Watch News Sports Reporter Mike Harrington's appearance tonight on "NHL Live" on the NHL Network in advance of the Sabres-Leafs game.
NHL scoring leader Stamkos stretchered off ice after serious leg injury in Boston, will have surgery Tuesday on broken tibia
November 11, 2013 - 3:06 PM
By Mike Harrington
The surprising season of the Tampa Bay Lightning now seems to be hanging in the balance after star center Steven Stamkos suffered what clearly looks to be a serious leg injury during today's Veterans Day matinee in Boston.
(6 p.m. update: The Lightning have confirmed Stamkos has suffered a broken right tibia and have announced he will have surgery Tuesday. TSN says the surgery could be season-ending but the team has announced no timetable).
While backchecking in his own zone, Stamkos was ridden into the goalpoast of the Tampa net and his right leg appeared to whip around the post in an ugly contortion. He tried to get up on the leg but collapsed in pain and started to pound the ice with his hand in agony as trainers and a Bruins team doctor attended to him.
Stamkos was removed from the ice via stretcher and has been taken to a Boston hospital for X-rays and treatment. Tampa Bay entered today's game atop the Eastern Conference standing at 12-4 and Stamkos was tied for the lead in both goals (14) and scoring (23 points). His 199 goals since the start of the 2009-10 season are 34 more than any other player in the league, so obviously no more needs to be written about what a huge loss this would be for the Lightning.
And it would be a huge loss for Team Canada as well, since Stamkos was expected to be one of its top centers for its run at defending its Olympic gold medal in Sochi in February.
Here's the video of the play and the aftermath, with descriptions by Lightning voices Rick Peckham and Bobby Taylor:
October 16, 2013 - 9:33 AM
By Mike Harrington
So Sportsnet Insider and ex-NHLer Nick Kypreos, joined by John Shannon and Scott Morrison, set Sabreland on its ear last night with his "report" that Darcy Regier is on the hot seat. If you missed it, click below to play it and then keep reading for some thoughts.
"No truth to the report" is the official comment from the Sabres today, given to both yours truly and WGR Radio in the 8 a.m. hour. Fair enough. You wouldn't expect them to say otherwise for one thing. But at the same time, if something was in fact going down, they wouldn't say that either. You'd get a no-comment or you might not even get any answer to your inquiry.
(I'm not going to get into the credibility of another media outlet other than to say if you're going to breathlessly make a claim like this, it would be nice if you didn't identify Ken Sawyer as the Sabres' team president. The president, of course, is Ted Black.)
So let's think a little deeper on this one. Should Regier be fired? In the eyes of just about everyone, sure. But why now and not, say, July 2, 2007? But more seriously, why now and not May, 2013?
If you're going to endure "suffering" and you're going to rebuild, why would you let the same old GM hire a coach without interviewing anyone else, run the draft, do little in free agency, do nothing with Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek, go through training camp -- and then fire him eight games into the season?
And on the other side of things, if the Sabres did put Regier on some kind of notice, why would he not have spent the summer stocking up on some veterans trying to win a few games to make sure his job stayed safe so he'd be able to see through the rebuild?
Regier, remember, got a contract extension from owner Terry Pegula that was announced the day before last season's opener. And in his one "interview" after the season on the Sabres' paid program on WGR, Pegula rhetorically asked host Kevin Sylvester, "What has Darcy done wrong?" Those would be pretty embarrassing statements to have to backtrack on so quickly. Talk about changing on the fly.
(Pegula wouldn't want to hear my answer to his question but that's not the point. That's what he said. So be it).
As for the "big news" from Kypreos on possible replacements, News columnist Bucky Gleason has only written former Sabres player and coach (and still current Lewiston resident) Rick Dudley as a good candidate about 100 times the last few years. Gleason first mentioned ex-Sabres player and current Pittsburgh assistant GM Jason Botterill in a column all the way back on Jan. 2, 2011, and wrote in another column in March that the Sabres should hire Dudley as the GM and bring in Botterill as his assistant and heir apparent.
It's obvious to anyone who has been in First Niagara Center lately that the "clarion call" (apologies to Black) has never been louder for Regier to get pink-slipped. Those "Fi-re Dar-cy" chants eminanting from Section 317 near the press box spread around the upper level during that dreary Columbus game. And fans can have impact with such actions, as they did with Ron Wilson in Toronto. If it continues and if the number of empty seats grows, you wonder how far Pegula will feel his back is against the wall. After all, he did once say "Lindy ain't goin nowhere" and we know what happened there.
