Best wishes to RJ

Archive:
Washington Capitals

Phil Varone played nine NHL games last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Phil Varone’s nine-game run last season grabbed coach Ted Nolan’s attention. The 5-foot-10 forward played well during his first NHL recall, compiling one goal and two points while taking a regular shift.

But Varone, who will play in today’s preseason opener in Washington, couldn’t convert a slew of scoring opportunities he generated.

“The difference between him and (Martin) St. Louis and players of that caliber who’s a smaller structure, when they have an opportunity to put it, they put it …

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Matt Moulson (left) shares a laugh with Tyler Ennis on Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Through all the losses last season, through all the stress and uncertainty, Matt Moulson kept envisioning the future here.

The high-scoring winger endured the toughest season of his career in 2013-14, skating for three teams during a dizzying six-month stretch. The Sabres lost 28 of the 44 games he played. They changed coaches and general managers. Days before they traded him to the Minnesota Wild, Pat LaFontaine resigned as president of hockey operations.

Still, Moulson saw a bright vision from …

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Matt Moulson played less than one season with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Tim Murray said he began his first NHL trade deadline day as a general manager with no expectations, unsure which direction the rebuilding Sabres might go.

By the end Wednesday, Murray had made three notable deals, trading familiar names like Matt Moulson, Cody McCormick and Brayden McNabb while acquiring NHL talent and prospects. He also grabbed Canisius product Cory Conacher off waivers.

Murray, who sent franchise goalie Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott to St. Louis on Friday, called it …

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Jaroslav Halak dressed for one Sabres game. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Jaro, we hardly knew ye.

As expected, the Sabres have flipped goalie Jaroslav Halak, trading him to the Washington Capitals today with a 2015 third-round draft pick for goalie Michal Neuvirth and defenseman Rostislav Klesla.

The Sabres acquired the 28-year-old Slovak in Friday’s Ryan Miller trade. Halak never played with the Sabres, only dressing for Monday’s 3-2 loss in Dallas.

Halak, an unrestricted free agent following the season, is 24-9-4 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 40 …

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Alex Ovechkin celebrates his second goal Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Sooner or later, Alex Ovechkin had to break loose, right? Over two recent games, the Washington Capitals superstar pumped a whopping 18 shots on goal against the Sabres.

Thanks to Ryan Miller’s elite goaltending, the Sabres held the NHL’s most-lethal threat scoreless while winning two 2-1 shootouts.

Facing backup goalie Jhonas Enroth, Ovechkin caught fire early Tuesday, scoring at 3:39 and 4:42 inside the First Niagara Center.

The Sabres still hadn’t recorded a shot.

But the Sabres roared back against the potent …

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The Sabres recalled Chad Ruhwedel last week. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – While a seven-game, late-season introduction to the NHL was nice, Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel knew he still had plenty to learn about professional hockey.

So a preseason assignment to Rochester hardly surprised the 23-year-old.

“I came in not expecting it, but ready for it,” Ruhwedel, who joined the Sabres straight from the NCAA in April, said Monday in Pittsburgh. “It was my first year pro. I’m not the guy who thinks he’s ready for the NHL out of college. So …

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Jamie McBain skates this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – As expected, Sabres defenseman Jamie McBain will be a healthy scratch tonight against the Washington Capitals.

Alexander Sulzer, a scratch five of the last six games, will replace him.

The 25-year-old McBain endured a rough night in Monday’s 3-0 loss in Pittsburgh, losing the puck on the Penguins’ first goal.

“I just want to see better,” Nolan, whose team has lost six of the last seven, said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “As every player in this league, I …

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Ryan Miller has dominated the Capitals this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

Is this the NHL’s save of the year?

With 2:14 left in regulation in the Buffalo Sabres’ 2-1 shootout win in Washington today, goalie Ryan Miller’s amazing stick save stymied the Capitals’ Mikhail Grabovski, keeping the game tied at 1.

“That’s one of those ones where you’re just completely out of options,” Miller said following game. “The puck came through traffic, hit me right in the pads instead of the stick and I knew I was in trouble. I saw him kind …

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Mikhail Grigorenko feels he belongs in the NHL. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Interim coach Ted Nolan said Mikhail Grigorenko “was a little bit upset” when the Sabres told the 19-year-old prospect he was going back to the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.

“But this is non-negotiable,” Nolan said Saturday inside the Riverside Ice Rink. “It’s one of those things that has to be done.”

The Sabres didn’t understand just how much the demotion irked the Russian center.

Grigorenko won’t be reporting to the junior club, his agent, Jay Grossman, told the Times Herald hours later. …

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Ryan Miller is getting ready to play for Team USA at the Sochi Games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Ryan Miller appreciates Pat LaFontaine’s kind words. The hockey icon lauded his franchise goalie last week, telling reporters the Sabres would do their best to accommodate the former Vezina Trophy winner if he wants to stay here.

“It’s nice of him,” Miller, an unrestricted free agent following the season, said Saturday inside the Riverside Ice Rink. “I still need to kind of see what’s going on in the bigger picture.”

Miller said he still hasn’t spoken to new general manager …

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