Best wishes to RJ

Archive:
Girgensons

Drew Stafford has zero goals this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres, the lowest-scoring team in modern NHL history last season, have picked up where they left off in April.

Yes, it’s still early, but the Sabres have scored just seven goals in six games, a paltry 1.17 average. The only team averaging fewer goals a game, the Florida Panthers, beat the Sabres 1-0 on Friday.

Four Sabres have scored this season. Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno and Zemgus Girgensons all have two goals. Torrey Mitchell has one.

That’s it.

The power play …

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Torrey Mitchell skates Friday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Despite having some of the best wheels on the Sabres, speedy winger Torrey Mitchell showcases a simple, straightforward style as a third- or fourth-liner.

The 29-year-old is a no-frills checker.

“I try not to do too much,” Mitchell said Friday prior to the Sabres’ 1-0 loss to the Florida Panthers inside the First Niagara Center.

Mitchell, of course, was talking about knowing his limitations. While the Quebec native moves quickly, he’s not a goal scorer.

He scored in Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout win …

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Zemgus Girgensons was a captain in junior. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The joke started during Zemgus Girgensons’ draft season three years ago.

Coach Jim Montgomery and his Dubuque Fighting Saints told stories – well, more like tall tales – about Girgensons, their hard-nosed Latvian captain, and dubbed them “The Legend of Zemgus.”

The stories, Montgomery said, “would just grow.”

“Because of the way he plays,” Montgomery said by phone Wednesday, “some of them are believable, like Zemgus means ‘one who eats lions’ in Latvian.”

Montgomery was watching the Sabres’ 3-1 season-opening defeat to …

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Anaheim's William Karlsson scores before the Sabres' Mike Weber can reach him Monday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Three straight losses. Two goal scorers. One hapless Sabres team barreling toward another lottery pick.

Five days into the new campaign, the Sabres, the NHL’s laughingstock last season, look just as bad as the wretched 2013-14 outfit that finished 30th overall.

Monday afternoon’s embarrassing 5-1 loss to the powerhouse Anaheim Ducks might rank as one of the ugliest home losses in team history.

The Western Conference power throttled the Sabres from the get-go, outshooting them 17-3 in the first period and …

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Michal Neuvirth had a rough preseason. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres will make one lineup change for this afternoon’s tilt against the Anaheim Ducks, but it won’t be on defense.

Sabres coach Ted Nolan said goalie Michal Neuvirth, who endured an awful preseason, will make his first start this season. The Sabres also play Tuesday in Carolina, so Jhonas Enroth needs some rest.

“Neuvy’s been well-rested,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center. “He’s got some great work in the last few days. So he should be ready to …

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Zemgus Girgensons, one of the Sabres' few bright spots this season, battles Columbus' David Savard on Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – If you’re a glass-is-half-full type, the Sabres have stayed in both of their games until the third period. If you’re a half-empty type, they’re 0-2 and, overall, playing pretty terribly.

The Sabres never lost their first three games in regulation until last season, when they began the worst campaign in franchise history 0-3 and 0-6-1.

Now, they could be 0-3 again. The Anaheim Ducks, who won 31 more games than the Sabres last season, visit the First Niagara Center this …

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Cody Hodgson switched positions late last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – A year ago, the thought of Cody Hodgson playing anywhere but center would have seemed absurd.

The Sabres had few viable options down the middle. Tyler Ennis was still bouncing between two forward spots. Zemgus Girgensons was just beginning his NHL career as a winger.

Besides, Hodgson had just signed a six-year, $25.5 million contract extension to be the No. 1 pivot.

But late in the season, following an evaluation period, the team’s new regime mapped out the future. Ennis had …

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Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth stops Columbus' Artem Anisimov on Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – At some point Thursday, as the Columbus Blue Jackets kept peppering shots on him, goalie Jhonas Enroth probably thought the new version of the Sabres looked a lot like the old one.

Like so many times last season, the Sabres performed like an ugly, disjointed mess for stretches, running around in their own zone as their opponent throttled them.

Some nice goaltending from Enroth kept the Sabres in their 44th season opener, but two third-period goals helped the Blue Jackets …

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Mikhail Grigorenko skates this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Two weeks into training camp, center Mikhail Grigorenko remains the Sabres’ biggest surprise. Two more impressive outings could earn the Russian prospect a roster spot.

“He’s been looking really good,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “He’s strong on the puck. He’s been making some really good plays. So the biggest thing right now is keep seeing him do it.”

Grigorenko has two more preseason opportunities, tonight against the Washington Capitals and Friday in …

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Zac Dalpe signed with the Sabres on July 13. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Today, Sabres forward Zac Dalpe stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 195 pounds. The 24-year-old’s a former second-round pick who earned a hockey scholarship to Ohio State University.

But less than 10 years ago, Dalpe was a 5-foot-5, 110-pound teenager so desperate to get drafted into the Ontario Hockey League he hatched a plan at a weigh-in.

“I put these rocks in my pocket, and I weighed in at like 114,” Dalpe recalled Saturday inside the First Niagara Center. “I thought I …

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