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Archive:
Montreal Canadiens

Josh Gorges joined Montreal in 2007. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Tim Murray’s phone rang Tuesday. On the other end, a Montreal Canadiens decision-maker asked the Sabres general manager if he was interested in defenseman Josh Gorges.

“I said, ‘Yes, but what’s the point of being interested? He’s got a no-trade (clause),’” Murray said inside the First Niagara Center.

The Canadiens told Murray that Gorges had added the Sabres to his list of teams he would accept a trade to. Shortly after that, the Sabres sent a 2016 second-round pick to …

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Brian Gionta has played 776 NHL games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have landed their first big free agent, signing Greece native Brian Gionta to a three-year contract worth $4.25 million annually, according to reports.

General manager Tim Murray has recently stated the rebuilding Sabres would be a desirable location for some veterans. Signing Gionta, the Montreal Canadiens’ captain for years, proves that.

The 35-year-old, a winger, has 249 goals and 485 points in 776 NHL games. He had 18 goals and 40 points in 81 games last season.

He should …

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Josh Gorges has played nine NHL seasons. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have acquired defenseman Josh Gorges from the Montreal Canadiens for a 2016 second-round pick.

The 29-year-old, a veteran of 560 NHL games, was asked to waive his no-trade clause Sunday to help the Habs create cap space. Gorges was stunned, and he nixed a deal to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“You’re never ready for it,” Gorges told the Montreal Gazette on Monday. “You’re never expecting it so, yeah, you’re a little bit blown away.”

Gorges is joining a rebuilding …

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Thomas Vanek played his first game back in Buffalo on Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Back in the summer, Thomas Vanek had a simple, straightforward question for the Sabres. The slick winger wanted to know what direction the team was going.

“No one really had an answer,” Vanek said Sunday prior to the Montreal Canadiens’ 2-0 win against Sabres, his first game back here. “That’s when I kind of made up my mind July 1 (unrestricted free agency) was probably a goal of mine.”

The Sabres, of course, traded Vanek, their co-captain, to the New …

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Nathan Lieuwen will dress tonight. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Former Sabres star Thomas Vanek couldn’t quite explain what he felt walking into the First Niagara Center for the first time as an opponent this afternoon.

“It was actually a different feeling, for sure,” said Vanek, now a member of the Montreal Canadiens. “It’s just I can’t explain it. I felt pretty good all day. As soon as I walked in here I started to get a little of the jitter.”

Vanek, an unrestricted free agent following the season, hasn’t …

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Nathan Lieuwen stops Zemgus Girgensons during development camp. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – In a surprising move, the Sabres today recalled goalie Nathan Lieuwen from Rochester on an emergency basis.

It’s unclear why the Sabres need Lieuwen. Goalie Jhonas Enroth finished Saturday’s 4-1 loss in New York to the Islanders. Michal Neuvirth backed him up.

Lieuwen, the 167th overall pick in 2011, has enjoyed a breakout AHL season with the Americans, wrestling the starting job away from Matt Hackett. The 22-year-old Lieuwen is 17-11-2 with a 2.34 goals-against average and .922 save percentage …

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Cory Conacher was never drafted and played in the ECHL briefly. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – There was no straight path to the NHL for Cory Conacher. About 10 years ago, after the AAA Burlington Cougars cut him, the diminutive Sabres winger figured his hockey career was over.

“You always run into a certain coach that just doesn’t like your physical stature,” Conacher recalled Friday, “and that’s kind of I think what happened.”

But the 5-foot-8 Conacher had a chip on his shoulder that would help buoy him to the NHL.

“I like proving people wrong,” he …

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Zemgus Girgensons scored his second goal this season Saturday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

MONTREAL – It was here, Sept. 15 inside the Bell Centre, that Buffalo Sabres rookie Zemgus Girgensons first sent notice he wouldn’t be leaving the NHL.

The ferocious Latvian winger scored twice in the Sabres’ first exhibition game, a 5-4 shootout win against the Canadiens. Of course, preseason openers are often filled with junior and AHL players with little or no chance of making the big club.

Still, Girgensons’ performance impressed the Sabres.

“That was a big game, definitely,” Girgensons said Saturday prior …

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Jamie McBain sat four games recently. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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MONTREAL – Jamie McBain wanted to know why he was sitting so much. So the defenseman dissected the four games he had played under Ted Nolan, the Buffalo Sabres’ new interim coach.

“I couldn’t come to an answer myself,” McBain said Saturday prior to the Sabres’ 3-2 loss to the Canadiens inside the Bell Centre.

So the 25-year-old, a healthy scratch four straight games recently, approached Nolan.

“I wanted to kind of hear his opinion on it,” McBain said. “(He) was kind of …

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Zemgus Girgensons has one goal this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

MONTREAL – It was here, Sept. 15 inside the Bell Centre, that Buffalo Sabres rookie Zemgus Girgensons first sent notice he wouldn’t be leaving the NHL.

The Latvian winger scored twice in the Sabres’ first exhibition game, a 5-4 shootout win against the Canadiens. Of course, preseason openers are often filled with junior and AHL players with little or no chance of making the big club.

Still, Girgensons’ performance impressed the Sabres.

“That was a big game, definitely,” Girgensons said this morning after …

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