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The Sabres recalled Nathan Lieuwen today. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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The Sabres recalled goalie Nathan Lieuwen from Rochester today. What’s the 22-year-old endured to make the NHL?

A lot.

I wrote this in July 2011 just a couple of weeks after the Sabres drafted him.

LEWISTON – Yeah, Nathan Lieuwen thought the worst. The Buffalo Sabres goalie prospect is only human, you know. He knew the two scary concussions that had derailed his promising junior hockey career could potentially force him to retire as teenager.

“It crossed my mind,” Lieuwen, the 167th pick by …

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Pat LaFontaine speaks to the media Wednesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Joining the Sabres wasn’t on Pat LaFontaine’s radar. The legendary Hall of Fame center, whose No. 16 hangs in the First Niagara Center rafters, had just settled into a new job with the NHL.

But LaFontaine’s gig as the league’s vice president of hockey development recently brought him to a concussion conference in Florida, where he met with Sabres owner Terry Pegula, whose team has become a laughingstock this season.

Pegula and LaFontaine went out to dinner about 10 days …

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Eric Locke skates at development camp last week. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Eric Locke possesses a “rocket” shot so quick and lethal it reminds his coach of a former NHL teammate.

Which one? The greatest goal scorer Greg Gilbert ever played with.

“Brett Hull, to be honest with you,” Gilbert, Locke’s junior coach with the Saginaw Spirit, said by phone earlier this week. “I mean, Hully was special, there’s no question about it. But Eric’s got that potential. He’s got that quick release. He’s low to the ice. He goes …

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Darcy Regier talks about the Sabres' offseason news Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – With each passing day, general manager Darcy Regier acknowledged, it becomes more likely starting goalie Ryan Miller and slick winger Thomas Vanek will still be with the Sabres when training camp starts in September.

Regier has said both stars, whose contracts expire after next season, could be dealt from the rebuilding Sabres. He said he’s had some “discussions regarding both those players” with other teams.

“The nature of this business as you move through July, lineups get more and more …

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Rasmus Ristolainen skates this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Even among a group of teenage prospects, Rasmus Ristolainen was one of the youngest players on the ice this morning for the first session of the Sabres’ summer development camp.

Of course, having spent the last two seasons in the SM-liiga, a Finnish men’s league, the 18-year-old’s used to facing older competition.

“That’s not a new thing for me,” Ristolainen, the No. 8 pick at last month’s NHL Entry Draft, said this afternoon. “I have been the youngest guy on …

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Nathan Gerbe played 188 games for the Sabres. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Nathan Gerbe’s Sabres career is over.

The team placed the diminutive winger on waivers Wednesday for the purpose of buying him out, his agent, Jordan Neumann, told the Times Herald.

When asked if Gerbe had any warning, Neumann replied, “Absolutely none.” The Sabres still hadn’t contacted Neumann as of early Wednesday afternoon. Neumann said he understands the business, however.

Sabres general manager Darcy Regier told the media at least three times recently, including Sunday and Tuesday, he had no plans for …

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J.T. Compher (left) and Connor Hurley pose Sunday after being selected in the second round. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

NEWARK, N.J. – More on the Buffalo Sabres’ 2013 NHL Entry Draft selections the Times Herald couldn’t get to earlier:

The Sabres went heavy on college-eligible players by design, using five of their 11 picks on them.

“With so many picks and our contract situation, you don’t want to waste those picks because their contracts all come up at the same time,” amateur scouting director Kevin Devine explained Sunday on the Prudential Center floor after the Sabres finished picking. “We wouldn’t be …

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Nikita Zadorov couldn't stop smiling after the Sabres selected him Sunday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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NEWARK, N.J. – It was “pretty close,” general manager Darcy Regier said. The rebuilding Buffalo Sabres could’ve moved up to the No. 5 slot during the NHL Entry Draft, perhaps picked a familiar name the team’s fans had been drooling over.

Ultimately, however, the Sabres decided trading with Carolina wasn’t worth the steep cost. Instead, they kept the eighth overall pick, grabbing big defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen to start their busy day.

“We just thought we’d sit back and wait for Ristolainen,” amateur …

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Darcy Regier should be busy today. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

NEWARK, N.J. – By tonight, following what promises to be a busy, even chaotic day at the NHL Entry Draft inside the Prudential Center, the Buffalo Sabres could be radically reshaped for the future.

With four of the first 52 picks in a deep draft, including the eighth and 16th selections, the Sabres should nab some elite prospects. But general manager Darcy Regier’s rebuild goes beyond simply adding draft picks.

Starting goalie Ryan Miller and ace scorer Thomas Vanek, two franchise cornerstones …

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Darcy Regier is trying to be realistic about the Sabres landing an early draft pick. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – The Sabres hold four of the first 52 picks in this month’s deep NHL Entry Draft, including the eighth and 16th selections. They also have starting goalie Ryan Miller and ace scorer Thomas Vanek, two stars with a year left on their contracts, dangling.

Still, despite a slew of assets, Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said Thursday securing one of the top three selections – future stars Jonathan Drouin, Seth Jones and Nathan MacKinnon are likely to get picked …

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