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Hasek happy to get return trip to Buffalo

Dominik Hasek just completed a session with the media prior to appearing on the Sabres' new MSG pregame show and dropping the puck for a ceremonial faceoff.

Hasek, now 46, said he was happy with his season for Moscow Spartak in the KHL and said he will in fact try to play one more year in Russia. There was no real earth-shattering news from the interview, other than the media hearing that rapid-fire, often-imitated voice.

Hasek was in good spirits talking about driving again on the 33 yesterday, his first meeting with Terry Pegula earlier tonight, about Ryan Miller, and about getting named the No. 1 Sabre of all-time in our poll of the franchise's all-time players in October. Hear the audio of the session below.

Dominik Hasek

---Mike Harrington

Ruff on goalies: 'I'd like to see Ryan carry the ball'

When the Sabres hit the ice tonight against Atlanta in HSBC Arena, it will mark the end of their three-day breaks for the regular season. No more than two days off the rest of the way for the final 12 games. Tonight, in fact, starts the first of five remaining sets of back-to-back games. That's 10 of the last 12. Yikes.

So with a back-to-back tonight and tomorrow here against Nashville, followed by Tuesday's game in Montreal, are we looking at another Jhonas Enroth start? Not necessarily. When I asked Lindy Ruff about that after today's optional skate in the arena, he seemed to indicate it's no gimme Enroth plays tomorrow.

"It will be based on what the workload looks like for Ryan," Ruff said. "I'd like to see Ryan carry the ball. I think he's capable after having three days off of carrying the ball but that isn't etched in stone. We'll take a look at the workload and where he's at."

The Sabres need every point and Enroth was a little shaky in Sunday's win over Ottawa after having a week off. Maybe Miller plays the next three and Enroth goes in one of next week's back-to-backs here next week against Florida or New Jersey. It bears watching. 

There don't appear to be any lineup changes in the offing for the Sabres or Thrashers tonight. Miller (29-21-7, 2.67, .914) and Ondrej Pavelec (20-19-9, 2.68, 9.16) will be in goal in a matchup of pretty similar numbers other than the W-L records. Chris Butler looks to be the defense scratch for Buffalo.

Some key reminders: The new MSG pregame show starts tonight at 6:30 and Dominik Hasek will be a guest. No. 39, in town with Willie O'Ree for his Hasek's Heroes program, will then be part of a ceremonial pregame faceoff. Bet that brings the house down.

Also, a guest anthem singer just for tonight: Sarah Darling, who works under the Black River Entertainment label started by Terry and Kim Pegula in Nashville.

---Mike Harrington

Remembering Rico

Have to give it up to the Sabres for the way they handled the immediate aftermath of Rick Martin's sudden death and the way they're continuing to remember the great left winger of the French Connection.

Today was team picture day, with the players donning their 40th anniversary blue jerseys for the official time capsule group shot. It was the first time, of course, new owner Terry Pegula was in the front row in the owner's chair and Pegula added a nice touch to the shot by holding a while No. 7 Martin jersey facing the camera.

In addition, the Sabres have painted a blue No. 7 outlined in gold in honor of Martin on the ice behind both nets for the remainder of the season. Next Thursday's memorial service in the arena figures to be a stirring tribute as well.

---Mike Harrington

Vote for your three stars

Live from the Arena: Sabres vs. Flyers

Greetings from HSBC Arena as the world is back to normal now that the Worlds have left Buffalo. The Sabres' anniversary logo is back at center ice, the normal board ads adorn the rink, the semicircle goal crease is gone, the competing nations' flags are down from the rafters, the obnoxious Canadian fans are back across the Peace Bridge and -- perhaps most important -- the Russians are back in Moscow. Whew. 

It's the Sabres and Eastern Conference-leading Flyers tonight and faceoff is in the 7:40 range thanks to Versus, which obviously doesn't give a hoot about deadlines of your friendly blogger/ink-stained wretch. 

First bit of news (no, not about Terry Pegula): Nathan Gerbe is in the lineup tonight. Looks like the scratches are Luke Adam, Chris Butler and the injured Patrick Kaleta as the Sabres continue to go with seven defensemen. Frankly, I wouldn't play one-goal-in-24-games Gerbe over Adam but they know best, right? Yeesh.

Rick Jeanneret is back tonight with Harry Neale but they will be radio only as Versus tells stories and ignores the play calls the game. Keep it here for the latest.

