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Sabres President Chats It Up With Fans

He jokingly claims to use grease from Buffalo chicken wings as hair gel.  He smugly predicts that his bold decision to install beverage shelves above the urinals at First Niagara Center for Sabres home games will earn him NHL Executive Of The Year honors.  He is none other than Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black.

Around 1800 fans checked in this morning to the online chat starring one of the most beloved people in Sabres Nation.  Read on for some highlights of what Black told us…

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Sabres Select Jeanneret, Hawerchuk For Hall Of Fame

From the Sabres,

BUFFALO, N.Y. (August 31, 2011) – The Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame Selection Committee today announced the induction of Rick Jeanneret and Dale Hawerchuk into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame. Jeanneret, the longest-tenured play-by-play announcer in NHL history, and Hawerchuk, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, were selected based on their outstanding contributions to the sport of hockey and the Buffalo Sabres organization.

The pair will officially be inducted as the 36th and 37th members of the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame during a ceremony before the team’s game against the Winnipeg Jets on November 8.

With his vast knowledge of the game and his unwavering enthusiasm for hockey, Jeanneret’s distinct voice has been synonymous with the Buffalo Sabres for four decades. He began his prolific career with the Sabres in the 1971-72 season as the club’s radio play-by-play announcer and served primarily in that role until 1995, when he would also begin calling the action for the team’s televised games. His memorable calls and player nicknames have become forever linked with Sabres history for generations of fans.

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Sabres Need Moves To Get In The Black

From The Buffalo News,

Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black was finished with several offseason updates Wednesday morning in the HSBC Arena Harbour Club and it was time to bring $40 million defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to the podium to speak to reporters.

Black wanted Darcy Regier to do those honors and had a wry smile on his face as he turned and looked at his general manager.

Said Black: “With that—and I love doing this—I’d like to introduce the GM who currently has the highest payroll in the NHL.”

Cracked Regier when he got to the microphone: “Ted cannot resist putting any more pressure on the coaching staff.”

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Sabres Agree To Terms With Gragnani

From the Sabres,

BUFFALO, NY (August 11, 2011) - Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier today announced that defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani has agreed to terms on a one-year deal.

Gragnani (6’2”, 201 lbs., 3/11/1987) appeared in a career-high nine regular season games during two recalls for the Sabres last season, recording the first three points of his career (1+2) and two penalty minutes. Gragnani also played in all seven of the team’s playoff games, leading all Buffalo skaters with seven points (1+6). He ranked third on the team in total ice time, averaging 21:53 per game.

Gragnani also had a career season in the AHL in 2010-11, breaking the Portland Pirates’ franchise records for assists (48) and points (60) by a defenseman and leading all AHL defensemen in both categories despite playing only 63 AHL games. Gragnani’s efforts earned him the Eddie Shore Award, given to the AHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman.

The Montreal, Que. native had played in six NHL games prior to last season’s call-ups, totaling zero points and six penalty minutes during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons with the Sabres.

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Sabres Sign Two

From the Sabres,

BUFFALO, N.Y. (August 9, 2011) – Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier today announced that left wing Michael Ryan and center Paul Szczechura (pronounced sha-HUR-uh) have both agreed to one-year contracts.

Ryan (6’1”, 188 lbs., 5/16/80) spent five seasons with the Sabres organization from 2003-2007.  During that time, Ryan appeared in 65 games with the Sabres and collected 13 points (7+6). In 210 career games with Rochester, Ryan amassed 122 points (56+66).

Ryan also appeared in 18 games with the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2008-09 season. Overall, Ryan has appeared in 83 NHL career NHL games, collecting 15 points (7+8).

In addition to his four seasons with the Americans (2003-2007), Ryan has appeared in 101 games with the Albany River Rats, Springfield Falcons and Adirondack Phantoms. Ryan has compiled 208 points (108+100) in 311 games during his AHL career.

The Boston, Mass. native was originally acquired by the Sabres from Dallas with a second-round choice in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft on March, 10, 2003 in exchange for Stu Barnes.

Szczechura (5’11”, 190 lbs., 11/30/85) spent last season with the Norfolk Admirals (AHL). In 79 games with the Admirals, the Brantford, Ont. native collected 52 points (22+30). Szczechura appeared in 83 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning during parts of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, amassing 16 points (9+7).

In 214 career AHL games, Szczechura totaled 148 points (62+86) between Norfolk and the Iowa Stars.

