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Moulson's agent: No contract talks with Sabres, not concerned about injury affecting trade status

By John Vogl

DENVER -- Matt Moulson's agent doesn't think the forward's injury will have much affect on his trade value. Wade Arnott also says he and the Sabres have not had any conversations about a contract extension for the left winger.

Moulson is likely out through the Olympic break with an upper-body injury, and the ailment comes just as the NHL is ramping up to next Friday's trade freeze for the Sochi Games. Moulson, a pending unrestricted free agent, is on the trade market.

"It’s something that we can’t control anyway, so to that end we’re not overly concerned about it," Arnott told The News by phone. "Obviously, we’re fully aware that we have a standard trade deadline on March 5, but we also have a trade freeze for the upcoming Olympic break before that. I am aware that managers have been talking and are maybe trying to do something prior to this freeze, but in Matt’s case I’m not sure anything was or would get done anyway."

Sabres coach Ted Nolan categorized the injury as not "too, too serious," and Arnott echoed the cautiously optimistic outlook.

"It doesn’t seem be long term or as serious as maybe we first thought, but he’ll know more I guess when he gets back to Buffalo," Arnott said. "But so far the diagnosis is not long term, anyway."

While Moulson has enjoyed his time in Buffalo since an October trade, Arnott has not talked with new Buffalo General Manager Tim Murray about an extension.

"We haven’t," Arnott said. "I suspect that maybe along the way we will, but to date we really haven’t had any substantial talks regarding Matt.

"He’s enjoyed his experience in Buffalo date. There’s no question. We talk about that. His family’s enjoyed sort of re-establishing themselves there. He’s enjoyed playing for the team. He knows that they’re in a little bit of a rebuild time period, but he’s excited about the future, the new management, the new ownership. He says a lot of positive things about his short time in Buffalo."

Sabres' Moulson likely out until after Olympic break, which impacts trade status

By John Vogl

DENVER -- Matt Moulson, one of the Sabres' top scorers and trade subjects, is likely out until after the Olympic break with an upper-body injury.

"He took a pretty good bang last night, so it looks possibly that he’ll be out till after the Olympic break," Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon. "I think we only have four or five games left, so it could be in the last part of it, but more than likely after the Olympic break."

Moulson was injured with six minutes left in the Sabres' 3-2 win over Phoenix and was still in pain well after the game ended.

"I was just hoping he got the puck in, then all of a sudden, I watched it afterwards, a little whack on the stick and a hit into the boards," Nolan said in the team hotel. "It was just one of those freaky things that happened.

"It’s definitely an upper-body injury that’s going to keep him out. He was pretty sore after the game last night, but it doesn’t look like it’s really too, too serious. If he’s a fast mender, you never know."

Moulson had an assist Thursday to boost his season totals to 15 goals and 33 points in 51 games.

The pending unrestricted free agent is one of the Sabres' biggest trade assets. There are two roster freezes coming, including next Friday for the Olympic break. It's unlikely someone will trade for him before then without knowing a concrete timetable for recovery.

The Sabres have four games between the end of the Olympic break and the March 5 trade deadline, which should allow suitors to gauge Moulson's status for a trade.

Nolan also said Drew Stafford will not be ready to play Saturday when the Sabres visit the Colorado Avalanche. Brian Flynn is expected to take Moulson's spot on the top line.

Ted Nolan

Highlights from the Sabres' victory in Phoenix

By John Vogl

PHX -- Good early morning from the Phoenix airport, where it's time to leave the warmth of Phoenix for the snowy town with a Super Bowl glow, Denver.

The Sabres left following their 3-2 victory over the Coyotes, which featured a winning short-handed goal by Zemgus Girgensons. Read all about it here.

Buffalo lost Matt Moulson to an arm injury in the third period, and his status will be evaluated today. He was in serious pain well after the game.

Continue reading "Highlights from the Sabres' victory in Phoenix" »

Sounds from the Sabres' dressing room, including Miller and Girgensons

By John Vogl

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After a less-than-stellar first period, the Sabres rallied for a 3-2 victory over Phoenix. To heard Buffalo talk about is second win in nine games, click the audio files below.

Ryan Miller

Ted Nolan

Zemgus Girgensons

Alex Sulzer

Name the three stars

Sabres Live: Pregame chat at 8:45 p.m.; Sabres-Coyotes updates at 9 p.m.

D'Agostini returns for Sabres; ill Ehrhoff a game-time decision versus Coyotes

By John Vogl

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Sabres are getting a little healthier on offense, but their blue line might take a hit tonight.

