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Archive:
Kea

Justin Kea and Anthony Florentino fight Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Early in Tuesday’s Blue-White Sabres scrimmage, defenseman Anthony Florentino, who has a penchant for hitting, leveled forward Justin Kea inside the First Niagara Center.

In the second period, the prospects fought.

“Everybody’s got their niche in the game,” Rochester coach Chadd Cassidy, who’s running the camp, said about the fight. “They got to find a way to kind of get noticed. I think if there’s one thing we’ve preached to the guys, it’s play your game and play it like …

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Mikhail Grigorenko keeps the puck away from Jake McCabe during Tuesday's scrimmage. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The comments are significant, Mikhail Grigorenko’s most telling since joining the Sabres months after they selected him 12th overall in 2012.

In a hallway outside the First Niagara Center dressing room hours before a development camp scrimmage Tuesday, the 20-year-old Russian spoke candidly about his short career, blaming himself for his NHL struggles.

“From past experiences, I kind of realized it was probably no one’s fault but mine I didn’t stay in the NHL,” Grigorenko said. “I want to play …

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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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Justin Kea will likely go to the AHL soon. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres today signed forward Justin Kea to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Kea, the 73rd overall pick in 2012, compiled 51 goals and 117 points in 253 games over four seasons with the Ontario Hockey League’s Saginaw Spirit. The 20-year-old had a career-high 22 goals, 49 points and plus-14 rating in 58 games this season.

Kea, 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, is expected to report to AHL Rochester soon on an amateur tryout agreement

In other news, general manager Tim Murray told …

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Zemgus Girgensons scored twice Sunday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – With 8:12 left in the second period of Sunday’s preseason opener, Sabres prospect Zemgus Girgensons grabbed Kevin Porter’s pass off the boards at the Montreal blue line and zoomed in down the right wing.

A second later, the Latvian whistled a shot by goalie Zachary Fucale’s glove from the faceoff dot, the second goal of his NHL preseason debut.

“I was pretty happy with myself,” Girgensons said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “Probably at the start of last …

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Eric Locke skates at development camp last week. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Eric Locke possesses a “rocket” shot so quick and lethal it reminds his coach of a former NHL teammate.

Which one? The greatest goal scorer Greg Gilbert ever played with.

“Brett Hull, to be honest with you,” Gilbert, Locke’s junior coach with the Saginaw Spirit, said by phone earlier this week. “I mean, Hully was special, there’s no question about it. But Eric’s got that potential. He’s got that quick release. He’s low to the ice. He goes …

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Cory Conacher made his Senators debut Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Cory Conacher’s family and friends all had their tickets for April 14, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first visit here this season. The homecoming promised to be a special night for the former Canisius College star, the first Golden Griffins product to crack the NHL.

The 23-year-old’s parents reserved a suite inside the First Niagara Center. The Sabres plan to honor Canisius’ recent NCAA Tournament team that night, Conacher said.

Then, in one of the more intriguing and surprising trades prior …

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Kevin Devine spends most of his time working on the NHL Entry Draft. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PITTSBURGH – More on the Buffalo Sabres’ final five picks Saturday during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft:

Justin Kea, center, Sagina Spirit, Ontario Hockey League, third round, 73rd overall

Despite only three goals and 11 points in 65 games to go with his 76 penalty minutes, amateur scouting director Kevin Devine believes Kea has strong upside.

“If you look at his stats, they’re not very good,” he said. “Halfway through the season they fired their coach. They got a coach there, Greg Gilbert, …

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The Sabres moved up to take Zemgus Girgensons 14th overall. ©2012, Jim Naprstek, Dubuque Fighting Saints
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PITTSBURGH – A blockbuster trade for established talent never materialized. Instead, the Buffalo Sabres dished two high choices to Calgary early, grabbed their second coveted center during a wild first round and kept on picking.

They selected six players in the final six rounds Saturday, the NHL Entry Draft’s second and final day – three centers, two defensemen and one goalie – and left the Consol Energy feeling good about their eight total choices.

The Sabres grabbed Jake McCabe, a University of …

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