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The Buffalo Sabres' record of recent success with their first-round draft picks should continue Friday night in Dallas when they take Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the No. 1 overall pick. But where their development model has been flawed in recent years has been after Round 1. That's something General Manager Jason Botterill is bent on changing. He has to cha…

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The Pittsburgh Penguins' run to the first Stanley Cup three-peat in 35 years would have been a great story to follow but it's over. Nevertheless, the demise of Sidney Crosby & Co. hardly leaves the NHL without story lines. In fact, the league will be full of them as the conference finals open Friday night at Tampa Bay's Amalie Arena. It's Washington at Tampa Bay …

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NASHVILLE – A little more than nine months ago, Casey Mittelstadt was a wide-eyed 18-year-old getting shown the red carpet by the NHL in advance of the draft. He was on the top prospects' annual trip to Game Four of the Stanley Cup final and it landed him in the Music City. Predators-Penguins. The roars inside Bridgestone Arena. The thousands mobbing Broadway outside. H…

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We can argue ad nauseam about goalie interference or toenail challenges, or about the inconsistency of the Department of Player Safety (Credit Due Dept: They nailed it with that 10-game suspension for Alex Burrows' dirtbag attack of Taylor Hall). You can say skipping the Olympics is a disaster, I can say I'd rather watch the NHL season continue to play out. Those debate…

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It was one game in the snow. One day where they played hockey in a football stadium in Orchard Park. But it forever changed the course of special events for the National Hockey League. Although the elements made it less than an artistic success as a hockey game, the 2008 Winter Classic between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins was an aesthetic, television and m…

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As part of the NHL's 100-year anniversary, the league sponsored an online vote for the greatest moment of its first century of play and the bracket-style "tournament" was an interesting process to follow. Just think of all the things that got notice. Bobby Orr's flying-through-the-air goal that won the 1970 Stanley Cup. Wayne Gretzky's 50 goals in 39 games. Or his 77th …

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DENVER — Jason Botterill has a method to building an organizational culture that was familiar to Pittsburgh farmhands playing in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and is now getting translated to Sabres prospects in Rochester. The idea is for players to grow up through the system and then win Stanley Cups like they did with the Penguins. Scott Wilson is an example and he joined the…

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In a unique scheduling quirk, the reigning Stanley Cup champions and Super Bowl champions were in Buffalo over the last few days, and things didn't work out too well for the home teams. On Friday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins blanked the Sabres, 4-0, marking the third consecutive shutout for the Sabres. That was a first in franchise history and pushed the Sabres' score…

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PITTSBURGH -- No truth to the rumor Sabres coach Phil Housley let out one of those soccer announcer-style "GOOOOOOOOOOAL" bellows here late Saturday night. Maybe he should have to get his team to release all its tension after it finally snapped its franchise-record drought just shy of enduring a fourth straight shutout. This offense is leaving Housley & Co. no hope.…

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PITTSBURGH -- In the end, it was all about avoiding another shutout and not about winning a game. The Buffalo Sabres finally got a goal here Saturday night by Jason Pominville as they narrowly avoided getting shut out for the fourth straight game. But the end of their inlglorious streak was about all they could hang their hat on from a 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguin…

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PITTSBURGH -- The Sabres will be in PPG Paints Arena Saturday night at 7 for a rematch with the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. And you can forget about worrying about a win. Job one in this game is to score a single goal. Buffalo has been shutout in three straight games for the first time in its history and is carrying a shutout string of 180 minutes, 51 seconds…

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Since we never hear the Sabres' goal song anymore, let me be the one to clear my throat first. This team is a disgrace. It is an embarrassment to the logo. It is an affront to a franchise the Knox brothers brought here in 1970 that created our love of hockey. There is no passion, not nearly enough effort, less thinking and an all-out malaise that makes you wond…

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So if you think the Sabres have issues deciding what to do about Evander Kane, just wait until you ponder the next few months in Ottawa and Los Angeles. Franchise defensemen Erik Karlsson and Drew Doughty are free agents following the 2018-19 season and both admitted last week that what's going to happen after next season is already on their minds during this one. Th…

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The Pittsburgh Penguins haven't played a game since Monday. That figures to be a problem for the Buffalo Sabres. Never mind the Stanley Cup champs' 12-0-1 record in their last 13 games against the Sabres. Or their 21-4-1 mark against Buffalo since the calendar turned to 2010 to start a new decade. And now you can add this: Evgeni Malkin is coming back from injury to pla…

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The Buffalo Sabres go from one rugged test to another this week, with Tuesday night's game against the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning followed by a home-and-home series this weekend against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions suffered a big loss to their lineup Monday night as goaltender Matt Murray was knocked out but coul…