Best wishes to RJ

Florida's Dmitry Kulikov (7) chases the Sabres' Zemgus Girsgensons on Friday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Fresh off their first win this season, against the winless Florida Panthers, the hapless Sabres imploded again early Friday, allowing a team with three goals all season to dominate them.

The Panthers outshot the Sabres 16-3 during a wretched first period. The Sabres finally put their first even-strength shot on goalie Roberto Luongo at about the 16-minute mark.

The Sabres, thanks to Jhonas Enroth’s strong goaltending, escaped the opening 20 minutes tied. But Sean Bergenheim scored 3:01 into the second …

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Torrey Mitchell skates Friday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Despite having some of the best wheels on the Sabres, speedy winger Torrey Mitchell showcases a simple, straightforward style as a third- or fourth-liner.

The 29-year-old is a no-frills checker.

“I try not to do too much,” Mitchell said Friday prior to the Sabres’ 1-0 loss to the Florida Panthers inside the First Niagara Center.

Mitchell, of course, was talking about knowing his limitations. While the Quebec native moves quickly, he’s not a goal scorer.

He scored in Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout win …

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Randy Moller played 126 games with the Sabres from 1992-94. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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With play-by-play man Randy Moller and the Florida Panthers in town, I thought I’d flashback to one of my favorite stories of the last five years, Moller talking about his, shall we say unique, style of calling a goal. This story ran April 1, 2010. Give it a read. I’ve posted plenty of audio below.

BUFFALO – One minute, 51 seconds into the Sabres’ 6-2 win Wednesday, Florida Panthers winger Jeff Taffe grabbed a pass from Steve MacIntyre in the slot …

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Sam Reinhart was selected No. 2 in June. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Naturally, Sabres center Sam Reinhart, the No. 2 pick in June, wants to play against Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the No. 1 pick, tonight.

The prospects don’t have much of a rivalry, though.

“Not the fact the fact that we’re one and two, it’s the fact that I know him very well,” Reinhart said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “We’re pretty good friends.”

The two once roomed together at a Team Canada event. They also got to know …

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Bryan Trottier has won seven Stanley Cups. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Two men who had spent their entire lives in hockey never met until a chance encounter almost 19 years ago outside Memorial Auditorium.

It was 1995-96, Ted Nolan’s first year as Sabres coach. Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier, an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, was walking outside the Aud in a snowstorm when Nolan spotted him.

Nolan pulled over and offered a lift.

“We had a five-minute chat,” Trottier, one of Nolan’s new assistant coaches, recalled last week inside the …

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Patrick Kaleta practiced Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Patrick Kaleta’s face was mangled.

“Broke a bunch of things in there,” the oft-injured Sabres winger said Thursday following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

Kaleta said doctors inserted three plates and 14 screws after a shot hit him in the face during a Sept. 28 preseason game in Toronto. The 28-year-old has experienced blurred vision and migraines.

Still, less than three weeks after the scary incident, the Angola native is on the road back to game action. He skated with …

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Sam Reinhart (23) has been skating on the fourth line. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – In his fourth NHL appearance, top prospect Sam Reinhart skated only six minutes, 39 seconds on the fourth line between Nick Deslauriers and Cody McCormick in the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout win against Carolina on Tuesday.

Why did Sabres coach Ted Nolan slash the 18-year-old’s minutes?

For three regular-season games and the entire preseason, Nolan threw Reinhart “right into the fire” to see how he would react. So the slick center, the No. 2 pick in June, played about 11-15 minutes …

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Patrick Kaleta was injured Sept. 28. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Patrick Kaleta’s face was mangled.

“Broke a bunch of things in there,” the oft-injured Sabres winger said this afternoon following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

Kaleta said doctors inserted three plates and 14 screws after a shot hit him in the face during a Sept. 28 preseason game in Toronto. The 28-year-old has experienced blurred vision and migraines.

Still, less than three weeks after the scary incident, the Angola native is on the road back to game action. He skated …

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Zemgus Girgensons was a captain in junior. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The joke started during Zemgus Girgensons’ draft season three years ago.

Coach Jim Montgomery and his Dubuque Fighting Saints told stories – well, more like tall tales – about Girgensons, their hard-nosed Latvian captain, and dubbed them “The Legend of Zemgus.”

The stories, Montgomery said, “would just grow.”

“Because of the way he plays,” Montgomery said by phone Wednesday, “some of them are believable, like Zemgus means ‘one who eats lions’ in Latvian.”

Montgomery was watching the Sabres’ 3-1 season-opening defeat to …

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Sam Reinhart will skate on the fourth line tonight. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Three games into the season, Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan is already overhauling his reeling team’s lineup.

– Defenseman Andrej Meszaros, a minus-6, will be benched tonight in Carolina for Tyson Strachan.

– Cody Hodgson, a winger from late last season through Monday’s ugly 5-1 loss to Anaheim, switched from the left side back to center this morning.

– Rookie center Sam Reinhart was dropped to the fourth line.

The 0-3 Sabres are already the NHL’s worst team.

“It’s mind-boggling to me when you don’t …

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