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Early notes from Calgary and awards for Sabres' second-rounders

By Mike Harrington

CALGARY, Alberta -- Good morning from the Candian Rockies, where the Sabres and Flames will meet tonight in the Saddledome for the first time since Dec. 27, 2010. The game is a 9 p.m. start Eastern time, so that means your "morning skate" reports will be later than normal.

The Flames take the ice at 10:30 local time (12:30 in Buffalo), while the Sabres go at 11:30 a.m. here and 1:30 p.m. back home. So keep it here and on Twitter (@BNHarrington) for the latest but don't forget you'll have to wait a little while longer to find out if tonight will be Nathan Lieuwen's first NHL start in goal.

This is Buffalo's first visit here since the devastating floods last June that ruined the Saddledome's service level and put water in the first 10 rows of the seating bowl. The building's core had to be gutted and replaced entirely but it was miraculously ready to go for the preseason. I had a good chat about it with Nashville broadcaster Terry Crisp, the coach of the '89 Stanley Cup champion Flames, when he was in Buffalo last week and it will be interesting to check out the building.

As for the game, the Sabres have lost six straight overall, scoring just five goals in the process nd ll of them by either Drew Stafford or Tyler Ennis. The last time they lost seven straight in regulation was in 2003 and keep this in mind: The Sabres have NEVER lost eight straight in regulation.

The Sabres are 7-21-3 on the road as they start a five-game, 10-day trip. Their seven wins are five fewer than any NHL team and their 17 road points are 10 fewer than anyone else (Florida is 12-20-3 for 27).

The Flames are tied for 26th overall with the New York Islanders with 61 points and it will be interesting to see how that battle impacts the Sabres' draft, with Buffalo potentially getting the Islanders' No. 1 pick this year. Calgary forward Matt Stajan, who scored the overtime winner in December when the Flames won in First Niagara Center, is expected to return to the lineup tonight after missing the last two weeks following the death of his newborn son.

Continue reading "Early notes from Calgary and awards for Sabres' second-rounders" »

Buffalo's Bailey, Blujus invited to USA Hockey's world junior camp

By John Vogl

The United States will go for a repeat at the next world junior hockey championships. Justin Bailey and Dylan Blujus have a chance to be part of it.

USA Hockey will hold its national junior evaluation camp Aug. 3-10 in Lake Placid, and the Buffalo-area duo is among the 40 players invited. Bailey, a 17-year-old forward from Williamsville, plays for Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League and is eligible for the NHL draft June 30. Blujus, a 6-3 defenseman for North Bay of the OHL, was selected by Tampa Bay in the second round of the 2012 draft.

The national team will be selected during a pretournament camp in mid-December. The world juniors will begin Dec. 26 in Sweden.

Buffalo's Bailey, Malone show NHL scouts that hockey players can jump

By John Vogl

The importance of the fitness test at the NHL scouting combine can be debated. Panthers GM Dale Tallon doesn't give a hoot about the strength portion. Others feel the tests give insight into players' physical abilities.

If there happen to be any scouts who give extra credence to jumping, the top two prospects from Western New York will hop up the draft board.

The NHL has released the top-10 finishers in several testing categories, and Williamsville's Justin Bailey and West Seneca's Sean Malone both made the list.

Continue reading "Buffalo's Bailey, Malone show NHL scouts that hockey players can jump" »

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 |