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Postgame audio: Trade talk dominates after third straight win

By Mike Harrington

Following the Sabres' 4-2 win over San Jose -- which gave them a three-game winning streak for the first time this season -- there was basically no talk about the game. All in all, it was a pretty nice effort by the Sabres, who never trailed.

Cody Hodgson, Brian Flynn, Matt Moulson and Tyler Myers (into an empty net) got the goals and Myers added two assists for his first three-point game of the season. Jhonas Enroth stopped 36 of 38 shots as the Sabres won a game despite being outshot, 38-20. That's a two-game sweep of the Sharks this year -- and a 15-1 record all-time against San Jose in Buffalo. Weird.

Players found out that Ryan Miller and Steve Ott were being held out of the lineup about an hour before the game. Enroth had to be told he was playing goal, John Scott had to dress and HarborCenter employee Ryan Vinz, a Lancaster product who tried to walk on at Clarkson, suited up in No. 35 as the backup goalie.

"It was a little bit of a circus," said Tyler Myers. 

The game was played and tribute videos to Ott and Miller aired on the jumbotron during the third period. And the crowd responded with roaring standing ovations.

"Every guy on the bench was watching those tributes," said Mike Weber. "Tough to hold back the emotions. It's probably the worst part of the business, losing friends and teammates like that. But I'm happy for them they're going to get a chance to chase down what we all want here too and win a Stanley Cup."

Click below to hear plenty of audio from the locker room.

Ted Nolan

Jhonas Enroth

Tyler Myers

Mike Weber

Matt Moulson

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Murray scores with his first trade as Sabres' GM

By John Vogl

Go big or go home, right?

Tim Murray couldn't have gone much bigger with his first trade as the general manager of the Sabres. He dealt the face of the franchise and the team captain in a package deal.

"It’s a fair-size one," Murray said with a slight grin tonight.

Ryan Miller and Steve Ott are off to St. Louis. Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a conditional pick that could be a first-rounder this year are in Buffalo's pocket.

That's a win for Murray, it says here.

"A couple high picks, a couple players that can play for us right now and help us," Murray said.

Miller and Ott were both going to go to St. Louis, but it was originally two separate transactions. For the sake of argument, let's break it down as Ott for a 2015 first-round pick and Miller for Halak, Stewart, Carrier and the conditional pick. That's a fantastic haul for the Sabres' GM.

It's a win for the Blues, too. St. Louis was already tied for second overall in the NHL. The Blues might be the Stanley Cup favorite now.

Murray can walk around with a smile after his first trade. He should also walk around with his phone charged because it was the first of many.

Jumbotron video celebrating Miller time

By Mike Harrington

Here is the video the Sabres played on the jumbotron during the third period Friday night honoring Ryan Miller:

Continue reading "Jumbotron video celebrating Miller time" »

Sabres say goodbye to Miller, Ott in blockbuster with Blues

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller, one of the most eloquent speakers in the hockey world, fumbled for the right words. Just traded from the only team he’d ever known, the goaltender had emotions whizzing though him faster than any slap shot ever could.

“I kind of figured this is what would happen,” said a tear-fighting Miller, who had thought long about a possible trade but could never truly prepare for it. “It just kind of hits you all at once.”

With that, one of the two best goalies in Buffalo’s history cut off his comments and prepared to join his new team in St. Louis.

Continue reading "Sabres say goodbye to Miller, Ott in blockbuster with Blues " »

Murray addresses Miller, Ott trade

Listen to the complete audio of Tim Murray addressing the media after trading Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis:

Emotional Miller says goodbye to Sabres; Ott excited to go with goalie to St. Louis

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller has been thinking for a while about what it would be like when he's finally traded from Buffalo. As expected, it was a tear-filled affair.

The goaltender fought back tears from the moment he stepped to the microphone tonight, and he finally had to cut off his comments about joining St. Louis when the emotion became too much.

"It just kind of hits you all at once," Miller said in First Niagara Center.

The goaltender, who spent 12 years in the Sabres' organization, is off to the Blues along with captain Steve Ott. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak, forwards Chris Stewart and William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a conditional pick in 2016 came to Buffalo.

