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LaFontaine on Grigorenko: NHL Olympic break factored into decision to return him to junior

By Mike Harrington

Following today's USA Hockey announcement regarding the return of the Prospects Game to First Niagara Center, Pat LaFontaine spoke to the media for the first time about the Mikhail Grigorenko situation. The Sabres' president of hockey operations made it clear the team believes the decision to return the 19-year-old to junior hockey is by far best for his development and also made a point no one had really thought of.

The kid needs to play. And we're coming up on a month where he wouldn't see much ice if he was still in the NHL.

"One of the big parts of the decision is that once the Olympics come around if he's not playing in Rochester, he's sitting around for 20 days," LaFontaine said. "A player at 19 years of age needs to develop. He needs to be playing. You also want to put a player in a position to succeed. Maybe he's played a few years already there and done very well, but he hasn't won a Memorial Cup yet."

LaFontaine said the message to Grigorenko was clear -- go to Quebec, play 20-25 minutes a game including power play time, improve his all-around skills to become a 200-foot player and try to become a leader on a championship team.

"We're doing what we think is best to help develop our players and care for them and what they need," LaFontaine said. "I really think under the circumstances we're doing the best thing. 

"The old-school part of it is you really have to earn it. There has to be a standard. And when you get to the NHL, you have to be a consistent pro. Becoming a consistent NHL level player every night, that's hard."

And LaFontaine made it clear he feels the team's previous regime (see Regier, Darcy; and Ruff, Lindy) pretty much messed this whole thing up. No disagreement here. Olympics or no Olympics, Grigorenko simply isn't an NHL-level player yet.

"It's unfortunate that it hasn't been the right program or protocol that should have occurred," LaFontaine said. "I don't think it was. It happened. But that's behind us now. What we need to do is what's best for Mikhail going forward."

Murray Mania: All the chatter from a huge day in Sabreland

Sabrestrio
Craig Patrick, Tim Murray and Pat LaFontaine are the centers of attention on a big day for the Sabres front office. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)



By Mike Harrington

We've got all the angles covered in today's Buffalo News about the hiring of Tim Murray as the Sabres' new general manager and Hall of Famer Craig Patrick as a special assistant. Check out these links.

In John Vogl's main story on the day's activities, there's a closer examination of why the straight-shooting Murray was Pat LaFontaine's pick from a field that grew to 10 candidates.

My main assignment was a look at what Murray and Pat LaFontaine think of Ted Nolan and Ryan Miller, now that a GM is in place. 

Bucky Gleason's column talks about the arrival of Craig Patrick, a hockey lifer who became emotional because he gets reunited with Pat LaFontaine.

I had an interesting chat with Zenon Konopka yesterday about Murray, the only current Sabre who has played while Murray was in a front office. He was effusive in his praise.

What about the game? Not a great effort at all in a shootout loss to the Florida Panthers. But, as Amy Moritz notes, the bigger story was the return of Mikhail Grigorenko from Sweden. But how long does he stay? 

What's being said about Murray around the Web?

Yahoo's Puck Daddy blog says the new GM is no "Dawdling Darcy." Ouch.  

Sports Illustrated's Allan Muir calls the hirings of Murray and Craig Patrick "genius" decisions by LaFontaine.

In the Ottawa Sun, Bruce Garrioch has the reaction from the Senators on Murray's departure.

And be sure to scroll through previous entries on this blog for plenty of video from Thursday's press conference as well.

Sens' Murray is the choice for GM; contract remains to be negotiated

MurrayBy Mike Harrington

Ottawa assistant general manager Tim Murray appears to be in line to become the new GM of the Buffalo Sabres.

Murray, the nephew of current Ottawa GM and former Senators coach Bryan Murray, has apparently been selected by Sabres' president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine to replace Darcy Regier.

Canadian television networks TSN and Sportsnet both reported late Tuesday night that the Sabres' two-month search has landed on Murray. According to the reports, the parties will move into the process of getting approval from Sabres owner Terry Pegula and then negotiate a contract.

Sabres officials said they could neither confirm or deny the Canadian reports.

