TAKE CARE, RYAN AND STEVE

Archive:
Ruff

Chris Stewart tries to score on Jaroslav Halak during their first Sabres practice Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – They’re only human, you know. Leaving the St. Louis Blues, a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, for the rebuilding Sabres wasn’t easy at first for goalie Jaroslav Halak and winger Chris Stewart.

But the veterans, part of Friday’s blockbuster Ryan Miller-Steve Ott deal, have accepted they’re now playing for the NHL’s worst team, at least temporarily.

Rumors are swirling the Sabres will flip them before Wednesday’s trade deadline. Halak, an unrestricted free agent following the season, is believed to be wanted …

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Brad Boyes has 12 goals this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

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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Lindy Ruff returned to Buffalo on Oct. 28. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

Over the next few days, ace photographer Dan Hickling will be sharing and talking about some of his favorite shots from 2013.

Take it away, Dan …

When Lindy Ruff brought his Dallas Stars into Buffalo back on Oct. 28, it evoked a whole lot of memories. Some even felt that bringing a former Sabres coach back to the Buffalo bench would be a fine idea. (Little did anyone know that two weeks later, that very scenario would happen, albeit with a …

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Ryan Miller has made 28 appearances this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Ryan Miller will take a well-deserved break tonight in Winnipeg, giving way to backup Jhonas Enroth for the 13th time this season.

Miller, fresh off a career-best 49-save effort in Sunday’s 2-1 shootout triumph against Washington, is fine with sitting. The Sabres, like all NHL teams, have a loaded schedule this Olympic campaign.

Their tilt against the Jets, the start of a two-game road trip, begins a stretch of 19 contests over 38 days until the break.

With 28 …

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Mikhail Grigorenko hasn't played for interim coach Ted Nolan yet. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
4

BUFFALO – Mikhail Grigorenko figured he’d be starting a two-week AHL conditioning assignment Wednesday. The 19-year-old Sabres prospect had already dropped his equipment off at the rink and checked into a Rochester hotel when a team front office member contacted him at 10 p.m. Tuesday.

The NHL had rejected the assignment.

Grigorenko drove back to Buffalo and practiced with the Sabres hours later.

What happened?

“You read the rules and see how they work,” interim coach Ted Nolan said Wednesday inside the First Niagara …

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The Sabres traded Derek Roy in July 2012. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Derek Roy had some hard feeling against the Sabres after they traded him to Dallas in July 2012. The sometimes-slick center had just told former general manager Darcy Regier he wanted to stay in town.

The 30-year-old felt he had some unfinished business here.

“I thought we had a great team,” Roy said Tuesday prior to the St. Louis Blues’ 4-1 win against the Sabres, his first game back at the First Niagara Center. “Then a couple weeks later I …

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Interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan (left) talks with Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter on Wednesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Ted Nolan said he’s a straightforward type of guy. So after taking over as interim coach Wednesday, the 55-year-old requested one thing from the Sabres, whose work ethic has been lacking during their awful 4-15-1 start.

“The only thing I asked is you compete,” Nolan, the Sabres’ coach from 1995-97, said following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “Some guys play 25 minutes. Some guys play three minutes. To work for three minutes, that’s not asking much. To work …

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Ville Leino has struggled this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

Not long ago, there was a belief among Buffalo Sabres fans – actually, looking back, it was probably more of a wish – a healthy and refreshed Ville Leino would succeed this season.

Sure, maybe the 30-year-old winger would never reach the lofty expectations of the ridiculous six-year, $27 million contract he signed July 1, 2011. But perhaps the Finn, with his hip repaired and a full season under new coach Ron Rolston, would get back to producing around 20 goals …

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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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Two Sabres fans show their appreciation to Lindy Ruff on Monday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Eight hours before his Sabres debut, high-scoring winger Matt Moulson joked he wanted Lindy Ruff’s return to the First Niagara Center as the Dallas Stars’ coach to overshadow his night.

Moulson wasn’t letting on Monday morning, but the 29-year-old, having just been acquired Sunday with draft picks from the New York Islanders for star co-captain Thomas Vanek, was incredibly nervous.

“I’m not going to lie, that was probably the most nervous I’ve been for a game since my first game …

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