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Sidney Crosby believes several tools make Thomas Vanek a superstar. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – With three straight pointless games entering this afternoon’s tilt against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sabres superstar Thomas Vanek is struggling a bit for the first time this season.

Still, the slick winger’s 11-goal, 23-point start has been dynamic. Count Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby among those who’ve noticed Vanek’s exploits.

“I’m pretty aware of how consistent he’s been,” Crosby said Saturday after the Penguins prepared for the Sabres inside the First Niagara Center.

In Crosby’s mind, what makes Vanek so good?

“I think there’s …

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Mikhail Grigorenko skated 15 shifts during his NHL debut Sunday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Ten minutes after the Sabres’ 5-2 opening-day win over the Philadelphia Flyers had ended, Steve Ott was still thinking about that nifty chance beside the net slick rookie center Mikhail Grigorenko had created for him.

Sure, Ott was excited about his power-play goal that opened the scoring just 11:07 into his Sabres debut. But the opportunity that had gotten away was still playing inside his head at bit.

“I kind of feel bad. He set the table,” Ott said Sunday …

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Rick Jeanneret's induction into the Sabres' Hall of Fame kicked off a string of honors, including today's, the Hockey Hall of Fame's Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. ©2012, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The scene plays out just about each time Rick Jeanneret walks around in public. Inevitably, fans stop the Sabres’ legendary announcer and tell him how much they enjoy the team’s broadcast.

Then they make a short plea to the play-by-play veteran, whose enthusiasm and passionate calls have made him a local icon.

“The other thing they say is, ‘Please don’t retire,’” Jeanneret, who will be honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday in Toronto, said Friday inside the …

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Marcus Foligno already has five goals and seven points just six games into his career. ©2012, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – NHL success can be fleeting, especially for 20-year-olds thrown headfirst into a ferocious postseason race. Today’s hero can quickly become overwhelmed the next day.

With five goals and seven points just six games into his career, winger Marcus Foligno’s already enjoying one of the greatest rookie stretches in the Sabres’ 41-year history.

Only Phil Housley (nine points, 1982-83) and Ray Sheppard (seven, 1987-88) have tallied seven or more points in their first six contests, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“I …

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