Murray, 50, has had a 20-year career in the NHL, mostly in the scouting and personnel world. He has worked for Detroit, Florida, Anaheim and the New York Rangers before joining the Senators in July, 2007.

Continue reading "Sens' Murray is the choice for GM; contract remains to be negotiated" »

The GM search: Add Sens' (other) Murray to the list

TimMurray
Tim Murray working the phones at the NHL Draft (Getty Images).

By Mike Harrington

The latest entry into the Sabres' search for a new general manager is Ottawa assistant Tim Murray, the nephew of longtime Sens coach and current GM Bryan Murray. The Sabres have asked for permission to talk to Murray and received it, according to veteran columnist Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.

Tim Murray was named to his current post on July 5, 2007 -- four days after Daniel Briere and Chris Drury left the Sabres in the moment that basically ended Buffalo's run to the top of the Eastern Conference. Less than two months earlier, Ottawa had eliminated the Sabres in Game Five of the Eastern Conference final.

Murray, who turned 50 on Halloween, would seem to be an attractive candidate for a rebuilding team based on a resume full of scouting/personnel roles that date to 1993. He's worked for Florida, Anaheim and the New York Rangers before joining Ottawa. With the Senators, Murray serves as GM of the Binghamton farm team, and the B-Sens won the AHL's Calder Cup in 2011.

This Ottawa Sun story after that season even talks about why Tim Murray should have replaced Bryan as general manager of the big-league Senators.

Murray joins a list that includes several other assistant GMs such as Jim Benning (Boston), Jason Botterill (Pittsburgh), Paul Fenton (Nashville) and Brad Treliving (Phoenix), who was discussed in John Vogl's Inside the NHL column on Sunday.

The Sabres also asked for and received permission to talk to Montreal assistant Rick Dudley, the former Buffalo player and coach. But the Lewiston resident never interviewed, as he signed a lucrative extension to stay with the Habs.

Dudley simply having too much fun in Montreal to leave for Sabres' GM post

By Mike Harrington

Rick Dudley is having too much fun with the Montreal Canadiens.

You can go through the all the complicated scenarios you want, but that's the bottom line to why the former Sabres player and coach has opted to stay as the assistant general manager with the Habs and not become a candidate for Buffalo's open GM job.

The Sabres asked for permission to talk to Dudley earlier this week, Dudley told reporters tonight in a meeting in the First Niagara Center press box. Montreal GM Marc Bergevin told Dudley he would give the permission, but wanted a chance to talk to Dudley as well. As it turned out, Dudley never talked to the Sabres. TSN reported the Habs gave him a lucrative contract extension, although Dudley wouldn't comment on those details other than to admit he got years added on to his deal.

"I went to Montreal because of Marc Bergevin," Dudley said. "I enjoy the people I work with. it's fun. It's a great gig. if you enjoy something a great deal, why change if you don't have to?

"I'm having a ball in Montreal and I want to stay there. It's been fun from day one. We've got a wonderful group of players, coaches, the entire staff. It was a situation I didn't think I could walk away from."

Continue reading "Dudley simply having too much fun in Montreal to leave for Sabres' GM post" »

The GM search: Fenton confirms interest, says 'I would love to get an opportunity to talk to them'

Paul-fenton1
Paul Fenton at the NHL Draft in June. (Getty Images)

By Mike Harrington

I've heard multiple whispers today that Pat LaFontaine has been in Boston, presumably to interview Bruins assistant general manager Jim Benning for the Sabres' vacant GM post.

Benning is the only known candidate the Sabres have asked permission to speak to thus far, although they're expected to be interested in PIttsburgh assistant Jason Botterill and Nashville aide Paul Fenton as well.

(Friday night update:  LaFontaine spoke to reporters at the Rochester Amerks game tonight and confirmed he has done one interview this week -- and that his short list of candidates has grown)

Fenton, a former NHL player with seven teams, spoke out Thursday night in Toronto about the job and revealed that Nashville GM David Poile has called the Sabres to talk up his assistant's candidacy.

"I believe that I’m ready,” said Fenton, 53. “I’m hoping somebody else does. (David) was talking to them about me being interested in the job. There’s no question, I would love to get an opportunity to talk to them.”

