games searching, trying to figure it out. Enough’s enough."

Ryan Miller

Ron Rolston

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Sabres' Scott gets seven-game suspension for head shot on Bruins' Eriksson

By John Vogl

NEW YORK -- John Scott will serve a seven-game suspension for his head shot on the Bruins' Loui Eriksson, the NHL announced today.

Scott had a hearing this morning with league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, and the head of player safety delived the suspension this afternoon.

Though the hit and the circumstances surrounding it (a star player getting taken out by an enforcer in the third period of a Buffalo loss) drew strong condemnation, Shanahan weighed in the fact that Scott is a first-time offender. He also factored in that Eriksson has yet to return to the Bruins.

The forward has already served three games of the ban and will miss tonight's game against the Rangers in Madison Square Garden.

Sabres fans wise to keep eye on case involving Avs' Varlamov

By John Vogl

NEW YORK -- Inside the NHL on Sunday surmised that if the Sabres want to find a good in-season trade partner for Ryan Miller, they'll need to locate a desperate team. Colorado just might become that team.

Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov appeared in a Denver court today on charges of kidnapping and assault. His girlfriend, Evgeniya Vavrinyuk, told police that Varlamov kicked her down, stomped on her, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her out of her bedroom.

Police and court documents say Varlamov told her "if this were Russia, he would have beat her more."

"Her statement is that this is the most minor of the beatings she received," said her attorney, Robert Abrams. "She's received five in all, and the last one was to unconsciousness."

Though Varlamov joined the Avs on their flight to Dallas today, the charges are obviously serious. According to the Denver Post, "The kidnapping charge is a Class 4 felony, punishable by to two to six years in prison, according Colorado statutes. Class 4 felony kidnapping is defined by taking someone and moving them to another place without their consent."

Colorado was considered a possible landing spot for Miller during the offseason, but Varlamov put those rumors down by starting 7-1 with a 1.76 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. The Avs appear to be legitimate Stanley Cup hopefuls -- they lead the league in goals allowed per game at 1.46 and rank sixth in goals scored at 3.18 -- and have 36-year-old J.S. Giguere as a backup.

Miller could become a target if it Varlamov heads to jail.

Sabres Live: Pregame chat at 6:45 p.m.; Sabres-Rangers updates at 7 p.m.

Benched Zadorov 'needs to get some perspective,' Sabres' Rolston says

By John Vogl

NEW YORK -- Sabres coach Ron Rolston doesn't want his players getting too comfortable, he said today, and as a result Nikita Zadorov will watch the game against the Rangers from the press box.

Zadorov will be the healthy scratch on defense tonight when the Sabres play in refurbished Madison Square Garden. The rookie is on a nine-game tryout, but Game Six will have to wait until at least Saturday.

"He needs to be better," Rolston said after the morning skate. "A lot of aspects, just a lot of his details right now, practice and game situations. He needs to get some perspective, you know? With all our players, especially our young guys, we don’t want guys getting comfortable."

With the exception of Mark Pysyk, Christian Ehrhoff and Tyler Myers, every defenseman has been scratched at least once. Fellow first-round pick Rasmus Ristolainen has taken a seat three times in the Sabres' 14 games.

"When Rasmus was out of the lineup, he came back in and played well," Rolston said. "He was refocused on what he needed to do and wasn’t taking things for granted. I think it’ll be the same with Nikita."

Ryan Miller will be in lineup as the starting goaltender.

Starting Saturday when the Sabres host Anaheim, it'll be time for forwards to worry. Corey Tropp will be ready to return from a broken jaw, and the 10-game suspension will be up for the Sabres' Patrick Kaleta.

"It should be push everybody because we’ve got some decisions to make coming up," Rolston said. "We’ve got players like Corey coming back and Patty Kaleta’s suspension is up on Saturday. Everybody should feel that."

Ron Rolston

Buffalo is a finalist to host NCAA Frozen Four between 2015 and '18

By John Vogl

The Frozen Four came to Buffalo in 2003. There's a good chance the college hockey championship could be back again soon.

The NCAA has released the host site finalists for its 2014 to 2018 national championships, and Buffalo is one of 10 cities on the list for ice hockey. Canisius College, Niagara University and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference would serve as hosts for the games in First Niagara Center.

The other cities that made the cut for the Frozen Four (which will be held each spring from 2015 to '18) are Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Paul, Minn.; Tampa, Fla.; and Washington.

