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Regier on Miller: 'He will play'

Darcy Regier says don't jump to any conclusions about Ryan Miller's status based on today's acquisition of Mikael Tellqvist. Miller's high ankle sprain still has him out of practice with no return date set and just over a month left in the season to go. But the GM emphasized today his No. 1 goaltender will be back.

"We have an understanding of what is the best-case scenario, which isn't out that far,"Regier said. "We have a worst-case scenario."

So I asked if that worst-case is out for the season. Regier said no.

"Not where we're standing now," Regier said. "He will play. It's just a question of when."

---Mike Harrington

Sully on Connolly: 'So much for the hometown discount'

Be sure to check out Jerry Sullivan's thoughts on Tim Connolly's new deal by going to the Sully on Sports blog.

Tallinder: No idea about the rumors

With Tim Connolly not on hand, the local media encircled Henrik Tallinder when he came off the ice after today's pregame skate. Here's some of what he had to say about possibly getting dealt in the next four hours:

"I have no idea about any rumors. Whatever happens, happens. I'm here for a game today. If not, there's a trade so we'll see. Anyone is expendable so I'm not surprised.

"I'm not nervous but you never know what to expect. It's part of the business I guess. I've never been traded before so we'll see what happens."

"I've learned to like this community. I like it here but it's nothing I can do anything about [if a trade happens]. It's not easy. I'm here to play hockey and I've done that so many times. I know what to do. I've been through some trade deadlines before so we'll see."

---Mike Harrington

Sens deal Vermette, re-sign Kuba

The Ottawa Senators figure to be busy today and they've struck first by dealing Antoine Vermette to Columbus for goaltender Pascal LeClaire and by signing defenseman Filip Kuba to a three-year deal, taking him off the market. Columbus needs forwards -- how does the deal for Vermette impact the Jackets' interest in Tim Connolly?

(Info should be coming fast and furious today. Be sure to refresh your browser or click "main" at the top of the blog if you're within a post to get the latest information).

---Mike Harrington

Morning skate report

As it turns out, you can't read much into the roll call from the Sabres' morning skate because it's an optional. Not on the ice are Tim Connolly, Derek Roy, Paul Gaustad and Craig Rivet.

Three names also floated in trade talk -- Maxim Afinogenov, Ales Kotalik and Henrik Tallinder -- are all skating.

Lots of media on hand whenver Montreal is in town but that's even more the case today. Crews from TSN and The Score are in the building beaming live reports on the trade deadline back to Canada.

Speaking of the Canadiens, Carey Price is going to make his first start in goal since Feb. 19 tonight because Jaroslav Halak stayed home with the flu.

---Mike Harrington

Early deadline day chatter

Greetings from what figures to be a looooooong and interesting day in HSBC Arena. The NHL trade deadline is at 3 p.m. and the Sabres have a huge game against Montreal at 7:30. Keep it here for all the latest trade talk and follow Bucky Gleason's live chat, scheduled to start in the 1 p.m. range. Some quick hits:

---TSN is reporting that the Ducks have chosen to keep Chris Pronger 

---The Leafs held out Dominic Moore and Nik Antropov from last night's overtime loss to the Devils but defenseman Tomas Kaberle reinjured his hand and is probably not going to be on the market today. GM Brian Burke said in that linked Toronto Star story that he had yet to receive an offer for Kaberle.

(By the way, the Leafs tied the NHL record last night by playing in their seventh straight overtime game. They're 4-0-3 in that stretch, going 2-1 in OT deciding goals and 2-2 in shootouts.).

---Mark Recchi of Tampa Bay was held out of action last night. He's likely to get moved today and it will be interesting who might put in a waiver claim for 42-year-old Gary Roberts.

---The Sabres' morning skate begins at 10 a.m. Keep it here for an attendance update. If someone is not on the ice, it's likely a sign that a deal is imminent.

---Mike Harrington

Trade Connolly? Now?