Fenton is an original Predators employee dating to the team's birth in 1998. After serving as the director of player personnel for the Predators’ first eight seasons, he was promoted to assistant general manager on June 5, 2006. He's best known in Nashville for spearheading the picks in the 2003 draft that produced standout defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. 

Report: Pens to grant Botterill permission to talk to LaFontaine about GM post

By Mike Harrington

Pat LaFontaine said yesterday the search to replace Darcy Regier as general manager is on and reiterated that stance this morning during team president Ted Black's weekly radio show on WGR Radio. He's not kidding.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting the Sabres will be granted permission to talk to Penguins assistant GM Jason Botterill -- a former Sabres player and rising prospect in NHL executive ranks -- about their vacant post.

Botterill, 37, is in his fifth season with the Penguins and is considered an expert with the salary cap. He spent the last three years of his pro hockey career in the Buffalo organization, including 36 games with the Sabres in 2002-03 and 2003-04.

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Related content from the Sabres Edge blog:

Bulletin: Sabres re-acquire Tallinder in deal with Devils

Hank
Henrik Tallinder is coming back to Buffalo. (Getty Images)


By Mike Harrington

The Buffalo Sabres have re-acquired an old friend, getting veteran defenseman Henrik Tallinder back from the New Jersey Devils for prospect winger Riley Boychuk.

Tallinder, 34, has spent the last three years in New Jersey after leaving Buffalo via free agency in 2010, when he was the rock as Tyler Myers' defense partner during Myers' Calder Trophy season. His career with the Devils never really panned out, as he spent the last two years battling injuries and sitting out as a healthy scratch.

Tallinder played in 25 games last season, posting one goal and three assists with an even rating. He was minus-11 during the 2011-12 season. He will make $3.5 million this year in the final year of his contract with a cap hit of $3.375 million. 

Tallinder was Buffalo's No. 2 pick in the 1997 draft and spent parts of eight seasons with the Sabres. He was one of the key members of the defense of the 2006 team that got to the Eastern Conference finals and the broken arm he suffered in Game Four proved to be a major factor in the seven-game loss to Carolina.

"We are excited to have Henrik back in the mix on our blue line," general manager Darcy Regier said in a release from the team. "His experience will be invaluable not only in adding more stability to our back end, but also in the development of some of our younger defensemen."

Continue reading "Bulletin: Sabres re-acquire Tallinder in deal with Devils" »

Yes, that was one interesting presser to cap a bizarre season

TD
Ted Black and Darcy Regier. (Harry Scull/Buffalo News)

 


By Mike Harrington

As you would surmise, I have been deluged with comments/questions/criticisms/attaboys/epithets and everything in between in the wake of yesterday's Sabres season-ending press conference. I read them all and regular followers of my Twitter feed know I do my best to answer as many legitimate requests/opinions as possible.

In this case, however,  that's pretty much impossible. But there have been many solid questions, many repeated times over, that it's probably best to answer them here. Some thoughts in no particular order:

---1). Ticket talk -- The No. 1 question people wanted asked was obviously the status of Darcy Regier and it was the first question asked and answered. By far the No. 2 inquiry was to demand answers about what in the world the Sabres were doing with a ticket price hike being announced in the face of a non-playoff year -- and with letters about the details arriving on Fan Appreciation Day.

After the presser, I got all kinds of crazy comments about people wanting to know why so much time was spent on tickets! Say what? The first thought is those people must not be ticket holders. The second is that Ted Black tied reasoning to the NHL CBA and the team was harshly criticized Sunday by the New York Post. We had similar concerns but held them until we could ask Black about them Monday. Black's insistence that the Sabres needed to qualify for revenue sharing brought more follow-up questions because it flew in the face of the owner's long-stated platform (since the owner doesn't speak to the media and thus the fans, I'm omitting his name here).

Continue reading "Yes, that was one interesting presser to cap a bizarre season" »

Full coverage of the Sabres' dismissal of Lindy Ruff is at The Buffalo News, from columns to photos to a look back

NY_BN
The front page of today's Buffalo News.

By John Vogl

Lindy Ruff spent 26 years with the Buffalo Sabres as a coach and player. The run came to an end Wednesday. The Buffalo News has it covered:

*Ruff came to First Niagara Center for practice, meeting some of his players and looking at video before heading to a news conference to honor high schoolers who will take the ice downtown next week. It was like any other day in Sabreland.

