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

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."

Drew Stafford nearing a return; other injured players not as close

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Sabres could have forward Drew Stafford back in the lineup before the end of the week.

Stafford went through practice this morning in First Niagara Center wearing a red non-contact jersey. He said afterward "it's been a good last couple days."

"I think it's more a day-to-day kind of thing," Stafford said. "I had a really long day today, a hard-working day, so we'll see how it responds later today and tomorrow morning. That's pretty much where we're at."

Stafford has missed the past three games after suffering an upper-body injury against the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 2.

"It's one of those things where he's coming at me pretty fast, I'm coming at him pretty fast. It's kind of like a car crash. You see those kind of hits every game numerous times," Stafford said. "Just kind of bad luck on that one that I got twisted up a little bit."

Stafford has four goals and nine assists in 41 games this season.

Interim coach Ted Nolan said he hadn't talked to Stafford after today's practice concluded.

"I talked to him during practice. He said he was feeling good," Nolan said. "I'm not 100 percent sure about tomorrow, but he's real close."

Nolan said the Sabres' other injured players -- forwards Cody McCormick and Kevin Porter and defenseman Henrik Tallinder -- are not as close to a return.

"All those three guys are about the same," Nolan said.

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).

Sabres' Rolston on Sharks: 'This is the deepest lineup we'll face'

By John Vogl

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- There may not be a more lopsided matchup in the NHL than what's on tap tonight. Here are some numbers as the 10-1-3 San Jose Sharks prepare to host the 2-13-1 Sabres:

*The Sharks average 3.7 goals per game and allow 1.8. The Sabres score 1.6 and give up 3.1.

*The Sharks have a 19-8 scoring edge in first periods. The Sabres have been outscored, 20-2.

*The Sharks average 37.4 shots per game and allow 24.8. The Sabres take 24.8 and give up 35.5.

Continue reading "Sabres' Rolston on Sharks: 'This is the deepest lineup we'll face'" »

Miller won't dress against Penguins tonight; Sabres goalie nursing sore groin, source says

By John Vogl

PITTSBURGH -- Ryan Miller will sit out the Sabres' third game of the season tonight, with the goaltender watching as Jhonas Enroth starts against the Penguins and emergency callup Matt Hackett dresses as the backup.

Buffalo coach Ron Rolston expects Miller to be back Tuesday when the Sabres host Tampa Bay. Miller is essentially being given a maintenance day to rest a sore groin, a source tells The News.

Henrik Tallinder, who suffered an upper-body injury during Friday's 1-0 loss to Ottawa, will miss a week, Rolston said. Jamie McBain will replace the defenseman and get power-play time.

Rolston wants more from his top forwards, including Cody Hodgson and Drew Stafford, tonight against the Penguins. The coach was disappointed in his so-called scoring lines Friday.

"Our top six have to be better," Rolston said this evening in Consol Energy Center. "That’s what this league is all about, you know, is your top six have to perform and they have to be your best players on a nightly basis. I know ours will rebound tonight."

Tallinder on Myers: 'He's going to be an exceptionally good player still. Just give him time'

By Mike Harrington

We had not heard from Henrik Tallinder since he was traded back to the Sabres from New Jersey in July. But everyone figured he would be happy with the deal -- and he confirmed the feeling Wednesday in his first meeting with the Buffalo media.

"I was a little bit surprised," Tallinder said today after taking his pre-camp physical. "I didn't know that Buffalo was interested. I knew something was going to happen because I had a long conversation with the [Devils GM Lou Lamoriello] after the season and we made it both pretty clear what we wanted. Then Buffalo got involved and I was a little bit surprised."

Tallinder spoke to the media before coach Ron Rolston, who surprised the gathering by saying Tallinder will start camp paired with Mark Pysyk and not with Tyler Myers. The prevailing wisdom was that a Myers-Tallinder pairing was a lock, giving Myers' Calder Trophy-winning season in 2010 with Tallinder. Rolston, however, said Myers will start with Christian Ehrhoff.

For his part, Tallinder said Myers can quickly get back to his star-studded rookie season.

"I think Tyler is an exceptional young man and player," Tallinder said. "When he came in his first year, I've never seen a guy that talented and that good at that age. Or very few of them, that I"ve played with at least. I think he's still young. I think you guys have been pretty hard on him too. He's going to be an exceptionally good player still. Just give him time. Let him play."

Tallinder played just 64 games with the Devils the last two years due to injuries and the fact he fell out of favor with coach Peter DeBoer. He said his goal this year is to be a regular on the crowded Buffalo blueline and he knows the team needs him to be a leader with its young defense corps.

"I might not be the most vocal guy but if I have something to say, I'm saying it," Tallinder noted. "I'm not afraid any more of saying what I want."

Click below to hear Tallinder's welcome-back session with the media today:

Henrik Tallinder

Bulletin: Sabres re-acquire Tallinder in deal with Devils

Henrik Tallinder is coming back to Buffalo. (Getty Images)

By Mike Harrington

The Buffalo Sabres have re-acquired an old friend, getting veteran defenseman Henrik Tallinder back from the New Jersey Devils for prospect winger Riley Boychuk.

Tallinder, 34, has spent the last three years in New Jersey after leaving Buffalo via free agency in 2010, when he was the rock as Tyler Myers' defense partner during Myers' Calder Trophy season. His career with the Devils never really panned out, as he spent the last two years battling injuries and sitting out as a healthy scratch.

Tallinder played in 25 games last season, posting one goal and three assists with an even rating. He was minus-11 during the 2011-12 season. He will make $3.5 million this year in the final year of his contract with a cap hit of $3.375 million. 

Tallinder was Buffalo's No. 2 pick in the 1997 draft and spent parts of eight seasons with the Sabres. He was one of the key members of the defense of the 2006 team that got to the Eastern Conference finals and the broken arm he suffered in Game Four proved to be a major factor in the seven-game loss to Carolina.

"We are excited to have Henrik back in the mix on our blue line," general manager Darcy Regier said in a release from the team. "His experience will be invaluable not only in adding more stability to our back end, but also in the development of some of our younger defensemen."

Continue reading "Bulletin: Sabres re-acquire Tallinder in deal with Devils" »

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 |