While we're on the subject of Connolly -- and is Mike Milbury about the goofiest analyst there is in the game or what? -- Sully and I had a spirited talk during his chat Wednesday and in the press box during the game about trading the Sabres' red-hot center. Sully presents his argument again in his column this morning.

His theory is that Connolly is a UFA after the season and he's playing so well that his value has never been higher so you should deal him now. I think Sully had a little too much wine and cheese at his Super Bowl party.

Connolly and Ryan Miller are reasons 1A and 1B (pick your order) the Sabres have been playing so well during 2009. What kind of message are you sending to your fans and your team trading one of your top guys now?

When Brian Campbell was dealt last year, the Sabres were going nowhere, there were other defensemen (namely Andrej Sekera) who could fill some of that role and Campbell was playing lousy anyway. There's no one ready to replace Connolly right now and if you make the playoffs, who knows what happens?

Yes, it appears the Sabres aren't equipped for a deep run right now but they should be adding parts, not subtracting. Trade Connolly now? I say no way, no how.

What do you think?

---Mike Harrington

The news gets worse and worse

Still feeling sour over last night's meltdown against Montreal? Check out these nuggets. They won't make your mood any better.

---The Bruins have scored twice in the second period and have a 2-0 lead over Ottawa. Twenty minutes left for the Senators to give Buffalo some help.

---Habs center Saku Koivu and defenseman Mark Streit will both miss tonight's game in Toronto with foot injuries suffered when they took shots from Ales Kotalik in the opening minute of the first period Friday. Both recovered to play the entire game -- with Koivu making the key play from behind the net on the Habs' overtime goal and Streit assisting on the final three Montreal tallies -- before their pain grew overnight.

---The Sharks clinched the Pacific Division title with last night's 3-1 win over the Ducks. So for those keeping a Brian Campbell scorecard, San Jose is 14-0-2 since he was acquired from the Sabres at the trade deadline and he has 15 points (2-13) in those games. The Sharks are unbeaten in regulation in their last 18 games (16-0-2). Any Steve Bernier sightings lately?

---Mike Harrington

Trade winds blow through notebook

In the wake of the trading deadline and two days off, I have a lot on my mind to unload this morning as the Sabres prep for tonight's game against the Canadiens.

---Even before we saw Steve Bernier play Wednesday night, you had to like what Darcy Regier got for Brian Campbell. But Regier took the deal from the Sharks at 11:30 a.m. If he had waited closer to the 3 p.m. deadline, could he have squeezed even more from San Jose or someone else? Look at the haul Atlanta got from Pittsburgh in exchange for Marian Hossa just under the wire.

---Speaking of Hossa, how sick do you think the Pens feel that he hurt his knee in his first game Thursday and will be out at least a week? Yikes. How about Brad Richards giving the Stars five assists in his debut Thursday?

---Less than two months later, the Ice Bowl already has a remember-them feel. Both goal scorers in regulation (Campbell and Pittsburgh's Colby Armstrong) were dealt at the deadline.

Campbellsan_jose ---Former Campbell defense partner Jaro Spacek had an interesting thought Wednesday about how Campbell will find it tougher in the Western Conference. Sure enough, in his first game Wednesday in Columbus, Campbell (left) got mugged by BlueJackets center Rick Nash and new defense partner Douglas Murray had to jump in and rescue him.

---The Sabres' three-year offer was a joke and Campbell's tears were genuine but it's hard for me to get all misty-eyed when a guy simply can't take $17.75 million. Especially when he keeps insisting the players' union didn't put any pressure on him. Right. All the tears we saw the last two weeks were the sign of a tormented guy getting squeezed on both sides, from his own emotions and the demands of his union and agent.

---Wow, was that Hockey News cover with Campbell in a Sharks jersey prophetic or what? Couple weeks ago in New York restaurant, Campbell ran into some Sharks players and old buddy Joe Thornton joked with him to come over and meet his new teammates. Wishful thinking at the time.