Ruff then worked his struggling team hard on the ice, a 90-minute practice that was one of the longest of the season. He met the media for 4 minutes, cutting off questions a little earlier than on most days this season. Then he headed out to his home in Clarence.

But General Manager Darcy Regier soon came over with some startling news.

*When it actually happened, Bucky Gleason writes, my first thought wasn't about the Sabres finally making a bold move that they owed their fan base. I wasn't thinking about who would replace him. Strangely enough, it was about how much I owed Lindy Ruff, knowing that I could never repay him.

*Regier arrived 20 minutes late to announce that he had fired Lindy Ruff as his head coach, Jerry Sullivan writes. It was fitting, because like so many of the general manager’s moves, this one was long overdue.

*Ruff dreamed of holding the Stanley Cup in his adopted town of Buffalo. He pictured himself skating around Memorial Auditorium with the chalice over his head. He envisioned himself clutching the Cup on the bench in First Niagara Center.

He held onto the dream for half of his life. Now he has to let it go.

*Here's a time line of Ruff's experiences in Buffalo, starting with his second-round selection in the 1979 draft.

*Ruff's career in pictures, as seen by Buffalo News photographers.

*Bucky, Mike Harrington and I have a video with our thoughts on the moves, and we have Regier's news conference, as well.

*Here is what the actual newspaper coverage looks like, from cover to cover.

*The Sabres play in Toronto today, and interim coach Ron Rolston will hold his first practice at 11:30 a.m. We will be in The True North all day, so stay with the Sabres Edge for all the latest.

Video: Sabres President Ted Black interviewed by Bucky Gleason

Watch other segments from this week's "Bucky & Sully Show" here.

Pegula extends Regier, says Sabres look like 'a good hockey team'

By Mike Harrington

After making the customary apology to fans virtually every NHL owner has made this week in the wake of the lockout, Sabres owner Terry Pegula dropped a surprise on reporters at the start of his 22-minute news conference today in the Lexus Club at First Niagara Center: He has agreed to a contract extension with General Manager Darcy Regier.

Regier, who took over the club in the summer of 1997, signed what's believed to be a two-year extension in the fall of 2010 and it's not completely clear how long this extension will run. The Sabres do not release contract terms but Regier's original deal was not expiring after this season anyway.

"Both sides are happy with the arrangement," Pegula said. "And we look forward to continuing to work with Darcy into the future. The timing of this decision was not today. We've been talking about this. We had this agreement for quite some time. I approached him. Darcy is a talented guy. ... We work very well together and we're looking forward to the future."

Said Regier: "I am very grateful and honored to be able to continue in this capacity working with this ownership."

In other notes from the press conference:

---Pegula on the lockout: "It's good to be back. I can tell you as an organization, the Sabres are very glad to be playing hockey again. We apologize to the whole hockey fan base, the media, our sponsors and our supporters for the hardship we may have put people through but sometimes things happen that you don't plan for in life."

---Pegula he talked often to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman during the lockout and said he felt it was necessary to help struggling small market teams. Pegula said he did not push for a quick resolution: "I'm a new owner so I'm not about to say, 'OK, here's what we're going to do, guys."

---Pegula said the Sabres' goal remains to win the Stanley Cup and he's been heartened by watching Boston and Los Angeles end droughts in the 40-year range by winning it the last two years.

---Regier said the team has already had organizational talks about the contracts of stars Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek -- all of which expire after next season.

---Pegula on this year's club: "I think our team is a lot different than the team I inherited when I bought it. It's got a new imprint on it, a new mark. It looks like a good hockey team."

---Pegula used the term "totally inaccurate" when asked about numerous reports in Pennsylvania he paid $1.3 million to augment the salary of Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien and keep him in Happy Valley so he wouldn't jump to the NFL.

Full audio of the press conference is here


Terry Pegula/Darcy Regier/Ted Black

Click here to download

Video: Sabres pre-draft news conference highlights

BULLETIN: Miller has concussion, MacIntyre called up from Rochester

MONTREAL -- Darcy Regier wanted to collect his thoughts and declined comment after the Sabres' meeting today in the Bell Centre. He had plenty to say this evening in a telephone conversation with The Buffalo News.

