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Miller has long list of 40-save performances during his career with Sabres

By John Vogl

During his 12 seasons in Buffalo, Ryan Miller has faced 17,587 shots. He's stopped 16,217. That's a lot of rubber hitting his pads, glove and mask.

The more he faces, the better he gets. Miller has made 40 or more saves 33 times in his career, and he's 23-7-3 when topping the magic number.

Not surprisingly, most of those shot-heavy performances have come during the Sabres' recent struggles. Of the 33 times Miller was forced to make at least 40 saves, 11 came during the 2013 calendar year.

Here's a look at the performances. For select games, click on the link to read the recap:

Continue reading "Miller has long list of 40-save performances during his career with Sabres" »

On the Air: Miller talk on Sirius

By Mike Harrington

A reminder that tonight's game against Boston is a 7:30 faceoff on the NBC Sports Network, which will be airing a one-hour pregame show starting at 6:30. The peacock folks will have plenty to talk about in the wake of last night's 3-2 win over Carolina, and the game itself was obviously irrelevant.

The talk of the town -- and the talk of the league -- is GM Tim Murray's pregame press conference, where he confirmed the Sabres are actively shopping Ryan Miller. And Miller's postgame admission that a trade would probably be best for all sides was the first time the veteran goaltender definitively came out with that stance.

In my column for today's editions, I wrote that the Sabres should immediately shut Miller down and not risk an injury that could derail a deal. Apologies to folks who have tickets for Friday's game against San Jose but Miller took quite a shot early last night when Marcus Foligno dumped Carolina's Riley Nash right on top of him. Those are the kind of plays where goalies get hurt and that can't happen now.

I talked about Miller some more earlier today on SiriusXM's "Hockey This Morning" with Mike Rossy and Mick Kern. You can hear the audio of that interview by clicking the file below.

Sirius XM Hockey This Morning

Banged-up Ennis to sit vs. Bruins

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres' lineup for tonight's game against Boston will be a game-time decision but interim coach Ted Nolan said this morning that Tyler Ennis won't play. Stand down, trade rumor mongers: Ennis took a hard hit into the boards in the third period last night and Nolan said he's day to day with "general body soreness".

Ennis is Buffalo's second-leading scorer with 30 points (14-16) and has seven points in the last seven games. He scored a go-ahead goal in the third period last night against Carolina, making a headlong dive to puck the poke through the crease past Carolina's Cam Ward. Only a few players skated this morning and the lines won't be formed until warmups but the scuttlebutt is that Ville Leino will get the first chance to go between Matt Moulson and Drew Stafford.

Henrik Tallinder will go back in on defense after sitting out last night's win following his return from Sochi. John Scott, who played on defense last night with Jamie McBain, could sit tonight or move up to forward. As Nolan planned over the weekend, Jhonas Enroth will be in goal against Boston's Chad Johnson in a battle of backups.

Center Zenon Konopka confirmed this morning he had surgery on his left pinkie over the Olympic hiatus after breaking the finger in October while playing for Minnesota. Konopka said he's going to play tonight although Nolan did not confirm his spot in the lineup.

"You love to get back in there," said Konopka, who has one assist in 13 games with the Sabres. "You love to play hockey so it's going to be exciting. It's always a good rivalry with Boston so it will be fun."

TSN floated Konopka's name yesterday as a possible trade acquisition for a team looking for a veteran to help with faceoffs. Konopka said simply it's that time of year.

"The older you get, the more you realize you can't control it so why worry about it?" he said. "Everything happens for a reason. It's an adventure. I've been outspoken growing up right around Buffalo (in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.). I love it here. I want to be here long term. But I understand it's a business and there will be guys moved at the deadline. What's meant to be is meant to be."

The Sabres will have to play a much better game tonight in front of Enroth than they did last night against Ryan Miller. Nolan expected them to be moving well and it didn't work out that way as Carolina had a 38-18 advantage in shots.

"I was a little bit surprised but this year a lot of things don't surprise me," Nolan said. "We weren't up to par, it took us a little while to get our game going but we got it going enough to get that win.

"You look at the first games of the regular season and they're a little bit rusty and shaky. It takes a little while no matter how much preparation and practice you do. There's nothing like game time. I thought both teams were a little bit shaky at points but it's going to get better."

