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Mike Sullivan won Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017 but this is going to have to be his best coaching job by far if the team is to even stay in postseason contention. The Penguins have had an astonishing run of injuries this season and the big one hit last week: Sidney Crosby is down after hernia surgery and probably out for six weeks. That will…

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The Florida Panthers played a super third period here Friday night, salvaging a point in what became a shootout loss to the Sabres. They were pedestrian before that and are clearly a work in progress under new coach Joel Quenneville. Fired 11 months ago in Chicago after a spectacular run that included three Stanley Cups, Quenneville brings instant credibility to a Flori…

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The preseason view from here is that the Toronto Maple Leafs are finally going to figure it out come spring and have a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, in which they haven't won a single series since 2004. But what a long and winding road it figures to be. Implosion from within is always going to be a danger in media-crazy Toronto, where the Leafs have already e…

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PITTSBURGH — The matchup didn't intimidate Casey Mittelstadt. He didn't care that he was lined up against Sidney Crosby, a three-time Stanley Cup champion and future Hall of Famer, in the faceoff circle Thursday night in PPG Paints Arena. All Mittelstadt cared about was winning the draw and gaining possession for the Buffalo Sabres in the offensive zone. When the 20-yea…

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PITTSBURGH — For Ralph Krueger, this was worth the wait. The old professor has said all the right things since the Buffalo Sabres surprised the hockey world by calling his name in May to replace Phil Housley. Thursday night's season opener was Krueger's first real game behind an NHL bench in 6 1/2 years. Krueger has been involved in major events like the Olympics and…

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PITTSBURGH — Conor Sheary authored one of the more iconic moments in the recent history of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sheary, a 27-year-old winger, scored the overtime goal in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final at PPG Paints Arena in 2016, and the Penguins went on to win their first of consecutive championships. Now, Sheary is a thorn in the side of his former fans and teamm…

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PITTSBURGH – Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had plenty of anticipation and motivation for the start of the new season. He's just glad he's going to be on the ice for the opening faceoff Thursday night in PPG Paints Arena. Crosby took a Marco Scandella slapshot off the foot during Saturday's preseason finale against the Buffalo Sabres here and there were some touch-and-g…

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The Buffalo Sabres' marquee players aren't likely to play Saturday afternoon in the preseason finale at Pittsburgh and one reason is that they've gotten sufficient work in practice and over the first five exhibition games. Another reason is that the team might be playing a little bit of possum with an eye on the regular season opener. The Sabres open their first seas…

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Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik, who grew up in East Amherst and played at the Nichols School, announced his retirement from the NHL Tuesday morning after a career spanning 1,035 games and two Stanley Cup victories. Orpik, 38, was born in San Francisco but was raised in Western New York and played youth hockey in the area. He was named for U.S. "Miracle on I…

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VANCOUVER — The first two games of the Buffalo Sabres' 2019-20 schedule — and the Ralph Krueger era — were unveiled Friday afternoon and the team will be opening its season on the road on Thursday, Oct. 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in PPG Paints Arena. The home opener will be Saturday, Oct. 5 against the New Jersey Devils in KeyBank Center. Home openers for all 31 …

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BOSTON – New Buffalo Sabres coach Ralph Krueger is expected to retain Steve Smith on his coaching staff for next season and has apparently settled on the first new member of the staff as well. Mike Bales resigned as goaltender coach of the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday morning and is expected to take the same position with the Sabres, two sources confirmed to The Buffal…

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Jack Eichel has played in multiple international competitions for Team USA and had some solid moments this year at the World Championships in Slovakia before the Americans lost, 4-3, to Russia in Thursday's quarterfinals. Team USA went 5-3 and Eichel had two goals and eight points in the eight games. Fair enough. A good showing. But from the Sabres' perspective, the mos…

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In the Sabres' ultra-quiet search for a replacement to Phil Housley comes a new nugget today from TSN's Darren Dreger: Current Pittsburgh Penguins assistant and longtime former NHL head coach Jacques Martin is a leading candidate to take over for the deposed Phil Housley. Martin, 66, just completed his fourth season as an assistant in Pittsburgh and worked under Mike Su…

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A 10-game winning streak propelled the Buffalo Sabres to the top of the NHL for one day and offered hope to a fan base that has not experienced playoff hockey since 2011. Now, the Sabres' second season under coach Phil Housley could be defined by another figure: 197 minutes, 40 seconds. That is where their scoring drought stood after they were shut out for a third conse…

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Despite a remarkable 10-game winning streak early in the season and drafting Rasmus Dahlin first overall, the Buffalo Sabres' performance in March has mirrored that of their 25-win season one year ago. What unfolded Thursday night in KeyBank Center may have been worse than any of those meaningless games during their march to last place in 2018. The Sabres were shut out …