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Today's schedule and a look back at Deadline Day coverage

By Mike Harrington

TAMPA, Fla. -- Think there's time to breathe now that the NHL trade deadline is over? Think again. It's a gameday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum and there's going to be plenty to do this morning.

First off, the Lightning will be welcoming Steven Stamkos back to the team and introducing Ryan Callahan, acquired  last night from the New York Rangers. Their morning skate will kick off around 10:30, with the Sabres going at 11:30.

I would assume we'll see new Sabres Torrey Mitchell and Michal Neuvirth on hand. Cory Conacher, who had to fly from Edmonton to Ottawa to get some immigration work squared away, is expected to join the team tomorrow in Sunrise for the game against the Panthers.

I unintentionally started quite the kerfluffle on Twitter last night when I pointed out the Sabres are assigning No. 30 to Neuvirth (Mitchell is getting 17 and Conacher 88). That seems far too early. I think Ryan Miller's number should be retired but you can easily debate otherwise. That said, very bad optics to hand the number of a face-of-the-franchise guy out so soon. And to a backup no less. Wonder why Conacher was not given his 89. Alexander Mogilny going up in the rafters? He declined it? I'll ask.

Several hundred of you responded. Pretty interesting. I'll find out today, hopefully from Neuvirth himself,  what the deal is.

Be sure to double back on this blog for all the posts from yesterday's action. We've had more than 220,000 page views the last 4 1/2 days as of 9 a.m. today and we thank you all for reading! You can go to this link to review the live blog from the day, featuring tweets from all over.

In case you missed all the coverage on today's pages, here's a fast link rundown:

The extreme makeover continues -- John Vogl has our main rundown of the team's busy day.

Murray a study in intensity -- Bucky Gleason's column on Tim Murray's refreshing approach to deadline day.

The departed -- I had a chance to speak to Matt Moulson, Cody McCormick and Jaroslav Halak before they left and all are understandably thrilled to be back in the playoff hunt.

Conacher returns to second home -- Amy Moritz caught up with waiver claim Cory Conacher, who became the first Canisius College player to make the NHL and now becomes the first former Ice Griff to play for the Sabres. 

By the way, there's a game tonight -- In my notebook from Tampa, Ted Nolan points out how tough it was to prepare for a game. There's chatter about the departure of Martin St. Louis plus Chris Stewart telling me he's OK to stay. He was resigned to the fact after Ottawa traded for Ales Hemsky instead.

After four moves on deadline day, Sabres' Murray can't wait to keep building at NHL draft

Tim Murray, a 20-year vet#3
By John Vogl

Tim Murray had barely hung up the phone on his last trade call when he started looking ahead. The NHL draft is in June, and the Sabres’ general manager can’t wait.

He hopes the next chance to wheel and deal is as productive and exciting as his first one.

Murray, as expected, was a busy man on trade-deadline day today. Buffalo's new GM made three multiplayer deals and a waiver claim, continuing the reshaping of the organization he began Friday by trading Ryan Miller and Steve Ott.

I’m not done,” Murray said in First Niagara Center. “There’s a lot of building to do.”

Continue reading "After four moves on deadline day, Sabres' Murray can't wait to keep building at NHL draft" »

Miller wins home debut; Sabres fan posts tribute video

By Mike Harrington

TAMPA, Fla. -- It's Deadline Day and our deadline live blog shepherded by John Vogl at First Niagara Center begins at 10 a.m. The Sabres' practice at Tampa Bay Times Forum starts at 11:45 and I'm the only Buffalo reporter on hand to give you on-the-scene updates. (If you're not following Vogl and I on Twitter, today is the day to do it at @Buffnewsvogl and @BNHarrington).

Be sure to check out my story in today's editions on who might go as part  of the Sabres' fire sale.

Today is about looking ahead for the Sabres but before we do, we can have one last look back at Ryan Miller. He won his home debut for the St. Louis Blues last night with a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay that saw him need to make just 15 saves. Miller has faced only 42 shots on goal in two games with the Blues! Little different than here.

Pretty interesting St. Louis column in the Post-Dispatch by Joe Strauss talking to Miller's agent and former Blues goalie Mike Liut. Clearly speaking of the rebuilding in Buffalo and Miller's barrage of shots faced each night, Liut said, "You don’t win it by yourself. You’re not a wall.”

