Welcome to Buffalo, Sam

Archive:
Vanek

The Sabres named new captains before last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

On Oct. 1, the Buffalo Sabres unveiled their new leadership crew, co-captains Steve Ott and Thomas Vanek and alternate Christian Ehrhoff.

Nine months later, all three are gone.

Vanek was dealt later that month. Ott went in February. Ehrhoff was bought out Sunday.

Looking for a picture that can capture the Sabres’ radical transformation? Look above.

Read More --->
Florida selected Aleksander Barkov second overall last year. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

PHILADELPHIA – How good are the Buffalo Sabres’ odds of nabbing a franchise talent with the No. 2 pick tonight? Take a look at the list below.

It can be argued the last 15 picks have been strong hits. The list includes 50-goal scorers, perennial NHL All-Stars and even future Hall of Famers.

In their 44-year history, the Sabres have never owned the second pick. Twice they’ve had the No. 1 pick, 1970, when they chose Gilbert Perreault, and 1987, when they …

Read More --->
Thomas Vanek played 47 games with the New York Islanders before getting traded to Montreal. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

The New York Islanders will be keeping the No. 5 pick in June’s NHL Entry Draft and giving the Buffalo Sabres their first-round selection next year to complete the Thomas Vanek trade, the club announced today.

The Isles had until June 1 to decide.

There had been some speculation the Isles would want to have their 2015 pick for a chance at Connor McDavid, arguably the biggest prospect since Sidney Crosby.

The Sabres now have three 2015 first-round picks. In addition to their …

Read More --->
The Sabres could draft Sam Reinhart this June. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Chalk up one more loss for the Sabres this season.

The rebuilding club couldn’t retain the No. 1 overall pick during Tuesday’s NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto. Instead, the Florida Panthers moved up one spot to the top selection.

The Sabres will pick second in June. Thanks to their 30th ranking this season, the Sabres had a 25 percent chance of keeping the top pick, more than any other team. The Panthers had an 18.8 percent chance.

Earlier Tuesday, Sabres general …

Read More --->
Nathan Lieuwen made his NHL debut on Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – A day after his surprising NHL debut, everything had settled down a bit for Sabres rookie Nathan Lieuwen.

Lieuwen said his body felt OK after playing three games in three days, a rarity for a goalie. He even remembered some of the action he faced Sunday. Memories were a blur following his 22-minute, 10-save relief appearance in the Sabres’ 2-0 loss to Montreal.

“I could remember a few more things this morning,” a smiling Lieuwen said Monday inside the First …

Read More --->
Nathan Lieuwen watches the play Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Fresh off two weekend appearances with Rochester, goalie Nathan Lieuwen learned early Sunday he had earned his first recall to the Sabres.

Newcomer Michal Neuvirth was injured, so the 22-year-old would be backing up Jhonas Enroth inside the First Niagara Center.

“I was shocked. I was nervous. Everything,” a smiling Lieuwen said after stopping all 10 shots he faced in his NHL debut, a 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. “I couldn’t stop smiling all morning.”

Lieuwen wasn’t expecting to play. …

Read More --->
Thomas Vanek played his first game back in Buffalo on Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Back in the summer, Thomas Vanek had a simple, straightforward question for the Sabres. The slick winger wanted to know what direction the team was going.

“No one really had an answer,” Vanek said Sunday prior to the Montreal Canadiens’ 2-0 win against Sabres, his first game back here. “That’s when I kind of made up my mind July 1 (unrestricted free agency) was probably a goal of mine.”

The Sabres, of course, traded Vanek, their co-captain, to the New …

Read More --->
Nathan Lieuwen will dress tonight. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Former Sabres star Thomas Vanek couldn’t quite explain what he felt walking into the First Niagara Center for the first time as an opponent this afternoon.

“It was actually a different feeling, for sure,” said Vanek, now a member of the Montreal Canadiens. “It’s just I can’t explain it. I felt pretty good all day. As soon as I walked in here I started to get a little of the jitter.”

Vanek, an unrestricted free agent following the season, hasn’t …

Read More --->
Cory Conacher was never drafted and played in the ECHL briefly. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – There was no straight path to the NHL for Cory Conacher. About 10 years ago, after the AAA Burlington Cougars cut him, the diminutive Sabres winger figured his hockey career was over.

“You always run into a certain coach that just doesn’t like your physical stature,” Conacher recalled Friday, “and that’s kind of I think what happened.”

But the 5-foot-8 Conacher had a chip on his shoulder that would help buoy him to the NHL.

“I like proving people wrong,” he …

Read More --->
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 …

Read More --->