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It's 7-11-14: Wishing you a Happy French Connection Day!

The French Connection statue in Alumni Plaza. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

By Mike Harrington

So with today being July 11, 2014 -- 7/11/14 -- there's no better time to remember The French Connection, the greatest line in Sabres history and one of the best the NHL has ever seen.

Click below to read about the careers of each and click here to read my story from 2012 on the unveiling of the French Connection statue in Alumni Plaza at First Niagara Center.

No. 7 -- Rick Martin

No. 11 -- Gilbert Perreault ... Perreault statistics from the Hall of Fame site

No. 14 -- Rene Robert

Sometimes it's just plain better to zip it and tell you to watch the videos. I found a couple of wild vintage ones on YouTube, plus the emotional greeting the line gave Terry Pegula on the night in 2011 he took over the team. It was the last public appearance for Martin, who died less than a month later. 

In the wake of free agency week, a look at key dates on Sabres' 2014-15 schedule

By Mike Harrington

Now that the first week of NHL free agency is in the books, some dates on the Sabres' 2014-15 schedule have taken on added meaning based on new homes for some key players.

Here's a quick rundown of them:

Brian Gionta & Josh Gorges return to Montreal -- Nov. 29 and Feb. 3

Gorges deals with the wrath of spurned Toronto fans -- Oct. 28 and March 11 at Air Canada Centre, Nov. 15 and April 1 at FNC

Ryan Miller (Vancouver) -- Jan. 30 at Rogers Arena, Feb. 26 at FNC

Christian Erhhoff (Pittsburgh) -- Nov. 1 at Consol Energy Center, Nov. 8 and April 11 at FNC

Thomas Vanek (Minnesota) -- Nov. 13 at XCel Energy Center, Jan. 15 at FNC

John Scott (San Jose) -- Oct. 25 at SAP Center, Nov. 18 at FNC

Cory Conacher (New York Islanders) -- Dec. 27 and Feb. 8 at FNC, April 4 at Nassau Coliseum

Saturday at Target Field, Vanek threw a ceremonial first pitch prior to the Minnesota Twins game against the New York Yankees. You can see that video by clicking below.

With West showdowns looming, Blues will sit Miller against Sabres

By Mike Harrington

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- St. Louis Blues goaltender Ryan Miller (yes, that looks weird) is looking forward to seeing his old teammates perhaps tonight for dinner and tomorrow during the morning skate at Scottrade Center. But he won't see them on the ice during the Sabres-Blues game tomorrow night.

Brian Elliott will be getting the start for the Blues and Miller will be the backup. The Blues have afternoon showdowns Saturday and Sunday with Colorado and Chicago, so it makes sense for Miller to stay fresh for those and take a seat against the NHL's 30th-place team. Even if it is his old mates.

"It's fine," Miller said today after his team's optional practice at the suburban St. Louis Mills Ice Zone. "There will be a lot of time to worry about that later. This year, I'm pretty fresh leaving that situation so maybe it's just a nice little break. Get 'Ells' in there. He's going to kick some pucks out. Hopefully I'll see some of the boys for dinner or around the rink or something. Catch up and see how they're doing."

Miller got a tad emotional, as you would expect, when I asked him what it will be like to seeing his the Sabres on the other side.

"It's going to be a little strange.  Definitely with a group of guys you'd played with for a number of years, it's going to be a little bit different," he said. "All great guys, all guys I count as friends. I'm looking forward to seeing them. That's the human side of it. I'm actually excited. The guys are going to be in town. A chance to see some friends."

Coach Ken Hitchcock, who's ruined a few narratives in Buffalo in his time, said the decision was all about the weekend schedule. There's a good chance Miller could go back-to-back against the Avs and Hawks.

"We talked to him and said, 'Listen, do you have to play aginst Buffalo? Does it matter?''' Hitchcock said. "He didn't care one way or the other. So it set up our schedule nicely for what we wanted to do right to the end of the season."

