Best wishes to RJ

Archive:
Pegula

Brian Gionta was all smiles Wednesday. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Brian Gionta’s ties to Western New York run deep. The winger grew up in suburban Rochester rooting for the Sabres, his new team. Before attending Boston College, he played junior hockey with the Niagara Scenic. He still lives in Greece, his lifelong home.

Playing here earlier in his career would’ve been difficult, Gionta said Wednesday during an introductory news conference inside the First Niagara Center.

But right now, Gionta’s a 35-year-old whose goal production has dropped in recent seasons. Leadership, …

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Tim Murray (left) shakes Brian Gionta's hand today. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The five new players the Sabres acquired Tuesday will make it harder for them to re-sign Steve Ott, the popular former captain they traded in February.

“I don’t know if he’s a possibility,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “I talked to his agent last night after I talked to you guys. I explained to him with what we did yesterday, it would make it more difficult. But what we may do …

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Christian Ehrhoff will sign another big contract soon. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Despite a manageable $4 million cap hit and $22 million of Christian Ehrhoff’s 10-year, $40 million contract already paid, the Sabres didn’t want to keep the defenseman.

Why?

If Ehrhoff retired early, the Sabres could’ve been charged a huge cap recapture penalty, as much as $10 million, according to capgeek.com. Imagine having that dead money eating up space when the Sabres need to lock up their youngsters in several years.

So the Sabres used their second compliance buyout on the final …

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Terry Pegula believes Ralph Wilson's contributions as Bills owner were "immeasurable." ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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The Sabres issued the following statement today from owners Terry and Kim Pegula following the passing of Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr.:

“The entire Buffalo Sabres organization was saddened to learn of the passing of Ralph Wilson, Jr. His contributions to the city of Buffalo over his 50-plus years of owning the Bills were immeasurable and his legacy in Western New York and the sports world will be long-lasting. With his passion for the game and never-ending loyalty to the …

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Ted Black (left) and Tim Murray discuss the Sabres' tumultuous weekend Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – A Sabres icon bolted less than four months after returning to the team he loved. The franchise goalie and captain got traded.

The Sabres just endured perhaps the most trying weekend in their 43-year history. That was before the popular coach sounded like he might want to leave.

“It’s a lot for our fans to swallow in a short amount of time,” Sabres president Ted Black said Sunday, a day after Pat LaFontaine abruptly resigned as president of hockey operations.

Black …

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Ted Black (left) and Tim Murray address the media this afternoon. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres president Ted Black understands Pat LaFontaine’s stunning resignation as president of hockey operations  creates uncertainty for a team that had finally seemed to stabilize itself.

“It’s something that fans are going to be upset by,” Black said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center, a day after LaFontaine abruptly bolted from the organization after less than four months.

Still, Black said, LaFontaine was only one person.

“I don’t know if it impacts the greater mission and will deter us,” he …

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Pat LaFontaine (left) shakes Tim Murray's hand Jan. 9. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – In a stunning development, Sabres legend Pat LaFontaine, the team’s president of hockey operations less than four months, resigned today.

LaFontaine will return to the job he had with the NHL.

According to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, the last straw for LaFontaine was Friday’s blockbuster deal in which the Sabres sent Ryan Miller to the St. Louis Blues.

LaFontaine wanted to give the 33-year-old Miller an extension. New general manager Tim Murray, who LaFontaine hired in January, wanted to deal the franchise …

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Ryan Miller began his Sabres career in 2002-03. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres’ trade with the St. Louis Blues is official: goalie Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott are gone.

In return, the Sabres acquired goalie Jaroslav Halak, forwards Chris Stewart and William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and another conditional pick.

Miller and Ott will talk to the media during the first intermission tonight. General manager Tim Murray will speak after the second period.

Update: Here are some quotes from an emotional Miller and Ott:

Miller on his gratefulness:

“I’m just thankful …

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Brad Boyes has 12 goals this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Brad Boyes’ comeback generated no interest. The 31-year-old former Sabres winger rejuvenated his career last season beside star John Tavares and Matt Moulson on the New York Islanders’ No. 1 line.

Then, despite compiling 10 goals and 35 points in 48 games, Boyes couldn’t find a team during one of the oddest summers in NHL history.

With the salary cap coming down and rosters packed, plenty of notable veterans experienced similar situations.

“It didn’t work out with the Islanders … and …

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Steve Ott (9) will be an unrestricted free agent following the season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – The hospitality Steve Ott and his family have experienced from the community has been incredible, the captain said. Win or lose, the locals still love their Sabres.

Of course, the Sabres have done a lot of losing during Ott’s first year here.

The warm welcome and the struggles have left Ott imagining the Sabres’ resurgence. Right now, they’re rebuilding, still the NHL’s worst team.

But the 31-year-old, an unrestricted free agent following the season, wants to stick around.

“I can only imagine …

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