John Vogl, The Buffalo News
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John Vogl

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


When Randy Sexton arrived in Buffalo two weeks ago, the first thing he saw out his hotel window was a trailer in Canalside. On the top was the slogan, “Let’s go, Buffalo.” “I don’t think there’s any greater chant in our league,” the Sabres assistant general manager said. “As soon as I saw that, I knew I made the right decision.” Sexton was absolutel…

Only one chance to make a first impression? That may be true in some places, but definitely not Buffalo. Justin Bailey can attest to that. “It’s been a different coach four times and a different GM three times,” Bailey said Saturday after starting his fifth Sabres development camp. Once again, the Sabres’ prospects went to work with new leaders taking note…

When Randy Sexton arrived in Buffalo two weeks ago, the first thing he saw out his hotel window was a trailer in Canalside. On the top was the slogan, “Let’s go, Buffalo.” “I don’t think there’s any greater chant in our league,” the Sabres assistant general manager said. “As soon as I saw that, I knew I made the right decision.” Sexton was absolutel…

Buffalo will be home to Johan Larsson for two more years. The Sabres and the center agreed to a two-year, $2.95 million deal Saturday. That’s a salary cap hit of $1.475 million. Larsson was a restricted free agent. The 24-year-old filed for arbitration earlier this week. Larsson skated in just 36 games last year after dislocating his wrist and elbow Dec. 31. He …

Unless Colorado improves its contract offer for Nikita Zadorov, it appears the Ryan O’Reilly trade could become even more lopsided in the Sabres’ favor. One day after Mikhail Grigorenko signed to play in Russia, a report from Russia's Sport-Express on Saturday said Zadorov has an agreement to play with CSKA of the Kontinental Hockey League. It is the same team that …

There were times, Cody McCormick admits, when he’d scoff at his accomplishments. His wife would point out that he played 432 NHL games – 431 more than he ever dreamed of – but he couldn’t get past the way his career ended. It’s officially over now. McCormick’s contract with the Sabres expired this summer, and the blood clots that suddenly sidelined him 30 mo…

Mikhail Grigorenko is headed home to Russia. The Sabres’ first-round pick in 2012 never gained his footing in the NHL, and he signed a three-year contract with CSKA of the Kontinental Hockey League on Friday. His legacy is being part of the deal that landed Ryan O’Reilly from Colorado. Buffalo selected Grigorenko with the 12th overall pick after an impressive deb…

Jason Botterill said he’s hoping to sign Robin Lehner to a new contract during the next month. The goaltender’s arbitration hearing will serve as a motivating factor. Lehner was one of three Sabres to file for arbitration Wednesday, joining defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and forward Johan Larsson. Hearings for the restricted free agents will be held July 20 to Aug. 4 in…

As a first-time head coach, Phil Housley was expected to add experienced assistants. He's started with Davis Payne. The Sabres hired Payne as their associate coach Wednesday. The 46-year-old spent parts of three seasons as head coach of the St. Louis Blues, posting a 67-55-15 record from 2010 to 2011. Payne has been an assistant for the Los Angeles Kings for the past…

Jason Botterill said he’s hoping to have a contract agreement in place with Robin Lehner during the next month. The goaltender’s arbitration hearing will serve as a motivating factor. Lehner and center Johan Larsson will file for arbitration, their agent told The Buffalo News on Wednesday. The deadline for players to file is 5 p.m. Wednesday. Hearings are usually he…

Five Sabres have until Wednesday afternoon to decide whether they want to file for arbitration. Restricted free agents Robin Lehner, Nathan Beaulieu, Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson and Evan Rodrigues are eligible for arbitration and must file by the 5 p.m. deadline. All have received qualifying offers from the Sabres, though none have signed a contract. If players …

When Phil Housley and Chris Taylor get together at Sabres development camp this week, the coaches will bring successful game plans. Housley went to the Stanley Cup with Nashville. Taylor celebrated a title with Pittsburgh after helping its minor-league club go 51-20-5. That meeting of the minds should excite fans in Buffalo and Rochester, who have a combined nine season…

As the Sabres’ goalies take off their pads following the games, Andrew Allen stops for a visit. The goaltending coach will offer words of encouragement, advice or just shoot the breeze. It’s a relationship the goalies have enjoyed. It will continue. Allen will return for a third season as Sabres goalie coach, General Manager Jason Botterill said. Under Allen’s …

Jason Botterill made it clear the Sabres’ prospects will get their shot. If they play like NHLers, they’ll be in Buffalo. That’s good news for Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste, Evan Rodrigues, Casey Nelson and others. The bad news is it’s easier said than done. Performance is the main consideration for any roster spot, but it’s not the only one. Contracts an…

Like their brethren in Buffalo, the fans in Rochester have been through a lot of losing seasons. Jason Botterill and Randy Sexton are moving quickly to ease their pain. Botterill and Sexton, the general managers of the Sabres and Amerks, signed eight players Saturday as free agency opened. While goalie Chad Johnson and left wing Benoit Pouliot are ticketed for Buffalo, …