Some big decisions coming up

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Malkin

Ryan Miller (30) tries to stop Pittsburgh's Brandon Sutter with Mike Weber (6) behind him Wednesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Wednesday wasn’t an Olympic audition for goalie Ryan Miller, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said hours before his potent Penguins throttled the hapless Sabres 5-1. He’s judging Miller on his body of work, not one game.

Bylsma, Team USA’s coach for the upcoming Sochi Games, knows what most NHL observers know: Miller’s played splendidly most of the season under the most trying of circumstances.

The Sabres’ third straight loss illustrated that. Once again, they couldn’t support Miller, an unrestricted free agent …

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Mikhail Grigorenko feels he belongs in the NHL. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Interim coach Ted Nolan said Mikhail Grigorenko “was a little bit upset” when the Sabres told the 19-year-old prospect he was going back to the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.

“But this is non-negotiable,” Nolan said Saturday inside the Riverside Ice Rink. “It’s one of those things that has to be done.”

The Sabres didn’t understand just how much the demotion irked the Russian center.

Grigorenko won’t be reporting to the junior club, his agent, Jay Grossman, told the Times Herald hours later. …

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Ryan Miller made 40 saves Tuesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

PITTSBURGH – The thinking went like this: Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, heckled during an ugly home outing Friday, wouldn’t play in Buffalo again this season. No way. The Sabres couldn’t risk having the face of their franchise jeered again.

Sure enough, he sat Monday’s home game.

But the Sabres turned to Miller again Tuesday inside Consol Energy Center, and the former Vezina Trophy winner dazzled in his 499th NHL appearance, stopping 40 shots in the Sabres’ 4-2 victory over the mighty Penguins.

Now, …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – At the 11:43 mark of the second period Friday, slick Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby zoomed into the Sabres zone, slowed down at the top of the right circle and dished perfectly across the ice to a streaking James Neal, who beat goalie Ryan Miller to make it 3-2 on the power play.

Fresh off five straight convincing wins, the Sabres looked unstoppable, like they might run the table and roar into the postseason.

But in a showdown between the …

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Superstar Sidney Crosby hasn't played in Buffalo since Dec. 11, 2010. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Give it a shot. Try drawing up a better late-season NHL matchup. The Sabres’ tilt against the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins tonight could make for a wildly entertaining three hours inside the First Niagara Center.

This one promises to be action-packed and fun, folks.

The scorching Sabres, having climbed into eighth place Tuesday, are roaring toward another unlikely playoff appearance. They’ve won five straight games and seven of the last nine, piling up goals while stymieing the opposition.

It took about 70 …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who led the NHL with four wins thanks to a gaudy 1.26 goals-against average and .956 save percentage, has been named the league’s second star for the week ending March 25.

Miller allowed only five goals during the week and just two during his last three starts. He recorded his career-high sixth shutout in a 3-0 win Wednesday over Montreal.

“It’s not something you do on your own,” Miller said Monday inside the First Niagara Center. …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – On Sunday morning, shortly before the Sabres began their 6-2 shellacking of Pittsburgh, coach Dan Bylsma recalled an earlier defeat the underachieving club had laid on the Penguins.

Back on Oct. 15, the Sabres’ tenacious effort during their 3-2 triumph in Pittsburgh impressed Bylsma, who saw an active, speedy team dictating the game.

Bylsma believed the Sabres would be “a real good team, real dangerous team.” Like many others, he’s stunned they’ve fallen to 14th place in the Eastern Conference.

“I …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Rather than merely shadowing Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin and his wingers Sunday afternoon, Sabres center Paul Gaustad and his checking line planned to aggressively shut down one of the NHL’s best trios.

Gaustad, Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Kaleta – charged with stopping the NHL’s leading scorer, 30-goal man James Neal and Chris Kunitz – would dictate the play.

“We didn’t want to back off on them. If we backed off, it gives them time,” Gaustad said following the Sabres’ …

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