Several people on Twitter have sent me links to a Miller video by a fan named Connor Gorman and it's a great view set to "The Boxer", the Simon and Garfunkel classic. Click here to watch the video. It's well worth it. (The embed code is not working for some reason, so click on the link).

Now that you've watched that,  here's Miller's chat with the media in St. Louis last night. The Blues, unfortunately, run all their interviews together but Miller's starts after just 36 seconds.

Continue reading "Miller wins home debut; Sabres fan posts tribute video" »

Luongo, Bryzgalov, MacDonald, Penner dealt on wild deadline eve

By Mike Harrington

TAMPA, Fla. -- So who gave NHL GMs the memo that the trade deadline was today? Hey guys, it's tomorrow at 3 p.m. Sure couldn't tell by what's gone down the last couple of hours or so.

First off, nothing from the Sabres as of 5 p.m. Matt Moulson is still with them. So is Jaroslav Halak and a host of others who could be on the block. A big one just went down as Vancouver sent Roberto Luongo back to Florida for center Shawn Matthias and goalie Jacob Markstrom. 

The Panthers, who are in Boston tonight, have said they're going to allow GM Dale Tallon to spend money under new owners Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu. Looks like they are. In addition to Luongo, they also signed ex-Sabre Brad Boyes to a two-year contract extension worth $2.625 million per season.

When is their next game? Yep. Friday night at BB&T Center in Sunrise against the Sabres. Luongo might actually get some people in seats, something I've never seen at a game there. 

Luongo, who is under contract through the 2021-22 season, previously spent five years in Florida. And he brilliantly commented on the trade from his ultra-popular Twitter feed @Strombone1 

 

Halak's most likely target team appeared to disappear today when the Minnesota Wild got Ilya Bryzgalov from Edmonton for a fourth-round pick, ending rumors that Martin Brodeur was going to Minnesota. So wither Halak? Washington still seems like a good bet.

The most active team so far today is Anaheim. The Ducks are first overall with 91 points but they didn't stand pat. They sent Dustin Penner to Washington for a fourth-round pick and goalie Viktor Fasth to Edmonton for two picks (a fifth in '14 and a third in '15), then got defenseman Stephane Robidas from Dallas for a conditional fourth-round pick.

The Islanders sent defenseman Andrew MacDonald for center Matt Mangene, a third-round pick this year and a second-rounder next year. The Islanders are still working on a Thomas Vanek trade with Anaheim and Los Angeles interested and growing speculation that Boston is trying to get a player who routinely riddled them when he played with the Sabres.

The time Derek Roy thought reporters got traded

By Tim Graham

When the Buffalo Sabres traded center Derek Roy on Monday, it reminded me of the time goaltender Martin Biron and I convinced Roy that I was on the verge of getting traded to Newsday.

I referenced the story in a tweet that generated a healthy response. People wanted to know the details. So, inspired by similar anecdotes I've been reading the past few days in Frank Deford's excellent autobiography "Over Time," here's just one of a thousand behind-the-scene stories I can tell from two decades hanging out in locker rooms.

A day or two before the NHL trade deadline in February 2007, I leaned against the wall in a nearly empty Sabres dressing room, waiting to interview a particular player. I don't recall who.

Biron and I were about five feet apart on opposite sides of the entryway. He was inspecting his leg pads at his locker stall. Roy sat at his locker way down the row to Biron's left. Jason Pominville was down the row of lockers to my right.

On the large, flat-screen television was a TSN show dissecting trade-deadline rumors.

Ever since Ryan Miller emerged as the franchise goalie, Biron's name frequently got bandied about as trade bait. He was anxious about getting dealt, and this time he would be -- to the Philadelphia Flyers. By this time, Biron and I had known each other for seven years and enjoyed many conversations never meant for the paper.

With my notepad in my back pocket and no recorder I asked Biron -- just two guys talking -- how he was holding up. He said something diplomatic, but he silently telegraphed, with a theatrical roll of the eyes, that he was stressing out. Then, in typical Biron fashion, he quickly tried to turn the situation into a joke.

"How are you hanging in there, Tim?" Biron asked. "Do you think you'll get traded this year?"

Those who know me are aware my sense of humor can be drier than powdered gin. So I deadpanned that my agent was hearing Newsday and the Boston Globe had called The Buffalo News about me and wanted to know what it would take to close a deal.

