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Ottawa Senators

Robin Lehner has a history with Tim Murray. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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SUNRISE, Fla. – Parting with the 21st pick in a deep NHL Draft wasn’t easy for Tim Murray. With the Buffalo Sabres locked into picking Jack Eichel second overall Friday, the general manager recently told his scouts to focus on the team’s other first-round pick.

Murray wanted them to go deep and dig into those prospects.

But the Sabres desperately needed a goalie for next season. Murray had choices. Plenty of established ones – perhaps five or six – are available this …

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Robin Lehner suffered a concussion last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Tim Murray had choices. Plenty of established goalies – perhaps five or six – are available this summer. But the general manager wanted Robin Lehner to fill the Buffalo Sabres’ vacancy.

“Robin was our target,” Murray said this morning after acquiring the 23-year-old from the Ottawa Senators. “He was the No. 1 goalie available from our estimation.”

Murray watched Lehner quickly rise through Ottawa’s organization when he served in the Senators’ front office. The Swede only played one …

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Robin Lehner has played 86 NHL games. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Buffalo Sabres have a new goalie.

The rebuilding team acquired Robin Lehner and center David Legwand from the Ottawa Senators this morning for the 21st pick in tonight’s NHL Draft.

The trade is the first between Sabres general manager Tim Murray and his uncle and counterpart, Bryan Murray.

The 23-year-old Lehner is 30-36-13 with a 2.88 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in 86 games. The emergence of Andrew Hammond late last year made the Swede expendable.

The …

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The Sabres recalled Andrey Makarov this afternoon. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Forget about goalie Chad Johnson making his Sabres debut tonight against the Ottawa Senators.

The 28-year-old Johnson, acquired from the New York Islanders on Monday, is doubtful for the road game with a lower-body injury, the team announced this afternoon. Johnson skated the past two days.

Goalie Anders Lindback will likely make his second straight start. The Sabres recalled Andrey Makarov from the Rochester Americans this afternoon.

Update: Coach Ted Nolan told reporters in Ottawa following the Sabres’ 3-2 loss Johnson’s …

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The Sabres are Chad Johnson's fifth NHL team. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Just days ago, fans were calling for Sabres coach Ted Nolan to sit hot starting goalie Michal Neuvirth and give wonky backup Anders Lindback some work.

“Everyone wanted Lindback, Lindback,” Nolan said Thursday inside HarborCenter after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s road game against the Ottawa Senators.

Nolan refused to sit Neuvirth, starting him eight straight games before the Sabres traded him Monday.

“How can you justify, wake up in the morning and go to sleep at nighttime, knowing that you’re …

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Mikhail Grigorenko has spent most of this season in Rochester. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – For once, center Mikhail Grigorenko can relax a little bit. Eighteen games are left in the Sabres’ trying season. The NHL’s weakest lineup needs reinforcements.

Sabres coach Ted Nolan wouldn’t commit to Grigorenko staying for the rest of the year. But the Russian should get a long look after getting recalled from Rochester again Thursday.

This could be Grigorenko’s best opportunity since his rookie season two years ago.

Grigorenko, the 12th pick in 2012, was excited when he spotted a white …

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Chris Stewart (80) balances the puck on his blade in front of Ottawa's Erik Karlsson on Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have played 165 periods this trying season. Most, given their 15-36-3 record and 30th overall standing, have been poor or even awful.

In the opening period of Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, the Sabres, fresh of a pathetic 10-shot outing, performed terribly again, getting outscored 1-0 and outshot 14-8.

Early on, some fans in the announced sellout crowd of 19,070 inside the First Niagara Center responded to each Sabres shot with a mild Bronx cheer.

“I just …

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Patrick Kaleta tore his ACL in Rochester last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Finally, 33 games into his season, Patrick Kaleta is buzzing around the ice regularly looking to thump opponents, a sign the aggressive Sabres winger has recovered from a torn ACL.

“It looks like he got his legs underneath him,” coach Ted Nolan said Tuesday prior to the Sabres’ 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators inside the First Niagara Center. “He’s searching for those big hits. You can just tell … his timing’s getting a lot better.”

Hits can be a …

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Cody Hodgson has two goals and eight points this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson’s benching could last for a bit.

“Maybe two or three (games). Maybe four or five. Who knows?” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

The struggling Sabres winger, who has two goals and eight points in 51 games, will sit out tonight’s tilt against the Ottawa Senators, the second straight game he has been scratched.

The 24-year-old must wait to return, Nolan said.

“We’re going to work him a little bit harder,” he said.

Of course, …

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Cody McCormick blocked a shot Jan. 3. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – On Jan. 3 in New York, gritty Sabres forward Cody McCormick blocked a shot, something he has done 126 times in his career.

This time, however, the pain felt different. It lingered.

Something was wrong.

“I had pain in my calf after for no real reason,” McCormick told the Times Herald during the first intermission of Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders inside First Niagara Center.

McCormick didn’t know it then, but he had developed blood clots that would spread …

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