Ott is excited he gets to go a contender along with Miller.

"Both of us want to live up to expectations," Ott said. "It's amazing. This guy here is the best goalie in the world."

Miller is also excited about the opportunity, but he wanted to say goodbye properly. The goalie, drafted by the Sabres in 1999, thanked the fans, ownership, his teammates and goalie coach Jim Corsi for the experiences.

"I've basically grown up here," said Miller, who will keep tabs on his old team. "I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do here."

The addition of Ott and Miller makes the Blues one of the top Stanley Cup contenders.

"I am very excited to have an opportunity for a new adventure," Miller said.

Ryan Miller, traded to St. Louis, leaves impressive Sabres legacy behind

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller arrived in Buffalo as a rail-thin college kid who could handle pucks but not his emotions. He’s leaving as a mellowed, married man who cemented his place in Sabres lore with records, fans and trophies, though not the one he wanted most.

Miller’s 12-season run in the Sabres’ organization came to an end tonight as Buffalo traded him to St. Louis along with Steve Ott for goaltender Jaroslav Halak, forwards Chris Stewart and William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a conditional pick.

Miller, who stepped into the crease in 2002 and has been the face of the franchise since 2007, departed as the team leader in victories and games played among goaltenders. He’s 16th in NHL history for most appearances with one franchise.

Miller always had the talent to reach those lofty heights, but there was a time it didn’t seem possible. His ability to mesh his on-ice abilities with a proper off-ice attitude is what put him ahead of everyone but Dominik Hasek on the Sabres’ goaltending chart. Among the most cerebral athletes ever to call Buffalo home, he matured into a world-renowned goalie who gave back to the community.

The fans loved him back. Even more eye-popping than his stats, which included 284 victories in 540 games, were the number of people who donned a jersey bearing the Miller nameplate. His No. 30 could be seen in every section of First Niagara Center and in countless establishments throughout Western New York. He connected with fans of all ages in ways that most players can’t.

While Miller’s dozen seasons in Buffalo weren’t always the best, they certainly were memorable.

Continue reading "Ryan Miller, traded to St. Louis, leaves impressive Sabres legacy behind" »

Miller & Ott traded to St. Louis; Sabres get Halak and Stewart, prospect and two picks

 

By Mike Harrington

In one of the biggest trades in Buffalo Sabres history and the first one under new general manager Tim Murray, goaltender Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott have been dealt to the St. Louis Blues.

In return, the Sabres are getting goaltender Jaroslav Halak, right winger Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a first-round draft pick in 2015 and a third-round draft pick in 2016.

Miller and Ott will join the Blues in Phoenix, where they play Sunday. They were scratched by the Sabres just before the warmup for tonight's game against San Jose in First Niagara Center. The Sabres play in St. Louis on April 3.

Halak, 28, has played 40 games for the Blues, posting a 24-9-4 record with a .917 save percentage and 2.23 goals against average. He has four shutouts this season, tied for second in the NHL, and is best known for leading the Montreal Canadiens to the Eastern Conference finals in 2010.

Through his eight NHL seasons in Montreal and St. Louis, Halak has played in 260 games, going 139-81-26, .917 and 2.38. The Bratislava, Slovakia, native was awarded a share the William M. Jennings Trophy in 2011-12 for achieving the league’s lowest goals-against average (1.97).

The 6-2, 231-pound Stewart has 15 goals and 11 assists in 58 games for the Blues this season after leading St. Louis last year with 18 goals and 36 points. Stewart, 26, was Colorado's first-round pick (18th overall) in 2006. In six NHL seasons, Stewart has 115 goals and 228 points in 377 games.

Carrier was a second-round pick in 2013. He has 17 goals and 56 points in 59 games for Drumondville/Cape Breton of the Quebec Junior League. He is 6-1, 196 and is 19 years old.

 

Sabres scratch Miller, Ott

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller was supposed to play his last game in Buffalo tonight. It appears the last game actually was Tuesday.

The Sabres have made the goaltender a late scratch and will go with Jhonas Enroth instead tonight against San Jose. The decision likely was made to keep Miller healthy for a trade, which may be imminent.