Biron, equally as sarcastic, started to express sympathy for my predicament. Roy hollered "Bulls---! Reporters don't get traded."

I gently informed Roy newspapers make trades all the time. "Yeah, that's true!" Biron chirped. I explained when NHL teams are about to make the playoffs, their local newspapers sometimes need to bolster coverage for the stretch run. Sometimes they have too many editors and need to acquire reporters. Or vice versa.

The New York Islanders, under Ted Nolan, had been one of hockey's most exciting stories that season and were gunning for a playoff berth. Newsday wanted go all-in. As for the Globe, I wasn't sure what its motive was because the Boston Bruins didn't look like a playoff team. Maybe the Globe needed to unload a contract or wanted me for depth.

Roy, about to turn 24 and in his fourth NHL season (counting the lockout), stared off in the distance and nodded his head, satisfied with this new bit of insight.

Unfortunately, the ruse wouldn't last long -- not nearly as long as the time I used a tape-delayed boxing match to persuade defenseman Alexei Zhitnik into thinking I was a legitimate psychic by predicting the exact round and method that massive underdog Corrie Sanders would whip Zhitnik's countryman and friend Wladimir Klitschko.

I shifted a glance to Pominville. I could tell he wasn't buying it, and he was about to say something.

Biron and I cracked. We told Roy we were just screwing with him.

Roy didn't think it was as funny as we did.

Boyes' lone fight: Check out the opponent

Brad Boyes is here to score goals and that's obvious. The one fight in his NHL career: Feb. 1, 2007 at the TD Garden -- a beatdown of former Sabres defenseman Toni Lydman. Check it out:

 

(And thanks to folks on Twitter to send me this via @BNHarrington)

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Coyotes -- Coyotes! -- can climb atop West

Hope all you DirecTV folks are happy now that you have Versus and you can see tonight's Sharks-Wild battle. Yawn. But iIf you have Center Ice, you've got a great night ahead. I'm starting at 7 with Boston at Atlanta and then moving to the 7:30 Philly at Ottawa game.

But the big one is at 8:30 when Phoenix travels to Chicago as the Coyotes -- yes, the run-by-the-NHL Phoenix Coyotes -- can move into first place in the Western Conference with a win. Amazing. The Coyotes have won nine straight while the Blackhawks are just 4-4-2 since the Olympic break. Five of those Phoenix wins are by shootout, including the last three. If they win tonight's game in a shootout, the Coyotes would be the first team in NHL history to do that in four straight games.

San Jose is also skidding, allowing 24 goals in losing all five games on its current road trip, and that's allowed Phoenix to keep climbing the standings.

The Coyotes, of course, got much better at the NHL trade deadline and the acquisition of West Seneca native Lee Stempniak has really keyed their team.  Stempniak has nine goals since joining the Coyotes from Toronto. For those scoring at home, of course, that's nine more than Raffi Torres has since coming to Buffalo from Columbus. Hmmm, that deal seemed like a good idea at the time.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Mac makes quick attack in Atlanta

Clarke MacArthur hopped off the plane in Atlanta and right on to the Thrashers scoresheet with a goal -- assisted by Maxim Afinogenov, no less -- in his first game with his new team to help spark Thursday's 6-3 win over the Islanders. You can read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's game report with comments from MacArthur here.

Following the morning skate, MacArthur said "my time kind of went a little stale in Buffalo" and he was happy with the deal. No disagreement there. That link will take you to the Thrashers' video page, where you'll hear from both Mac and Max.

The Thrashers are 4-0-2 in their last six and 4-1-2 since trading Ilya Kovalchuk to the Devils. Hmmm. Interesting.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Lindy's back in charge

What's that old saying? While the cat's away, the mice will play? That's kind of how Lindy Ruff seems to feel about his team's practice ethic while he was gone at the Olympics. Ruff cracked the whip today in HSBC Arena, barking for much of the 50 minutes for his players to be more vocal on the ice.

"Part of our play in the first 30 games stemmed from puck support, knowing where people are at, hearing another guy's voice, leaving the zone under control and being a five-man unit coming out of the zone," Ruff said. "Watching [Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Capitals] again this morning, I would swear that have the team had muzzles on. That makes it tough. When you're under pressure, the only thing you can trust is somebody's voice and the fact he has to be in a certain place for us."

The Sabres have opened the post-Olympic break schedule with back-to-back losses and Ruff wants things turned around by Friday night's visit from Philadelphia.

