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Archive:
Ott

Steve Ott joined the Blues in February. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Part of Steve Ott will always remain with the Sabres. The gritty 32-year-old quickly became one of the city’s most popular athletes during his two-year tenure, his blue-collar style resonating in a hardworking fan base.

“I like to think that I was a part of that organization for the right reasons,” Ott, whose St. Louis Blues host the Sabres tonight, said by phone Monday morning. “When you wear a sweater of a team, it will always hold a piece …

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Brian Gionta talks about being named captain Tuesday. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – For five years, Josh Gorges watched Brian Gionta closely. Gionta’s Stanley Cup ring offered him instant credibility in the Montreal dressing room. But Gorges quickly learned why Gionta won a championship.

Gorges noticed the professionalism Gionta exhibited, the strong habits that made him a leader and respected captain.

“I’ve said this all along, when you’re a young guy coming into a team … who do you look to in the room and say, ‘This is who I got to follow …

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Brian Gionta signed with the Sabres on July 1. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres coach Ted Nolan today named 35-year-old winger Brian Gionta the 19th full-season captain in franchise history.

Defenseman Josh Gorges and winger Matt Moulson have been named alternates.

The Sabres haven’t had a captain since Steve Ott left in February.

Check back for details and quotes later!

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Sam Reinhart skates last week at the NHL Prospects Tournament. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – If you love roster battles, the next three weeks of Sabres training camp should be fun.

About 34 players have a legitimate chance to crack the opening-night lineup. They have a prized prospect, slick center Sam Reinhart, vying for a spot. The starting goalie job is up for grabs. Defense spots are open. Nine or 10 guys will be competing for three fourth-line spots.

Players report for physicals today. The first on-ice session is Friday. Incredibly, the Sabres play their …

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Chris Stewart has played only five games with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – When Chris Stewart’s disappointing 15-goal season ended in April, the Sabres winger decided to stay put for the summer. Instead of returning home to Toronto, Stewart settled in a suburb and began preparing for what he called “another biggest season of my career.”

“I’ve been saying (that) for the last three, four years now,” Stewart, who hasn’t cracked the 20-goal mark since 2010-11, said last week after skating inside the Riverside Ice Rink.

This time, it’s true. Stewart, 27, is …

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Brian Gionta was Montreal's captain four seasons. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – To most observers, it’s a formality. At some point before the season begins Oct. 9, the Sabres will name Brian Gionta their new captain.

Awarding Gionta the prestigious ‘C’ makes sense. The 35-year-old, the rebuilding club’s oldest and most experienced player, just served four seasons as Montreal’s captain. He won the Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2003.

By any measure, the winger’s the Sabres’ most qualified candidate.

Still, Gionta, who signed a three-year, $12.75 million contract July 1, said he …

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Zemgus Girgensons spent all last season with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Some experts are already predicting the Sabres, a team three months removed from the worst NHL season in recent memory, will be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders in a few years.

Why? Their prospect pool might be the deepest in hockey.

Seven first-round picks are participating in the team’s development camp this week. Seven of the 41 prospects played in the NHL last season, including center Zemgus Girgensons, who spent the entire campaign with the Sabres.

Fans can get their first glimpses …

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Tim Murray (left) wants to sign veterans to support youngsters like Sam Reinhart. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have a pretty simple free agency plan. The rebuilding club wants to add some respected veterans, preferably skilled ones who can mentor the team’s youngsters and are willing to take a short term, perhaps just a year or two.

Yes, the Sabres need to add salary badly when the market opens at noon today. After all, they’re a stunning $20,580,834 under the floor. But reaching that mark, a touchy subject for general manager Tim Murray, isn’t the …

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The Sabres named new captains before last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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On Oct. 1, the Buffalo Sabres unveiled their new leadership crew, co-captains Steve Ott and Thomas Vanek and alternate Christian Ehrhoff.

Nine months later, all three are gone.

Vanek was dealt later that month. Ott went in February. Ehrhoff was bought out Sunday.

Looking for a picture that can capture the Sabres’ radical transformation? Look above.

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Florida selected Aaron Ekblad No. 1. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – The Buffalo Sabres’ chances of winning the Connor McDavid sweepstakes could be taking a small hit.

General manager Tim Murray said Friday the NHL will likely alter its draft lottery next year.

What’s going to happen?

Murray said the odds of the league’s worst team getting the No. 1 pick will drop from 25 percent to about 19 or 20 percent. The tradeoff? The 30th team can’t fall past the No. 2 spot.

The Sabres, despite a league-low 52 points last season, …

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