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Source: Sabres send Moulson, McCormick to Wild for picks, Mitchell

By John Vogl

For the second straight year, Buffalo and Minnesota have completed a big deal at the trade deadline.

The Sabres have sent Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick to the Wild for undisclosed draft picks and Torrey Mitchell, according to a source. Moulson, a pending unrestricted free agent, was the Sabres' top name available.

According to a league source, the Sabres have one more trade awaiting NHL approval.

Minnesota acquired Jason Pominville from the Sabres last year. The Wild is also the front-runner to sign former Buffalo winger Thomas Vanek this offseason.

Acquired from the Islanders as part of the deal that sent Vanek to New York, Moulson had 11 goals and 29 points in 44 games with the Sabres. Moulson, who has scored at least 30 goals three times, also had six goals and nine points in 11 games with New York this year.

Mitchell, a 29-year-old forward, has played 383 games and has 35 goals and 90 points. He has one year left on his contract with a cap hit of $1.9 million and a salary of $2.5 million.

More to come.

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" »

Fast start key vs. struggling Wild

By Mike Harrington

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Sabres haven't won a road game under Ted Nolan. The Minnesota Wild has lost six straight games in regulation for the first time in franchise history. Something is going to give tonight in XCel Energy Center. And if the Sabres win, there's plenty of chatter it could be the job of Wild coach Mike Yeo.

A fast start for the Sabres would be great for them obviously in the wake of their 3-0 loss Tuesday in Winnipeg. And it could turn the crowd quickly against the home team on (seriously) Jason Pominville Bobblehead Night. Of course, the Sabres have just 11 first-period goals this season so there's that issue too.

"When teams are struggling, that's what you like to do," Nolan said after the Sabres' gameday skate. "But in this league boy, you just never know."

(By the way, I'll have a post about Pominville up later this afternoon)

Tyler Myers took yesterday off but will play tonight with Brayden McNabb a scratch. Steve Ott did not take the morning skate but Nolan said that was maintenance and that his captain will play tonight.

"He's a competitive guy," Nolan said. "Once in a while you have to pull him back and give him some rest to make sure he's ready for games."

As for the power play, Nolan said the Sabres need to get some bigger bodies in front of the net. I asked him, "No. 32?". He smiled and said, "More than likely. He's the biggest one we've got."

So look for ex-Wild member John Scott in some man-advantage situations tonight.

Josh Harding is sick and embattled Wild coach Mike Yeo said Niklas Backstrom will start in goal against Ryan Miller Backstom (2-9-2, 3.32, .893) has given up 24 goals in his past six starts. The Wild has slipped to 10th in the West, a huge disappointment given the money it had paid out prior to last season to defenseman Ryan Suter and the injured Zach Parise.

Click below to hear Nolan's pregame comments today on items such as the roster, Scott, starting fast against the struggling Wild, and rookie Zemgus Girgensons.

Ted Nolan

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

Kings' Brown gets two games for elbow on Pominville

By Mike Harrington

Kings captain Dustin Brown is gone for the final two games of the regular season for his vicious elbow on Jason Pominville. Click the video above for the explanation from NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan.

Pominville KO'd by elbow in Wild win; Kings captain Brown could face Shanaban

The Dustin Brown elbow on Jason Pominville.

By Mike Harrington

The Wild pulled out a huge 2-1 win over the Kings Tuesday night that should go a long way to allowing Minnesota to make the playoffs (and prevent the Sabres from getting a second lottery chance, since they own the Wild's No. 1 pick for Jason Pominville).

Pominville has four goals, five assists and nine points in nine games for the Wild but you wonder if he's going to be out for a little bit after taking a blatant elbow to the head in the second period from Kings captain Dustin Brown. Pominville left the ice woozy from the shot and didn't return. Remember, he suffered a concussion once before in his career after taking that terrible shot from behind from Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson in October, 2010 and missing nine games.

(10:30 a.m. update: Wild coach Mike Yeo had no update on Pominville last night and the team is not practicing today so there's no word yet on the injury. But Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer Mike Russo makes the obvious concussion speculation and says the Wild may need a callup).

Brown, meanwhile, is likely to hear from NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan. (And here's the official word from the league: Brown has a hearing today. 

Watch the video above and make your call in our poll below.

With Grigorenko decision looming, fate decided for other junior eligibles

The Canadiens are keeping No. 3 overall pick Alex Galchenyuk. (Getty Images)

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres are still up in the air with Mikhail Grigorenko even though the decision to keep him in the NHL seems like a no-brainer from this view. He's talented, he's creative and he plays center -- an area this team is woefully thin at. You want to see Grigorenko or Matt Ellis? You want them to force Ville Leino back to center, as Lindy Ruff mused about today? Please.

Keep the kid.

Still, it's only been 50-50 among other NHL teams about keeping key junior eligibles or sending them back. Here's a quick rundown:

Continue reading "With Grigorenko decision looming, fate decided for other junior eligibles" »

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 |