Video: Miller airs view on trade talk

Ryan Miller expresses his thoughts on Sabres General Manager Tim Murray's comment that he feels Miller's first choice would be to be traded.

Vote for your Three Stars

Miller on Sabres talking trade: 'That's probably best for everybody' (includes audio)

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller knows he's likely to be traded by the deadline next Wednesday.

"The things that they’re going to have to do are probably going to come during the trade deadline, and maybe I’m one of them," the Sabres goaltender said tonight after making 36 saves in a 3-2 victory over Carolina. "I don’t want to close anything off right now, but I know they’re kind of looking around for opportunity. I think that’s probably best for everybody."

Miller, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, knows he doesn't have many seasons left, so a trade to a contender would seemingly be welcomed.

"I’m going to be 34 this year, and let’s be realistic," he said. "There’s only a handful of guys who played effectively longer into their 30s. I’d like to be one of those, but there’s no guarantees."

For the full audio of Miller's interview, plus Ted Nolan's news conference, click the audio files below.

Ryan Miller

Ted Nolan

Audio: Sabres GM Tim Murray discusses Miller, Ott, Nolan and trade deadline

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller and Steve Ott have generated a lot of interest from other teams, Sabres General Manager Tim Murray said tonight. It furthers the likelihood that both pending unrestricted free agents will be dealt by the March 5 trade dealine.

Murray, speaking before Buffalo hosted Carolina in First Niagara Center, said more than two teams and less than 10 have contacted him about Miller's availability. Murray said re-signing with Buffalo is probably not Miller's first choice, and the GM talked about rewarding the goalie by dealing him to a contender.

Murray also said he has had discussions with coach Ted Nolan about removing the interim tag.

To hear the whole interview, click the file below.

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

After mining silver, Tallinder and Enroth get extra night of rest

Hank
Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder (right) watches the Sochi medal ceremony continue with fellow Team Sweden blueliners Niklas Hjalmarsson (3) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Getty Images).



By Mike Harrington

Defenseman Henrik Tallinder and goaltender Jhonas Enroth both practiced fully with the Sabres this morning but will sit out tonight's game against Carolina after returning from the Olympics. Tallinder, in fact, overnighted in Newark, N.J., and didn't return until today.

Tallinder and Enroth both had prime seats for Sunday's gold medal game, the 3-0 loss to Canada. Tallinder got one shift in the game after hastily being inserted in the lineup when center Nicklas Backstrom failed a doping test. Enroth served as Henrik Lundqvist's backup goalie, as he did for five of the six games in the tournament.

Both players were thoroughly impressed with the way Canada played in the tourney's ultimate game.

"It was a different level compared to us,' Tallinder said. "We were a couple of guys short but even if they would have been into the game, we would have had to play a really, really, really, really, really good game to be able to beat them."

Although neither saw much ice time, both reveled in the Olympic experience. Tallinder also played for Sweden in Vancouver in 2010. Enroth enjoyed watching some cross country skiing and particularly enjoyed his interaction with Lundqvist, one of his idols from his homeland.

"It was a great experience, especially practicing and playing with Lundqvist," Enroth said. "I picked up a couple things he's done. I wish I got in one game but it is what it is and it was still a great experience."

"You're around athletes the whole time, not just hockey players," Tallinder said. "Athletes in general like figure skaters, curlers, speed skaters, skiers. It's fun to see how they prepare for a contest like they're in. It's completely different from hockey."

Sabres' McCormick ready after long layoff

By John Vogl

It's been nearly three weeks since the Sabres' last game, which seems like a long time. Just imagine how long it feels for Cody McCormick.

The Buffalo center has been out since injuring his finger Dec. 14 against Calgary. The veteran wants to "play with some tenacity for the group" tonight against the Hurricanes.

"I'm ready to go," McCormick said today in First Niagara Center. "It's been too long for everybody with the break. We're looking forward to this game. It'll be fun to get back out there."

McCormick will replace center Zenon Konopka. He had finger surgery over the Olympic break, according to TSN, but is expected to return soon.