"It's been two weeks off," he said. "I've been gone for 10 days of practice. And I don't care what you say. When the substitute teacher is there when you were a kid, you goofed off. We had four or five players missing. Now it's back to focus and determination to play the system and play it hard."

Click below to hear Ruff's complete session with the media, including his comments on Raffi Torres' first day with the team:

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

New Sabres forward Raffi Torres speaks to reporters

Screen shot 2010-03-04 at 12.59.47 PM Newly acquired Buffalo Sabres forward Raffi Torres spoke to reporters after practice today for the first time since joining the team Wednesday just before the NHL trade deadline.

Hear his comments and see a clip of Torres at practice in the audio and video below:

---Mike Harrington

Torres with Roy and Pominville

The Sabres have just taken the ice for practice in HSBC Arena and Lindy Ruff has, in fact, shaken up his lines as he promised he would after Wednesday night's sleeper against the Capitals.

Newcomer Raffi Torres is here and will be wearing No. 17. He's on left wing with Derek Roy and Jason Pominville. The other lines are:

Thomas Vanek-Tim Connolly-Drew Stafford
Mike Grier-Tim Kennedy-Jochen Hecht
Adam Mair-Matt Ellis-Patrick Kaleta

We return you now to Bucky's live chat.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Ryan and Ruff have their say

You don't expect Ryan Miller or Lindy Ruff to mince many words and they didn't again Wednesday night following a mostly dreadful 3-1 loss to the Capitals.

Miller says he senses a crisis of confidence within the Sabres' system. Ruff seemed to indicate the same thing among the team's forwards and said he may blow the whole thing up and start his lines fresh Thursday in practice when Raffi Torres is expected to arrive from Columbus.

Hear the goalie and the coach making their sharp comments to the media about the game and the Torres trade at the links below. 

Ryan Miller

Lindy Ruff


---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Deadline day video update

Here's our latest video updating you on the Sabres' acquisition of winger Raffi Torres from Columbus and the trade of Nathan Paetsch to the Blue Jackets and Clarke MacArthur to Atlanta.

You can visit BuffaloNews.com Live to watch a video with fan reaction.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Deadline day video update

Nothing new to report from HSBC Arena in the final hour before the NHL trade deadline. Here's a video look at the morning skate, wtih comments from Ryan Miller, Lindy Ruff and Alexander Ovechkin.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Lindy on Kovy

Here's Lindy Ruff's reaction to the Devils' acquisition of sniper Ilya Kovalchuk from Atlanta:

"They're getting a gifted goal scorer. They talked a little bit how they were hurting for goals and they went and got the biggest fish in the pond. When you realize you're having a tough time scoring goals, I don't think the adjustment will be that big (for Kovalchuk to play with coach Jacques Lemaire). With [Patrik] Elias out of the lineup, with the offense they've lost, that could make them pretty dangerous when you put a Kovalchuk in."

Believe it or not,the Devils Web site has compiled a minute-by-minute live blog of Kovalchuk's morning skate with his new team prior to tonight's game against Toronto.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Kovalchuk goes to New Jersey

Ilya Kovalchuk has, in fact, been dealt by the Thrashers to the New Jersey Devils. Stunner. The Devils give up rookie forward Niclas Bergfors, defenseman Johnny Oduya, prospect Patrice Cormier and a first-round draft pick. New Jersey also regains defenseman Anssi Salmela, who was a Devil last year before being dealt to Atlanta.

Big questions from this view how a loose goal scorer like Kovalchuk will fit in with a master of boring, defensive hockey like Devils coach Jacques Lemaire. Seems like a rental for the stretch. Would Kovalchuk really sign long term with New Jersey?

The Devils are one point ahead of the Sabres in the battle for second in the Eastern Conference. I was totally not a proponent of the Sabres getting Kovalchuk but it will be interesting to see what move Darcy Regier has in response.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Ice chips flying in the late afternoon

Stuff breaking all over the place as we head toward the 7 p.m. faceoff between the Sabres and Senators.  Follow along:

1). The Thrashers have told Ilya Kovalchuk he's getting traded and it looks like sooner rather than later, well before the March 3 deadline. There's a lot of desperate teams in the East, like the Bruins, Flyers and Rangers, would would take on a rental. Lots of talk about the Kings too. Forget about the Sabres and throw out the money. The first time Kovalchuk took a 90-second shift and floated up and down the ice without backchecking, Lindy Ruff's head might implode. Not a guy to fit this system.