Continue reading "With West showdowns looming, Blues will sit Miller against Sabres" »

Postgame audio from Toronto: Miller on life with the Blues

By Mike Harrington

TORONTO -- With the media mob down the hall and focused on the collapsing Maple Leafs, I had a good chance for an in-depth interview with Ryan Miller tonight after he helped the St. Louis Blues to a 5-3 victory that allowed them to move back into first overall in the NHL standings.

Miller is just trying to fit in, he told me repeatedly during the chat. It was funny to hear, given how he was the face of the franchise in Buffalo. He doesn't have to be that here, given the array of Olympians on the Blues. 

Miller is always glib and his spirits were understandably much brighter than the last couple years in Buffalo as the losses mounted. Click below to hear the entire conversation, with Miller's thoughts on the Blues' hard style, his adjustment under coach Ken Hitchcock and his thoughts on Pat LaFontaine's departure and Ted Nolan's contract extension.

Ryan Miller

Hasek to be inducted into team Hall of Fame on March 29

By Mike Harrington

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Sabres Hall of Fame Selection Committee today announced that goaltender Dominik Hasek will be inducted as the Hall's 42nd member in a ceremony on March 29, prior to the team’s home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at First Niagara Center.

Hasek for Stephane Beauregard, a trade with Chicago on Aug. 7, 1992, remains one of the most lopsided in NHL history. When his Buffalo career ended in 2001, Hasek owned team records for most games played (491), wins (234), shutouts (55) and lowest career goals-against average (2.22).

Hasek appeared in a career-high 72 games in the 1997-98 season, setting a team record with 13 shutouts. In the 1998-99 Stanley Cup final season, Hasek had a career-best 1.87 GAA and .937 save percentage.

(An aside here: In response to many inquries, the Sabres confirmed to me this not a jersey retirement ceremony. This is Hasek's induction to the team's Hall, like we've seen with the recent likes of Dave Andreychuk and Alexander Mogilny. We all know that at some point No. 39 is going to the rafters. Another season, perhaps?)

Just a couple of hours before the Sabres' announced new goaltender Michal Neuvirth said Hasek was his idol growing up in the Czech Republic upon joining the team for a brief pregame skate here.

Hasek won Stanley Cups with Detroit in 2002 and 2008. When he retired from the NHL in 2008, he had 389 career wins and had highest career save percentage (.922), most games played by a European born goaltender (735), most career shutouts (81) and lowest career goals-against average (2.13).


Replay denies Vanek OT winner, ex-Sabre rips NHL war room

By Mike Harrington

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Here's a glaring example of video review failing.

Old friend Thomas Vanek scored the winning goal in overtime this afternoon for the Islanders against St. Louis. Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak was even headed for the dressing room. The officials on the ice called it a good goal.

But the NHL war room in Toronto inexplicably said Vanek kicked the puck in with his left skate. Here's the official explanation. I have no clue what they could have possibly been looking at. There's zero "distinct kicking motion". At the end of this video, Islanders broadcaster Howie Rose exclaims, "Are you kidding me?"

No Howie, they're not. Would have loved to have heard what else he said too. Especially when the Islanders lost in a shootout.

For his part, Vanek is likely going to get fined for a postgame comment that was 100 percent right: "I think it's a terrible call. I don't know if it's who we are. If that's Pittsburgh or a top team, that's maybe a goal. It's just a terrible call. We all know what a kicking motion is."

The war room saw something different. Here's the video:

Continue reading "Replay denies Vanek OT winner, ex-Sabre rips NHL war room" »

Olympic berths O-plenty for current and former Sabres

By Mike Harrington

There's been a slew of Olympic team announcements this morning, and the major one that has social media abuzz and our friends north of the border in a complete tizzy is the big reveal of Team Canada that comes at 11 a.m.

No Sabres are in line for a berth with Team Canada but several current and former Buffalo players have taken their spots for Sochi today.

