The post-Pominville era begins Friday.

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Leggio
Matt Hackett played well during his three seasons in Houston. ©2013, PhotoGraphics Photography, AHL
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Matt Hackett figured the Minnesota Wild would eventually trade a goaltending prospect. The team possessed two similar youngsters in the 23-year-old Hackett and Darcy Kuemper.

With Niklas Backstrom entrenched as the upstart Wild’s No. 1 goalie, there simply wasn’t room for everyone.

Still, when the Wild yanked him from the ice during the team’s morning skate Wednesday, Hackett “was pretty shocked,” he said.

“It just caught me off guard, I guess,” Hackett said by phone Monday.

The Wild had dealt Hackett to …

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Teams have until noon Thursday to claim Cody McCormick. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Naturally, waiving gritty forward Cody McCormick today begs the question; do the struggling Sabres have another move in mind?

“We’ve talked about it,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said this afternoon following a 90-minute practice inside the First Niagara Center. “It hasn’t been confirmed yet.”

Does that mean a recall from Rochester or even a trade could be imminent? Stay tuned.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s Kevin Oklobzija floated the theory McCormick’s roster spot could be used to recall Americans goalie David …

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The Sabres invited Joe Finley to training camp last season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The New York Islanders claimed hulking Rochester Americans defenseman Joe Finley, who played five games with the Sabres last season, off waivers Monday.

“Actually, it was disappointing, but I understand it,” Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said Monday inside the First Niagara Center following an intrasquad scrimmage. “(Isles general manager) Garth Snow called me just before waiver time to give me a courtesy call to let me know they were going to take him.

“While I was surprised, there’s an …

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Joe Finley's hulking size makes him an intimidating presence. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The New York Islanders claimed Rochester Americans defenseman Joe Finley off waivers today, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

Finley, a training camp invite last season, played five games with the Sabres in 2011-12, compiling 12 penalty minutes and a minus-3 rating.

The 6-foot-8, 249-pound American first earned an AHL contract, then a two-way deal after impressing the Sabres.

Finley’s size earned him a cult following among Sabres and Amerks supporters, with fans often tweeting about the “Legend of Joe Finley.”

He had …

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Mark Mancari re-signed with the Sabres in July. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – You can’t turn down a one-way contract, Mark Mancari said. No way. Not when you’ve been making around $50,000 most of your career in the minors.

So when the Vancouver Canucks guaranteed him $525,000 as free agency opened in 2011, the high-scoring winger left the Sabres organization after six seasons.

“You go. You don’t think too much about it,” Mancari said Tuesday inside the First Niagara Center prior to the Rochester Americans’ 3-1 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs. “You take …

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Mark Mancari's new AHL contract will allow him to bypass waivers. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Rochester Americans have signed five players under two-way contracts to AHL deals.

The separate contracts allowed the players – goalie Dave Leggio, defensemen T.J. Brennan, Joe Finley and Drew Schiestel and winger Mark Mancari – to bypass waivers from the Sabres to the minors during a special period the NHL created earlier this month prior to the lockout.

The Amerks begin training camp later this week.

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David Leggio emerged as Rochester's starter last season. ©2012, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – For about three months last season, David Leggio and Drew MacIntyre split time tending goal for the Rochester Americans, neither one impressing enough to earn regular duty.

Then, two starts the first weekend in January jumpstarted Leggio’s season. First, the Williamsville native stopped 42 shots during a win in Binghamton. He made 49 saves in a shootout loss in Hershey the next night, earning the Amerks’ No. 1 job.

Leggio played 35 more games the rest of the regular season, …

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The Sabres acquired Christian Ehrhoff's rights before free agency started last year. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In this new era, nothing may be off limits for the Sabres during free agency. A year ago, owner Terry Pegula spent $67 million on two players in his first foray into the market, showcasing an aggressiveness never seen in these parts.

The Sabres wheeled and dealed, jumping the gun, acquiring Christian Ehrhoff’s rights and awarding the coveted defenseman a 10-year, $40 million contract. Then they gave winger Ville Leino a six-year, $27 million deal to be a top …

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Phil Varone nearly skipped professional hockey for school. ©2012, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

ROCHESTER – It was a life-changing decision. In September, Phil Varone impressed the Buffalo Sabres, so the club offered an AHL contract following his training camp tryout. But Varone was also strongly considering attending the University of New Brunswick.

“It was 50-50,” Varone said Friday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial following the Rochester Amercans’ 5-1 win over the Syracuse Crunch.

Varone, a scoring star with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters, went home and discussed his future with his parents.

“I talked …

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