It’s over

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New York Islanders

Ville Leino couldn't score in 58 games this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – It happened every time Ville Leino touched the puck, whether the Sabres center was 10 feet from the net or in another zone.

The 18,804 fans inside the First Niagara Center cheered the Finn wildly throughout Sunday’s season finale, hoping he would score his first goal in his 58th appearance. Some implored him to shoot.

Alas, Leino couldn’t score, completing what was arguably the worst season ever for a Sabres forward.

“I haven’t thought about it much here,” Leino said about …

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Connor Knapp made 22 saves Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – On March 15, more than 4,000 miles from Buffalo, Sabres goalie Connor Knapp stopped 24 shots in the Alaska Aces’ 4-2 win against the Colorado Eagles in Anchorage.

Twenty-nine days later, Knapp, the sixth goalie on the organization’s depth chart, made his first NHL start in the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

Knapp grew up in York, a small town about 30 miles from Rochester.

“It’s crazy,” the 23-year-old told a throng of cameras and reporters after …

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Connor Knapp played in relief on Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Connor Knapp, the sixth goalie on the Sabres’ depth chart, will make his first NHL start this afternoon against the New York Islanders.

The Sabres recalled goalie Andrey Makarov from Rochester today on an emergency basis. But the 20-year-old Russian played for the Americans the last two days.

“Makarov, this will be his third game in three nights,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “They play again Wednesday. We know how crucial it is …

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Andrey Makarov could receive his first NHL start today. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Yes, the Sabres will have a full lineup for this afternoon’s season finale against the New York Islanders inside the First Niagara Center.

The injury-ravaged club, which lost five players in Saturday’s 4-1 loss in Boston, today recalled winger Nick Deslauriers, goalie Andrey Makarov and defenseman Mark Pysyk from Rochester on an emergency basis.

Makarov could make his first NHL start against the Isles. The 20-year-old Russian played Friday and Saturday for the Americans, who have won five straight games.

Connor …

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Rasmus Ristolainen has played 30 AHL games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – With defenseman Alexander Sulzer out, the Sabres today recalled rookie Rasmus Ristolainen from Rochester.

The 19-year-old should play tonight in New York against the Islanders, his first NHL game since Nov. 15.

Ristolainen, the eighth overall pick in June, compiled one goal and four penalty minutes in 19 games after making the Sabres out of training camp. He played one game under interim coach Ted Nolan before the Sabres sent him to the AHL.

The Finn has six goals, 18 points …

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Matt Moulson has become one of the NHL's top scorers. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Four years ago, Matt Moulson’s career reached what he called “a fork in the road.”

Having spent the final six months of 2008-09 in the minors before Los Angeles let him go, the new Sabres winger began fretting.

At that point, Moulson had six goals in 29 NHL games. But at least the Kings had given him a shot. Pittsburgh, which drafted Moulson 263rd overall in 2003, never even signed him.

“It was kind of make the NHL or be a …

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The Sabres traded Thomas Vanek on Sunday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Some interesting new details have emerged about Sunday’s big swap, which sent Sabres co-captain and top scorer Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders.

The Sabres retained 19.5 percent of Vanek’s $6.5 million salary in the trade, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. They also kept the same portion of his salary cap hit.

Perhaps that’s why the Isles, who sent high-scoring winger Matt Moulson to the Sabres, also parted with a 2014 first-round pick and 2015 second-round selection.

But, according to …

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Matt Moulson skates this morning with his new teammates. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Having grown up in nearby Mississauga, Ont., about a 90-minute drive, Sabres winger Matt Moulson said he’s well-acquainted with his new city.

“I used to love coming to Bills games,” Moulson said this morning inside the First Niagara Center, less than a day after being acquired with two high draft picks from the New York Islanders for co-captain Thomas Vanek. “So it’s a great city. Who knows, it could be for a long time. We’ll see what they have …

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The Sabres selected Thomas Vanek fifth overall in 2003. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
7

BUFFALO – In the short-term, the hapless Sabres are no better after dealing co-captain and top scorer Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders late Sunday for 30-goal winger Matt Moulson and a first-round pick in 2014 and second-round selection in 2015, general manager Darcy Regier said.

But the shocking trade, which Regier worked on with counterpart Garth Snow “off and on for a while,” wasn’t about improving the 2-10-1 club immediately.

“This is more the overall deal, which I believe will …

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Thomas Vanek was recenly named co-captain. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In a stunning development, the Sabres have traded 29-year-old co-captain Thomas Vanek, arguably their top player, to the New York Islanders for Matt Moulson, their 2014 first-round pick and a 2015 second-round pick.

The slick winger, an upcoming unrestricted free agent, has expressed an interesting in leaving the Sabres if their rebuilding process takes too long.

Clearly, the Sabres’ awful 2-10-1 start couldn’t convince Vanek to stick around.

In the 29-year-old Moulson, the Sabres have a winger who scored 30 or …

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