The most recent announcement just in from Sweden is that Jhonas Enroth and Henrik Tallinder have been named to their country's team. Tallinder also played for Sweden in 2010. Enroth joins Detroit's Jonas Gustavsson in backing up Henrik Lundqvist, while Ottawa's Robin Lehner was a surprise omission. Enroth's gold-medal performance in last year's World Championships clearly helped his case.

(Enroth told me yesterday he was quite nervous about getting the call, so it has to be a big relief)

Elsewhere, three as-expected spots were made official today: Sabres rookie Zemgus Girgensons has been named to Ted Nolan's Latvian team while Thomas Vanek (Austria) and Andrej Sekera (Slovakia) were named to their clubs, where they're both expected to be key players.

Girgensons, who turned 20 yesterday, is the only current NHL player on Team Latvia. Its roster also includes 41-year-old defenseman Sandis Ozolish, a Stanley Cup winner with Colorado who has not played in the NHL since 2008.

Vanek has been red-hot of late for the Islanders, with five goals and nine assists in his last nine games. He did this conversation with that was released today. In 28 games with the Islanders since the October trade from Buffalo, Vanek has 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists).

Sekera, a stalwart on the Carolina defense with Team USA selection Justin Faulk, enters tonight's scheduled game against the Sabres second on the Hurricanes in assists (17) and third in points (24).  He already has seven goals after never scoring more than four in a season for the Sabres and his 24 points are just five off his career high.

Former Sabre forward Jiri Novotny, the team’s No. 1 draft pick in 2001, was named to the Czech team Monday.  Milan Bartovic, a second-rounder in 1999, will play for Slovakia. Both are currently playing in the KHL.

(And of course, there's Ryan Miller with Team USA that was announced last week).

Big night for Pominville, bigger night for Wild

This is the image fans see when they go to today

By Mike Harrington

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jason Pominville is having a big offensive year for the Minnesota Wild with a team-high 17 goals in 42 games. But he was bypassed for a spot on Team USA, something the ex-Sabres captain told me today he expected since he was not invited to the August orientation camp and doesn't have a lot of international experience in the program.

What he hasn't expected is the struggles of the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild have lost six straight in regulation for the first time in franchise history, scoring just 13 goals, and are buried in 10th place in the Western Conference. Owner Craig Leipold attended practice yesterday and there's plenty of chatter that coach Mike Yeo will be fired if the Sabres win tonight.

Pominville went through that, of course, in February when the Sabres fired Lindy Ruff. He said today the Wild simply has to stay with its defensive-oriented approach if its want to snap its slump and cool all the talk.

"We have to win our games 2-1, 3-1. When we cheat towards the offense, it doesn't fall into the style we want to play," Pominville said. "The St. Louis game (a 2-1 loss Tuesday) was the style. We were better defensively, better with the puck. If we bring that type of effort on a nightly basis we'll win more games."

Continue reading "Big night for Pominville, bigger night for Wild" »

South Buffalo's Kennedy carving niche on the wing with Coyotes

Tim Kennedy has finally found a comfort zone in Phoenix. (Getty Images)

By Mike Harrington

Tim Kennedy is on his eighth pro team since the Sabres bid him farewell in August, 2010, by putting him on waivers and then buying out his contract after he won a $1 million arbitration award. This isn't even his first trip back to Buffalo, as he has visited with both the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers. But it's the first time he's actually found a home.

Kennedy is playing left wing on the Coyotes' top line, along side big guns Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal. He's played at least 15 minutes in four of the last seven games, and clocked in at a season-high 19:05 in Thursday's game in Toronto.

Kennedy endured three separate trips to Portland of the AHL this year, including one out of training camp, but returned Nov. 21 and tonight's homecoming will be his 15th straight game. He has one goal and five assists but his pointless in the last 10 games. Still, he's helping to contribute to the offense as Vrbata is the team's leading scorer with 27 points and Hanzal is tied for third at 24.