A committee made up of coaches and administrators from NCAA schools and conferences will select the winning sites, which must then be approved by a divisional championships cabinet. The site announcements will be made Dec. 11.

“We had a tremendous response to the request for bids, which made this an extremely difficult process for our sports committees,” said Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances. “We really feel these sites will all provide a tremendous experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans. Therefore, there will be some really difficult decisions by the sport committees coming up as they determine who will ultimately host the championships.”

Sabres will miss Selanne's farewell tour: Ducks' legend needs oral surgery, out two weeks

By John Vogl

The Sabres and their fans will miss the farewell tour of one of the top scorers in NHL history.

Teemu Selanne needs oral surgery after taking a high-stick in the mouth Tuesday night, and Anaheim said the forward will miss two weeks. The Sabres host the Ducks on Saturday and visit Anaheim on Nov. 8.

Continue reading "Sabres will miss Selanne's farewell tour: Ducks' legend needs oral surgery, out two weeks" »

Minute-hogging Pysyk a bright spot for struggling Sabres

By John Vogl

The losses aren't any fun. There's no way around that. But Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk hasn't lost sight of where he is.

"It’s a fun game, obviously, a fun lifestyle, a fun career," the 21-year-old said today in First Niagara Center. "Playing in the NHL is a dream of everybody, and you want to make sure that what you did today makes sure you’re going to be here tomorrow.

"The nature of the game and the business is it could be gone any second. Obviously, a lot of things can happen pretty quickly, so you’ve got to enjoy every game."

There's been a lot to enjoy for Pysyk. He's third on the Sabres in ice time at 20:20 per game, trailing only defense partner Christian Ehrhoff (24:44) and fellow blue-liner Tyler Myers (21:33). More impressively, Pysyk is third among rookies behind Nashville's Seth Jones (24:42) and Winnipeg's Jacob Trouba (21:15).

Continue reading "Minute-hogging Pysyk a bright spot for struggling Sabres" »

Report: Sabres retain part of Vanek's salary

by Amy Moritz

Seems like there's more to the Thomas Vanek trade than was originally made public.

According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Buffalo Sabres retained 19.5 percent of Vanek's $6.4-million salary, which works out to $1.4 million.

The salary-retention mechansim was included in the recent collective bargaining agreement as a way to help teams close to the salary cap make trades. That isn't the case with the New York Islanders.

Vanek will make his Islanders debut when they play the Rangers tonight.

Other notes from the Sabres practice at First Niagara Center today:

Corey Tropp participated in the full practice today, a sign that the right winger may be ready to move off the injured reserve list this weekend. 

"It was good. Obviously it was a long layoff, so it’s nice to get back into practice and do everything rather than just the warm-up drill," Tropp said. "I think next couple days will tell. Then it’s up to the coaching staff and what they think is best for the team."

Matt Moulson had an impressive start in his first game as a Buffalo Sabre with a pair of goals. But that didn't mean the forward got much sleep last night.

"I think my whole clock is thrown off right now with everything that’s happened," Moulson said. "I’m sure once the stress dies down I’ll be getting some better sleep."

The stress of the trade is starting to wane as Moulson settled in with his second practice.

"I was a lot more comfortable this morning. As I said yesterday in an interview, I feel like the hockey guys are a little different than some guys. It’s easy to get acclimated and get used to the guys here. Everyone in the organization has been incredibly nice to me and they reached out to my family as well. I know my wife feels a lot more comfortable after talking to a lot of the wives here. People just going out of their way to make us feel comfortable."



Video: Lindy Ruff calls tribute first-class, Buffalo fans fantastic

Former Sabres coach calls tribute to him first-class and says that Buffalo fans are just fantastic.

Sabres postgame: Steve Ott

Sabres captain Steve Ott discusses Ruff's tribute and the game.


Steve Ott

Miller talks Vanek

By Miguel Rodriguez

Ryan Miller finally talked about seeing another of his long-time teammates, this time Thomas Vanek, leave the Buffalo Sabres.

Vanek was dealt to the New York Islanders on Sunday night in exchange for Matt Moulson, who scored twice in his Sabres debut during Monday's 4-3 loss to Dallas, and two draft picks.

Miller and Vanek had been teammates since 2004-05, their final seasons with the Sabres' minor-league Rochester Americans. Yes it's tough for Miller to see another of his buddies leave the team.