Sabres fans are going to hear a lot of these kinds of reports in the coming months, especially about Vanek and Miler, and will need to ferret out what's legitimate from what seems to be just thrown at the wall hoping something sticks. Last point: Kypreos had Miller about to be traded any day in May. Seems like No. 30 got a win on Long Island last night in the game I was watching.
October 3, 2013 - 11:28 AM
By Mike Harrington
The Sabres started a major transition on their broadcasts over the summer with the announcement that Dan Dunleavy will be replacing Rick Jeanneret in 2016. More big on-air news came today with the word that longtime analyst Mike Robitaille will be retiring after the season and former Sabres forward Brad May will join the crew this year on a limited basis before moving into Robitaille's slot in a full-time role next year.
"It’s never an easy decision to walk away from doing something that you love,” Robitaille, 65, said in a statement. “Hockey and the Sabres have been a major part of my life for the better part of 33 years and I felt now was a good time for me to step away. Many things factored into my decision, one being that the health effects from my car accident a few years back have become more of a struggle to work through. More importantly, however, is my desire to have more quality time to spend with my family.”
Robitaille, a former Buffalo defenseman who spent four of his nine NHL seasons with the Sabres, was hired in 1980 to join the Sabres radio/TV crews. He has served multiple roles and one of his most well-known was as the original host of "Hockey Hotline", the popular Empire Sports Network postgame show that reached its zenith in the late 90s and early 2000s when Robitaille was teamed with Brian Blessing.
"Roby epitomizes hockey in Buffalo and he’s treated the fans here to more than three decades of his incredible knowledge and passion for the game,” said Sabres President Ted Black. “His insight and humor will be missed on our broadcasts next season but he will certainly be around our Sabres family for years to come. It will be special to see Roby pass the torch to Brad, who brings a similar players’ perspective to his analysis, and have another great Sabres player behind the microphone.”
May, a former Sabres first-round draft pick, will work approximately 25 road games and some home games. He will continue to work this season for Rogers Sportsnet in Toronto, where has been an analyst for three seasons.
“It’s very exciting to see my career come full circle,” May said. “I was drafted by the Sabres 23 years ago and now I’ll have the opportunity to come back to Buffalo to start another chapter of my hockey life and my broadcasting career. My goal is to bring my experiences as a player to the broadcasts and help fans get another perspective on the game. I was honored to have been offered this job and I’m happy to be back in Buffalo.”
May won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007 and, of course, scored one of the most famous goals in Sabres history in 1993. Do we need to explain? Nope. Do we ever need an excuse to post this video? Nope.
September 28, 2013 - 6:38 PM
Be sure to pick up Sunday's editions of The Buffalo News to read our annual NHL Preview Section, chock-full of great reads, sharp photography and eye-popping graphics from The News' award-winning design department.
The cover story by John Vogl is a fascinating look inside the mind and hockey background of The Professor, Sabres coach Ron Rolston. He has graduated from the ranks of U.S. colleges and the National Development Team program to get his first full-time gig in the NHL and be the Sabres' first new coach since Lindy Ruff took over 1997.
The story features the insight of several Rolston contemporaries topped by Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson, who gave Rolston his first coaching job as an assistant at Lake Superior State.
"It's like getting a doctorate, basically, working under Jeff and learning about the game," Rolston said. "I was very fortunate because a lot of people don't get that mentorship right away. I was able to right off the bat learn from the best and then have a good foundation moving forward."
My main assignment was a feature on Sabres agitator Steve Ott, a mouth that roars and never stops while he drives opponents crazy. Said teammate Patrick Kaleta of Ott: "It would be funny to see what his Google searches are, that's for sure."
One thing I wasn't able to get into the story was how Ott spent his summer -- as a crew member for his father, Butch, who is a decorated power-boat racer.
"It's nerve-wracking for me. That's my dad out there," Ott told me last week. "I know he's highly competitive and he's going to go to the max, to the edge to win. His mindset is where I got my mindset from. There's only one way. For him, he's got his own boat race going. It's win or swim. He's either flipping or going for a win. To watch him sometimes barrel roll or flip that boat going 100 mph, things get pretty nerve-wracking. I never want to see him banged up."
