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Montreal Canadiens

Thomas Vanek played his first game back in Buffalo on Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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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Jhonas Enroth will start tonight. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

MONTREAL – Shortly after he took over the Buffalo Sabres, interim coach Ted Nolan said he wanted to play franchise goalie Ryan Miller as much as he could. Sure enough, backup Jhonas Enroth sat two weeks between starts.

But Enroth’s 23-save performance in the Sabres’ 1-0 overtime loss last Saturday in New Jersey impressed Nolan, who didn’t like the Swede’s first start Nov. 16.

Enroth will start tonight against the Canadiens, a team he’s 3-0 against with a 2.33 goals-against average and …

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Ryan Miller could be tending goal somewhere else this season.. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

MONTREAL – Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said he’s heard lots of talk about the franchise’s future before.

In less than a year, Miller has gone from backstopping a veteran team built to contend for the Stanley Cup to being the lone bright spot on a rebuilding club already regarded as one of the worst in NHL history.

So the 33-year-old, an unrestricted free agent following the season, wants more than words from the Sabres as he decides his future.

“It’s about action …

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Montreal's P.K. Subban (76) knocks down Steve Ott on Wednesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

BUFFALO – Tyler Ennis said he was simply trying to hit his spot on the Sabres’ set breakout. Both wingers are supposed to loop. He had no intention of trying to pick Ryan White.

“All of a sudden he was going to my ice,” Ennis said Wednesday following the Sabres’ 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, their fifth straight defeat.

With the Sabres down 2-1 with 2:58 remaining, a referee whistled Ennis for interference, giving the Canadiens’ lethal power play an opportunity …

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