Scott makes amends with Nolan, gets a chance on 'D' tonight

By Mike Harrington

Let's get the answer to the big question inquiring minds want to know first. No, not trades. What's up with John Scott?

Scott and Ted Nolan both said they're cool with each other after the Sabres' interim coach booted his enforcer from practice yesterday. Nolan tried to downplay it this morning, saying "I asked him to stay in until he cooled down a little bit" but those of us who were there know better.

Scott, in fact, is going to be in the lineup at defense tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. He's going to partner with Jamie McBain while Henrik Tallinder gets the night off after just getting in this morning from Sochi.

As for yesterday's blowout, reporters gathered around Scott's locker after today's morning skate and that prompted catcalls from teammates with cracks like, "Anything to get on camera, Johnny."

"I obviously wasn't happy about it," Scott said. "No one likes getting sent off practice. I was having a tough practice. I just kinda overreacted a little bit, got a little upset. It happens and you move on.

"It was ironed out as soon as he came off the ice. I went and talked to him and apologized. We had a talk. Everything's fine. We're moving on, playing a game tonight."

"I was perfect with John Scott yesterday," Nolan said. "In this sport, sometimes you have those moments but it's forgotten right afterwards.

Scott said he understood why Nolan reacted the way he did.

"I'm surprised that that happened. It was kind of a weird event," he said. "I've never seen that happen before in my career. It was definitely something new but it's OK. We're fine now. I know exactly where he's coming from. He doesn't want lackadaisical practices and I was terrible yesterday. I couldn't make passes or anything.

"It was one of those days where nothing was going right. I understand his decision. I totally get what he's doing and I would have done the same thing probably."

There's no changes to the plan for tonight's lineup from what the Sabres have advertised the last few days. Ryan Miller will play goal, while the three players who were out with injuries prior to the Olympic break (Tyler Myers, Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick) will all play tonight. McCormick has been out with a finger injury since Dec. 14, a span of 24 games. Zenon Konopka will be a healthy scratch along with Tallinder.

Because it's a gameday, Miller stayed with the custom followed by many NHL goaltenders of not speaking with the media prior to the game. 

You can click the file below to hear Nolan's pregame comments on Scott, Miller, Tallinder and his hopes for a faster game tonight with several healthy and fresh players in the lineup following the Olympic break.

Ted Nolan

Plan is still for Miller to be the man in goal Tuesday

By Mike Harrington

It was total game mode for the Sabres today in First Niagara Center as they practiced for about an hour, with plenty of work on the power play, in advance of tomorrow's return to the NHL schedule and a visit by the Carolina Hurricanes. 

The Sabres continued to practice today with fill-in goalies, and interim coach Ted Nolan said his regular tandem of Ryan Miller & Jhonas Enroth, along with defenseman Henrik Tallinder were expected back in Buffalo early this afternoon. 

Nolan reiterated his plan is to start Miller tomorrow and not call up a goaltender from Rochester. He said he also did not expect any other callups from the Amerks for now.

It will be interesting to see how Miller reacts to the time-zone adjustment from Russia. Someone like Tallinder would only see 15-20 minutes of ice time, compared to a goalie who is on the ice the entire game.

"That will be like playing at 4 a.m. for him maybe," Nolan said of Miller. "It will be a different challenge but hopefully he has some sleep and will be somewhat awake at some point."

"Having done a couple of those overseas trips, it's never a good feeling right when you get back," said defenseman Tyler Myers. "We're going to have to help Millsie out as much as we can."

Steve Ott and Matt Moulson were both swarmed by reporters inquiring about the trade deadline, including a crew from TSN in Toronto. Neither offered anything new on their status. They haven't heard about a trade or discussed any contract extensions with the team. Moulson said he has talked to Pat LaFontaine, the team's president of hockey operations, and it's known Ott has as well.

The most unusual thing about practice came late in the session, when John Scott suddenly let out a loud bellow, broke his stick on the ice, through it against the boards and headed for the dressing room. There was some thought there was an injury involved but Nolan said afterward he actually threw Scott, who was filling in on defense, out of practice.

"He just fumbled the puck a few times in practice and I didn't like it," Nolan said. "In order for us to get better here, we have to practice better. He just had one of those moments I didn't like so I sent him off."