"They're easy guys to play with," Kennedy said after the Coyotes' pregame skate here today. "Marty is just a big guy, strong on his stick, strong in the corners and a really good two-way centerman. Verbie is a great shooter. You get him the puck in the slot. I add some speed, some skill, some grit. I like to pass before shooting so I'm looking for the two of them. We've been working well down low."

Kennedy finished last year with San Jose and signed with Phoenix when he figured the loaded Sharks roster was not his best bet to make the NHL as a regular for the first time since he played 76 games as a rookie with the Sabres in 2009-10.

Still, he struggled in training camp and started the season in the AHL.  He's on a two-way contract that pays $700,000 in the NHL but just $150,000 in the AHL.

"I didn't have the greatest camp in the world by any means," he said. "So I went to Portland, kept working hard and got called up three times. It seems I"ve stuck this team and I have to keep working because I'm happy to be here."

Alumni Items: Mair joining Adams at HarborCenter, Connolly may be at end of the road and more

By Mike Harrington

Some items from the world of Sabres alumni:

1. Former Sabres forward Adam Mair (2002-2010) has been named a key coach for the Academy of Hockey, the training and teaching center that will be a key component for HarborCenter. Mair, who has spent the last two years as the director of player development at Canisius College, will work under HarborCenter VP and Director of Hockey Kevyn Adams, the Clarence native and former Sabres assistant coach who won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006.

2. Wither Tim Connolly? Here's quite a read from the Syracuse Post-Standard on the Baldwinsville native and enigmatic ex-Sabres forward. He's either on career hiatus or is flat-out done after playing the tail end of last year for the AHL's Toronto Marlies. The story points out Connolly has made $27 million in his career and is apparently holed up in his home on Skaneateles Lake. He hung up on Syracuse reporter Lindsay Kramer when the veteran AHL writer called for an interview.

3. Several of us media types ran into former Sabres goalie Patrick Lalime as he was visiting First Niagara Center a couple days ago. Lalime, who does some French television work for RDS in Canada, told me he will be heading to the Olympics in Sochi to help with hockey analysis for the network.

4. Be sure to double back on this post from John Vogl yesterday for the full list of alums playing in the Rochester Amerks outdoor game Sunday at 5 in Frontier Field as part of the city's "Frozen Frontier" week. 

5. And for your viewing pleasure, old friend Dmitri Kalinin got completely faked out of his you-know-what by this goal in a recent KHL game. Kalinin is No. 7 in white and misses both the puck and hip check. Whoops. Can only imagine what Lindy Ruff might have said to him. Here's the goal:

Dudley simply having too much fun in Montreal to leave for Sabres' GM post

By Mike Harrington

Rick Dudley is having too much fun with the Montreal Canadiens.

You can go through the all the complicated scenarios you want, but that's the bottom line to why the former Sabres player and coach has opted to stay as the assistant general manager with the Habs and not become a candidate for Buffalo's open GM job.

The Sabres asked for permission to talk to Dudley earlier this week, Dudley told reporters tonight in a meeting in the First Niagara Center press box. Montreal GM Marc Bergevin told Dudley he would give the permission, but wanted a chance to talk to Dudley as well. As it turned out, Dudley never talked to the Sabres. TSN reported the Habs gave him a lucrative contract extension, although Dudley wouldn't comment on those details other than to admit he got years added on to his deal.

"I went to Montreal because of Marc Bergevin," Dudley said. "I enjoy the people I work with. it's fun. It's a great gig. if you enjoy something a great deal, why change if you don't have to?

"I'm having a ball in Montreal and I want to stay there. It's been fun from day one. We've got a wonderful group of players, coaches, the entire staff. It was a situation I didn't think I could walk away from."

