The News' Bucky Gleason, John Vogl and Mike Harrington held a season-end video chat on the Sabres, as well as the team's decision to retain General Manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff. Replay the chat in the console below the video.
Click on the links below to watch clips from the live video chat:
Pneumonia is one nasty bug but Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera is over it and had his first full practice today in First Niagara Center. Sekera hopes he can play tomorrow night against the Florida Panthers and the Sabres really need him to with Tyler Myers still on the shelf from his three-game suspension.
"I was short of breath. Even just to go upstairs in my house was tiring," Sekera said. "I couldn't breath very good. as time went on, it got better and better."
Sekera said he lost some weight -- "it wasn't a two-digit number but it was getting close -- but has put most of it back on. Now it's just a case of getting his conditioning back in form. Can he really play the 20-22 minutes we've become accustomed to seeing?
"I will do my best and I will see how it goes from period to period," he said. "I don't promise anything. I just want to get out, skate well and play a hard game to help this team win."
Coach Lindy Ruff took the ice today in a Sabres jacket with a "stop" sign on the back and a "yield" sign on the sleeves. It was a joke outfit made for him by close friend and PGA golfer Dudley Hart.
"That's my on-ice jacket, just a little bit of extra protection," said Ruff, who suffered three broken ribs in practice last month when Jordan Leopold took him out. "Guys notice the stop sign and yield so they don't run me over."
Nathan Gerbe (upper body) is skating on his own and will make the trip. His status is day to day.
OTTAWA -- The Sabres wouldn't rule Thomas Vanek out of Saturday night's game here after practice Friday but in case he can't go, they have again called up Marcus Foligno on an emergency basis from Rochester.
Foligno is on his fourth recall to Buffalo because he was jet-trotting the continent earlier this week in case he was needed. The only game he's actually played was the 4-1 loss to the Senators here on Dec. 20. He made his NHL debut that night against the team featuring his older brother, Nick, and game two might be another family reunion.
Marcus Foligno is tied for second in scoring on the Amerks with 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists), and has 70 penalty minutes in 55 games.
BuffaloNews.com and the Sabres Edge blog will provide thorough coverage leading up to and following today's 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline.
It kicks off with The News' Bucky Gleason, John Vogl and Mike Harrington live chatting at 12:30 p.m. A live two-hour video broadcast starts at 1:30 p.m., hosted by Tim Graham and Jay Skurski, with updates from Vogl and Harrington from First Niagara Center. Any news conferences will be carried live as well.
New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano is suffering from the same flu bug that forced goaltender Evgeni Nabakov to stay home on this trip, and he has decided to stay back at the team hotel and not direct the Isles in tonight's game at First Niagara Center.
(No truth to the rumor Capuano was completely sickened by his team's no-show Monday against Ottawa.)
Capuano will be replaced tonight by Doug Weight, the longtime NHL veteran who won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006 and wrapped up his career with the Isles last season. By this time, I'm guessing Weight knows who Jason Pominville is.
You may recall that it was Weight's boarding call against Pominville during overtime of Game Six here that set up Daniel Briere's overtime goal that allowed the Sabres to pull even in the '06 Eastern Conference finals. Weight said afterward he didn't even know Pominville's first name, to which the then-Buffalo rookie famously shot back, "He knows my last name because he hit me from behind."
Great memories. And now the Sabres struggle just to climb into -- maybe -- 11th place in the East if things all go the right way tonight. Oh, well.
Be sure to join me here at 7 for tonight's live game blog.
A quiet morning in Sabreland as a only a few players took an optional skate in First Niagara Center prior to tonight's game against the New York Islanders. Ryan Miller will be in goal for Buffalo, and he posted his franchise-record 235th career victory Feb. 4 in the Nassau Coliseum when the Sabres posted a 4-3 shootout win. The Islanders won the first two meetings, 2-1 and 4-2, as Jhonas Enroth started in goal.
The Islanders are coming off Monday's brutal 6-0 loss to Ottawa and enter tonight's game one point ahead of the Sabres in the tight Eastern Conference standings. They struggled in goal in that game as Kevin Poulin got a quick hook after two goals in the first 95 seconds and was replaced by Al Montoya, who beat Buffalo here in November. Starter Evgeni Nabokov has been saddled with the flu since Thursday and did not make the trip.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano did not attend his team's optional morning skate due to the flu and assistant Doug Weight said that Poulin will start in goal again tonight.
Tonight's game is the 150th regular season between the teams. Buffalo leads the series, 72-55-22, and is 40-23-11 against the Isles at home.
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.
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.
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.