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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
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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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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Since their sizzling run in the 1970s, the members of the Sabres’ famed French Connection line – Rick Martin, Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert – have been legendary, almost mythical figures around town

Now, literally, the famed trio will become larger-than-life.

The Sabres announced plans Thursday to immortalize the three by erecting a 10-foot bronze statue of the three together. The statue will be the centerpiece of a larger “Alumni Plaza,” which will be directly outside the First Niagara Center.

The …

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©2012
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Don’t fret, Sabres fans. The Foligno jump is coming. It’ll just have to take place following Marcus Foligno’s second goal.

The top prospect planned to honor his father, popular former Sabres captain Mike Foligno, by leaping into the air to celebrate his first big league score.

Mike jumped after about every one of his 355 goals from 1979-94. Marcus’ brother Nick Foligno, a Senators winger, paid homage once as a rookie in 2007.

Only when Marcus Foligno tallied the tying goal …

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