Click below to hear Nolan's complete session with the media, including his thoughts on the impact of the trade deadline.

Ted Nolan

Steve Ott: No contract talks with Sabres, wants to stay but knows situation

By John Vogl

This is Steve Ott's 11th season in the NHL. He knows that unrestricted free agents on rebuilding teams usually get a new address at the trade deadline.

The Sabres' captain is a pending unrestricted free agent. Buffalo is in last place. The deadline is March 5.

It doesn't take a "Big Bang Theory" scientist to put those facts together and decide Ott's future with the Sabres is in question.

"I told them I want to be here," Ott said today after practice in the rink at Riverside Park. "We’ll see where it all goes. I am professional enough to know the business side of things and what the situation is here as well. We’ll see how it all plays out in the next two weeks."

Ott said he has not had contract talks with the Sabres.

"I’ve been in this same situation before in my career, and it’s control what you can control," he said. "That’s going out there and playing as hard as you can. Obviously, it’s great to be wanted, and the rumor stuff continues to float around when anybody’s a UFA. I think it’s just continue to be a professional, go out there and do what you’ve done and everything takes care of itself."

Steve Ott

Canada remains golden in Olympic hockey

By John Vogl

Canada didn't need overtime to prove it was the best this time.

The Canadians rolled to another shutout in the medal round this morning and blanked Sweden, 3-0, to win a second straight gold. Canada won in 2010 with an overtime victory against the United States. The True North advanced to this year's gold-medal game by shutting out Team USA in the semifinals.

Canada goalie Carey Price was the most outstanding player of the tournament. He finished with a shutout streak of 164:19. He was 5-0 with an 0.59 goals-against average and .972 save percentage.

Sweden played without center Niklas Backstrom, who was disqualified after testing positive for a banned substance commonly found in allergy medication.

Latvian hockey player tests positive for stimulant, disqualified from Olympics

By John Vogl

A hockey player from Latvia, the Ted Nolan-coached country that is one of the feel-good stories of the men's Olympic tournament, has been disqualified by the International Olympic Committee after he tested positive for a banned stimulant.

The Latvian Olympic Committee was not aware that Vitalijs Pavlovs was taking the supplement, according to the report issued today by the IOC.

Pavlovs, who plays for Dynamo Riga in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, said his team doctor recommended the supplement. It contains the banned subtance methylhexaneamine, which is reportedly found in many over-the-counter training aids.

As a result of the positive test, Pavlovs has been disqualified from Latvia's 2-1 quarterfinal loss to Canada and will have to return his diploma given for the team's eighth-place finish. Pavlovs skated 16:56 in the game against Canada and had two shots. He had one assist and a plus-1 rating in five games for Latvia while skating 13:55 per game.

Miller will be first goalie back to Buffalo, so he'll start for Sabres on Tuesday

By John Vogl

The United States' Olympic tournament ended with a thud today as Finland routed the Americans, 5-0, in the bronze-medal game. The U.S. team will be on its way back to North America soon, which means Ryan Miller gets Buffalo's first game after the Sochi break.

The Sabres start a run of three games in four nights Tuesday, and Miller will get the nod against Carolina. Backup Jhonas Enroth will represent Sweden in the gold-medal game Sunday, so Miller will have more time to get adjusted for the NHL.

"Yeah, now that he’s going to be the first one home," coach Ted Nolan said after practice today. "That time zone is tough. He’ll have a little bit more time to adjust than Jhonas."

The Sabres skated for about an hour in First Niagara Center, their second session following a two-week break.

"We worked the guys pretty good here today, and they feel better today," Nolan said. "We’ve got a couple more days to go."

Sabres bring in goalies from Canisius, Morrisville to fill in for Miller, Enroth

By John Vogl

Goaltenders Ryan Miller (United States) and Jhonas Enroth (Sweden) are still in Sochi for the medal round, so the Sabres needed netminders when they returned to practice today. They borrowed Canisius College sophomore Adam Harris and Morrisville senior Chris Azzano.

“My coach called me two nights ago,” Harris said in First Niagara Center. “He asked if I wanted to do it, and obviously I jumped at the opportunity. It helps me a lot in hockey. I’m facing these shooters, obviously the best in the world, and then I go back to college and I should hopefully get an edge on the shooters at that level.”