Also in the section, Vogl provides an incredible travelogue with restaurant and sight-seeing recommendations in every NHL city and I take a look back at the wild history of the Sabres uniforms. There's also Vogl's reasons for optimism and pessimism on the Sabres and full capsules of every NHL team.
Be sure to pick it up. Only in Sunday's Buffalo News.
August 8, 2013 - 8:46 AM
By Mike Harrington
Her's a couple of videos that show the work of new Sabres play-by-play man Dan Dunleavy, announced today as Rick Jeanneret's substitute for the next three years and the full-time voice of the team beginning in 2016.
The first is a collection of clips from the 2010 game in Anaheim that Dunleavy called with Harry Neale on MSG while filling in for Jeanneret and the latter is a pregame interview with Neale that Dunleavy did last season for Leafs TV.
Jeanneret signs 3-year deal, slates 2016 retirement; Sabres hire Dunleavy from Toronto to be groomed as replacement
August 8, 2013 - 8:27 AM
By Mike Harrington
Bright and early this morning, the Sabres answered a significant question in the minds of their fans that's been lingering around First Niagara Center for a few years: When is legendary play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret hanging up his microphone?
We now know the answer. Jeanneret has signed a new three-year contract that calls for him to reduce his schedule through the 2015-16 season before retiring to become an ambassador for the team.
The club has also announced a succession plan for Jeanneret that includes the hiring of veteran Toronto sportscaster Dan Dunleavy (left) to be his heir apparent in the play-by-play role. Dunleavy will come on board this year and will work the games Jeanneret does not travel to, eventually becoming the team's full-time voice for the 2016-17 season.
(Go to this post for some video clips of Dunleavy's work)
“This decision was obviously very difficult for me to make,” Jeanneret said in a statement released by the team “It has become a yearly deliberation, deciding if the coming year would be my last or what season I would finally step away. I initially thought doing a full year of games this coming season and then retiring was the way to go.
"After discussing it with my family and with the Sabres, we all thought signing this new deal was the right choice. I get to continue to do what I love while slowly reducing my workload and eventually turning the reins over to Dan, who I greatly respect and believe Sabres fans will grow to love.”
Jeanneret was named the winner of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for excellence in broadcasting last November and will begin his 42nd season with the Sabres in October. If the plan holds, he will retire in 2016 after spending 44 seasons calling Sabres games.
June 26, 2013 - 2:14 PM
By John Vogl
The Sabres won only 21 games last season. They've picked nine as their best and will re-broadcast them on MSG.
The two-hour, condensed broadcasts begin at 8 p.m. Monday and will run every week through Aug. 26 on MSG. The games, in order of airing, are: Tampa Bay (played Feb. 26), Florida (Feb. 28), New Jersey (March 2), New York Rangers (March 12), Montreal (March 19), Toronto (March 21), Montreal (March 23), Pittsburgh (April 23) and New York Islanders (April 26).
June 13, 2013 - 2:06 PM
By John Vogl
Hockey fans in Buffalo tune in regularly to hockey broadcasts. The tradition continued in a big way Wednesday night.
The Buffalo market ranked fourth in the United States with an 8.5 rating for Game One of the Stanley Cup finals, NBC Sports said today. Buffalo was No. 1 among cities without a rooting interest.
Boston led the way with a 28.1 rating, while Chicago was second at 25.1. Providence, which is home to the Bruins' minor-league affiliate, was third with an 18.5 rating. Milwaukee (6.1) rounded out the top five.
Chicago's 4-3 triple-overtime victory posted a 4.8 overnight rating, which NBC said was up 100 percent from last year and the best in 16 years. Detroit and Philadelphia put up a 5.2 on Fox in 1997.
May 15, 2013 - 2:36 PM
By Mike Harrington
NESN has a tiny camera in its TD Garden booth trained on wacko Bruins play-by-play guy Jack Edwards, and it captured this over-the-top reaction from Edwards to Patrice Bergeron's overtime goal in Game Seven against the Leafs Monday night.
Close your eyes and listen and it's actually a pretty good call but Edwards, clearly knowing the camera is there, added some major mustard to his hot dogging too.