The biggest piece of news is this: Ryan Miller has a concussion and is out of the lineup for an undetermined length of time.

Miller felt increasingly worse during Saturday's game in Boston after the hit by Milan Lucic and was removed from the game following the second period by Bruins doctors under the NHL's head injury protocol. Drew MacIntyre has been called up from Rochester and will back up Jhonas Enroth Monday night in Montreal.

As of 7:15 this evening, Regier said reports there will be no suspension are incorrect because he has been told the league has made no ruling. He said he firmly believes Milan Lucic should pay a price for the hit.

"If this hit and other types of hits like this are not suspended, we are opening up the possibility of losing goaltenders to injury," Regier said sternly. "And not just injury, but concussion. ... When i look at the position of goaltending. in a lot of ways it's not unlike quarterback in football. I feel very strongly the protection has to be provided and players committing these types of action should be punished.

"The last thing we need to do in the NHL is to be losing our stars to concussions on plays like this."

Regier said Miller will not be dressing Monday night and Drew MacIntyre will back up Enroth.

"Hopefully it is not severe and hopefully it is not longterm," Regier said ominously, although he later said Miller was feeling better today.

What about his players' lack of protection of their No. 1 goalie? Regier was blunt about that too.

"You could go to each one of our players and they would tell you that they wished they had dealt with it differently," Regier said. "And they will deal with it differently in the future. ... We were all disappointed."

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

TSN reports Regehr waives no-trade clause to join Sabres

TSN is reporting that Calgary Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr has agreed to waive his no-trade clause in order to join the Sabres.

State of the Sabres: A video recap

John Vogl, Bucky Gleason and Mike Harrington offer some video commentary on Friday's State of the Sabres address featuring Terry Pegula, Ted Black, Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff. 

Topics include Ruff's contract extension, the team's approach to free agency, what the team needs for 2011-12, and what will change in HSBC Arena.

Click below to watch.

State of the Sabres comes Friday morning

The Sabres' players cleaned out their lockers and had their say Thursday morning. On Friday morning, it will be the front office's turn.

On Thursday evening, the team announced that it will have a State of the Sabres news conference with owner Terry Pegula, President Ted Black, General Manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff Friday at 11 a.m. in HSBC Arena.

There will certainly be some pressing issues to address with Regier and Ruff, notably their feeling on the team's unrestricted free agents and young players, as well as the status of the injured Jason Pominville -- who may not be ready for training camp or the start of the regular season. But it will particularly noteworthy to hear what Pegula and Black have to say about the team moving forward.

They've promised big things since they took over and have helped foster a rapid change in the culture of the organization. This will be their first real discussion of how they plan to handle the offseason and it should be interesting.

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

Live from the Arena: Sabres vs. Senators

Greetings from the Arena for Game Two of Pegulapalooza: It's the Sabres against their former archrivals, the Ottawa Senators. Who are these guys? The Ottawa lineup tonight features immortals such as Zack Smith, Bobby Butler, Erik Condra, Francis Lessard, Corey Locke and Roman Wick. Lots of guys traded and others (Daniel Alfredsson and Sabres nemesis Chris Neil, to name two) are out injured. Odd.

A Buffalo win tonight would be four against the Sens this season, a first for the Sabres since 2001-02. What's really strange is the fact the visiting team has won the last eight games in this series. The Sabres went 3 for 3 in Ottawa this year while the Sens won the only meeting here on Oct. 22 as Alfredsson's empty-net goal was his 1,000th NHL point.

The Sabres dressed all seven defensemen in warmup so no idea yet if Andrej Sekera remains a scratch. No word yet on any claim of Craig Rivet off re-entry waivers. Teams have until noon tomorrow to make that claim.

Ryan Miller has a .947 save percentage and a 1.78 GAA in his last four games. He could become the first Buffalo goalie to beat Ottawa four times in a season since Dominik Hasek did it in 2000-01. Miller, by the way, is the subject of the gameday poster in Saturday's print editions. Be sure to pick one up!