2). The Blue Jackets have fired Ken Hitchcock and named Claude Noel their interim coach. Bummer. I was planning to chat up Hitchcock Saturday morning when the Sabres got to Columbus after his summer week in Calgary on the Team Canada staff with Ruff. Hitchcock got the Jackets to the playoffs for the first time last year but they're a disaster this season, largely because Steve Mason couldn't duplicate his Calder Trophy form in goal. Why today? The cynic in me says the Jackets did it on Ohio State football recruiting day so it wouldn't get much attention in their town.

3). Might Claude Julien be next? The Bruins are 0-6-2 in their last eight games -- their worst stretch since the 1955-56 season -- and in danger of missing the playoffs after winning the East last year. Last night's 4-1 loss to the red-hot Capitals left them 12th in the East and they've scored just 12 goals in those eight games. Think Kovalchuk might help? Guess Daniel Paille hasn't.

4). Speaking of the Caps, they go for their 12th straight win tomorrow against the Rangers. They have six games left before the Olympic break and if they win them all, they would tie the NHL record of 17 set by the 92-93 Penguins. Where would No. 18 potentially be? In their first game after the break. March 3. In HSBC Arena. The night after the Sabres open the post-Oly period in Pittsburgh. Ooof.

5). Major boo an hour ago to the IIHF, which announced the pools and pairings for the World Junior Championships here next year. The U.S. and Canada are not in the same pool and may not meet at all. Bummer. That US-Switzerland game on New Year's Eve doesn't have the same cachet as a potential US-Canada. The schedule runs Dec. 26-Jan. 5 with no game on Jan. 1 (the Sabres may try to sneak in a home game there).

7 pm update:  A clarification from the Sabres -- the pools are not arbitrary. IIHF rules mandate the defending champion (US) is the No. 1 seed in Pool A and the silver medalist (Canada) becomes the No. 1 seed in Pool B. That, of course, means that they can't meet until the medal round. Still, it would be pretty horrible if a World Championship was held in Buffalo with no US-Canada matchup.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Kotalik 'shocked' by deal

When I talked to Ales Kotalik on Monday, he made it clear his preference was to stay with the Sabres. But he knew he was heading into unrestricted free agency and that made it possible he could be dealt.

When it actually happened just before the deadline Wednesday, Kotalik said he was "shocked" to learn he was going to Edmonton. Strangely enough, he joined his new team Thursday in a very familiar venue -- Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, where the Oilers met the Senators

"I was in Buffalo for a long time," Kotalik said. "The first couple hours [after the trade], it was a pill that was tough to swallow. It continued until late night. Right now, you jump in with the guys and it feels better. I just have to get used to wearing a different sweater now."

Kotalik was a good guy and always interesting to talk to. He had a deep persepctive on himself and the game. He's been in the Sabres organization since he was drafted nearly 11 years ago and Lindy Ruff seemed a little emotional Thursday in talking about their good-bye conversation.

Kotalik, however, was also a frustrating player to watch. You always thought he could do more with that big body. And even one of his greatest talents -- his accuracy in shootouts -- came with a big asterisk. If he had done more in the first 65 minutes of the game, the thinking went, maybe the team wouldn't have even been in the shootout!

Kotalik was immediately inserted on Edmonton's first line with fellow Czech Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff. Yes, I said the first line. Maybe the Oilers think they'll catch lightning in a bottle. Hey, didn't Steve Bernier look like a future all-star in his first couple games here last year? But the more likely scenario is Kotalik has a good game here or there, scores on the power play every so often and then disappears a lot too.

Post your thoughts on Kotalik's career and his departure in the comments section. And click below to see his chat with Edmonton reporters Thursday in Ottawa.

---Mike Harrington


Sabres back at work -- minus Moore

Just left HSBC Arena a few hours ago it seems and we're back again for the Sabres' first practice with new goaltender Mikael Tellqvist on the ice. Newly acquired center Dominic Moore was supposed to be here as well but he is NOT on the ice. No official word yet but the scuttlebutt in the building is that he has some work visa issues being taken care of. (POST-PRACTICE UPDATE: Moore said he expects to have his visa issues taken care of to play tomorrow.)

