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February, 2012 Monthly archive
©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Ryan Miller and center Paul Gaustad had been beside each other every step of their 10-year professional careers.

Naturally, seeing the Sabres deal Gaustad to Nashville for a first-round pick Monday jolted Miller, who’s sad to see his close friend leave.

“A pretty tough day,” Miller told reporters Tuesday in Anaheim. “I’m not going to lie. I’m not real happy about the way it all turned out. But that’s the business of hockey.

“Like I’ve said, we don’t make …

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The Sabres selected Paul Gaustad 220nd overall in 2000. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – If it meant getting better in the future, Darcy Regier said the Sabres would take a minor step back at the NHL trade deadline. Sixty-two games into the season, the Stanley Cup talk for the 12th-place club has ceased. Monday was about utilizing assets and filling a glaring need for a scoring center.

Clearly, the general manager had a plan to fix his underachieving team, which was six points out of eighth place at the deadline.

In a seller’s market, …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – On Monday, concussed winger Cody McCormick said he thought he could play later this week during the Sabres’ five-game road trip. He just needed to pass his neuro-psych test for clearance.

“A lot of guys take the test, they feel normal,” McCormick said inside the First Niagara Center. “They’re symptom-free. Maybe they don’t ace the concussion test and it takes a couple tries. Hopefully, that’s not my case and I can get through this test.”

About 15 minutes later, Sabres …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sitting six points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot has put the 12th-place Sabres, a high-priced club built to win the Stanley Cup this season, in a precarious spot as today’s 3 p.m. NHL deadline approaches.

What the heck do they do? Are they buying or selling?

Right now, the Sabres are surging again, having won three straight last week. They’re 8-3-3 since their defense corps reached full strength, often performing like the legitimate contender many deemed them …

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Brad Boyes' acquisition at last year's trade deadline was significant. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – With the NHL trade deadline hitting at 3 p.m. today, here’s the Sabres’ Eastern Conference standing and their activity post-lockout:

2006, third place, 83 points

General manager Darcy Regier made no additions, only trading No. 3 goalie Mika Noronen to Vancouver for a second-round pick. Some argued the inactivity bit the surprising Sabres, who lost four defensemen to injury during their run to the Eastern Conference final. They lost Game 7 with just two regular defenders, Brian Campbell and Toni …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The usual fireworks – the goals, fights, yapping and other signs of hatred – never really materialized Friday between the Sabres and Boston Bruins.

Instead, the heated Northeast Division rivals, who had played three memorable games this season, engaged in a dull, low-chance affair inside a pretty quiet First Niagara Center.

The Sabres don’t care about style, though, only the two points a tight 2-1 shootout triumph, their third straight victory, moved them up in the standings.

In a week, the …

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Corey Tropp recently sat out a month recovering from a concussion. ©2012, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – On Dec. 9 against Florida, Dmitry Kulikov’s wicked hit concussed gritty Sabres winger Corey Tropp, ending the rookie’s third recall early. Tropp wouldn’t fully recover for nearly two months.

When he had supposedly healed, the Sabres sent Tropp to Rochester on Jan. 2. But the 22-year-old responded poorly to his first three appearances, so the Americans shut him down until Feb. 8, giving him a full month between games.

“It was frustrating at times,” Tropp said Friday prior to playing …

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Jason Pominville, who usually starts seasons slowly, compiled 14 points in October. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sixty games into the season, Jason Pominville hasn’t shown any signs of letting up. With five points in the last two contests, the Sabres captain already has 23 goals and 59 points, seven more than he had all of last season in 13 fewer appearances.

In a disappointing year for the Sabres, Pominville’s been the only constant presence, showcasing a remarkable consistency right from opening night, when a goal and two assists began a 14-point month.

The 29-year-old, the lone …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Bruins winger Brad Marchand, a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, called Buffalo “the worst place in the NHL” during an appearance on a Boston radio station.

“I’m not too excited to go there,” Marchand told WEEI on Thursday morning, “but I’ll be excited to leave.”

Ouch!

Marchand apologized later inside the First Niagara Center. Well, sort of.

“I never meant to offend anyone,” Marchand said after the Bruins prepared for tonight’s game against the Sabres. “It’s always cold and rainy when we …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres, rested and waiting for the New York Islanders, would’ve had no excuses for losing Tuesday. Not against a team that had been humiliated 6-0 at home the previous afternoon. Not with Kevin Poulin, the rookie goaltender that had lasted just two minutes into his start, getting another nod.

The Isles looked ripe to be exploited inside the First Niagara Center.

Sure enough, the Sabres capitalized early. Tyler Myers scored just 1:21 into the game, pinching in and capping …

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