May 2, 2013 - 9:50 AM
By Mike Harrington
But the Stanley Cup playoffs did, in fact, start this week and that means CBC's annual montage to get your blood flowing. As usual, the folks north of the border did an incredible job.
This one has gone all over the Internet the last couple days but since I don't get CBC (Verizon FIOS, work on that!!!), I had not seen it until yesterday.
Great stuff. Campbell-Umberger makes it. So does an old black & white interview with Tim Horton at 2:20. And Chills when you hear the voices of the likes of Danny Gallivan and Foster Hewitt. (Don't know? Google 'em, kids)
January 27, 2013 - 2:27 PM
WASHINGTON -- Rick Jeanneret has been calling Sabres games for more than 40 years. The butterflies have long since disappeared.
Still, he's a little anxious as the puck gets ready to drop for the Sabres and Capitals.
"We’ll find out how rusty I am very shortly," Jeanneret said this afternoon during a broadcast booth chat in Verizon Center. "I’m long past the days of being nervous, but I am anticipating it quite a bit because I’m not so sure I’m going to be right up to snuff to begin with here. I think once things get under way, I’ll be fine."
Jeanneret is back after missing the opening four games with an illness that required a brief hospitalization. He's spent the last week recuperating and following doctor's orders.
"I spent a lot of time with the iPad and a lot of time on the Kindle reading," he said. "I really didn’t do a whole lot more than that. I was told to rest, and I tried to keep my nose to the grindstone and obey the orders. That’s basically all I was doing.
"I did keep in touch with the team, and they were letting me know what was happening. Mostly, from the top down, they just said, 'Stay away and get better. Don’t even think about coming back until you are.' It was the typical Buffalo Sabres’ treatment of employees. It was top shelf."
January 26, 2013 - 9:13 PM
The Sabres have confirmed that Hall of Fame broadcaster Rick Jeanneret (right) has made the trip to Washington and will return to the air for Sunday's game against the Capitals.
The game begins at 3 p.m and Jeanneret will join Rob Ray on the call for MSG and WGR Radio. Jeanneret has missed the first four games of the season due to an undisclosed illness.
(Jeanneret photo: Derek Gee/Buffalo News)
January 26, 2013 - 10:00 AM
Prior to Friday night's 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, Mike Harrington discussed the latest on the Sabres with Bill Pidto and E.J. Hradek of "NHL Live" on the NHL Network.
Watch the segment below:
November 8, 2011 - 3:10 PM
It's Hall of Fame Night at First Niagara Center as Rick Jeanneret and Dale Hawerchuk earn their tickets into the Sabres Hall in ceremonies prior to the game against the Winnipeg Jets, the team that drafted Hawerchuk first overall in 1981.
(The ceremonies start at 7:08 and the game is pushed back to 7:23. Fans should be in their seats by 7 to see the pregame videos and such).
I had a great conversation yesterday with Jeanneret for a story in today's paper and will be speaking to Hawerchuk this evening during a 6:30 media briefing. One thing that didn't make the story was when we chatted about the Sabres' incredible 1992-93 season, the one that saw Pat LaFontaine (53-95-148), Alexander Mogilny (76-51-127) and Hawerchuk (16-80-96) all go wild offensively.
It was the year that featured the "May Day" goal that cemented Jeanneret as an icon and the Sabres then went on to lose four straight one-goal games to Montreal, three in overtime. The Canadiens went on to win the Stanley Cup. Injuries to LaFontaine, Mogilny and Doug Bodger ruined the Sabres' hopes that year, easily forgotten as a close brush with the Cup.
"It was 10 years for them to graduate out of the first round so the [May Day victory] was a big deal," Jeanneret said. "They went on to Montreal ... and it didn't work on in the end but that was a pretty good run though."
And, of course, on Jeanneret's night, talking about the '92-93 season gives us another reason to give you this flashback and an NHL.com retrospective that was produced last year.
March 14, 2011 - 4:24 PM
Pete Weber, the longtime Buffalo broadcaster who's now calling games for the Nashville Predators, provided us with some audio from Rick Martin's career in Buffalo.
Here's some of the audio that Weber shared:
The call of Martin's 1978 All-Star Game goal:
Martin interviewed after All-Star game:
A 1981 feature Weber did on Martin:
Martin's remarks when the numbers of the French Connection were retired:
Here's a call of a Martin goal from the late Ted Darling:
February 24, 2011 - 6:27 PM
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.