Continue reading "Dudley simply having too much fun in Montreal to leave for Sabres' GM post" »

Briere on wearing Habs crest: 'It's pretty cool'

Daniel Briere is back in town tonight. (Getty Images)

By Mike Harrington

Daniel Briere has played in Buffalo many times since departing in 2007 but all of those games came while he was with the Philadelphia Flyers. Tonight is a little different for the former Sabres captain as he makes his first trip here with his beloved hometown team, the Montreal Canadiens.

Standing in the Habs dressing room early this afternoon after their pregame skate, Briere was wearing a blue Montreal T-shirt with the classic white C-H Montreal logo and I asked him what it meant to be wearing that logo after playing 16 years in the NHL with three other teams.

"It's pretty cool," Briere said with a wide smile. "I grew up cheering for the Montreal Canadiens so it's special for me personally to wear that uniform, go in and play games and have friends around in the Montreal area. I'm just trying to enjoy every single moment of it."

Briere has four goals and three assists in 14 games for the Habs this season and is playing left wing on the top line with Tomas Plekanac and Rochester-area native Brian Gionta. Briere missed 10 games with a concussion suffered Oct. 19 against Nashville -- his third in the last three years -- but has been back for the last six games.

"He's a good veteran," Habs coach Michel Therrien said today. "We all understand he had great seasons here with the Sabres and I'm sure it's going to be a special night for him to play for the Montreal Canadiens against the Sabres in a place where he had a lot of success."

News columnist Bucky Gleason spoke exclusively to Briere earlier today and they discussed concussions, the Sabres' coach/GM changes and more. Be sure to read Gleason's column in the Thanksgiving Day editions of The News.


Three teams later, Roy shuffles back to Buffalo with Blues

Derek Roy hopes his career finds a new high note in St. Louis.

By Mike Harrington

It's been more than 15 months since the Sabres traded Derek Roy, after he spent the first eight years of his NHL career with them. He returns tonight for the first time -- and, amazingly enough, Buffalo is three teams ago for the 30-year-old.

Roy signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the St. Louis Blues over the summer and will center the Blues' third line, between veteran Brenden Morrow and journeyman Adam Cracknell against the Sabres tonight in First Niagara Center. The Sabres traded Roy to Dallas for Steve Ott and Adam Pardy, and the Stars then sent Roy to Vancouver at the trade deadline in April.

Speaking to reporters today after the Blues' pregame skate, Roy said it took a while for him to overcome the disappointment of leaving Buffalo. In a meeting in June, 2012, Roy said he told former Sabres general manager Darcy Regier (doesn't that sound weird?) he wanted to stay. 

"I had some unfinished business here, winning a Stanley Cup or at least making a good playoff run," Roy said. "I thought we had a great team but then a couple weeks later I got traded. It was tough. I wanted to stay here. I had a lot of good friends on the team and around the city. It was a great place to play and a great place to live.

Continue reading "Three teams later, Roy shuffles back to Buffalo with Blues" »

Regehr on Sabres' rebuilding process: 'There's going to be lumps and they're going to be big'

Robyn Regehr has two assists and a plus-3 rating in 17 games for the Kings this season (Getty Images).

By Mike Harrington

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr is back in First Niagara Center today for the first time since the Sabres traded him West on April 1 for second-round picks in 2014 and 2015. Regehr, remember, was personally recruited by Terry and Kim Pegula and Lindy Ruff during draft weekend in 2011 at his summer home in Saskatchewan and agreed to a trade from his longtime home in Calgary.

The Sabres were talking Stanley Cup at the time and thought a veteran like Regehr was another piece. Obviously it didn't turn out that way. They missed the playoffs in 2011-12 -- with Regehr's turnover in the penultimate game in Philadelphia leading to the Matt Read goal that knocked Buffalo from contention. As last season approached the deadline, Jason Pominville, Jordan Leopold and Regehr were all dealt and the Sabres are essentially starting from scratch, with a 3-15-1 record heading into tonight's game.