Miller, who doesn't talk before games he starts, addressed Vanek, Lindy Ruff's return and also responded to the following question lobbed his way: Can anyone on the team be traded if a player of Vanek's stature gets dealt?




Ryan Miller

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Video: Sabres' tribute to Ruff and fans' standing ovation

By John Vogl

The Sabres played a video tribute to team legend Lindy Ruff on the scoreboard tonight during his return, a highlight-filled package that started with a goal and his fight with New York Islanders goaltender Billy Smith.

Continue reading "Video: Sabres' tribute to Ruff and fans' standing ovation" »

Sabres Live: Pregame chat at 6:30 p.m.; Stars-Sabres updates at 7 p.m.

In no surprise, Vanek says he was ready to move on from Sabres

By John Vogl

Thomas Vanek could have been paid handsomely to stay in Buffalo. A source, in fact, says the Sabres were willing to make him the highest-paid player in the NHL.

He'd rather win than take part in a rebuild, which has been his message since last season.

"I enjoyed my time there, but I didn’t want to be a part of that," Vanek told reporters in New York today following his first practice with the Islanders. "We traded pretty much every veteran. The message was clear that they’re going for draft picks. I think our last game we played four teenagers. Good, young players, but young players take time."

Vanek is 29, not old by any stretch but not young, either. He watched Mike Grier inconsolably weep following his last NHL game, and Vanek would like to do what Grier didn't -- win the Stanley Cup.

"“You train all summer long, practice every day, and you want to be on a competitive team that has a chance," Vanek said. "Right now we struggled there. It’s hard to leave when you do struggle. I was one of the leaders, but at the same time the reality is it’s business and I’m happy to be an Islander.”

Ehrhoff reaction to Vanek trade

By Miguel Rodriguez

Christian Ehrhoff and Thomas Vanek were only teammates for two-plus seasons on the Buffalo Sabres.

They quickly became good friends and even provide each other with some reminders of their respective homelands during the season. Ehrhoff is German and Vanek Austrian. The official language of both countries is German. Tthe two quickly bonded simply through speaking the same language, which they did whenever their teammates weren't around, Ehrhoff said Monday morning -- roughly 15 hours after his buddy became an ex-teammate and had been sent to the New York Islanders in exchange for three-time 30-goal scorer Matt Moulson and two draft picks.

"For him it was tough for him to leave us in that situation but I think he expected it at some point," said Ehrhoff, who added that the two communicated briefly via text message with each other after the trade went down. "It's definitely sad to see him go. Always when a good teammate and friend gets traded it's tough to see that happen. ... But we know it's part of the business."

Here is the interview I had with Ehrhoff.


Christian Ehrhoff

More Vanek reaction

Here are some thoughts on the Vanek deal from other members of the Sabres, including Steve Ott -- who is now full-time captain.



Cody Hodgson

Henrik Tallinder

Steve Ott

Lindy Ruff still roots for the Sabres -- but not tonight

By John Vogl

Lindy Ruff has slipped up a few times and said "we" when referring to the Sabres. He'll open the NHL stats booklet to Buffalo occasionally instead of Dallas. It's probably what to expect from a guy who spent half his life in the Sabres' organization before becoming coach of the Stars this season.

But does he find himself rooting for the Sabres?

"Not tonight I can't," said Ruff, who will face the Sabres in First Niagara Center. "I can root in between games. They’re in the East and I root for the city and I root for the team. I want to see them do well."

The Sabres are last in the NHL and in much worse shape than when Ruff was fired in February, but he can see the plan.

"I understand what has happened," he said. "I’ve watched my share of games. I watched games on the way here. I watch some of the young players play, and I understand where they’re at. It’s tough to see where the team is at in the standings, but I watch how these players play and how some of the young players play, and I think there’s a lot of promise there. I know it is really tough, but I understand where they’re at."

Dallas is 4-5-1 this season, so it hasn't been easy sailing for Ruff, either. He says he's made some changes to his coaching style, but at least one thing hasn't changed.

"He’s trying to have fun every day," Stars defenseman Sergei Gonchar said. "He’s very serious about what he does. He’s a professional, but at the same time he’s trying to have fun. I think that carries on to the team."

Ruff, who's said he'll always remain a Western New Yorker, let his new Texas roots show at the end of his chat.

"Thank you," Ruff said. "Great seeing y’all. Y’all."

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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 |