Sabres starters: Ennis-Hecht-Stafford-Myers-Sekera. Goal: Miller.
Flyers starters: Hartnell-Briere-Leino-Coburn-Timonen. Goal: Bobrovsky

---Mike Harrington

Third Period

9:26 p.m.: Game on.

18:40 left: Sabres do nothing on the power play and the time expires.

17:43 left: The Flyers go ahead as Ville Leino pots Briere's rebound after Myers loses the puck at center ice. Might be a kick with the left skate. Under review. Goal stands. Looked like Leino moved his right skate and the puck hit the left. Flyers lead, 3-2. Third point for Briere.

16:37 left: Flyers buzzing. Have a 5-1 edge in shots. Wonder if Ruff is pondering his timeout right now.

9:30 left: Print editions calling but we seem to have that under control now. It's still 3-2. Shots are 11-6 Philly in this period.

8:39 left: Good rush by Ennis but Bobrovsky with the save on Buffalo's 36th shot. Flyers have 27.

8:24 left: Good night. Terrible giveaway at the Flyers' line by Sekera and Mike Richards goes all the way in alone. Burns Miller on the backhand. Flyers lead, 4-2.

Flyers win 5-2 -- empty netter by Hartnell with 1:55 left.

Second Period

8:31 p.m. The puck is dropped.

15:21 left: Good start for the Sabres as they have the only three shots. Sekera did a good job lugging the puck on one rush coast to coast but Connolly blew that opportunity. 

14:32 left: Leopold for hooking and it's a good thing. Van Riemsdyk had a wide-open net on a rebound but Leopold hooked him down.

13:13 left: Miller's best save, a sprawling dive on a Jeff Carter rebound. That had to hurt the groin a little, just for the record.

12:30 left: Miller helps Buffalo survive that one. Flyers' power play has been dominant in its two chances so far.

9:50 left: Shots are 20-13 for Buffalo and here comes the Kisscam. Told ya. Boo. Out of town, the Bruins are crushing the Senators, 5-0, in Boston. When is the end coming in Ottawa for GM Bryan Murray and coach Cory Clouston? It has to be near.

8:46 left: How many shots is McCormick getting in this game? He just cut in front from the left boards and forced Bobrovsky to make another save. That's eight shots on goal for No. 8. 

8:10 left: The Gaustad line is driving the Flyers crazy. And after-the-whistle stuff has the Sabres on the power play as Andrej Meszaros takes a silly roughing penalty going after Gaustad.

6:01 left: Decent possession in the zone, not too many chances as the penalty expires. Shots are 10-3 for the Sabres in this period.

5:37 left: Good slugfest after the whistle between Gaustad and Hartnell, who clearly went looking for him. They'll get five apiece.

3:56 left: Some 4-on-4 hockey as Timonen goes for grabbing Ennis in front of the net but Ennis got unsportsmanlike conduct for diving. Hmmm.

2:10 left: Miller robs Matt Carle in the slot after Carter manhandles Weber behind the net to get the puck out front.

1:49 left: The famous Briere windmill after the ex-Sabres captain gets his 22nd to tie the game at 2-2. A bad break as McCormick's back pass at center ice went by Montador and sent the Flyers away as Timonen jumped the puck coming out of the penalty box and Briere took his rebound. Shots are 14-6 in the period for Buffalo and 28-16 in the game but it's game tied 2-2.

46.4 left: Coburn for holding.

End-2nd: It's 2-2. Shots were 15-6 for Buffalo and are 29-16 through two periods.

First Period

7:40 p.m: The puck is dropped (thanks for nothing, Versus). Both teams in their retros. Flyers have the white with orange that brings back 70s nightmares and has me looking for the ghosts of Orest Kindrachuk, Don Saleski, Bob Kelly and Dave Schultz. This is, by the way, the 35th anniversary of their win over the Red Army -- the game the Russians temporarily walked off the ice to protest the Bullies' rough play.

15:00 left: The Sabres take the lead on a rebound goal by Gaustad. Myers let go a drive from the point, McCormick was stopped on the backhand on a rebound and Gaustad finally pounded it home. Sabres lead, 1-0. A minute earlier, Bobrovsky had robbed Ennis on a 3-on-1 break.

13:30 left: Sabres skating well in this one. Shots are 8-3 in their favor. Miller made a good save early on Mike Richards from in tight and the Flyers have done nothing else.

12:30 left: Forget what I said about Gerbe. He's been a terror down low so far. Gerbe-Gaustad-McCormick all over the Flyers again with three more shots. 

10:01 left: Gerbe has been a monster so far in wildly fast-moving period. Outworked the Flyers for the puck again and fired one wide from the slot but McCormick takes it off the backboards and banks it in off the back of Bobrovsky's right leg. Sabres lead, 2-0. Shots are 12-3.

