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Saddened by Weber deal, Sabres move on to open Western trip

ANAHEIM -- Defenseman Mike Weber was a sort of Internet pinata to Buffalo Sabres fans in recent years but it's not that way in the team's dressing room. Weber was the longest-running member of the team, and the guy who often organized group dinners on the road.

The players spent last night and today's morning skate in Honda Center coming to grips with Tuesday night's trade that sent Weber to Washington for a 2017 third-round pick.

"He was one of my really close friends on that team," said winger Marcus Foligno. "He was a heart and soul guy who works his butt off. He came to the rink and you knew what we would get every night. He was that guy that everyone got along with. He organized dinners for guys.  You can talk to him about anything. You miss a guy like that. The way he went to the rink and worked rubbed off on a lot of people."

"It's defintely going to be weird," added defenseman Mark Pysyk, who often played with Weber this season. "As long as I've been in the organization, he's been around and has been a big part of the older group. It's definitely sad to see him go."

Coach Dan Bylsma said he was watching his team closely the last few hours, understanding how this deal would likely spark more emotions than any others that could be coming.

"It's a bit of a sad moment to see him go for our team and our organization," said Bylsma. "But at the same time it's a good opportunity for Mike. ... He had been a big part of that room for a number of years. I think there's a different sense of seeing him go than a first-year player. It's a little bit different of a feel."

As for tonight's game against the Anaheim Ducks, Carlo Colaiacovo will go back into the lineup to replace Weber. The injured Cody Franson will continue to sit but Bylsma said he is improving and could play on this trip, either Friday in San Jose or Saturday in Los Angeles. Cal O'Reilly will be a healthy scratch at forward. Robin Lehner will make his fifth straight start in goal.

The Sabres are 9-9-3 against Western Conference teams this year -- including 6-2-1 in their last nine games.

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