Matt D'Agostini will return from a six-game absence when Buffalo visits the Coyotes. The forward had two goals and four points in four games before leaving the Jan. 15 meeting against Toronto.

"That always seems to be the situation for me lately, but I'm hoping to keep up where I left off there," D'Agostini said after the morning skate in Jobing.com Arena.

The only player absent from the workout was Christian Ehrhoff, and the defenseman is feeling "under the weather," according to coach Ted Nolan. Ehrhoff will be a game-time decision.

Ryan Miller will start in goal for the Sabres. Drew Stafford is not healthy enough to return -- he's in the "almost" category, Nolan said -- and he'll watch the game along with injured Cody McCormick and healthy scratches John Scott and Linus Omark.

Ted Nolan

Matt D'Agostini

An early look at Sabres and Coyotes

By John Vogl

PHOENIX -- This is the Sabres' last-ever game against the Phoenix Coyotes -- because the team is becoming the Arizona Coyotes next season. Here are some other notes heading into the game.

*Phoenix is 15-8-3 at home while the Sabres are 5-15-3 on the road.

*The Coyotes will start goaltender Thomas Greiss, the backup to Mike Smith who is 7-3-1 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. Greiss has never faced the Sabres but is 1-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and .956 save percentage in 2 games versus East opponents.

*The Sabres' goalie will be determined at the morning skate, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Buffalo time. Ryan Miller is 5-0-0 in his career against the Coyotes, with a 0.98 goals against average and a .966 save percentage, his best career numbers against any team.

*Neither team is hot. The Coyotes are 4-5-1 in their last 10, while the Sabres are 2-4-4.

*The Sabres are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games versus the Coyotes and 6-4-0 in the last 10 in Arizona. The Sabres have won their last three games in Phoenix, with the last loss coming Jan. 21, 2008.

*Phoenix averages 2.8 goals per game and gives up 2.9. The Sabres average 1.8 and allow 2.8.

*The Coyotes' home power play ranks sixth in the league while their penalty-kill unit is a lowly 28th.

*The forecast for Phoenix is sunny and 73. Buffalo calls for a high of 25.

*Radim Vrbata will play in his 400th career game with the Coyotes tonight.

*Keith Yandle ranks second among NHL defensemen in home scoring with four goals and 23 points in 26 games. He is three assists from tying Phil Housley (195) for sixth place on the franchise’s defensemen assists list.

*Phoenix's all-time assists list: 1. Thomas Steen: 553; 2. Dale Hawerchuk: 550; 3. Shane Doan: 500; 4. Teppo Numminen: 426.

With no loser points, quite a different view of the standings

By Mike Harrington

In one of the most baffling stats of the season, the Chicago Blackhawks fell to 0-6 in overtime winners and 5-13 after regulation with Tuesday's 5-4 OT loss in Calgary. The Blackhawks are now 32-10-13 and that league-high total of loser points has their total up to 77, or third overall.  Detroit and New Jersey both have 11 loser points, although the Devils are almost certain to rue their 0-8 shootout record come April unless they improve it.

Every so often, I want to NBA- or MLB-style the current NHL standings so I'm going to do it here.

You know. No loser points. You just win or you lose. Then compare the winning percentages to what the overall standing really is, given the preponderence of three-point games.

The Sabres, of course, still come out last. But it gives you an interesting gauge, especially as you look to the playoffs, about which teams might be underrated and which teams are inflated by those extra points.

Going by my theory, here's a look at how the standings go by winning percentage. Losses are added together, whether they come in regulation, OT or shootout. The number in parentheses is the overall standing in the league of the team when you count its loser points.

You can really how see how Detroit and Chicago are inflated while teams like the Rangers, Columbus and Winnipeg are a little underrated. The same might apply to Montreal, although the Habs have been mostly dreadful of late and that may not apply to them much longer.

The W-L version of the NHL
1. Anaheim 39-16, .709 (1)
2. Pittsbugh 37-16, .698 (4)
3. St. Louis 36-16, .692 (2)
4. Boston 34-18, .654 (6)
5. San Jose 34-19, .642 (5)
6. Colorado 33-19, .635 (7)
7. Tampa Bay 31-22, .585 (8)
8. Chicago 32-23, .582 (3)
9. Los Angeles 30-25, .545 (9)
10. Montreal 28-25, .528 (13)
11. Minnesota 29-26, .527 (10)
12. NY Rangers 28-26, .519 (15)
13. Toronto 28-27, .509 (12)
14. Vancouver 27-27, .500 (11)
15. Columbus 26-27, .491 (19)
16. Philadelphia 26-28, .481 (16)
17. Phoenix 25-28, .472 (14)
18. Winnipeg 25-30, .455 (25)
19. Carolina 24-29, .453 (17)
20. Dallas 24-29, .453 (20)
21. Washington 24-29, .453 (22)
22. Nashville 24-31, .436 (23)
23. Detroit 23-30, .434 (18)
24. Ottawa 23-30, .434 (21) 
25. New Jersey 22-32, .407 (24)
26. Florida 21-32, .396 (27)
27. NY Islanders 21-34, .382 (26)
28. Calgary 19-34, .358 (28)
29. Edmonton 17-38, .309 (29) 
30. BUFFALO 14-38, .269 (30)

