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Jason Pominville hopes mediation will bring new ideas to negotiations between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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AMHERST – Mediation can’t hurt, right? Heck, with the NHL lockout now 75 days old, the league and the NHL Players’ Association desperately need something new to help jumpstart negotiations.

Why not get a third party involved?

That finally happened Wednesday at an undisclosed location, as the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service began overseeing negotiations between the league and the NHLPA.

“Hopefully, he can (lend) his opinion and bring some new ideas and make both sides understand you got to give and you …

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Drew Schiestel made only three appearances with Rochester this season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Defenseman Drew Schiestel, a former second-round pick and AHL All-Star who was once on the verge of a recall to the Sabres, has been assigned from the AHL to the ECHL.

The Rochester Americans also sent defenseman Matt MacKenzie to the Greenville Road Warriors today.

The 23-year-old Schiestel, the 59th overall pick in 2007, earned an AHL All-Star berth with the Portland Pirates in 2010-11 and was thought to be the Sabres’ top defense prospect.

But Schiestel tore his ACL two …

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Cody Hodgson will return to the Sabres after the lockout ends. ©2012, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – With an NHL lockout likely hitting at midnight tonight, the Sabres loaned 20 AHL-eligible players, including forwards Marcus Foligno and Cody Hodgson, to the Rochester Americans on Friday.

Also assigned were: forwards Luke Adam, Riley Boychuk, Brian Flynn, Zemgus Girgensons, Jacob Lagace, Jonathan Parker, Kevin Sundher, Shawn Szydlowski, Corey Tropp, Phil Varone; defensemen Alex Biega, Nick Crawford, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, Matt MacKenzie, Brayden McNabb, Mark Pysyk; goalies Connor Knapp and Nathan Lieuwen.The Sabres also sent forwards Kevin Porter and Nick …

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