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Mancari
Alexander Sulzer was scratched 51 times last season in Vancouver. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – When was the last time Alexander Sulzer started an NHL season confident he could be a regular?

“Never, first time,” the Sabres defenseman said Wednesday inside the First Niagara Center.

Having a roster spot isn’t new for Sulzer. He’s spent parts of the past four seasons in the NHL, including the last two from beginning to end. It’s just that he rarely played prior to his Feb. 27 arrival from Vancouver.

From the start of 2010-11 until he began regular duty …

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Luke Adam recently reeled off five goals and nine points in eight games. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – It was a year in the making. During a recent eight-game run, Rochester Americans forward Luke Adam morphed into a dynamic presence again, using his 6-foot-2, 206-pound frame to dominate down low.

Adam compiled five goals – he had only six in his first 44 games with the Amerks dating back to last season – and nine points, including scores in four straight. He was tough on pucks, won battles and got to the net.

For the 22-year-old Sabres prospect, …

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T.J. Brennan already has 12 goals this season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – In the coming weeks, if the NHL and the Players’ Association hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement, the Sabres will convene for an abbreviated training camp and begin molding a six-man defense corps from a stacked group that stretches more than 10 deep.

The Sabres boast eight NHL defensemen after acquiring Adam Pardy from Dallas this summer. Eleven defenders in the organization appeared in the big leagues last season, including T.J. Brennan, who’s producing at a clip rarely …

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Marcus Foligno scored the overtime winner in Wednesday's wild 7-6 win. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – So, about those two wild 7-6 games between the Rochester Americans and the Lake Erie Monsters recently.

The Sabres’ AHL affiliate rallied from three three-goal deficits Dec. 13 in Cleveland. Then, incredibly, the Amerks rallied again late Wednesday in Rochester, forcing overtime before Marcus Foligno won it.

Don’t expect another goal bonanza tonight inside the First Niagara Center.

“They’re going to be pretty (ticked) off they blew a couple leads there,” said Amerks defenseman T.J. Brennan, who had five points Wednesday. …

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Mark Mancari was the 18th player in Sabres history to sport No. 12. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
5

In honor of December 12, 2012 – 12-12-12 as everyone’s calling it today – we present the Buffalo Sabres’ No. 12 list, the 18 distinguished men who have worn the number in franchise history.

Who do you think is the greatest?

Here’s a note on each:

Skip Krake, 1970-71: First No. 12 scored four goals for the inaugural Sabres.

Mike Byers, 1971-72: Second No. 12 tallied nine goals during the team’s second season.

Larry Mickey, 1971-75: Played parts of four seasons with the club, including …

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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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Kevin Porter has played 163 NHL games. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

ROCHESTER – Kevin Porter, the former NCAA superstar, had finally established himself as an NHL regular after shuttling between the big leagues and minors for two years. In 2010-11, the 26-year-old played 74 games with the Colorado Avalanche, scoring 14 goals.

By last October, however, the Rochester Americans’ new captain had already become a spare part.

Incredibly, the Avs scratched Porter 43 times last season.

The forward played poorly defensively, never showcased enough physicality and couldn’t regain his collegiate scoring touch. He sat …

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Mark Pysyk blocks a shot in his professional debut Friday. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

ROCHESTER – The 42nd opening night in Buffalo Sabres history would’ve been “huge,” winger Drew Stafford said, even “amazing.” New seasons breed hope and optimism, and if the NHL lockout wasn’t in its 28th day, both would be sweeping through Buffalo right now.

The club was scheduled to host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight inside a capacity First Niagara Center.

The Sabres, healthy and stocked with offseason reinforcements, might’ve been considered a chic Eastern Conference contender again. Their dizzying late-season …

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Marcus Foligno established himself as a top NHL talent late last season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – They’re back for another unexpected AHL run, kicked to the minors again by the NHL lockout.

Marcus Foligno dominated at times during his late-season recall, compiling six goals and 13 points in a rollicking 12-game stretch. By mid-March, the winger had become a star and a Sabres fan favorite.

Center Cody Hodgson, meanwhile, established himself as a regular last year, scoring 19 goals while setting a league record for road appearances.

Both would be virtual locks to make the big club …

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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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