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Cory Conacher is looking for a new team. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The short Sabres careers of winger Cory Conacher and defenseman Jamie McBain are over.

The rebuilding club passed on giving them qualifying offers as restricted free agents, making them free to sign with any team.

The Sabres also didn’t qualify defensemen Nick Crawford and Matt MacKenzie, who played in Rochester, and goalie Connor Knapp, who played one NHL game last season.

Sabres general manager Tim Murray said Monday morning McBain, who struggled his one season here, wouldn’t be coming back. Murray …

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Jamie McBain played one season with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Defenseman Jamie McBain’s short Sabres career is over.

The 26-year-old restricted free agent won’t be given a qualifying offer, general manager Tim Murray said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

McBain struggled much of last season, compiling six goals, 17 points and a minus-13 rating in 69 appearances. The Sabres acquired him in the Andrej Sekera trade with Carolina a year ago today.

What about the other RFAs?

Murray said “maybe” when asked about winger Cory Conacher and defenseman Matt MacKenzie. …

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Joel Armia hasn't played in a regular-season NHL game yet. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

Since most NHL Entry Drafts don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at the Buffalo Sabres’ first-round picks from 2006-11 and some notable hits and misses. Fourteen of Buffalo’s 43 draft choices over that time have made the NHL.

The Sabres have eight picks this weekend in Philadelphia, including the No. 2 selection.

2011

First-round pick: center Joel Armia, 16th overall

Armia endured a rough season in 2013-14, his first in North America. The 21-year-old broke his hand during an …

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Phil Varone (84) spent some of his NHL debut beside Carolina goalie Anton Khudobin. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The voice on the other end of the phone was excited. For a moment, Tony Varone thought his son, Sabres center Phil Varone, had been in a car accident.

“I said, ‘Is everything OK?’” the elder Varone recalled a day later inside the First Niagara Center.

Phil Varone, who nearly shunned the Sabres to play hockey for the University of New Brunswick in 2011, was calling with good news, though.

“He said, ‘Yes, yes, I just got called up!’” Tony Varone …

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Andrej Sekera (4) and Nathan Gerbe left the Sabres after last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – At first, Nathan Gerbe said, he didn’t understand why the Sabres waived and bought him out in early July. The diminutive winger had no inkling they had given up on him after five seasons.

“I didn’t know it was coming, that’s for sure,” Gerbe said Thursday prior to the Carolina Hurricanes’ 5-3 win inside the First Niagara Center. “No one spoke to me about it. So I think you get a little shocked. But it’s a business and you …

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Tyler Myers can't play until next Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – On Monday, hours before the NHL suspended Tyler Myers three games for an illegal check to Dainius Zubrus’ head, the Sabres defenseman said his hulking stature wouldn’t make him change his aggressive style.

“I don’t want to change my game just because of how tall I am,” the 6-foot-8 Myers said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes inside the First Niagara Center. “It’s just something that comes with the territory.”

Still, Myers better start exercising …

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Joel Armia saw plenty of action Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – This wasn’t a three-minute YouTube package of European highlights or a summer development camp scrimmage. This was slick Sabres prospect Joel Armia finally skating in some NHL action.

The hype surrounding Armia has been building since the Sabres selected the Finnish winger 16th overall in 2011. Yet few fans had seen the 20-year-old, who spent the last three seasons playing at home in SM-liiga, up close prior to Thursday’s exhibition home opener, a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes …

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Jamie McBain had only one goal and eight points last season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Jamie McBain disputes his former general manager’s belief he reported to training camp out of shape last season.

The new Sabres defenseman acknowledged Tuesday that workouts “kind of slipped away from me a little bit” during the lockout. But McBain had played briefly in Finland and felt ready for an abbreviated season with the Carolina Hurricanes following the work stoppage.

“My on-ice conditioning was just fine,” said McBain, who could face the Hurricanes tonight in an exhibition game at the …

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Darcy Regier talks Sunday at the NHL Entry Draft. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – For now at least, starting goalie Ryan Miller and slick winger Thomas Vanek, two veteran stars entering the final seasons of their contracts, are still members of the Sabres.

Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said Tuesday he has spoken to the players’ agents and both sides plan to continue chatting.

“As I’ve stated before, it’s incumbent upon me to have a sense of what the marketplace is or re-sign them versus allowing them to become unrestricted and just have very …

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J.T. Compher (left) and Connor Hurley pose Sunday after being selected in the second round. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

NEWARK, N.J. – More on the Buffalo Sabres’ 2013 NHL Entry Draft selections the Times Herald couldn’t get to earlier:

The Sabres went heavy on college-eligible players by design, using five of their 11 picks on them.

“With so many picks and our contract situation, you don’t want to waste those picks because their contracts all come up at the same time,” amateur scouting director Kevin Devine explained Sunday on the Prudential Center floor after the Sabres finished picking. “We wouldn’t be …

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