On an off day, more thoughts on a wild loss to the Caps

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres are off today and currently en route to Phoenix for Thursday night's game against the Coyotes. By the way, the boys from the Valley of the Sun have just announced they will be called the "Arizona Coyotes" starting with the 2014-15 season.

Tuesday night's 5-4 overtime loss to Washington was one of the more entertaining Sabres games of the year and left plenty of follow-up thoughts in my mind as I watched parts of the tape today on my DVR.

---Surprised to hear no NHL discipline hearing for Sabres defenseman Mike Weber, especially for the very cheap shot in the final minute against Washington's Nicklas Backstrom. I may have jumped the gun in today's story saying it was a hit to the head. It appears Weber doesn't hit the head just by happenstance, so he may go unpunished. Still, a pretty stupid play overall. Caps coach Adam Oates certainly thought it was a penalty. Take a look for yourself: 

---How cool is it to watch a kid on any team score his first NHL goal? It always is. As Amy Moritz writes, we saw that last night with Phil Varone, who has certainly not looked out of place since he came up from Rochester.

---How cool is it to watch a superstar in action? Alex Ovechkin was a flat-out stud with two goals in the first five minutes and one of his two assists coming on the game-winner. Bucky Gleason's post-game column on the Great Eight includes plenty of thoughts on the Olympics too. I watched Sidney Crosby and Ovi live on back-to-back nights. Sometimes the gig has its privileges.

Continue reading "On an off day, more thoughts on a wild loss to the Caps" »

Video: Enroth on overtime loss to Capitals

Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth answers media questions on loss to Capitals.

Vote for your three stars

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

Notes from morning skate: Lineup changes and a start for Enroth

by Amy Moritz

Ted Nolan is making some changes.

For tonight's game with the Washington Capitals at First Niagara Center, Alexander Sulzer and John Scott will be in the lineup and Jamie McBain and Linus Omark will be out.

Also expect to see Jhonas Enroth in goal for the Sabres.

Nolan said he and Enroth talked when the team was in Columbus and got to know the aspirations of the goaltender best known as Ryan Miller's backup.

"He wants to be a No. 1 and he’s learning to be a No. 1 from one of the best No. 1s there is the business," Nolan said. "It’s one of those things but he can’t afford to have little blunders here and there. He’s got to learn to have those consistent games -- game in, game out --  and that’s how he becomes a No. 1. ... That’s the difference between back up goaltenders and starters. Starters do it a lot and they do it often. He’s got to learn to do that."

For all of Nolan's post-morning skate comments, check out the full audio:

Nolan makes his first trip to The House That Mario Built

1985-86
The 1985-86 Penguins, with Ted Nolan the second player from the left on the top row and a 19-year-old Mario Lemieux dead center in row 2 (Pittsburghhockey.net).


By Mike Harrington

PITTSBURGH -- Ted Nolan's big claim to fame from his playing days is that he played with both Wayne Gretzky (on the 1977-78 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) and Mario Lemieux (on the 1985-86 Pittsburgh Penguins).

Tonight is Nolan's first game as a coach inside the Consol Energy Center, as his last appearance with the New York Islanders came when the Penguins played inside Mellon Arena. The old Igloo is now a parking lot across the street from the new building. 

The Consol Center is widely referred to as "The House that Mario Built". There's a statue of Lemieux in front, a giant mural of him in the concourse, his No. 66 hangs from the rafters and there's a Suite 66 at ice level with several pieces of memorabilia from his career.

"I remember a lot," a smiling Nolan said today when asked his memories of Lemieux. "I remember sitting down next to Mario and they had a poster night. I asked him to sign it and he asked for who and I said, 'to me.' I still got it at home. It's 'To Teddy.' That's it. When you have a chance to play with him and watch him in practice. .... I spread that story around quite a bit."

Sabres Live: Pregame chat at 7:15 p.m.; Sabres-Penguins updates at 7:30 p.m.