The Sabres are also sitting captain Steve Ott.

"If that does happen and they’re not in, you’ll probably know why they’re not in," coach Ted Nolan said this morning. "I could say we’re resting them or they’ve got an upper-body or lower-body injury, one of those mysterious things, but you guys will probably know."

Word out of St. Louis is the Blues have zeroed in on acquiring Miller for their playoff run. Reports out of Montreal have Jaroslav Halak coming back to Buffalo in a deal for Miller.

Stay tuned to Sabres Edge for more details as they develop.

Sabres Live: Pregame chat at 6:30 p.m., Sharks-Sabres updates at 7 p.m.

Ehrhoff supplies Sabres with no-trade list; cap-recapture clause an issue for any deal

By John Vogl

The Sabres have asked Christian Ehrhoff to supply a list of eight teams to which he will not accept a trade. He's not surprised they did.

Ehrhoff, who is in the third year of a 10-year contract with Buffalo, has a modified no-trade clause but can be moved to the 21 teams he did not list.

"They obviously want to be prepared come trade deadline," the defenseman said today. "We’ll see where it will take us."

Ehrhoff joined the Sabres in June 2011 when the team was riding the wave created by new owner Terry Pegula. The wave is gone and the barren land of 30th place remains after two seasons with no playoffs.

"It hasn’t been what everybody expected," Ehrhoff said in First Niagara Center, where the Sabres are set to host San Jose. "We’re in 30th place, and they’ve got to be prepared. It’s part of the business. I’ll keep on focusing on hockey and focus on the game tonight."

The 31-year-old wouldn't be against a trade, but he's not seeking one.

"Obviously, the goal is to win the Stanley Cup," Ehrhoff said. "Playing in the playoffs is nice, but like I’ve said I made a commitment with the Sabres. As long as I’m here, I’ve giving 100 percent for the team."

The drawback to dealing Ehrhoff is the NHL's collective bargaining agreement. The league sought a way to penalize teams for the creative bookkeeping that drove up salaries, so the new CBA has a cap-recapture formula. All contracts longer than six years signed before the 2013 lockout-shortened season are subject to a cap-recapture penalty.

In Ehrhoff's case, the Sabres gave him a front-loaded deal that eased the salary-cap burden in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Though he made $10 million in salary the first year and $8 million the second season, he counted just $4 million against the Sabres' salary cap because of his contract average. That gave the Sabres an "advantage" of $6 million and $4 million, respectively, during the two seasons.

Should Ehrhoff retire before his deal expires in 2020-21 (when he'd be 38), that "advantage" will be "recaptured" and added to the Sabres' salary cap. The calculator from CapGeek.com is available here.

If the Sabres kept Ehrhoff around and he wanted to retire early, they could buy him out to avoid the penalties. If they trade him, they'd have little to no control over his retirement, which could hurt their future cap space.

Sharks roll into meeting with Miller, Sabres with 7-3 victory over Flyers

By John Vogl

If tonight is indeed Ryan Miller's final game in Buffalo as a member of the Sabres, he's going out with a big test.

The San Jose Sharks arrived after putting up seven goals Thursday night against the Flyers. Joe Pavelski had a hat trick in the 7-3 win in Philadelphia, while Raffi Torres and Logan Couture scored two goals each. San Jose is 4-1 in its last five games.

Miller, expected to be traded before Wednesday's deadline, has reflected on his growth during his 12 seasons in Buffalo. His teammates, meanwhile, are trying to play and not worry about an imminent dismantling of the roster.

Continue reading "Sharks roll into meeting with Miller, Sabres with 7-3 victory over Flyers" »

Miller probable for Friday amid adieus

by Amy Moritz

With the way trade talk has been around First Niagara Center this week, it appears that Ryan Miller will likely be traded by next Wednesday's trade deadline.

He will, however, get one more start in Buffalo.

Interim coach Ted Nolan said the starting goaltender for Friday's game against the San Jose Sharks is "probably Miller. Miller will go."

Nolan also said the decision on which goalie to start was his. The plan was to start Miller in the game back from the Olympic break (Tuesday's win over Carolina) and start Jhonas Enroth on Wednesday (a win over Boston).

