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Stafford

Mikhail Grigorenko played his second NHL game this season Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Mikhail Grigorenko knew the Sabres were short one forward and had the Colorado Avalanche, a team led by Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy, his former junior coach, coming up on the schedule.

Grigorenko, who played in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss in Winnipeg before going back to Rochester, wanted to get recalled again badly. To his relief, the Sabres summoned the Russian again Saturday morning.

“I was hoping I would get called up, especially that game against Colorado against Patrick,” Grigorenko …

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Marcus Foligno scored in three straight games last week. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – After scoring a goal in three consecutive wins recently, his hottest stretch since he burst into the NHL almost three years ago, Sabres center Marcus Foligno believes he has finally turned a corner in what has often been an enigmatic career.

“Yeah, I do,” Foligno said Thursday following practice inside HarborCenter. “I feel a lot better in myself and the way I’ve been playing, the way I’ve been seeing the ice, and just the confidence is a little bit …

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Canisius College players skate at HarborCenter recently. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Instead of dressing at the First Niagara Center and busing to the Riverside Ice Rink or another local facility Thursday, the Sabres simply put on their sandals or sneakers and walked across the street in their uniforms to HarborCenter, the new $170 million facility that opened earlier this fall.

Practicing outside the First Niagara Center is no longer a hassle. Naturally, the Sabres’ first session inside the sparkling facility had a huge “wow” factor.

“It’s beautiful,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan …

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HarborCenter impressed Drew Stafford. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Instead of dressing at the First Niagara Center and busing to the Riverside Ice Rink or another local facility today, the Sabres simply put on their sandals or sneakers and walked across the street to HarborCenter, the new $170 million facility that opened earlier this fall.

Practicing outside the First Niagara Center is no longer a hassle. Naturally, the Sabres’ first session inside the sparkling facility had a huge “wow” factor.

“It’s beautiful,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said inside HarborCenter. …

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Cody Hodgson (left) talks to assistant coach Bryan Trottier on Thursday morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson’s benching likely won’t last long, coach Ted Nolan said. The struggling center is too important to the Sabres’ long-term success. They need the 24-year-old in the lineup to produce offense, something he hasn’t done all season.

Hodgson, the Sabres’ leading scorer a year ago, has one goal, three points and a minus-11 rating in 28 games.

Nolan finally scratched Hodgson for the Sabres’ 4-3 win against the Calgary Flames on Thursday inside the First Niagara Center.

“Maybe a game …

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Cody Hodgson has struggled all season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Struggling center Cody Hodgson, who has one goal and three points in 28 games this season, will be a healthy scratch for the first time in his Sabres career tonight against the Calgary Flames.

“Maybe a game watching will get him out of that funk,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

Winger Chris Stewart, a scratch last game, will return, Nolan said.

Hodgson has been a colossal disappointment in the second season of a six-year, …

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Cody Hodgson has one goal and three points this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Just under 11 minutes into Saturday’s 3-2 loss in Florida, Cody Hodgson grabbed a loose puck in the corner and beat a Panthers defender along the wall. The Sabres center then cut to the middle and fended off two more Panthers before deftly feeding Drew Stafford, who one-timed the perfect pass in the net from the left circle.

“For him to have that vision to make a play like that, just goes to show you what kind of skill …

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Rasmus Ristolainen put his stick in his face Monday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – As players trickled off the ice Monday following practice, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen suddenly bolted down the hallway holding his nose and went to the trainer’s room.

What happened?

Ristolainen apparently got caught in a rut on the ice, and his stick hit him in the face as he fell backward. The youngster will be OK, Sabres coach Ted Nolan said.

It’s a good thing, because the Sabres are running low on defensemen. They practiced Monday with only five healthy ones. …

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Tyson Strachan could return Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – As players trickled off the ice today following practice, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen suddenly bolted down the hallway holding his nose and went to the trainer’s room.

What happened?

Ristolainen apparently got caught in a rut on the ice, and his stick hit him in the face as he fell backward. The youngster will be OK, Sabres coach Ted Nolan said.

It’s a good thing, because the Sabres are running low on defensemen. They practiced today with only five healthy ones. …

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Josh Gorges wears No. 4 because of Jean Beliveau. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Josh Gorges considers himself old school. He believes defensemen should wear single-digit numbers. So after sporting No. 26 with the Montreal Canadiens for years, the veteran wanted a low number when the Sabres acquired him.

Gorges had a couple of choices. He settled on No. 4, partly because iconic Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau, who died Tuesday at age 83, wore it during his illustrious Hall of Fame career.

Beliveau is hockey royalty.

“What a great number to wear,” Gorges said Wednesday. …

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