7:34 left: Weber for interference as the Flyers are starting to get their legs and give the Sabres trouble in their own end since the second goal. The lines have been Ennis-Hecht-Stafford, Vanek-Connolly-Pominville, Gerbe-Gaustad-McCormick.  Niedermayer and Grier floating with a double-shifting forward. Defense pairs are Myers-Sekera, Leopold-Montador, Morrisonn-Weber.

7:19 left: That didn't take long. Richards absolutely wipes out Hecht in the corner and Timonen's shot from the point is tipped home by Hartnell. Sabres lead, 2-1.

6:32 left: Finally a TV timeout. We've played 13 1/2 minutes in 21 minutes of real time. Lightning quick. There are no Terry Pegula sightings. He's not in the owner's box folks, so stop asking. He doesn't own the team. Yet. There are some folks in there but they could be contest winners or whoever. No one of note involved with running this operation.

2:31 left: A classic moment on the HD board? Very nice to see Mogilny's 76th vs. the Flyers in 1993. We've only waited a half season to get stuff like that in the 40th anniversary year instead of those ridiculous blooper reels. Applause from this end. About time. But I know the kisscam is looming.

1:27 left: Bobrovsky gets a piece of McCormick's laser from the slot, Buffalo's first shot in nearly nine minutes (the Flyers had six straight). Leopold then stopped from the point.

End-1st: Sabres lead, 2-1. Shots are 14-10.


The look of the lines minus Roy

CALGARY -- It's still the morning skate out here and the Sabres have just taken the ice at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Minus Derek Roy, it looks like these are the lines that will face the Flames tonight at 9:


Tim Connolly is on the ice skating with a full face shield and taking turns on the McCormick line. We'll wait for official confirmation after practice but GM Darcy Regier told me yesterday he didn't think Connolly would play on this trip.

Had a long chat following Flames practice with former Sabre Ales Kotalik, on the road back from knee surgery after suffering a double ligament tear in training camp. Kotalik has no points in nine games thus far as the Flames are mired in 14th place in the West with many of the same offensive troubles the Sabres have. Kotalik was sad to hear the news about Roy's injury.

"I feel for Roysie," he said. "He was having a great year, was becoming a leader for them. It's a big, big loss. He was an important player when I was there and has really become even more of an important guy for them."

---Mike Harrington

Kennedy's bizarre saga continues

Whatever the Rangers are doing by waiving Tim Kennedy, it just adds to the surreal summer and fall the South Buffalo native has experienced. Larry Brooks of the New York Post has this look at some of the reasons the Blueshirts might have had to put Kennedy on waivers Monday. We'll be waiting today to find out if Kennedy gets claimed, although it would seem like a team like the Islanders or Edmonton would have a need for another forward and would be possibilities.

---Mike Harrington

Bulletin: Rangers put Kennedy on waivers

This just in from New York: According to TSN, the Rangers have put South Buffalo native Tim Kennedy on waivers. You would assume they're hoping he clears so they can send him to Hartford of the AHL. Kennedy had no goals and two assists in four preseason game.

I renew my point from the summer: Kennedy should have taken the Sabres' deal and shut his mouth, rather than going to arbitration. His agent did him no help on this one.

1:30 update: This New York Daily News blog says the Rangers do NOT intend to send Kennedy to Hartford. Hmmm. Stay tuned.

---Mike Harrington

Bulletin: Rangers' Drury out four weeks, will miss Sabres' home opener

You won't have Chris Drury to boo at the Sabres home opener Oct. 9. The Rangers center and ex-Buffalo captain broke his left index finger today blocking a shot in a training camp scrimmage and will be out four weeks. 

---Mike Harrington

Ice chips: The Whale is back

Fans of the old Hartford Whalers will be happy today as the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack will be announcing a new name -- the Connecticut Whale -- at a press conference this afternoon. The Whale is the Rangers' top farm team and the name/logo change will go into effect in February for an outdoor game at the University of Connecticut's football stadium.

Cue up "Brass Bonanza," that goofy song the Whalers took the ice to before each period. 

Old friend Henrik Tallinder is getting into the swing of Devils camp and has plenty of good things to say about the Sabres and former defense partner Tyler Myers  in this Newark Star-Ledger story.

Also in Devils camp, Ilya Kovalchuk is taking turns at right wing with Zach Parise and Travis Zajac. There's a potent line.