"It’s up to me," Nolan said. "We kinda thought going in Ryan would be the freshest one of the two and it worked out that way. Back-to-back is tough when you first come back, so we thought a couple days in between would be good for him. So that’s why."

Miller spoke with the media and answered questions about his time in Buffalo.

"I don't to close off any avenues … with the little bit of uncertainty you don’t want to miss an opportunity to say thank you," Miller said.

"The collective energy from the city, people have to realize how that makes a difference to us and to the players. It’s a great place to play hockey. You feel a part of something. You feel appreciated. When you give an honest effort, there’s positive feedback from everyone. That’s more than you can ask for."

And then there are memories of his interactions with fans.

"I’ve been at Wegmans a number of years ago trying to pick up groceries and I got a lesson in how to hold my stick," Miller said. "I’ve had sweet old ladies run up and give me a hug. They kinda scared me half to death, coming up from the side and grabbing me. After you get past that little startling … it feels nice to have a sweet, old lady give you a hug and say she likes to watch you play and that you maybe need to eat a little more because you look a little thin."

Check out the audio from Miller: And here are Nolan's full comments from practice:

Roll the highlight film: Video clips of top saves by Ryan Miller

(With Ryan Miller likely spending his last few days as a member of the Sabres, The News will take a look back his 12-season run in Buffalo.)

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller's ability to read plays has allowed him to make impressive saves look routine throughout his career. He can see things develop, move to the right spot and be square to the shooter. It isn't flashy, just effective.

Sometimes, however, a little flash is needed.

Miller made numerous spectacular saves during his 12 seasons with the Sabres. Here are two of the most memorable, plus a pair of compilation videos:

Continue reading "Roll the highlight film: Video clips of top saves by Ryan Miller" »

Video: Enroth on Sabres overtime win

Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth says it feels nice to have a win after team defeats Boston.

Video/audio: Sabres stun Bruins with tying goal, overtime winner

By John Vogl

The few thousand folks who stuck around until the end were rewarded tonight. They paid the Sabres back in applause.

Buffalo's Matt Moulson scored with 52.3 seconds left to tie the game, and Matt D'Agostini scored the winner on a breakaway 22 seconds into overtime as the Sabres stunned Boston, 5-4.

Continue reading "Video/audio: Sabres stun Bruins with tying goal, overtime winner" »

Name the three stars

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

Bruins' Team Canada connection still has Golden glow

Canada bench
Boston coach Claude Julien, second from left, joins Mike Babcock and Lindy Ruff in celebrating Canada's gold medal Sunday in Sochi (Getty Images).


By Mike Harrington

Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien is a little tired. So are Bruins forwards Patrice Bergeron (Canada) and Loui Eriksson (Sweden), who joined Julien as part of Sunday's gold medal game at the Sochi Olympics. The Bs are in town for their first post-Olympic game tonight against the Sabres but the gold-medal glow is still on Julien, one of Mike Babcock's assistants, and Bergeron in the wake of Canada's 3-0 win over the Swedes in the finale.

Team Canada, of course, blanked Team USA, 1-0, in the semifinals and allowed just three goals the whole tournament.

"You got 20 elite players and they're all committed to playing hard," Julien said today. "The fact we had really good numbers coming back, we had set from the get-go in the summer that we wanted players that could play both ends of the ice and that's what we got. Even though we didn't score as much as we would have liked to, the scoring chances were there. We created a lot.

"Maybe the finish was a bit of a challenge for whatever reason but at the same time, we played so well defensively that we never gave other teams much of a chance to score some goals. There was an unbelievable commitment from our whole group to do it right."

Was the finale The Perfect Game, like so many international hockey experts have called it?

"I would say the last two games were close to that," Bergeron said. "It was a great example of everyone buying in and just playing, sticking to the system, to do what the coaches asked us to play and we got the result. Every shift you could see guys back-pressuring like there was no tomorrow. The Ds were stepping up. We were really closing up and not giving up much time and it gave us the success that we got."

"It was a great experience from day one to the last day," Bergeron added. "It was something very special, something I'll never forget. I'm very happy and proud of the way we've all done it."

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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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