Best wishes to RJ

Archive:
Gragnani

The Sabres acquired Cody Hodgson at last season's trade deadline. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

PITTSBURGH – With the NHL trade deadline hitting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, here’s the Buffalo Sabres’ Eastern Conference standing and their activity since 2006:

2006, third place, 83 points

General manager Darcy Regier made no additions, only trading No. 3 goalie Mika Noronen to Vancouver for a second-round pick (current backup goalie Jhonas Enroth). Some argued the inactivity bit the surprising Sabres, who lost four defensemen to injury during their run to the Eastern Conference final. They lost Game 7 with just …

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Alexander Sulzer played 17 games this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – When defenseman Alexander Sulzer caught his skate in a rut and twisted his knee early in the Sabres’ 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Feb. 23, the defenseman immediately knew something wasn’t right.

“I felt that something happened,” Sulzer said prior to the Sabres’ 5-4 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday inside the First Niagara Center. “It was really painful. I didn’t know how bad it was. But I could tell it didn’t feel …

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Alexander Sulzer arrived from Vancouver last season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Defenseman Alexander Sulzer hadn’t been seen much around the Sabres since injuring his knee early in a 4-0 home loss to the New York Islanders on Feb. 23.

On Thursday, though, the German was spotted on crutches sporting a cast around his right leg in the First Niagara Center dressing room.

Not long after, interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston said Sulzer had undergone successful surgery to repair his ACL and would be out the rest of the season.

“He’s on the …

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Alexander Sulzer was scratched 51 times last season in Vancouver. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – When was the last time Alexander Sulzer started an NHL season confident he could be a regular?

“Never, first time,” the Sabres defenseman said Wednesday inside the First Niagara Center.

Having a roster spot isn’t new for Sulzer. He’s spent parts of the past four seasons in the NHL, including the last two from beginning to end. It’s just that he rarely played prior to his Feb. 27 arrival from Vancouver.

From the start of 2010-11 until he began regular duty …

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Mike Weber was playing regularly before being scratched Wednesday. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The plan’s to get Mike Weber some ice again soon, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. With seven healthy defensemen, someone had to sit Wednesday, so Weber, a team-worst minus-19, watched the 3-0 win over Montreal after playing 44 straight games.

Ruff could utilize all seven tonight in New York against the Rangers and drop a forward. He could also scratch Weber and skate him Saturday at home versus the Minnesota Wild.

Despite the awful rating, Ruff said Weber’s “played rock …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – It was instantly better. Upon his arrival from Vancouver on Feb. 27, Alexander Sulzer went from the Canucks’ eighth defenseman to the Sabres’ seventh.

Yes, the German was still a spare part. But moving up one slot made him that much closer to playing, something he had only done 12 times in Vancouver all season. Sulzer was a healthy scratch an incredible 51 times.

“Obviously, since there are only seven defensemen, if something happens where a coach is unhappy with …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Ryan Miller and center Paul Gaustad had been beside each other every step of their 10-year professional careers.

Naturally, seeing the Sabres deal Gaustad to Nashville for a first-round pick Monday jolted Miller, who’s sad to see his close friend leave.

“A pretty tough day,” Miller told reporters Tuesday in Anaheim. “I’m not going to lie. I’m not real happy about the way it all turned out. But that’s the business of hockey.

“Like I’ve said, we don’t make …

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The Sabres selected Paul Gaustad 220nd overall in 2000. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – If it meant getting better in the future, Darcy Regier said the Sabres would take a minor step back at the NHL trade deadline. Sixty-two games into the season, the Stanley Cup talk for the 12th-place club has ceased. Monday was about utilizing assets and filling a glaring need for a scoring center.

Clearly, the general manager had a plan to fix his underachieving team, which was six points out of eighth place at the deadline.

In a seller’s market, …

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Corey Tropp recently sat out a month recovering from a concussion. ©2012, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – On Dec. 9 against Florida, Dmitry Kulikov’s wicked hit concussed gritty Sabres winger Corey Tropp, ending the rookie’s third recall early. Tropp wouldn’t fully recover for nearly two months.

When he had supposedly healed, the Sabres sent Tropp to Rochester on Jan. 2. But the 22-year-old responded poorly to his first three appearances, so the Americans shut him down until Feb. 8, giving him a full month between games.

“It was frustrating at times,” Tropp said Friday prior to playing …

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Nathan Gerbe's goal scoring has dropped dramatically this season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres sophomore Nathan Gerbe – the collegiate scoring machine, AHL star and NHL rookie that tallied at a 30-goal pace the second half of last season – has five scores this season, just one in the last 21 games.

Right now, the diminutive Gerbe’s not a scorer; he’s quickly morphed into a strong checker, playing a tenacious left wing on a line with Paul Gaustad and Patrick Kaleta that draws the opposition’s best.

How does Gerbe, a prolific goal scorer …

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