December 1, 2010 - 2:15 PM
I'm thinking Jim Kelley would really hate that my first blog from Sabres practice today at the Northtown Center of Amherst concerns what was said about him and not about any Sabres updates. But that what happens when you're a Hall of Famer. Here were Lindy Ruff's comments today on Kelley's death:
"I traded texts with Jim a couple weeks ago," Ruff said. "I've been around Jim for a long time and I have a lot of respect for the job he did and the way he handled himself. I know how well-respected he was in the hockey media community. He was a good man. He'll be missed. He was a good example for a lot of young writers."
Ruff, of course, morphed from a young player when Kelley got on the beat in the 1981 to the team captain and then returned as coach in 1997. How did his relationship with Kelley change?
"When I coached, I didn't read anymore so the relationship got better," Ruff said with a big smile. "As a player, there was always stuff that bothered you and that's a part of the business too. That's part of what goes on. Players and coaches have to understand that. Overall, Jim was a very respected media person, especially in the hockey world."
Here are four tribute columns I have found on Kelley today.
--WGR Radio's Mike Schopp -- who hosted the wonderful "Sharpshooters" show on WNSA with Kelley and Mike Robitaille -- provides plenty of personal glimpses in this column and describes how Kelley learned to respect the craft of radio.
--SI.com's Stu Hackel, the former NHL director of broadcasting and Kelley's boss when he moved to Foxsports.com in 1999, recalls Kelley's fire and passion for the job.
--SI.com's Michael Farber, a fellow giant in the world of hockey journalism, put it out there bluntly and wonderfully: "Jim Kelley was a better person than he was a hockey writer."
--And yet another giant, Eric Duhatschek of the Globe & Mail and Hockey Night in Canada, fondly remembers remembers the road he and Kelley traveled that dates all the way back to the 1980s.
Kelley would want some practice updates too. Rob Niedermayer (knee) and Tim Connolly (groin) both skated on their own, although Niedermayer cut his skate short after a few laps. Ruff said Connolly is progressing.
December 1, 2010 - 8:11 AM
I am charged with the task today of covering Sabres practice on the day after the death of Hall of Fame hockey writer Jim Kelley, a larger-than-life figure at The News for more than 30 years. An awesome responsibility.
Frankly, I'm still gathering some of my favorite Kelley memories over the last 26 years I've spent at One News Plaza. And I'm sure you'll be reading the thoughts of others on the staff as well. For now, here's a look at some terrific Kelley links as well as audio and video on his death.
His bio on Sportsnet.ca is uproarious, classic Kelley. Click the link and read it. Trust me.
Here's Kelley's final column on Sportsnet, which the network said was filed at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and was posted yesterday.
Here's a brilliant Kelley column posted Nov. 19 upon the death of Pat Burns, recalling some of their final conversations about the turns in their lives.
How about Kelley's 10-years-later retrospective on his night in the press box during No Goal? A gem from Western New York Hockey Magazine.
Click below for an audio retrospective that was compiled on WBEN Radio by longtime producer Steve Cichon. Hysterical clips. This is how Kelley was on the air, in the press box, in the office, wherever.
And here's a video look at coverage of Kelley's death on Sportsnet and locally on Channel 4.
June 13, 2010 - 12:23 PM
Getting quite a kick about reading all this Blackhawks dynasty talk. Of course, they're going to be a strong team again next season. But I'm not holding my breath thinking about the chances of another Patrick Kane-like moment (click below for the WGN Radio audio of the awkward Cup-winning goal).----------
Patrick Kane's winning goal
The Hawks are in serious salary cap trouble and now comes this fascinating Toronto Globe & Mail piece that indicates they could actually be dealing with a penalty cap of around $4 million next year -- spending around $54 milllion when the league cap will be in the $58 million range. That's the way the CBA deals with a team that goes over, which the Hawks did because of all the bonuses they paid, including $1.3 million to Jonathan Toews for his Conn Smythe Trophy.
A key player or two or three will have to go off this roster. Now one obviously will be overpaid (and now backup) goalie Cristobal Huet, who may end up in the minors. But there could be others available. It will be an interesting summer in Chicago, and not just because of where the players are taking the Cup.
(Audio from WGNradio.com)
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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.
About Sabres Edge
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.
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