On with the summer

Archive:
Kaleta

Andrej Sekera might get snatched up early in free agency. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – For a rebuilding team fresh off two consecutive 30th-place finishes, the Sabres’ shopping list entering free agency, which opens today at noon, is relatively small. A weekend of wheeling and dealing at the NHL Draft pretty much set the roster for the upcoming season.

The Sabres have two goalies, four forward lines and almost a full defense corps. Not bad for a team that finished 2014-15 using a patchwork lineup filled with AHL players.

General manager Tim Murray’s main target …

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Sabres general manager Tim Murray is offering Mikhail Grigorenko a two-way contract. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
9

BUFFALO – General manager Tim Murray knows 21-year-old center Mikhail Grigorenko is frustrated the Sabres are offering a two-way contract. The restricted free agent dislikes the deal so much he’s reportedly fielding offers from the KHL, a league in his native Russia.

“I hear rumors,” Murray said Thursday during a news conference inside the First Niagara Center to discuss next week’s NHL Draft.

Clearly, the Sabres and Grigorenko’s camp have vastly different opinions of the youngster, the No. 12 pick in 2012.

“We …

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Nikita Zadorov's rookie season was rough at times. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

BUFFALO – Tim Murray called his end-of-season meeting with 19-year-old Sabres rookie Nikita Zadorov, whose maturity was an issue all year, an “interview.” In reality, the general manager’s chat with the defenseman was probably more of a lecture.

“A big part of … our talk today was me putting the onus on him to grow, to get better to get fitter and become a man,” Murray said Sunday inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll see how that goes.”

Zadorov, the No. 16 …

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Josh Gorges' first season with the Sabres ended Feb. 10. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – A player’s mind stays focused on the current season, Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges said. Athletes live in the present. They don’t think a year ahead like their team’s brass.

“You come in with a mindset of we’re going to win, we’re going to try to win,” the veteran said Sunday morning as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers following a 30th-place finish. “As players, our job is not to play for the future and play for development of players. …

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Patrick Kaleta had another injury-filled season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Following the end of another injury-filled season in which he played only 42 games, Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta received some good news.

“I passed my physical for the first time in five years, so that was a positive this morning,” Kaleta said Sunday as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers inside the First Niagara Center.

That’s how banged up the passionate Kaleta has been over the years.

This season, a year after tearing his ACL, the Angola native broke his face …

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Brian Gionta was named captain in October. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Sabres captain Brian Gionta has finally started scoring again. With two more assists Wednesday, the winger has four goals and 11 points in the last nine contests, his hottest stretch in more than a year.

Gionta, after months of offensive struggles, looks like the slick veteran who has averaged 26 goals in his full NHL seasons. The production has helped buoy the Sabres’ late-season goal surge and a two-game winning streak entering tonight’s tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks inside …

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Patrick Kaleta had tears in his eyes when he was presented a jersey with an 'A' sewn on. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – It was Wednesday morning, and before the Sabres hit the ice, Ted Nolan had some business to take care of in a team meeting. The coach handed Mike Weber a jersey, which the defenseman then tossed to winger Patrick Kaleta.

The jersey was Kaleta’s No. 36 with an ‘A’ stitched on it, meaning Weber wanted the heart-and-soul player to take over his alternate captaincy.

Emotion overwhelmed Kaleta. The 28-year-old Angola native had tears in his eyes. Teammates hugged him and …

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Patrick Kaleta wore the 'A' for the first time Wednesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – It was Wednesday morning, and before the Sabres hit the ice, Ted Nolan had some business to take care of in a team meeting. The coach handed Mike Weber a jersey, which the defenseman then tossed to winger Patrick Kaleta.

The jersey was Kaleta’s No. 36 with an ‘A’ stitched on it, meaning Weber wanted the heart-and-soul player to take over his alternate captaincy.

Emotion overwhelmed Kaleta. The 28-year-old Angola native had tears in his eyes.

“I was at a loss …

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Mikhail Grigorenko has one goal this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Sabres center Mikhail Grigorenko appreciates coach Ted Nolan’s honesty and tough love. The 20-year-old Russian sees it as a sign of support.

“I know everyone wants me to succeed in this organization,” Grigorenko said Thursday prior to the Sabres’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes inside the First Niagara Center. “Everyone has their ways. Teddy, he thinks being hard on me is only going to help me.”

Nolan ripped Grigorenko following his last demotion to Rochester earlier this month, …

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Matt Hackett has played three games this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Naturally, starting Matt Hackett, a goalie with a weak .893 save percentage, over Anders Lindback, who has a gaudy .926 save percentage, for tonight’s McEichel showdown against the Arizona Coyotes might raise a few eyebrows.

But Sabres coach Ted Nolan has plenty of reasons to start Hackett, who made 40 saves in Saturday’s 3-0 loss in Nashville. The 25-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent if he doesn’t play five more games.

“Hackett’s in a contract situation, so we have …

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