Tellqvist served as the backup goaltender last night against Montreal and got big cheers when he was shown on the HD board sitting on the bench during the game. Moore was driving in on the QEW listening on radio and got to the building during the third period. He had a brief meet-and-greet with Lindy Ruff, Darcy Regier and his new teammates after the game.

Tellqvist spent several minutes before practice working with goaltending coach Jim Corsi on some drills. Seems like they're trying to give him a crash course on playing the HSBC Arena boards. You have to figure Tellqvist plays either Friday here against Phoenix or Saturday in Ottawa. Ruff likes to put goalies in against their old teams, and what better way to start Tellqvist off against the team that dealt him yesterday?

Hit refresh on this post a couple times over the next hour and I'll provide some updates from practice on the lines and such.

UPDATE I: Moore will be wearing No. 17 and not No. 23 as you may have been hearing elsewhere. Tellqvist wore No 32 last night and is expected to keep that.

UPDATE II: The lines on the ice look like this: Vanek-Connolly-Stafford, Hecht-Gaustad-Pominville, Paille-Roy-Afinogenov, Ellis-Mair-Kaleta. The spares are MacArthur and Peters. Not having Moore here is a difficult problem. Now he'll have to be slotted on a line during tomorrow's morning skate, not the best proposition. Will be interesting to hear what Ruff has to say about this one afterwards.

UPDATE III:  Ruff said he may use Moore at center and move Derek Roy to left wing. Ruff also said Patrick Lalime is going too well and he will start Friday but that Tellqvist definitely has a chance to play Saturday in Ottawa.

---Mike Harrington

Darcy speaks

After a long day, Darcy Regier finally spoke to the media for about 15 minutes this evening to recap Deadline Day. We've relocated upstairs to the press box to give you the following summary as we head toward faceoff of the Sabres' game against the Habs.

---Mike Harrington

------------------------------------

---Mikael Tellqvist is here and dressed as the backup to Patrick Lalime. He's wearing No. 32. Bet he makes his first Buffalo start here Friday night -- against his old team as the Phoenix Coyotes will be in town. Jhonas Enroth is here but will not dress. He will return to Portland in the morning.

---Dominic Moore is not available tonight.  Regier did not talk to him until after 6 p.m. to welcome him to the organization because the league's trade registry was so backed up by moves that took place as the 3 p.m. deadline approached. Regier also said the trade of Ales Kotalik to Edmonton was not confirmed until about 6:15.

---Regier confirmed that Portland defenseman Mike Weber is out for the season because he will be having surgery on his shoulder in Buffalo on Thursday.

Some questions to Regier:

Did you overpay for Connolly: "He's healthy now. We expect him to be healthy. If you look at the marketplace in the summer, there's very few short-term contracts so that's what he gave back to the club (a two-year deal). We think he's one of the top players at his position in the National Hockey League. .. . The bet for us is obviously on his health. It's one that ownership was willing to make, one that I was willing to make on the management side."

On Connolly's contract not being insured: "We don't expect to attempt to insure it. It's there similar to the last contract. It's a bet that ownership was willing to take and a statement in our belief in him and when you look at the marketplace, what's available out there.

On making the playoffs still being the No. 1 goal: "That's the game. That's what you're trying to do. First and foremost, the goal is to make the playoffs. ... That hasn't changed from the start of the year. There's no shift (in philosophy). I think this is a very capable group. I expect to be in the playoffs at the end of the year."

Were you a buyer or seller at the start of the day: "We didn't come into this planning to be a seller, I can tell you that. I didn't know if we were going to be able to be a buyer."

On dealing Ales Kotalik: "He's just a first-class person, first-class player and I thaink him for everything he's done for the team. It was an opportunity for us to get a center man who can play in different roles (Moore is an excellent faceoff man and Ruff is expected to use him on both special teams units as well).

On the lack of a deal for Maxim Afinogenov: "I have tried to trade Max. I wasn't able to trade Max. Max is a good player. I still believe in him as a player. Lindy is going to give him an opportunity to play and we'll go from here."

On the Moore trade being a reaction to the flurry of deals by other Eastern Conference clubs: "It wasn't a reaction to other teams. It's about our own needs, what we need to do and that was our focus."

On whether Moore is a rental player or a player the Sabres may look to sign longterm after the season: "Our intention is to bring Dominic in for the balance of the year. I'd leave it open as to what happens from there."

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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 | jvogl@buffnews.com

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 | mharrington@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

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