October 17, 2013 - 12:06 PM
By John Vogl
Cody Hodgson is not completely healthy. He's missed several practices, and the Sabres center skipped today's morning skate.
Still, he'll be in the lineup tonight when Buffalo hosts his former team, the Vancouver Canucks.
"He’s fine. He’ll be playing," said Sabres coach Ron Rolston, who conceded his top center is not 100 percent. "He is actually real close. I think we’re probably in the last week of it right now. He’s playing through some things, but he’ll be in the lineup."
A bigger eye should be kept on the Sabres' newest center, Marcus Foligno. He moved last game from left wing to the middle, and tonight he could be lined up against Canucks superstar center Henrik Sedin.
"We have faith that Marcus can handle those situations, and again it offers us a big centerman that can handle some of the bigger guys in the league, whether it’s the Sedins or [John] Tavares the other night, or you’ve got big guys like [Eric] Staal where you need that big body in there, big centerman. But we have confidence in him."
The Sabres' lineup will be:
Thomas Vanek-Hodgson-Steve Ott
Tyler Ennis-Foligno-Drew Stafford
Kevin Porter-Johan Larsson-Brian Flynn
John Scott-Mikhail Grigorenko-Cody McCormick
Henrik Tallinder-Tyler Myers
Christian Ehrhoff-Mark Pysyk
Mike Weber-Rasmus Ristolainen
Ryan Miller will start in goal. Jamie McBain will be scratched on defense, while Zemgus Girgensons will sit after taking a slap shot above his left eye last game.
"It’s actually gotten better," said Rolston, who added the forward could play Saturday against Colorado. "He’s got a little slit there that he can see out of, but he won’t be in there tonight. It’s come a long way over a short period of time."
October 7, 2013 - 12:41 PM
By John Vogl
The Sabres had officially concluded practice when Ryan Miller skated onto the ice. After stretching and testing his sore groin, the goaltender took shots from the stragglers who remained in First Niagara Center.
The session went better than Miller anticipated, but he's still not sure if he'll be ready to start Tuesday when the Sabres host Tampa Bay. Miller, who didn't dress for Saturday's loss in Pittsburgh, will talk today with athletic trainer Tim Macre before making a decision.
"I was a little tight after the last game, and I just wanted to be cautious early in the season," Miller told The News. "So far, so good. I felt better than I kind of anticipated, so I’ll see if I can make myself available. But no practice today, and after a couple days off I’m not sure what the right course of action will be.
"I just want to make sure it’s not going to be something that’s going to turn into weeks. I thought it’d be a day or two, and it took about a day longer. It’s just not something you want to creep into your body, your game, your mind-set. Get it out, get it done. You don’t want groin stuff to pop up."
Cody Hodgson also sat out today. Coach Ron Rolston said the center is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, but Rolston expects Hodgson to be in the lineup Tuesday.
Marcus Foligno will return after missing the opening three games with a shoulder injury. To hear from Foligno and Rolston, click the audio files below.
September 12, 2013 - 12:38 PM
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."
September 12, 2013 - 11:19 AM
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.”
September 11, 2013 - 6:51 PM
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 Sportsnet.ca 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.
September 11, 2013 - 12:03 PM
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.
September 5, 2013 - 2:07 PM
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 CapGeek.com. 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.
March 31, 2013 - 11:15 PM
By John Vogl
Cody Hodgson has been at the front of the Sabres' centers all season -- until tonight's 2-0 loss to Boston. Coach Ron Rolston sent him to the fourth line between wingers Patrick Kaleta and John Scott.
Hear both discuss the move by clicking the audio files below.
March 19, 2013 - 1:54 PM
By Mike Harrington
MONTREAL -- Thomas Vanek has two goals in the last 11 games, while Jason Pominville has two in his last 12 (and none in the last seven), so interim coach Ron Rolston is breaking up his top line for tonight's game in the Bell Centre.
Vanek will skate with Tyler Ennis and Ville Leino, while Steve Ott moves to the No. 1 unit with Pominville and Cody Hodgson. The line of Marcus Foligno-Kevin Porter-Brian Flynn stays intact while the fourth line will be Drew Stafford-Patrick Kaleta-Jochen Hecht.
"We're not winning as much as we want so obviously we're going to change things up but it doesn't matter," Vanek said. "Whoever you play with you try to make the best out of it. I've always said it doesn't matter who you play with, how much. You're a professional and you move on and deal with it.
February 17, 2013 - 4:07 PM
By John Vogl
While disappointment over the Sabres' 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh today was evident throughout the dressing room, there were wildly different views of the game.
Steve Ott, for example, was impressed with how the Sabres rallied from a 2-0 deficit and had a lead in the third period. Ryan Miller, in a profanity-filled chat, was furious the team blew that lead and got no points.
January 31, 2013 - 11:45 PM
By Mike Harrington
BOSTON -- So much happened in the Sabres' 7-4 win over the Bruins that it's hard to process in the hour or two immediately after it. My sense, however, is this has the potential to be a huge turnaround game. Quick hits:
---The Sabres need to get some scoring out of more than one line but Thomas Vanek is so hot right now, it doesn't matter. He's got 15 points in just six games this season -- and 54 points (28-26) in just 46 career games against Boston. And his passing has never been better.
"He's been awesome," said coach Lindy Ruff. "That play to Tyler Ennis [to score Buffalo's third goal] was second to none. Outmuscled a guy in front of the net and really a diving type pass that helped us get back in the game."
"The puck is going in," Vanek said. "I've always been a good passer in my mind. People are focusing on it more right now because the puck is going in."
January 31, 2013 - 3:00 PM
By Mike Harrington
BOSTON -- The Sabres have to be quicker on the draw. That's become plainly obvious this season. But it could really be a major issue tonight.
Buffalo enters the game last in the NHL in faceoff percentage at 42 percent -- and the Boston Bruins are No. 1 at 60.7 percent. There's been plenty of chatter on Twitter in recent days over how significant the Sabres' troubles in the circle really are. I say it's one key problem to the season (although I would list lack of secondary scoring and poor play along the blueline as bigger trouble spots).
(*I acknowledge a decent argument can be made that six games is a small sample size, although I remind you it's already 12.5 percent of the season. And it also can be pointed out that the numbers might even out a little bit as well because 42 percent is historically bad; the last-place team in the league has never been under 44 percent since 1998.).
Let's start by comparing the two teams' numbers. The NHL lists faceoffs in wins-losses format so a team or player that's, say, 20-25 has won 20 and lost 25 and is NOT 20 OUT OF 25 (Going 20-25 essentially means 20 of 45).
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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.
About Sabres Edge
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.
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.
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