---The Sabres got manhandled in December in Anaheim and LA and their toughness was certainly in question. No questions anymore, especially with what we saw in the late going of Wednesday's slugfest against Nashville. Adding Bernier certainly helps in that area and so does Nolan Pratt's regular turn on defense. And how would you like to be playing against a fourth line of Adam Mair, Patrick Kaleta and Andrew Peters? Keep your head up!

---We don't see the Predators much at all, in person or on TV. Fine with me. What a bunch of chippy hacks.

---Speaking of the Ice Bowl, it's the last time we saw Maxim Afinogenov on the ice. Isn't it kind of odd to you that he's suddenly healthy two days after the deadline? The way he'd been playing before he got hurt, the Sabres would have almost certainly been looking to unload his bloated contract.

---Mike Harrington

(Photo: Associated Press)

Ottawa unhappy

As the cover of the Ottawa Sun shows, the people in Canada's capital weren't all that thrilled with deadline day. The Senators' only move was getting Martin Lapointe (though they did get Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore before Tuesday).

Ottsuncover1_2 The Sun quotes Senators GM Bryan Murray as saying he went after the Sabres' Brian Campbell. The paper says the team may have offered prospects Nick Foligno (son of Sabres Hall of Famer Mike Foligno), Ilja Zubov or Alexander Nikulin and a pick. Instead, Sabres GM Darcy Regier sent Campbell to San Jose for Steve Bernier and a pick.

"I felt like what I offered Darcy was better than what they got from San Jose, but Campbell wasn't going to stay in the East. The Sabres wanted him to go West," Murray told the paper.

Bernier is more of what the Sabres need.

---John Vogl

Stars get richer with Richards

This isn't exactly breaking news, but Brad Richards could be precisely the guy the Stars need to push them deep into the postseason. The Stars were in desperate need of scoring help, and Richards is one of the NHL's best playmakers when he's right. He hasn't been right for a while.

One step in getting Richards back on course is getting him out of Tampa Bay. He's become a target for fans who have grown tired of watching him underachieve the past two seasons while pocketing $7.8 million. Plus-minus isn't the best indicator of how a player is performing, but it is an indicator. And his minus-25 indicates he plays less defense than Danny Briere.

Richards' biggest problem might have been playing for John Tortorella, especially after the center became a star. Torts doesn't take to star players. He and Vinny Lecavalier have had their problems over the years. After a while, it gets suffocating.

Now, Richards can breathe again. Can he breathe life into the Stars?

--- Bucky Gleason

Gainey's gain is Habs loss

I'm not sure what happened with the Habs at the deadline, but it looks like Bob Gainey had a Bob Corkum moment. Let me get this straight: He traded away Cristobal Huet for a second-round pick, and that's it?

My guess is Gainey was trying to clear up some money in an effort to get Marian Hossa from the Thrashers. If that's the case, he should have made darned sure it was a done deal before relying on rookie Carey Price to carry them through.

Price has been inconsistent this season, which is expected from first-year goalies. It still amazes me that Cam Ward was able to hold it together a couple years ago in Carolina. Regardless, for them to lose a safety net in Huet and not get Hossa is a major, major blunder.

Good thing Gainey is a legend in Montreal. If he were anyone else anywhere else, it might be enough to get a guy fired. Maybe Patrick Roy is still in shape.

--- Bucky Gleason

A look at Bernier

A couple YouTube clips of Steve Bernier, including a recent intermission interview and a compilation of some goal highlights.

---Mike Harrington

More from Darcy

Darcy Regier just met the media again. Some quick hits that really stuck out to me:

1). On this year's goals without Brian Campbell: "We expect to be good while we build. ... We still expect to make the playoffs."

2). On the offer to Campbell in relation to other contracts being signed around the league: "Three years is not enough."