The fill-ins will practice with the Sabres through the weekend.

“As soon as the other guys get back then I’m back to the real world,” Harris said.

The real word awaits Miller and Enroth, too. They may not get back from Russia until Monday night, and the Sabres host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

“One of them is going to have to play for sure,” Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said. “We’ll see which one had the best sleep on the plane coming home. Whichever one, he’ll play.”

Sabres and Nolan back to work; Moulson, Myers healthy again

By John Vogl

The Olympic break is over for most of the Buffalo Sabres, including coach Ted Nolan. The team practiced today in First Niagara Center, its first time on the ice since Feb. 6.

Nolan led the team despite coaching Latvia in Russia on Wednesday.

"We’ll rest in the summertime," he said.

Rookie Zemgus Girgensons, who played for Latvia, was in the arena but will get a few days to recuperate.

"He deserves a couple days’ rest," Nolan said. "No bang-up, just probably fatigue and time-zone difference. ... He’s a young kid, so we’ll probably give him two, three days off."

The Olympic break gave the Sabres time to get healthy. Matt Moulson, Tyler Myers and Cody McCormick should all be ready to play Tuesday when the Hurricanes come to Buffalo. The return of Moulson is particularly good news because the pending unrestricted free agent is one of Buffalo's top assets heading toward the March 5 trade deadline.

"I was able to just work out and do treatment every day, get back healthy," said Moulson, who suffered his injury Jan. 30 in Phoenix. "It was just kind of like a cartilage thing, probably the same as a broken rib, and it just takes time and rest. Luckily, it came right before the break so I didn’t miss too many games."

Sabres goaltenders Ryan Miller (United States) and Jhonas Enroth (Sweden) are still at the Olympics, so Canisius College sophomore Adam Harris and former Morrisville netminder Chris Azzano manned the creases. Nolan said Miller or Enroth will start against the Hurricanes even though they both could be in Russia through Sunday's gold-medal game.

"One of them is going to have to play for sure," Nolan said. "We’ll see which one had the best sleep on the plane coming home. Whichever one, he’ll play."

To hear Nolan's chat, including his thoughts on Sochi and whether the NHL should participate in the Olympics, click the audio file below.

Season-ending injury to Tavares will impact which first-round pick Islanders give Sabres

By John Vogl

This hasn't been the Islanders' season, and things are getting worse by the minute for New York. That will have an effect on the Sabres' next two drafts.

Isles captain John Tavares will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered at the Olympics, Newsday reported today. The star center tore the medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his left knee during Canada's 2-1 victory over Latvia on Wednesday, according to the newspaper. The final diagnosis will come when Tavares returns to North America, but it won't take that long to calculate the Islanders' fortunes.

Without Tavares, they're done. New York is in 25th in the 30-team NHL and 12 points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Fellow point-producers Thomas Vanek and Andrew MacDonald, pending free agents, are expected to be moved prior to the March 5 trade deadline. The chances of New York making a run are nearly nil.

The Sabres are scheduled to have the Islanders' first-round pick in June's draft, but New York has the option of deferring until 2015. If the Isles finish with a top-five pick, the odds of them keeping the selection are good.

The Sabres are hoping to rebuild quicker than originally planned, so two top-five picks this year would be welcomed. However, superstar-in-the-making Connor McDavid headlines the 2015 draft class, so additional first-round selections next year -- and additional chances at winning the draft lottery -- could be a good thing.

The Sabres told The News today that New York doesn't have to decide which pick to give Buffalo until after the draft lottery.

Poll: Who will win Olympic semifinal showdown between USA and Canada?

By John Vogl

The U.S. men's hockey team has waited four years to get another shot at Canada in the Olympics. The chance comes Friday.

The North American powerhouses will meet at noon in the semifinals, with the winner going for gold against the victor in the Sweden-Finland semifinal. Neither team has lost, but the Americans have had an easier time proving their dominance.

So who will win? Canada, which beat Team USA for gold in 2010? Or the Americans, who are out for revenge?

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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 | jvogl@buffnews.com

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 | mharrington@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

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