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Archive:
Girgensons

Brian Gionta has zero goals this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The anger was evident throughout the Sabres’ tense 90-minute practice Wednesday inside the First Niagara Center.

At one point, coach Ted Nolan, whose reeling 2-8 team was demolished 4-0 in Toronto hours earlier, yelled, “Wake the (expletive) up!” Players exchanged words and shouted in frustration. Captain Brian Gionta banged his stick on the glass and demolished it on the bench.

Nolan said the “10-game grace period” he gives his team each season has ended.

“You give them a little bit of …

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Cody Hodgson has one goal this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Make no mistake, Cody Hodgson, the Sabres’ leading scorer last season, is the new right winger on the fourth line beside center Sam Reinhart and Nick Deslauriers.

“Yeah, he’s on the fourth line,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said curtly this afternoon.

Hodgson could be moved to the press box next.

“He’s pretty close there, too,” Nolan said.

Hodgson, like just about every Sabres forward, has struggled this season, compiling one goal, two points and a minus-7 rating in 10 contests.

The 24-year-old said …

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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
1

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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