"They've gotten rid of most of the older players and really decided to go young and try to get as many young guys in there and give them a chance," Regehr said. "It doesn't surprise me. With that type of rebuilding process, there's going to be lumps and they're going to be big."

Regehr, who got to Game Seven of the Stanley Cup final with Calgary in 2004, said the 2011-12 season here rates as one of his big disappointments. The Sabres barely needed a plane to fly to the season-opening games in Europe because they were so high with Cup thoughts. They won both but the season soon got away from them and they didn't even qualify for the playoffs.

Continue reading "Regehr on Sabres' rebuilding process: 'There's going to be lumps and they're going to be big'" »

A chatterbox to the end, Biron calls it a career on Twitter

By Mike Harrington

Martin Biron's career started as a baby-faced 18-year-old with the Sabres on Dec. 26, 1995. It ended today with a simple two-sentence tweet announcing his retirement. Biron had been placed on waivers by the New York Rangers and returned to his Clarence home to ponder his next career move, which almost certainly has to include broadcasting in either French or English (or both).

The guy is as locquacious and funny as they come, and I haven't had anywhere near the dealings with him as some of my colleagues because I didn't come on the Sabres beat until 2007. But ask any of them who their favorite all-time Sabres are and Biron comes near the top of the list all the time.

Wish I could find the clip of him being a chatterbox on the bench during the '06 playoffs. It was classic stuff where he taunted Carolina's Eric Staal for tripping over the blue line.

(UPDATE: Through the magic of Twitter, h/t to @Topshelfcookies for finding the Biron-Staal clip):

Here's a recent MSG session from Rangers practice.

Biron took over the Sabres' net from Dominik Hasek fulltime in the 2001-02 season and held the job until Ryan Miller took over during the memorable 2005-06 campaign. With Miller entrenched, Biron was traded to Philadelphia at the deadline in 2007 and even led the Flyers to an Eastern Conference final. He then spent a year with the Islanders and his final three as Henrik Lundqvist's backup in New York.

Biron struggled mightily this season, allowing three goals on five shots last Saturday in St. Louis in his final appearance after getting nailed for five in a relief role Oct. 8 at San Jose (including Thomas Hertl's between-the-legs special). He had a 7.61 goals-against average and .763 save percentage and new coach Alain Vigneault didn't think he could back up any longer. Biron opted to call it quits rather than go to the AHL. Can't blame him for that.

Biron was a heck of a goalie but we'll certainly remember him here almost as much for the infamous 2007 brawl with Ottawa when he fought Ray Emery. We always love an excuse to play this one.

Sights and sounds: Pominville caps big night with game-winner

By Mike Harrington

It was a big night for former Sabres captain Jason Pominville in the Minnesota Wild's 2-1 win here Monday night. A long press conference following the morning skate, the game-winning goal late in the second period on a power play and another meeting with the media in the postgame locker room.

Here's video of the goal. Great passing by the Wild.

And here's his interview on the NHL Network.

And click here to listen to Pominville's postgame session with reporters.

Jason Pominville

Wild's Pominville: 'It's good to be back, a lot of great memories' (w/audio)

PommerBy Mike Harrington

Jason Pominville is back in First Niagara Center wearing his familiar No. 29 but it's going to be weird seeing him with that funky Minnesota Wild logo on his chest. The former Buffalo captain was the mayor today, shaking hands all around the building in his return and then holding his own press conference (right) in the Sabres' media room after his team's pregame skate.

"It was weird coming in through the same door you usually go in, and having to go left instead of go right to go to the locker room was a little different," Pominville said. "It's good to be back, a lot of great memories, a lot of good times. Just excited to get the game going.

"I don't hold anything against the organization or anything like that. I'm just happy to be where I'm at now and looking forward to get this game played."

