Who they going to take second?

Archive:
Connolly

Ville Leino's Sabres career could end today. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

While it’s hard to believe now, Ville Leino’s arrival in Buffalo almost three years ago was greeted with some fanfare.

Back then, Leino was one of the best free agents on the market. Awarding Leino a stunning six-year, $27 million contract was risky. The Finn only had one full NHL season under his belt. But the signing proved the Sabres wanted to bring in the best talent they could and gun for a Stanley Cup.

Of course, Leino proved to be the …

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Drew Stafford scored only six goals last season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – When the worst season of Drew Stafford’s career mercifully ended five months ago – he describes the six-goal, 18-point campaign as hitting “rock bottom” – the Sabres winger stopped dwelling on it.

“You got to get over it,” Stafford said Thursday inside the First Niagara Center after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s preseason finale in Carolina. “It was an absolute nightmare. It’s one of those things where you can’t change the past, what’s done is done.”

So Stafford enjoyed his …

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Toronto star Joffrey Lupul skates Monday morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – Think about it, Buffalo Sabres fans, a couple of years ago, your team switched identities with the hated, mega-market Maple Leafs.

As the small-market Sabres morphed into a free-spending, win-at-all-costs club under new owner Terry Pegula, the Leafs began embracing development and patience, the Sabres’ old and successful philosophies.

The Leafs’ major volte-face has quickly paid off. They finished fifth this season, their highest spot since 2003-04.

Inside a noisy Air Canada Centre on Monday, the upstart Leafs played their 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
0

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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Clarke MacArthur thinks Toronto fans have a right to voice their displeasure. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – By the third period of the hapless Maple Leafs’ 11th consecutive home loss Thursday, the remaining fans inside the Air Canada Centre – normally some of the NHL’s quietest and most corporate patrons – finally had enough.

Watching the Philadelphia Flyers throttle their Leafs 7-1 put the self-proclaimed “Center of the Hockey Universe” in a baseball mood.

“Let’s go Blue Jays” fans chanted three times, getting pretty loud by the end.

Yikes!

“I think the fans have the right to do that. …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Nine days after the Sabres acquired center Cody Hodgson from the Vancouver Canucks in a blockbuster deal at the NHL trade deadline, the 22-year-old rookie finally skated on the First Niagara Center ice Wednesday.

Hodgson had been experiencing a whirlwind acclimation to his new team on the road, and his head hasn’t stopped spinning.

“Has it been that long, really?” Hodgson said Wednesday morning inside the FNC when informed the trade was nine days ago. “I was on the road …

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