The biggest injury of camp thus far is in Ottawa, when defenseman Filip Kuba will be out several weeks with a broken leg. Senators players aren't happy with the ice at Scotiabank Place and the Kuba injury came when he caught the leg in a rut on the ice.

Former Sabres television producer Lowell MacDonald Jr. is getting his job back in Pittsburgh this season after being suspended last January when his Fox broadcast failed to show a replay to the Toronto war room on a potential Philadelphia goal.

---Mike Harrington

Sabres alumni report: Lydman sidelined, Mair gets tryout with Devils

The veterans are at HSBC Arena today for their physicals and testing but two longtime faces who are not are still in the news.

Toni Lydman won't be starting Ducks camp because of the news in this alarming story: He has been having headaches and double vision and team doctors are trying to find the source of the problem. Not the way for him to start his three-year, $9-million deal.

Tucked into this Newark Star-Ledger story about the news that Devils defenseman Anssi Salmela is behind on the road back from knee surgery is the fact that New Jersey has invited Adam Mair to camp on a training camp tryout. The betting is that he's going to be targeted for their new AHL affiliate in Albany.

Stay tuned for more from the arena as the veterans begin to come in and meet the media.

---Mike Harrington

Kennedy hits ice with Blueshirts

Tim Kennedy got up at 3 a.m. Thursday to catch an early-morning flight to New York and take part in his first informal workout with the Rangers. Once training camp comes, good luck to the South Buffalo product dealing with the wrath of John Tortorella.

You can read the full story on Kennedy's day from the Rangers' web site here.

---Mike Harrington

Asham gets a deal while Kennedy waits

Guess Tim Kennedy's agent really blew this one. While the pride of South Buffalo sits home unemployed because he foolishly was told he was a million-dollar player, former Flyers winger Arron Asham -- an established player on a team that made the Stanley Cup finals -- signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Penguins Friday. 

Asham had 10 goals and 14 assists last year. Kennedy had 10 goals, 16 assists. Looks like a million is not the going rate for 26-point rookies. 

One other point: One year and $700,000 was what it took to get a guy with edge like Asham? Wish the Sabres would have gotten in on that action. There has been chatter they were involved. But I guess watching Drew Stafford muddle through another season will be worth twice the price.

---Mike Harrington

Audio: Darcy Regier's meeting with the media Tuesday

Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier spoke for nearly 16 minutes about the decision to waive forward Tim Kennedy. Listen to the full version of what he had to say and watch highlights from the news conference:

--Jay Skurski

Bulletin: Devils re-sign Kovalchuk

Surprise, surprise: The New Jersey Devils have apparently won the bidding war with the Los Angeles Kings for free agent center Ilya Kovalchuk. This is being reported by the Newark Star-Ledger and the New York Post. The Devils' official Twitter feed reports a press conference will be held Tuesday at the Prudential Center. 

The Devils' rental of Kovalchuk last year didn't go well, as they were first-round playoff losers to the Flyers. The deal with Atlanta that cost them Niclas Bergfors and Johnny Oduya among others would have been a total bust had Kovalchuk left for LA or somewhere else. Now, at least, they can build around him and make another run this year. 

Terms and cap ramifications will be interesting, as it remains to be seen if the Devils will need to shed anyone from their roster to make room for what figures to be a huge salary. After signing Henrik Tallinder and Anton Volchenkov, the Devils only had about $4.2 million in cap space. So they're either dealing or this contract is going to be heavily-heavily-heavily frontloaded. We'll see. has a good story on the new-look Devils. Lots of big-money names with a rookie head coach (John MacLean) behind the bench. I remain skeptical. Kovalchuk has won one playoff game in his career, let alone a series or the four needed to win the Stanley Cup. And let's see who they have to jettison to get under the cap before planning that Cup parade through beautiful, bucolic Newark.

UPDATE: Lots of chatter around Twitter, including a Russian report quoting Kovalchuk's mother, that reports it's a 17-year deal. Yes, 17. The New York Post reported last week the Devils had a 17-year deal on the table for Kovalchuk. is reporting 17 years for $150 million. 

UPDATE II: has changed its report, saying it's the 17/100M the Post had last week. Total earnings of $150M, although it's not clear what that means.

---Mike Harrington

NHL arbitration calendar set

The NHL Players Association has released the schedule of arbitration hearings and the Sabres will be at the table on July 27 with Tim Kennedy and July 29 with Patrick Kaleta. Kennedy made $635,000 last season and produced 10 goals and 16 assists in 78 games over his first NHL campaign. Kaleta made $522,000 and had 10 goals, five assists but only played 55 games due to injuries.

