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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: The Boogey Man

   June 26, 1998 -- The National Hockey League often has wasted little time in stocking its expansion teams once the old season was completed. Ask Bob Boughner about that.

   Boughner was lost to the Nashville Predators on this date after turning in some good years as a Sabre defenseman. Here's how The News reported the story about Boughner, who now is a very highly regarded coach in junior hockey:

   Bob Boughner is happy to be a Nashville Predator, but sad to be an ex-Buffalo Sabre. The defenseman expressed those mixed emotions after he was taken by Nashville Friday in the expansion draft. The Predators selected one player from all 26 existing NHL teams; Nashville will begin its inaugural season in the league this fall.

   "I'm going to miss Buffalo. I've had a lot of good friends and teammates there," Boughner said. "But this could be a great experience for me."

   Boughner, 27, spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Sabres after they acquired him from the Florida Panthers. In 1997-98, he had one goal and three assists for four points with 165 penalty minutes in 69 games. Boughner was a regular defenseman for most of his time here.

   "I think in a nutshell I look at it that I got my start in Buffalo. Now, in Nashville, they've showed a lot of faith in me by taking me," he said. "It will be a fairly young team. Next year will be a year where there will be a lot of different elements. I'm actually honored -- there were a lot of good players to choose from. I'm very excited."

   The Sabres figured to lose a contributor to the team that reached the conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs earlier this month. Forward Dixon Ward was also available in the expansion draft. Predators general manager David Poile would have been happy with either Boughner or Ward.

    "Buffalo was one of those teams that had two good players available," Poile said. "Ward had a good playoff for them. If we could have had two players from the Sabres, they would have been two ideal picks. We thought defensemen are tougher to find than forwards, and that Boughner was a good team guy."

--- Budd Bailey

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