Ya think? Regier obviously knew this a long time ago. Seems like he wanted to make sure the boys in the owner's box really believe him when July comes and it's time to talk to Ryan Miller.

3). On Miller's contract: "We will address it. We will find a solution [on a long-term deal]."

Let's see if Regier can live up to these words. Would be nice if Golisano & Co. would let him do his job the right way.

---Mike Harrington

Ducks cornering market on backup goaltenders

Not that the Sabres could use an upgrade behind Miller. No, they don't need that (smirk). Actually, getting another goaltender or two in the organization would be a darn good idea. The Sabs soon must decide whether Miller warrants Lundqvist money. And that's hardly a slam-dunk.

---Bob DiCesare

In the locker room

Waiting to hear again from Darcy Regier as the deadline has passed. No word yet if there's any more deals coming from the Sabres.

On a day that was hardly normal, the players tried to have a normal day with off-ice work and then a full practice. After all, there is a game here tomorrow night against Nashville. Paul Gaustad said the mood in the room was "somber" in the wake of the Brian Campbell trade. Ryan Miller said it was another lesson in the business of the game.

The finality of it all was easy to spot. You just had to look in the corner between the lockers of Daniel Paille and Patrick Kaleta. There was an empty stall. Even Campbell's nameplate was down.

---Mike Harrington

Penguins get Hossa

Sidney Crosby and Colby Armstrong are perfect complements for each other. I could see it at the end of December when I spent two days in Pittsburgh to get stories for the Winter Classic, and ESPN's Scott Burnside wrote about it very well recently. Now Armstrong's gone, and it will be interesting to see how hockey's foremost player reacts when he returns from injury.

The Penguins got the biggest fish in the market, acquiring Marian Hossa from Atlanta, along with one of this year's biggest tormentors of the Sabres, Pascal Dupuis. But the Pens gave up a ton: Armstrong, elite prospect Angelo Esposito, forward Erik Christensen and a first-round pick.

Hossa is great, but I think Armstrong had a ton of potential to get near his level. Either way, Pittsburgh is near the top of the chart that lists 2008 Stanley Cup favorites.

---John Vogl

One hour to go

Marian Hossa is still a Thrasher and Olli Jokinen is still a Panther. Nothing new from the Sabres about Dmitri Kalinin or anyone else.

---Mike Harrington

Bernier ready for expectations

Steve Bernier has a very high opinion of Brian Campbell. It's going to drive him toward being a good player himself.

Bernier, acquired from San Jose today for Campbell, said he's going to use the trade as an opportunity to prove he should be traded for a two-time All-Star.

"Campbell is pretty much the best defenseman in the league, from my point of view," Bernier said on a conference call. "It's going to be tough. I'm young right now. I've got a lot of growing to do to become a good player. I'm happy to do it with the Sabres. I'm going to work hard and try to be as good as possible to make sure that trade is going to be a good trade for the Sabres."

The 22-year-old right winger is expected to arrive in Buffalo tonight and dress for the Sabres on Wednesday when they host the Nashville Predators. The Quebec City native is 6-foot-2, 225 pounds.

"My game is simple," Bernier said. "What I'm doing is try to create space for my linemates, be in front of the net as much as possible, hit."

The Sharks' first-round pick in 2003 has been in a scoring funk, much like the rest of his team. It's why they traded him for a point-producer like Campbell.

"At first I was surprised but right now I feel good," Bernier said. "I'm very excited to be going to Buffalo. I know they've got very good young players, and it's an exciting day for me right now."

---John Vogl

Still time for more

Darcy Regier went back upstairs in HSBC Arena after discussing the Brian Campbell deal, and the thinking is there may be more deals on the way.

Even though the Sabres traded one defenseman, don't be surprised if they trade a second. Dmitri Kalinin is in the same unrestricted boat as Campbell, though at much less money. At first notion it's crazy to trade a second D-man, but it's possible the Sabres could get a younger guy back. Keep an eye on Vancouver.

---John Vogl

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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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