Happy Holidays

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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Mikhail Grigorenko played one game during his recall. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres sent center Mikhail Grigorenko back to the Rochester Americans today.

The 20-year-old Russian was pointless in 16 minutes, 42 seconds of ice time in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, his first NHL game since Nov. 27, 2013.

Grigorenko, the No. 12 pick in 2012, has seven goals and 19 points in 27 AHL games this season. The Amerks host the Syracuse Crunch tonight.

The Sabres don’t play until Saturday, so Grigorenko could be summoned again soon. Center …

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Luke Adam scored 15 goals in 86 games with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – As a rookie three years ago, Luke Adam was a top prospect and budding star for the Sabres. The forward quickly became a Calder Trophy candidate, scoring three goals and six points in his first four games.

Adam, who often centered stars Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek, scored his 10th goal and 20th point in his 32nd game in 2011-12.

He never recorded another point that season.

By early that February, when Adam’s point drought hit 20 games, the Sabres demoted …

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Jerry D'Amigo scored one NHL goal with Toronto. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – In a trade of AHL forwards, the Sabres today acquired Jerry D’Amigo from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Luke Adam.

D’Amigo has been assigned to the Rochester Americans.

“We feel that this was a good deal that gave both teams a player they were looking for,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said in a statement. “Jerry brings a tremendous work ethic to our organization and we know he’ll have an immediate impact with the Amerks. Luke has been a steady …

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Matt Moulson beats Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner for the shootout winner Monday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Monday’s exciting 5-4 come-from-behind shootout victory against the Ottawa Senators extended the Sabres’ winning streak to four games. That’s 10 triumphs in their last 13 games. The surging team has rallied from third-period deficits in five of its last six wins.

In one month, the Sabres have morphed from a hapless team destined to finish last again into a legitimate playoff contender.

“We got something special going,” said Sabres center Marcus Foligno, who scored for the third straight game.

No kidding.

Following …

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Tyler Ennis is the Sabres' leading scorer. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Around this city and the Sabres, speedy Tyler Ennis is a star, the most dynamic offensive threat on a low-scoring team. Around the NHL, however, the winger is still a bit of an unknown.

Ennis’ name mostly pops up national circles when he scores a highlight-reel goal.

That could be starting to change.

One goal and five points during the three straight home wins just earned Ennis the NHL’s first star for the week ending Dec. 14.

Ennis, who has eight goals …

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Andrew Peters is now a radio analyst. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Jarkko Ruutu has retired from his European team, according to Eliteprospects.com, meaning one of the greatest NHL pests of the last 15 or so years is finished. The 39-year-old Finn left the NHL almost four years ago after 652 games and an indelible mark as a supreme agitator.

When Ruutu played for the Ottawa Senators, the Sabres’ opponent tonight, he bit tough guy Andrew Peters’ thumb on Jan. 6, 2009. Yes, bit him.

Here’s what I wrote also six years ago during …

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Tyler Ennis had five points last week. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Slick winger Tyler Ennis, who had one goal and five points during the Sabres’ three-game home winning streak, has been named the NHL’s first star for the week ending Dec. 14.

Ennis, who has eight goals and a team-high 21 points, enjoyed one of the best weeks of his six-year career.

The 25-year-old scored the only goal in Tuesday’s win 1-0 against Los Angeles, had three assists in Thursday’s 4-3 win against Calgary and created Nikita Zadorov’s overtime winner in …

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Josh Gorges hurt his left pinky finger Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – When the Sabres began their skate this morning, instead of a having a fresh body on the ice up from Rochester, Josh Gorges and Andrej Meszaros, the two defensemen injured Saturday, were practicing fully.

Defenseman Tyson Strachan, out the last four games, was also skating.

Seven defensemen will likely take the warm-up prior to tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators inside the First Niagara Center.

The Sabres have some game-time decisions, but no recall is coming.

Update: Gorges is out.

Gorges is sporting …

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