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Sabres Name Kevyn Adams Assistant Coach

From the Sabres:

BUFFALO, NY (August 3, 2011) - Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier today announced Kevyn Adams has been selected as the team’s new Assistant Coach. Adams will join Head Coach Lindy Ruff and Assistant Coach James Patrick behind the bench for the 2011-12 season.

Adams joined the Sabres’ coaching staff in 2009 as Player Development Coach. His primary duties during the past two seasons have been working with players on their individual skills through on-ice drills and off-ice video sessions.

Prior to joining the Sabres’ coaching staff, Adams played 10 seasons in the NHL, collecting 136 points on 59 goals and 77 assists in 540 games. The Clarence, NY native was selected 25th overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins. Adams went on to play for six clubs, including the Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks. During the 2005-06 season, Adams set a career high in goals (15) and was named an assistant captain while playing a key role in leading the Hurricanes to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

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Sabres Hire Rolston To Coach AHL Team

From The Rochester Democrat And Chronicle,

[Ron] Rolston, 44, has spent the past seven years as head coach at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich.

He also has 14 years of experience as an assistant coach in college hockey — at Lake Superior State, Clarkson, Harvard and Boston College.

“He’s a very thorough, knowledgeable and prepared coach,” said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey.

more , including comments from Rolston, Darcy Regier and James van Riemsdyk.


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Don’t Confuse Sabres Depth With A Logjam

“The Sabres have a logjam on their defense position.” - WIVB.com

“I would say [AHL Rochester] is [Ales Kotalik’s] likely destination based on the logjam Buffalo has on the wing.” - 2InTheBox blog

“I saw [Steve Sullivan] was a pending UFA…but we have a serious logjam at wing” - DieByTheBlade.com reader willgarr15

The Sabres signed another piece of their potential Stanley Cup puzzle Tuesday in Andrej Sekera, which means that once again we were fed an unhealthy dose of local media and fan pondering over how to deal with Buffalo’s alleged oversupply of good players and its inevitable sentencing to salary cap jail.

Not to seem cranky after watching my favorite team commit $11M over four years to a guy who right now is a third pair defenseman on this team, but aren’t some of you folks the same Sabres fans and writers who seemingly yesterday were whining about the lack of depth on this club?

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Sabres Set Season Ticket Renewal Record

From the Sabres,

The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has achieved a record renewal rate of 99% for their 2011-12 season tickets. As a result, season ticket sales have been capped at 15,200 tickets for the 2011-12 season. That total includes 100 new season tickets, which have been sold to members of the Buffalo Sabres Blue & Gold club.

Due to this extraordinary rate of renewal, the supply of tickets for the upcoming season will be much more limited than years past. The demand was so great that the Sabres will – for the first time in franchise history – cap the number of Mini-Packs at 3,500 accounts.

“We anticipate this year’s Mini-Packs will sell out quickly,” said John Sinclair, the VP of Ticket Operations & Services. “Those individuals that are currently members of the Blue & Gold Club will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets, as well as individuals who purchased Mini-Packs last season. At that point, it will move to the general public.”

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Sabres Sign Sekera And Ellis to Multi-Year Deals

From the Sabres,

Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier today announced that defenseman Andrej Sekera and forward Matt Ellis have each agreed to multi-year contracts.

Sekera (6’0”, 201 lbs., 6/8/1986) appeared in 76 games for the Sabres last season, recording career highs in both assists (26) and points (29). In two playoff games, Sekera added one goal and four penalty minutes.

The Bojnice, Slovakia native has 67 points (12+55) in 233 career games. Sekera was Buffalo’s third-round pick (71st overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Ellis (6’0”, 212 lbs., 8/31/1981) appeared in 52 games last season as captain of the Portland Pirates (AHL), totaling 31 points (10+21). He was held scoreless in 14 games during four recalls to Buffalo in 2010-11. Ellis has amassed 33 points (13+20) in 201 career NHL games, including 25 (10+15) in 131 games with the Sabres.

A native of Welland, Ont., Ellis joined Buffalo on Oct. 1, 2008 when he was claimed off waivers from Los Angeles. He was originally signed as undrafted free agent by Detroit on May 10, 2002 after playing junior hockey with the St. Michael’s Majors.

Update 6:59 pm: WGR-550 reporting that it is a front-loaded 4 year, $11.5M deal for Sekera.

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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

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Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]


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