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Sabres notebook: Hodgson, Myers have fond Quinn memories

Cody Hodgson says Pat Quinn hated losing, but that’s mostly hearsay. They didn’t lose together.

Quinn, the longtime coach who died late Sunday at age 71, led Hodgson and Canada to gold medals at the 2008 under-18 world championships and the 2009 world juniors. The teams combined to go 12-1.

“I have nothing but great memories with Pat,” Hodgson said Monday in First Niagara Center. “He was a smart coach, always dedicated to the team. He just wanted the best for his players. He was a pleasure to play for and a great man, too.

“He liked to win, hated to lose. … He always wanted everyone to bring their best, and I think he got the most out of our team.”

Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers also played on both Canadian junior squads.

“I just developed a lot of respect for him, the way he developed us coaching and the way he handled the players in the room,” Myers said. “Pat was a huge influence in the hockey world, a major icon. His passing, I’m sure, is going to affect a lot of people.”

The loss, which came after a lengthy illness, was felt most profoundly in Toronto. Quinn coached the Maple Leafs from 1998 to 2006, making the playoffs in all but his final season and leading the team to the conference finals in 1999 and 2002.

Quinn, a two-time Jack Adams Award winner as Coach of the Year, also worked the bench for Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Edmonton. He coached the 2002 Canadian Olympic team to the country’s first gold medal in 50 years.

“Whether he was playing for a team, coaching a team or building one, Pat Quinn was thoughtful, passionate and committed to success,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Pat’s contributions to hockey, at every level, reflected the skills he possessed and the great respect with which he treated the sport.

“The National Hockey League, one of the many organizations to benefit from his devoted service, sends heartfelt condolences to Pat’s loved ones and his many friends around the hockey world.”

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The Sabres are expected to call up a center from Rochester before Wednesday’s home game against Winnipeg.

Cody McCormick suffered a concussion during Saturday’s game in Washington and will miss at least seven days.

“We’re just going through the concussion protocol, and hopefully he feels good soon,” coach Ted Nolan said.

Right wing Patrick Kaleta filled in at center for Monday’s practice, but he’ll likely step aside for Tim Schaller, Phil Varone or Mikhail Grigorenko.

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The Sabres’ top defense pair – Myers and Josh Gorges – didn’t practice but made individual appearances before and after the skate.

Gorges, who has missed four games with a knee injury, skated with a small group before the Sabres took the ice. He’s expected to be out until next month.

“He’s a pretty optimistic guy,” Nolan said. “He skated out there, surprised me, and we’ll just go from there.”

Myers was going to take a maintenance day but took the ice as teammates were wrapping up their workout with a stretch at center ice. They razzed him with stick taps and mock cheers as if to say, “Thanks for showing up.”

“It was pretty funny on their part,” Myers said. “I’ll have to find a way to give it back to them.”

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The Sabres’ annual Thanksgiving turkey drive will be held from 6-9 a.m. Wednesday. For every 20-pound turkey dropped off, the Sabres will give the donor two tickets (with a maximum of four) to an upcoming game.

Tickets will be distributed at the two drop-off sites – Tops Friendly Markets at 890 Young St. in Town of Tonawanda and the First Niagara Center surface lot at Baltimore and Perry streets – for games against Winnipeg on Wednesday, Tampa Bay (next Tuesday), Los Angeles (Dec. 9), Calgary (Dec. 11) and Florida (Dec. 13).

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One of the Sabres’ prospects will get a chance to play with Connor McDavid. The Erie Otters have acquired forward Nick Baptiste, a 45-goal scorer last season, from Sudbury.

The Sabres drafted Baptiste in the third round in 2013 and have already signed him to an entry-level contract.

email: jvogl@buffnews.com

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