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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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Congrats, Clint, And Good Luck

If life were fair then bad things wouldn’t happen to good people.  Maybe such omnipotent injustice exists to inspire us when we witness a fellow human being emerging victorious over monumental challenges thrown his way.

With over 20 years of the precincts in since a fateful night at the Aud in Buffalo, Clint Malarchuk is winning.

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Sabres Assistant Says Myers Felt “Sluggish”

It took awhile for Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers to recover from a poor start this past season.  In late January his -14 was the worst plus/minus on the team, which resulted in some extra time on the bench.  Fortunately for the Sabres, Myers came back strong and literally turned it around with a +14 rating for the remainder of the regular season.
Assistant coach James Patrick revealed Wednesday on internet radio show “Blueshirt Underground” his feelings about what went wrong during the first half of the season for the 2010 Calder Trophy winner:

“He tried to get bigger [during the summer] and he ate a lot, lifted, trained hard, but it was all about getting bigger.  At the end [of the season] he confessed, he said, ‘I just felt terrible.  I felt sluggish.  I felt heavy.’  That kind of hurt him at the start of the year until he got back to his playing weight of the year before.”

Those comments can be heard at around 57:00 of the podcast.  Patrick also discussed the Christian Ehrhoff signing and what traits are important for a defenseman on the power play (47:00), and even dropped a subtle hint that the Sabres were at one point interested in acquiring Kevin Bieksa and/or Hal Gill (60:00).

Twitter: @DaveDavisHockey

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Outcry Over Spending Falling On Buffalo’s Deaf Ears

“If Ehrhoff and Leino don’t turn out to be quite as good as their salaries suggest, the same guys who are giving Sabres fans so much hope now could be millstones around the Sabres payroll once they are good enough to contend.”

- Ken Campbell of The Hockey News

“Dear Mr. Campbell - Just wondering if you could elaborate on the financial downside for deep-pocketed owners taking chances with high risk/reward contracts, such as was the case with deals for Wade Redden, Cristobal Huet and Michael Nylander.  I ask this because when checking capgeek.com for team payrolls this past season for New York, Chicago and Washington, these millstones were nowhere to be found.  Sincerely, Dave

Go ahead, hockey world.  Tell us in Buffalo how our owner should be committed for agreeing to these crazy contracts.  We can take it.  Not that it means anything to you, but this franchise has suffered far too long for us to be overly concerned about what you think.

After enduring years of heartbreak watching the vultures fly in to swoop up Michael Peca, Dominik Hasek, Jay McKee, Daniel Briere, Chris Drury, Brian Campbell, Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman with contracts reaching varying levels of absurdity, fate has apparently concluded that it’s finally time for the Sabres to become takers rather than givers.

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Ehrhoff Agrees To Terms With Sabres

Via Bob McKenzie tweet,

Christian Ehrhoff has agreed to terms on a contract with the Buffalo Sabres.

UPDATE 6:31 pm: WGR-550 has reported the deal and also given credit to the blogger who was first to break the news.

UPDATE 6:37 pm: Bob McKenzie awaiting confirmation that this is a 10 year, $40 million deal.

UPDATE 6:39 pm: Agreement to terms with Ehrhoff confirmed by the Sabres.

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The Latest On Ehrhoff

From the Sabres Edge blog,

Christian Ehrhoff is conducting a fact-finding expedition today in Germany, trying to learn all he can about Buffalo and the Sabres, General Manager Darcy Regier said.

Ehrhoff, one of the premier defensemen set to enter Friday’s free agent market, has contacted former teammates with ties to the Sabres to learn more about Buffalo, which acquired his rights via trade Wednesday night.

“So far, it’s been positive,” Regier said in HSBC Arena. “He has initiated his own discovery on Buffalo. He has played with some players, he’s contacted a couple of former teammates, Mike Grier, he’s played with Craig Rivet, he’s played with some other guys, Jochen [Hecht] as well in international arena. He’s doing that work, and his wife is involved with him. Kim and Terry [Pegula] are involved, Lindy [Ruff] and myself. So far it’s been positive.”


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Buffalo On Richards, Stamkos, And The Blockbuster That Didn’t Happen

As a public service to the attention span impaired, here are some quick hits on the Sabres heading into free agency weekend:

• GM Darcy Regier has stated that the Sabres will be looking to land a center and a defenseman from the unrestricted free agent market.  He doesn’t expect much luck with the former and hinted that acquiring an impact center will more likely happen via the trade route.

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Sabres Ink Nathan Gerbe

From the Sabres:

BUFFALO, NY (June 29, 2011) – Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier announced today the Sabres have agreed to terms on a multi-year contract with forward Nathan Gerbe.

Gerbe (5’5”, 178 lbs., 7/24/1987) scored 31 points (16+15) in 64 games for the Sabres last season, including 15 goals in Buffalo’s final 40 games. The 23-year-old native of Oxford, Michigan, set a new Sabres franchise record for fastest two goals by one player when he scored two goals just five seconds apart on January 21 against the New York Islanders.

Gerbe, the 2008 AHL Rookie of the Year, was Buffalo’s fifth-round selection (142nd overall) in the 2005 Entry Draft.

While dollar figures haven’t been disclosed, WGR-550 is reporting that it’s a three-year deal.

UPDATE 12:53pm: Per TSN, deal is three-years, $4.3 million with an average cap hit of $1.43 million per season.

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Regehr Leaves Calgary Memories Behind

From Scott Cruickshank of The Calgary Herald,

“They [Jordan Leopold, Rhett Warrener, Steve Montador] said how much they real­ly enjoyed the city, the people, raising a family in Buffalo,” says Regehr, who, with wife Kristina, has one young son and another child due next month. “These are guys that I trust. There’s no reason for them to lie. They didn’t say anything bad whatsoever. That says a lot.

“It’s not a great downtown, I know that. It’s what you compare it to. I grew up in a town in the middle of Saskatchewan (Ros­thern), 1,500 or 1,600 people. Anything — well, almost anything — is better than that.”

The Sabres had heavily courted Regehr. Lengthy talks were initiated by owner Terry Pegula, by general manager Darcy Regier, by coach Lindy Ruff.

“You could just tell that they were extremely committed.”

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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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