Best wishes to RJ

Josh Gorges (4) leads the NHL in blocked shots. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – Take away the character, take away the tenacity, and Buffalo Sabres veteran Josh Gorges becomes a run-of-the-mill defenseman.

The undrafted Gorges has built an unlikely 10-year NHL career by showcasing passion – on and off the ice.

“I have to play with my heart,” Gorges, whose Sabres play the Maple Leafs tonight, said Monday. “I have to play everything I got every shift.”

The 30-year-old believes he couldn’t do either of those wearing the blue-and-white of the hated Toronto Maple Leafs.

Four …

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Michal Neuvirth has played three games this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – Goalie Michal Neuvirth, once thought to be the Buffalo Sabres’ backup, will make his second consecutive start tonight in Toronto, coach Ted Nolan said.

What’s going on? Wasn’t Jhonas Enroth supposed to be the No. 1 goalie?

Tonight’s contest will be Neuvirth’s third nod in the last four games.

Nolan said Monday he never anointed Enroth, who’s played six contests, the starting netminder.

“I said he won the right to start the season,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center. “There’s a …

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Jhonas Enroth has played six games this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Goalie Michal Neuvirth, once thought to be the Sabres’ backup, will make his second consecutive start Tuesday in Toronto, coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon.

What’s going on? Wasn’t Jhonas Enroth supposed to be the No. 1 goalie?

Neuvirth will have earned three of four nods after the Sabres play the Maple Leafs.

Nolan said today he never anointed Enroth, who’s played six games, the starting netminder.

“I said he won the right to start the season,” Nolan said inside the First …

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Brian Gionta returned to today's game shortly after taking a scary hit. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

So, umm, there were no penalties called on the play below.

Even Sabres winger Torrey Mitchell, who jumped the San Jose Sharks’ Tommy Wingels after he knocked captain Brian Gionta head-first into the boards early in today’s game, escaped unscathed.

How can that scary hit go unpenalized? Would something have been called if Wingels hit a star player?

Luckily, Gionta got up and returned to the game later in the period.

Check out the video of the hit:

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Connor McDavid had four points Wednesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Six months ago, Steve Poland paid $110 for a discounted gold Sabres alternate jersey at the team store and had 17-year-old junior superstar Connor McDavid’s last name and No. 97 stitched on it.

“I bought it as a joke for this forthcoming season,” Poland said Wednesday prior to watching McDavid and the Erie Otters inside the First Niagara Center.

Poland, like a lot of rabid fans, wants the Sabres to lose all season so they have a 20 percent chance …

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Connor McDavid stretches Tuesday in Buffalo. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Hockey phenom Connor McDavid mostly avoids the kind words that are being written about him.

“I’ve been trying to do that as much as I can, because it can either get in your head that you’re too good, or bad press can also get in your head and do negative things for you,” the slick Erie Otters center said Tuesday. “I just try to stay away from reading about yourself.”

Some words, however, the 17-year-old can’t avoid. For example, whenever …

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Drew Stafford has zero goals this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The Sabres, the lowest-scoring team in modern NHL history last season, have picked up where they left off in April.

Yes, it’s still early, but the Sabres have scored just seven goals in six games, a paltry 1.17 average. The only team averaging fewer goals a game, the Florida Panthers, beat the Sabres 1-0 on Friday.

Four Sabres have scored this season. Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno and Zemgus Girgensons all have two goals. Torrey Mitchell has one.

That’s it.

The power play …

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Dominik Hasek will become the franchise's seventh retired number. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The Sabres will retire legend Dominik Hasek’s No. 39 prior to the Jan. 13, 2015 game against the Detroit Red Wings, the team announced Monday.

Hasek, one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, will become the franchise’s seventh retired number.

The opponent holds some significance. Hasek played four seasons in Detroit, winning two Stanley Cups. The Sabres traded Hasek to Detroit in 2001.

The Czech will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 17. The Sabres inducted …

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Dominik Hasek will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame next month. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres will retire legend Dominik Hasek’s No. 39 prior to the Jan. 13, 2015 game against the Detroit Red Wings, the team announced this afternoon.

Hasek, one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, will become the franchise’s seventh retired number.

The Czech will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 17. The Sabres inducted him into their Hall of Fame on March 29.

The opponent holds some significance. Hasek played four seasons in Detroit, winning two …

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Ted Nolan noticed Sam Reinhart had more jump today. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Top prospect Sam Reinhart, a healthy scratch last game, will play on the Sabres’ upcoming three-game California trip, coach Ted Nolan said this morning.

Nolan wouldn’t say if the center will dress Wednesday in Anaheim.

He believes sitting the 18-year-old for Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Boston helped him.

“Today is another good day,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center. “I thought maybe having that day off he had a little bit more jump in practice. He was a little bit …

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