Best wishes to RJ

Archive:
Girgensons

Drew Stafford has noticed the community coming together following the Bills sale. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – It wasn’t hard for Sabres winger Drew Stafford to see the excitement Terry and Kim Pegula’s purchase of the Buffalo Bills has generated around town.

“Everyone’s kind of got a little bit of a jump in their step,” Stafford said this morning, a day after Sabres owner Terry Pegula added the NFL franchise to his family’s growing sports empire.

The acquisition, Stafford said, is “bringing everyone together” around Buffalo.

“There’s a lot of positivity around,” the longest-tenured Sabre said. “It seems like …

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Zemgus Girgensons spent all last season with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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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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Zemgus Girgensons had only 14 penalty minutes as a rookie. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Zemgus Girgensons, dirty player?

Not really. The Buffalo Sabres center showcased a clean game during his rookie season in 2013-14, accumulating only 14 penalty minutes in 70 contests. But the IIHF has suspended Girgensons one world championship game for spearing Alexander Burmistrov in Latvia’s 4-1 loss to Russia on Friday.

Check out the video below. Girgensons, umm, got Burmistrov pretty good.

The 20-year-old must sit out Latvia’s tilt against host Belarus on Monday. Latvia’s 3-2, good for third place in Pool B.

In other …

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Connor Knapp made 22 saves Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – On March 15, more than 4,000 miles from Buffalo, Sabres goalie Connor Knapp stopped 24 shots in the Alaska Aces’ 4-2 win against the Colorado Eagles in Anchorage.

Twenty-nine days later, Knapp, the sixth goalie on the organization’s depth chart, made his first NHL start in the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

Knapp grew up in York, a small town about 30 miles from Rochester.

“It’s crazy,” the 23-year-old told a throng of cameras and reporters after …

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Detroit's Danny DeKeyser (65) pushes Zemgus Girgensons on Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Zemgus Girgensons’ development can’t be measured with statistics. The Sabres rookie only has eight scores in 67 games following his first two-goal performance in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

But the 20-year-old center has been showcasing a growing confidence throughout the season.

Late Tuesday, with the Sabres down a goal, Girgensons found himself one-on-one with Niklas Kronwall just inside the Detroit blue line. Girgensons blew by the respected veteran defenseman in the right circle before zooming in …

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Cody Hodgson had played center his entire career. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Ted Nolan doesn’t want to project his lineup too far into the future. But the Sabres coach said he must evaluate his top six forwards these last two weeks so they receive enough ice time next season.

If Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons are his top centers, where does that leave Cody Hodgson?

For the time being, on the left wing, a position Hodgson had played once in his career before Saturday, during a 2008 exhibition game.

“I don’t think I …

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Dominik Hasek received a special saber for being inducted into the Hall of Fame. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – One current Sabre, forward Matt Ellis, played with legendary goalie Dominik Hasek, who was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame prior to Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning inside the First Niagara Center.

Ellis played 16 games as a rookie with Detroit in 2006-07, Hasek’s 15th NHL season. Incredibly, Hasek posted a 2.05 goals-against average and .913 save percentage as 42-year-old that year.

“He was a great teammate, someone as a young player coming in watching …

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Ville Leino couldn't skate this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – What the heck is going on with Sabres forward Ville Leino?

Interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said the Finn, who left Thursday’s 6-1 loss in Nashville early after experiencing some lightheadedness, was evaluated and came to this morning’s skate.

“He was doing OK and then just before going on the ice he didn’t feel very well again,” Nolan said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning inside the First Niagara Center.

Nolan said Leino will go …

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Ville Leino didn't practice Friday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said what happened to forward Ville Leino early in Thursday’s 6-1 loss in Nashville “was strange.”

Leino experienced some lightheadedness and left the game. He didn’t practice Friday.

“He just started not feeling very well,” Nolan said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning inside the First Niagara Center, their first home tilt following an awful 1-4 road trip. “When something like that happens, you got to make sure you’re …

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Ville Leino left Thursday's loss early. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said what happened to forward Ville Leino early in Thursday’s 6-1 loss in Nashville “was strange.”

Leino experienced some lightheadedness and left the game. He didn’t practice today.

“He just started not feeling very well,” Nolan said this afternoon following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “When something like that happens, you got to make sure you’re careful with it.”

Nolan said doctors are examining Leino today.

“Hopefully, he’s OK,” Nolan said.

In other injury news, center Zemgus …

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