The Sabres took Kaleta to arbitration, the only team in the league to do so with one of their players. It's reasonable to think both players could end up in the $1 million range when their hearings are complete. 

The July 29 date will be watched around the league because that will be goaltender Antti Niemi's hearing with the Chicago Blackhawks. He made $827,000 last year and one can only imagine what he might get now after winning the Stanley Cup, which would further drive the Hawks into salary cap jail. 

Boston's Blake Wheeler is on the docket for July 27 while Washington's Tomas Fleischmann has his case heard July 28. Former Sabre Clarke MacArthur goes to the table with Atlanta on July 21. 

---Mike Harrington

Hjalmarsson match means Hawks must deal again

Here's some big news out of Chicago: The Blackhawks are matching San Jose's four-year, $14-million offer sheet to defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. He's a 23-year-old with a huge ceiling but that leaves Chicago in even more dire salary cap straits than it already was.

There's plenty of talk floating around that the first move Chicago tries to make is to shed Brian Campbell's $7.1 million annual cap hit. Good luck with that, unless the Hawks can get a team desperate to spend money (like the Islanders) to take the ex-Sabre for some prospects. And I'm fairly certain Campbell has some no-trade clauses in his deal as well that could cause trouble. (Upon further review, trading partner Atlanta is one of five teams, along with the Islanders, currently under the salary cap floor that could easily take Campbell's contract if it wanted to)

I would say the Sabres have to be interested in this situation because it would seem that center Patrick Sharp might be available again. He makes $3.9 million and would be a solid addition in Buffalo. The Hawks were adamant he wasn't getting dealt when they made all their moves with Le Thrash. They may have no choice now. They still have to deal with goaltender Antti Niemi's arbitration hearing later this month.

According to the latest figures on, the Hawks have $113,000 in cap space left -- with only 15 players under contract and an overage penalty of $4.1 million to deal with as well! 

Good thing they won the Cup last month or everything the Hawks did would have gone for naught.

---Mike Harrington

Campbell's day with Cup coming soon; Toews takes it home to Winnipeg

Ex-Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell will get his day at home with the Stanley Cup on July 23, according to this story in his hometown newspaper, the Strathroy (Ont.) Age Dispatch. No word yet on Patrick Kane's appearance in Buffalo.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews had his big day Sunday in his native Winnipeg and it was a busy one as the Tribune reports.  Had a lake and a community center named after him, rode through town in a parade and got the key to the city. (Memo to Buffalo: This is how it's done. Keys are given to natives who actually do something or to important visitors, not to has-been football players pimping for reality television). Toews also made his first public comments about all the changes the Hawks have been forced to make since winning the Cup.

Like it has in past seasons, the Hockey Hall of Fame is keeping a running Stanley Cup Journal of the Cup's summer travels. 

Here's a Winnipeg Free Press video of some highlights from Toews' day. Press play on the bottom left of the window

---Mike Harrington

Turco turns down Flyers; Kotalik waived

You can't expect the Flyers to go into next season thinking Michael Leighton is the answer in goal but they're not doing well so far in efforts to land a big-ticket replacement. Looks like trying to get the rights to San Jose's Evgeni Nabakov is a dead end, and the Philadelphia Inquirer is quoting an ESPN report that Dallas' Marty Turco has turned down a three-year deal in the $6 million range.

The Flyers apparently got permission from Dallas to negotiate with Turco even though the official free agent period doesn't begin until Thursday. The Flyers are likely to continue to talk with both goalies and with defensemen as well. They couldn't make a deal with Dan Hamhuis in that area.

Five players were waived Monday, notably ex-Sabre Ales Kotalik of Calgary and Jonathan Cheechoo of  Ottawa, who never panned out as part of the Dany Heatley trade with San Jose. The players are expected to have their contract buyouts paid if they are not claimed and then enter the UFA pool on Thursday.

---Mike Harrington

Craig Ramsay taken from arena in ambulance

Boston assistant coach Craig Ramsay, the longtime former Sabres player and front office executive, has been taken to Buffalo General Hospital for precautionary reasons within the last hour. After feeling some sort of discomfort in the locker room, a 911 call was placed and Ramsay walked to an ambulance under his own power around 5:15.

Steve Milton, the longtime reporter from the Hamilton Spectator, is reporting that Ramsay told him he was "OK" as he walked to the ambulance.

A Bruins spokesman said he did not know if Ramsay would return for tonight's game and that there's expected to be another update later this evening.

---Mike Harrington

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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 |