Best wishes to RJ

Archive:
April, 2012 Monthly archive

The Sabres acquired Cody Hodgson at the trade deadline. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – When the Sabres acquired center Cody Hodgson, rumors swirled the 22-year-old was disgruntled with the Vancouver Canucks and had requested to be dealt.

Canucks general manager Mike Gillis confirmed those rumblings Tuesday, saying they helped Hodgson build up numbers so they could dish him.

The Canucks traded Hodgson and his 16 goals for rookie winger Zack Kassian at the Feb. 27 trade deadline.

“There clearly were issues that were ongoing,” Gillis said told reporters in Vancouver, the Globe and Mail reported. …

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Phil Varone nearly skipped professional hockey for school. ©2012, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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ROCHESTER – It was a life-changing decision. In September, Phil Varone impressed the Buffalo Sabres, so the club offered an AHL contract following his training camp tryout. But Varone was also strongly considering attending the University of New Brunswick.

“It was 50-50,” Varone said Friday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial following the Rochester Amercans’ 5-1 win over the Syracuse Crunch.

Varone, a scoring star with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters, went home and discussed his future with his parents.

“I talked …

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Luke Adam has struggled since getting demoted to Rochester. ©2012, Craig Foltz/Ben Hall, Lake Erie Monsters
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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ROCHESTER – Luke Adam, the same Buffalo Sabres prospect whose NHL exploits early this season – three goals in his first four games and 10 tallies before Christmas – made him a Calder Trophy candidate, can’t even score much in the AHL, a league he dominated last year.

Since being demoted to the Rochester Americans on Feb. 11 in the midst of an epic slump, Adam, the AHL’s top rookie a year ago, has only four goals and 13 points in …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta said he can’t picture himself wearing a different jersey.

“Yeah, I would not like it at all,” the Angola native said Monday as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers inside the First Niagara Center.

Fresh off playing a career-high 63 games, the injury-prone agitator will be a restricted free agent this offseason.

The 25-year-old plays an aggressive checking style that began earning him big minutes in the winter.

He’s an asset, especially on Sabres team often short on …

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Jhonas Enroth played sparingly the second half of the season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Jhonas Enroth’s starts quickly became anticipated, must-see events. The Sabres goalie couldn’t lose. Not late last season. Not early this one.

Fans clamored for more appearances from Enroth. They wanted the rookie backup, not established starter Ryan Miller, carrying the load.

Dating back to last season, Enroth had won nine straight decisions by early November, including his first six in 2011-12.

Then, suddenly, the 23-year-old stopped winning – and playing. He started only six of the final 42 games, becoming a …

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The Sabres acquired Jochen Hecht nearly 10 years ago. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Jochen Hecht said when the symptoms of another concussion began hitting him following the morning skate Jan. 24 in New Jersey, he lost it, he “was gone.”

The German’s third head injury in 10 months left him fearing for his career.

“I cried. I didn’t know what’s going to happen,” the longest-tenured Sabre recalled Monday, his eyes welling up with tears during what could’ve been his farewell chat with the Buffalo media. “It was tough dealing with it, especially hearing …

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Ryan Miller performed terribly for three months before regaining his old form. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Ryan Miller couldn’t offer any strong explanations for suddenly transforming back into one of the NHL’s elite goalies following a wretched, career-worst three months.

When the 31-year-old Sabres veteran began feeling better during the winter, everything became easier, he said. The ice opened up and he started reading plays and seeing shots clearly again.

Nothing magical happened. Miller had just experienced enough mediocrity.

“Mainly, it was kind of, ‘Enough is enough. I’m better than this,’” Miller said Monday inside the First …

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Derek Roy was critical of coach Lindy Ruff as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Their run together stands at 423 total games over five fruitless seasons. In that time, the Sabres’ homegrown core players have earned two playoff appearances and zero series wins.

That’s it.

Most teams would’ve broken up that group years ago. The Sabres have plodded forward, mostly keeping it intact despite little success.

But a veteran star could finally be jettisoned following a bitterly disappointing ninth-place finish this season. A club constructed to hoist the Stanley Cup this spring couldn’t even qualify …

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A broken ankle ended Tyler Myers' season March 30. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Early in the Sabres’ 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh on March 30, Tyler Myers took a shot off his face and fell down on the ice. It looked bad.

The 22-year-old was fine, however, and he got up and kept playing.

In the third period, when Paul’s Martin’s harmless-looking shot hit Myers’ skate, few noticed and the defenseman finished the game.

“It just felt like a little stinger like any other day,” Myers said about Martin’s shot Monday as the Sabres cleaned …

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Paul Gaustad's failure to go after Milan Lucic helped dramatically alter the season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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“The main thing is start talking about it and just put it out there that we want to win a championship. We want to do it the right way, and we just have to hit a few checkpoints along the way and set ourselves up for it.” – Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, September 16, 2011

BUFFALO – Nearly seven months after his upbeat chat as training camp opened, Miller and the Sabres will clean out their lockers today inside the First …

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