Wild coach Mike Yeo said it's a good bet Pominville is in the starting lineup tonight. Pominville didn't know that but there's no question he's anxious to get this reunion game going. He said it's one of the first ones he circled on his calendar. The reception should be a good one, unlike what greeted former Sabres like Daniel Briere or Brian Campbell and what Wild defenseman Ryan Suter got last week in Nashville. He was roundly booed for bolting to Minnesota on an infamous $98 million deal.

"I don't know how that will be. Hopefully it will be better than what Suter got in Nashville," Pominville said. "I've seen both sides of it. Hopefully I'll be on the good side. I didn't do anything wrong really. I think it should be good. Happy to be back and have a chance to really see the guys."

Continue reading "Wild's Pominville: 'It's good to be back, a lot of great memories' (w/audio)" »

NHL makes Clarkson's 10-game suspension official, hands five-game ban to ex-Sabre Kassian

By Mike Harrington

Some quick news Monday night from the NHL Department of Player Safety:

---David Clarkson of the Leafs has officially been handed a 10-game suspension for (foolishly) leaving the bench to join Sunday night's Sabres-Leafs scrum. That costs him more than $269,000 and keeps him out of the lineup until Toronto's 11th game, which is Oct. 25 against Columbus.

---There is no word on any penalty yet to Leafs winger Phil Kessel for his stick chops at John Scott. That one is going to require a hearing in the next day or two but Kessel did get a match penalty so should get at least one game.

---Vancouver winger Zack Kassian, the former Sabres No. 1 draft pick, has earned a five-game suspension and will also miss the final three preseason games for the reckless use of his stick. Kassian broke the jaw of Edmonton's Sam Gagner Saturday night in Rexall Place. Here's Brendan Shanahan's video explanation:

Roy finding the range in Big D

Click above for Roy's goal in the first period Sunday against St. Louis (


By Mike Harrington

When the Dallas Stars decided Derek Roy needed shoulder surgery in July, it raised plenty of eyebrows in Buffalo. Exactly how hurt had Roy been playing the last two years? Mostly however, it was a roll of the dice by Dallas doctors. Roy could have kept playing but with a lockout looming, the thought was to get the shoulder fixed and make him 100 percent. 

Good call. As it turned out, Roy missed no games from the shoulder. He's had some groin problems last month but now seems to be over them and is playing his best hockey of the season.

Roy had a goal and two assists in Sunday's 4-1 win over St. Louis. He has three goals and 11 assists for the season but has five points in his last three games. His 14 points are one off the team lead shared by Jaromir Jagr and Loui Eriksson.

Continue reading "Roy finding the range in Big D" »

Around the rink: New buyouts, Girgensons, Giroux

By Mike Harrington

Some items from the late afternoon:

---The NHL and NHLPA have made a quick side agreement to allow a team to have a compliance buyout right now, rather than in June. The impetus for the deal was Montreal telling Scott Gomez to stay home and make his $7.3 million rather than risk injury now, which would prevent a buyout come June. Same with Wade Redden, due $6.5 million from the Rangers.

Gomez and Redden of the Rangers will be bought out now, although the teams won't save on their cap until next season.  But it allows them to play this year. A team can use one of its two buyouts between now and Sunday -- although it will still keep the cap hit even if the player signs with another team. 

I wouldn't expect any other buyouts. More of a courtesy to two players really stuck. (So you can stop the Sabres' Ville Leino chatter -- he was on the top power-play unit at today's practice)

---The American Hockey League has announced that Syracuse winger Richard Panik has been given a three-game suspension for his hit Saturday night on Rochester's Zemgus Girgensons, the Sabres' second No. 1 pick last June. 

---The Flyers will name Claude Giroux their captain Thursday at an open practice in Wells Fargo Center. They have been without a captain since Chris Pronger went down in November, 2011. Pronger's career is apparently over due to concussions.

Giroux is expected to come to town here Sunday without Danny Briere, who is doing better from his hairline wrist fracture but is still expected to miss the weekend. The Flyers open Saturday against Pittsburgh before coming to Buffalo.

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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 |