The Sabres are in their second home back-to-back of the season. The Detroit Red Wings are already in town (their equipment is downstairs ready to be loaded in the locker room when Ottawa leaves), and be sure to check out the Sabres' notebook in Saturday's paper for an update on the Wings. There's your cheap plug alert for the night.

Out of town watch: Carolina is hosting injury-riddled Pittsburgh, the Rangers are at Washington, Florida is at Atlanta and red-hot New Jersey is at Tampa Bay. The Devils are 16-1-2 and have gone from 27 points out of the playoffs to just nine. That's crazy.

Keep it here for all your updates, Pegula sightings, Pegula tweets, etc.

7:27 p.m.: Sekera is the scratch for Buffalo.

Buffalo starters: Vanek-Connolly-Pominville-Butler-Myers. Wow. There's some odd combos. Goal: Miller
Ottawa starters: Michalek-Butler-Spezza-Phillips-Lee. Goal: Anderson. 

7:32 p.m.: Great tweaks on the opening intro video with Pegula's presser and scenes from Wednesday night. And it ends with "Winning is Not a Goal. It is a Belief" on the screen. Gotta love that quote. Untouchable.

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

Third Period

9:21 p.m: The puck is dropped.

15:00 left: Not many whistles so far. Hard to blog, write story at same time. Somebody ice the puck!

12:34 left: Shots are 5-2 for Ottawa. Sabres certainly need some insurance here. Good effort on the road by the depleted Sens, basically playing with a bunch of AHL players. Sabres need to sew this one up -- and then play a lot better tomorrow with the Red Wings here.

12:25 left: They heard me. There's your insurance. Hecht bangs home a Stafford rebound from the edge of the crease on a two-on-one. Sabres lead, 3-1. Hecht's 10th.

9:37 left: Sabres a little loose. Miller robs rookie Corey Locke on a deflection on the doorstep.

3:00 left: Sabres still in control. Your friendly beat writer/blogger in control. Story done. Sorry, Ryan. You can't wait till after deadline to write!

1:55 left: Uh-oh. Michalek with a wrister high to make it 3-2.

It's over: A 4-2 win on Vanek's empty netter with 31.5 left.

Second Period

8:27 p.m.: The puck is dropped. Bad news out of town as Carolina leads Pittsburgh, 3-0, and the Rangers lead Washington, 3-0.

18:39 left: Anderson stops Pominville after a nice feed from Vanek.

18:00 left: Anderson again, on a Montador snapshot via an Ennis feed. Sabres will eventually cash in on some of this open ice.

12:52 left: Niedermayer for hooking. Shots are 5-3 for Buffalo in the period, 15-11 overall.

10:11 left: McCormick bangs it home from the slot after a pass from the point by Montador goes by Vanek but richochets off the end boards right into the slot. Vanek did a great job of puck possession on that shift. Sabres lead, 2-0.

8:03 left: Vanek a little gimpy after getting dumped along the boards by Michalek but he gets up and joins the play as the Sabres dominate delayed penalty time in the zone. Michalek gets a boarding call.

5:36 left: After a wild sequence (Myers broke up a 3-on-1, Stafford stopped by Anderson on a 4-on-1), the Senators come right back with a long pass to Jason Spezza and he smokes Miller with the backhand on a breakaway. Sabres had a power play and an odd-man to go up 3-0. Now it's a game. Sabres lead, 2-1.

4:02 left: Miller with two saves after a terrible giveaway in the slot by Hecht. The Sabres have not been good with the puck in their own zone in this one.

2:08 left: Miller with a nice grab on Michalek after Vanek and Leopold had shots from the slot fail to get to the net. Buffalo has outshot Ottawa, 17-9, in this period and 27-17 for the game.

1:34 left: Kaleta runs over Svatos at center ice. Few seconds later, he puts it in on the rebound of his own one-handed shot and crashes into Anderson. Goal waved off for now. It looked like a kick. And on top that, Kaleta is gone for goaltender interference. We've seen Miller run over a lot worse than that at times this year with no call. Happened in Ottawa as a matter of face in the last meeting. And on the replay, it wasn't a kick. Foot never moved. 

