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John Vogl

This is my 15th season writing about the Sabres for The Buffalo News.


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ROCHESTER – Before Nick Baptiste turned pro, the playoffs were an annual event. He may have picked up a superstition or two. "I can't remember them it's been so long," Baptiste said Thursday. The drought is over for Baptiste and the Rochester Americans. While the Buffalo Sabres watch the playoffs for the seventh straight year, their American Hockey League team is …

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Terry Pegula is not happy. He knows Buffalo Sabres fans aren't happy, either. As a result, the team won't raise its season-ticket prices. After a losing year on the ice and at the box office, the Sabres' owner expressed his disappointment in a letter to season-ticket holders that arrived Thursday. "I'm sending you this letter so that I can personally tell you that…

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ROCHESTER – The first step is complete. The Rochester Americans are ready to take the next one. The Amerks' goal this season was to end the franchise playoff drought. They did, and the Buffalo Sabres' American Hockey League team starts the first round Friday. The Amerks will play a best-of-five series against the Syracuse Crunch, the affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning…

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Smiles have been lacking in Saskatchewan since the Humboldt hockey team's tragic bus accident. Ryan O'Reilly brought a few Tuesday. The Buffalo Sabres forward joined Edmonton captain Connor McDavid for a tour of area schools and the Broncos' arena, then headed 70 miles west to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to visit injured players in the hospital. Sixteen people died when th…

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As the points piled up for Sam Reinhart down the stretch, he was left with a sorrowful lament. "It would have been nice to play some meaningful games at the end of the season," Reinhart said. They were all meaningless, and the Buffalo Sabres forward knew one of the biggest reasons why. "It just takes more from the beginning," Reinhart said, "everyone coming in rea…

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Rasmus Ristolainen has played 346 games with the Buffalo Sabres. He's lost 227. When the Sabres say some players only know losing, Ristolainen is Exhibit A. "It's just really tough to lose all the time," the defenseman said. "Everyone wants to make playoffs so bad, and we weren't close. It's hard when at Christmas you're done kind of, and then you still have 40 games…

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The term "generational talent" is back. This time, it's a defenseman. NHL Central Scouting released its final prospect rankings Monday, and there's no surprise Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin topped the list. He is expected to go first overall in the NHL Draft in June. "Dahlin is an exceptionally talented prospect who will be able to contribute, influence and impact…

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Ryan O'Reilly is a good hockey player. Everything else is up for debate. Is he a quitter who packed it in when the going got tough? Or is he a guy who simply got sucked into the vortex of losing known as the Buffalo Sabres? Is he in it for the paychecks? Or does O'Reilly really want to lead a franchise? Does he sincerely want to stay in Buffalo? Or is he orchestra…

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Dennis Gilbert is ready to start his professional hockey career. The Buffalo native has signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, who selected him in the third round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The defenseman will immediately join the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Gilbert recently completed his junior year at Notre Dame. He had four goals…

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Jason Pominville is the only player who knows, so his Buffalo Sabres teammates ask him a lot. This arena gets loud? What is it like to play in when the fans are involved? "I've tried to answer it as best as I can," Pominville said in KeyBank Center, which has been likened to a library and morgue. "I've seen the other side of it. This city is amazing when you win. It'…

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In the grand scheme, Kyle Okposo feels pretty good. One year ago, he'd just been released from a neuro intensive care unit and wasn't sure if he'd ever play hockey again. He's healthy and lasted the entire season. It wasn't a good season, however. The Buffalo Sabres were bad, and so was Okposo. So from a hockey standpoint, Okposo doesn't feel good at all. "It was …

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It's been 13 years since the Buffalo Sabres used their black and red color scheme, but it's only now that some are discovering its secret. The jersey, often referred to as the "goat head," contained a buffalo head that was visible when the arms were outstretched. The accent colors on the body and the hornlike shape on the arms created a buffalo head and horns. Bu…

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Jason Botterill knew what a winning organization looked like. Once the Buffalo Sabres started playing, he knew what a losing organization looked like. "Right now we have a losing culture," the Sabres' general manager said Monday. "There certainly has to be change, and there will be change." Botterill put an angry bow on a miserable season with his year-end news confe…

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Robin Lehner doesn't need surgery. It's yet to be determined whether he'll need a new team. The Buffalo Sabres goaltender obtained a second opinion on a lower-body injury this week, and it was determined he doesn't need surgery. "He'll be healthy for next year, which is a great thing," General Manager Jason Botterill said Wednesday. Lehner had a disappointing seas…

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Two of the Buffalo Sabres' more intriguing prospects should be in the organization next season. Swedish forwards Rasmus Asplund and Victor Olofsson are expected to make the move to North America. "Our conversations with them have been very positive," Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill said Wednesday. "We feel comfortable that they'll probably be over here in North A…