Best wishes to RJ

Archive:
Armia

Zemgus Girgensons spent all last season with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Some experts are already predicting the Sabres, a team three months removed from the worst NHL season in recent memory, will be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders in a few years.

Why? Their prospect pool might be the deepest in hockey.

Seven first-round picks are participating in the team’s development camp this week. Seven of the 41 prospects played in the NHL last season, including center Zemgus Girgensons, who spent the entire campaign with the Sabres.

Fans can get their first glimpses …

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Joel Armia hasn't played in a regular-season NHL game yet. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

Since most NHL Entry Drafts don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at the Buffalo Sabres’ first-round picks from 2006-11 and some notable hits and misses. Fourteen of Buffalo’s 43 draft choices over that time have made the NHL.

The Sabres have eight picks this weekend in Philadelphia, including the No. 2 selection.

2011

First-round pick: center Joel Armia, 16th overall

Armia endured a rough season in 2013-14, his first in North America. The 21-year-old broke his hand during an …

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Nikita Zadorov has played well since returning to London. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

Some quick updates on the rookies the Buffalo Sabres’ new regime reassigned to the AHL and junior Nov. 19.

Not surprisingly, the youngsters are thriving outside the NHL. You think these prospects should’ve been sent down earlier?

Johan Larsson, winger, Rochester Americans

The 22-year-old Swede, who had one assist in 17 NHL games, has two goals and seven points in six AHL games as winger beside center Kevin Porter and rookie Joel Armia. Larsson played center with the Sabres.

Armia has two goals and …

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Robyn Regehr played 105 games with the Sabres. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Robyn Regehr and the rest of the Kings had a team function at the Los Angeles Zoo last week, at a time when the city’s infamous traffic was awful.

The players all got there, albeit two and a half hours late.

“Very different living,” Regehr said Tuesday prior to the Kings’ 3-2 shootout loss inside the First Niagara Center, the defenseman’s first game here since the Sabres traded him for two second-round draft picks April 1.

But aside from some crazy …

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Patrick Kaleta spoke optimistically Tuesday about returning to the Sabres. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BRIGHTON – Inevitably, early during Patrick Kaleta’s stint with the Rochester Americans, an opponent will try taking the hard-hitting, ultra-aggressive winger over the edge.

As a former NHL regular in the AHL, a league full of yahoos, Kaleta will have a target on his back as he works at redesigning his game and earning another roster spot with the Buffalo Sabres. General manager Darcy Regier gave Kaleta a strong message after waiving him Saturday: you’re not coming back until you change …

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Drew Stafford has only one goal this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

BUFFALO – Drew Stafford started shaking his head. The veteran winger paused before answering a question about seeing so many teammates and friends depart the hapless Sabres recently.

With Thomas Vanek gone, only goalie Ryan Miller’s tenure outranks Stafford, who joined the Sabres early in 2006-07. When the 28-year-old looks around the dressing room these days, he mostly sees young, unfamiliar faces.

“It’s just times have changed, you know?” Stafford said last week inside the First Niagara Center. “A little bit of …

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Corey Tropp hasn't played an NHL game since April 5, 2012. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Injuries have severely limited Corey Tropp’s time here. The ferocious Sabres winger tore up his right knee last season waiting out the NHL lockout in Rochester. Then he broke his jaw during a Sept. 22 preseason fight in Toronto.

Tropp has played just 34 NHL games, the last coming April 5, 2012. Still, the 24-year-old has developed a good feel for this blue-collar city.

“I think this is a city, if you’re working hard, that’s all they ask,” Tropp, who …

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Corey Tropp hasn't played yet this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The reeling Sabres, winners of just two of their 15 games, need reinforcements badly. Luckily, some aggressive, high-energy players are available.

Corey Tropp, out since breaking his jaw during a Sept. 22 preseason fight, is healed. Meanwhile, Patrick Kaleta has finished serving his 10-game suspension for hitting Columbus’ Jack Johnson in the head Oct. 10.

Sabres coach Ron Rolston said this afternoon following practice inside the First Niagara Center both players looked good and are available for Saturday’s home tilt …

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Patrick Kaleta has a history of suspensions. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In a strongly worded 19-page document released Thursday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman rejected Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta’s appeal of his 10-game suspension.

Kaleta, who’s been suspended four times in the last four seasons, including twice in his last 21 games, hit Columbus’ Jack Johnson in the head Oct. 10.

Clearly, Bettman wants to send Kaleta a message.

Kaleta, Bettman wrote, “has demonstrated a total disregard for the safety of other players, and, in particular, their heads.”

The frequency of the head hits …

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Cody McCormick (8) blocks David Savard's shot Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – As expected, the Sabres scratched struggling center Mikhail Grigorenko for Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets inside the First Niagara Center.

Rookie Johan Larsson, a scratch Tuesday, pivoted Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Flynn in Grigorenko’s place.

The 19-year-old Grigorenko hasn’t showcased the competitiveness Sabres coach Ron Rolston wants to see.

“He’s got to continue consistency of his compete and his details away from the puck and then, offensively, some confidence there,” Rolston said.

Grigorenko’s ice time dipped in each of …

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