End-2nd: Sabres hold the 2-1 lead. Shots were 18-11 for Buffalo and are 28-19 through two.

First Period

7:37 p.m.: The puck is dropped.

15:51 left: Pretty scrappy play so far. No shots for the first 3:02 until Miller robbed Milan Michalek from right in front. Anderson just stopped Pominville's deflection for Buffalo's first shot. It's 2-1 for Ottawa so far.

13:35 left: Terry Pegula is in the owner's box with Rene Robert and they're celebrating Mike Grier's breakaway goal, a neat deke to the backhand. Grier outskated a diving Chris Campoli for the puck at center ice and got away to score his fourth, from McCormick. Sabres lead, 1-0. Grier had been scoreless in nine games and had one goal (Feb. 4 at Pittsburgh) in his last 42 games. Ouch.

10:54 left: Weber goes for boarding on a tough hit against Bobby Butler that drew plenty of attention from the Senators. Derek Roy has joined Pegula and Robert in the owner's box. Interesting that Robert is here two nights in a row. A big welcome back to him. He's gotta be thrilled Larry Quinn and Tom Golisano are outta here.

8:55 left: A Vanek howitzer from the right wing off the post. Anderson hesitated coming out to get the puck and Vanek fired as he was trying to back into the net. He who hesitates is usually lost, right?

7:36 left: Yep, it's a whole new world here. During a stop in play, Sabretooth came down the aisle in the 100 level with a birthday cake as the Happy Birthday music played. The recipient? Jessie Pegula, who turned 17 yesterday. She was wearing the classic blue No. 4 with Pegula on the back that the owners' kids got Tuesday. And she got a good hand when she was saluted over the PA.

7:17 left: Francis Lessard for cross-checking Kaleta in front.

5:58 left: Ennis stopped point-blank after a great feed across the goalmouth by Gerbe.

2:42 left: Leopold for interference after a long shift in which the veteran was an absolute trainwreck. He gave the puck away at least three times -- including a horrible one right in front to Marek Svatos that forced Miller to be alert. Just checked: Leopold was on the ice 1:54 on that shift. Couldn't get off the ice and a tired player took a penalty.

The Sabres' lines tonight have looked like this: Vanek-Connolly-Pominville, Kaleta-Gaustad-Gerbe, Ennis-Hecht-Stafford, Niedermayer-McCormick-Grier. Defense pairs: Butler-Myers, Leopold-Montador, Morrisonn-Weber.

37.8 left: Kaleta sneaks around two Sens at center ice and gets a good chance on Anderson, who stops the slapper and a rebound.

End-1st: Shots are 10-8 for the Sabres and they hold their 1-0 lead.

Audio: Terry Pegula meets The News' Editorial Board

Sabres owner Terry Pegula and team President Ted Black met with editors, reporters and other Buffalo News staffers for an editorial board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 23.

Listen to the full meeting here (42m49s):

Here's a part of the discussion about head coach Lindy Ruff and general manager Darcy Regier (7m55s):

The conversation included questions about Pegula's wealth and what it means for the team (11m10s):

Here's Pegula talking about what made him make the move to buy the Sabres (1m54s):

Those participating in the meeting included News President Warren T. Colville, Editor and Vice President Margaret Sullivan, Assistant Managing Editor Elizabeth Kahn, Sports Editor Steve Jones, Deputy Editorial Page Editor Kevin Walter, editorial writer Dawn Bracely and the sports department's Jerry Sullivan, Bucky Gleason, Mike Harrington and John Vogl.

News reporter and columnist Denise Jewell Gee recorded audio and video at the meeting.

Bettman to attend Pegula's press conference

The Sabres have officially confirmed that Terry Pegula's introductory press conference will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m in the atrium of HSBC Arena. No surprise there. That's been the scuttlebutt the last few days.

The extra piece is that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will be on hand to welcome the league's newest owner. Bettman was here in 2003 when Tom Golisano completed his purchase of the team from the league, which ran the franchise during the bankruptcy era. This one will certainly a much happier day for the commish with the Sabres' future in Buffalo now locked in for decades to come.

The Sabres' release says Pegula will not be making any public comments about his purchase from Golisano until tomorrow's presser.

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

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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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