Nolan goes with his gut over the numbers: Miller will start against Penguins' Fleury

By Mike Harrington

PITTSBURGH -- The Sabres open a brutal stretch of seven games in the final 11 nights prior to the Olympic break tonight in Consol Energy Center (remember that it's a 7:30 game on NBCSN). They are going to have to massage their goaltenders through this stretch and I was certainly one of the observers who thought Ryan Miller would get tonight off and play tomorrow against Washington, with Jhonas Enroth getting the call tonight against the Penguins.

That's how the numbers would play it. Miller is 7-11-3, 3.26 and .888 against Pittsburgh -- his worst winning percentage and save percentage against any opponent. Meanwhile, he's stopped  77 of 79 shots, plus all nine shootout attempts against him, in two wins against the Capitals this year.

Enroth, meanwhile, is 1-3, 2.58 and .914 against Pittsburgh but just 1-10-4 on the season.  

Nolan is going with Miller tonight. He loves Miller, like any coach would. The numbers be damned, Nolan told me today when I asked about them after the morning skate.

"We looked at it. Especially with this year going into the Olympics monitoring our play time with both goaltenders," Nolan said. "But if you looked at Miller's numbers lately, it's been pretty effective. He's a little bit more well rested and in return he's playing much better."

After a glittering December (5-2-1, 1.82, .949), Miller has cooled some in January (3-2-2, 2.37, .921). But he was terrific Saturday in Columbus making 36 saves so it's hard to argue the move. And you know NBC is happy: Think there will be enough Miller-Sidney Crosby discussion tonight?

(Miller, like many goaltenders, does not speak to the media on gameday prior to the game).

Elsewhere in the Buffalo lineup, Nolan said Drew Stafford aggravated a previous injury Saturday in Columbus and will be out tonight and perhaps a few more games. Ville Leino, who didn't finish the game Saturday, will play and Linus Omark will be in for Stafford. John Scott and Alexander Sulzer will be scratches.

Marc-Andre Fleury will be in goal for Pittsburgh, which has won 14 of its last 15 home games but is coming off Saturday's 3-0 loss in Dallas.

Well-deserved day off after big win

By Mike Harrington

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Barring something unforeseen, this figures to be a quiet Sunday in Sabreland. The team has canceled its scheduled practice in suburban Pittsburgh in the wake of Saturday's 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets and will return to the ice Monday morning in Consol Energy Center for its pregame skate.

Likewise, the PIttsburgh Penguins have canceled their practice following Saturday's 3-0 loss in Dallas. The building is unavailable today due to a WWE card so both teams are taking their CBA-mandated days off today. Monday's game, remember, is a 7:30 start on the NBC Sports Network.

Here's a catchup on all the hockey coverage in today's Buffalo News:

---Murray wants rewards: In my exclusive pregame chat with Tim Murray, the new Sabres GM has plenty to say about his pending unrestricted free agents, meeting his players and what his future scouting plans are.

---Surprise win snaps Jackets' streak: In his first road game with the team, Murray saw the Sabres get two short-handed goals and shut down the Columbus power play entirely. Meanwhile, Ryan Miller badly outplayed Sergei Bobrovsky.

---John Vogl's Inside the NHL:  In the Florida Panthers' 20th anniversary season, New York investment mogul Vincent Viola is giving fans hope by telling GM Dale Tallon he can spend to the cap.

---A bizarre tale of NHL players' finances gone awry: Bucky Gleason and Dan Herbeck share the story of former Nichols hockey star Phil Kenner, who allegedly stole funds from 13 NHL clients. Many of them, including names such as Michael Peca and Joe Juneau, were former Sabres.

I'm off to trudge through the snow to get to the Burgh.

Vote for your three stars

Murray on trades: 'For me, it's all about return'

By Mike Harrington

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- New Sabres GM Tim Murray is on his first road trip with the team, starting tonight in Nationwide Arena and I just had a good update chat with him in the press box prior to warmups for the game against the Blue Jackets. We talked about a lot of topics for just 10 minutes time but I know what most of you want to ask. So here's the answer on pending UFAs Ryan Miller, Steve Ott and Matt Moulson:

Murray has talked to all of them casually. He's getting a lot of "introductory" calls from other GMs but he's had the same message to each player.

"I've told them the same thing really and it was like, 'It's unfortunate you're going to see your name in the paper. That's just the nature of the game.' They're not young players. They've been around. They know the game. They know that this is part of it.

"I told them not to believe everything they read or everything they've heard on the sports channels. But certainly their names are in play and we'll see what happens but it doesn't guarantee they'll be moved at all. For me, it's all about return. These are good players. So if the return was up to a certain point and not great and we then decide we want to talk to them about staying, then that's an option too."

Continue reading "Murray on trades: 'For me, it's all about return'" »

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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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