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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 1:34 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Despite late arrival, Miller earns back-to-back starts

Lindy Ruff can't deny that the travel delays after Friday night's win against Anaheim in Helsinki didn't hurt his team, but he's not going to make any excuses heading into Saturday's game against Los Angeles in Berlin.

The Sabres arrived after 4 a.m. Saturday after problems with their airplane. But the Kings also got in late, Ruff noted. Los Angeles arrived at its hotel around 2:30 a.m. after beating the New York Rangers in Stockholm.

The Sabres scuttled their original plans because of the delay.

"In an ideal world, we would have probably have come down here this morning, but we have had travel delays in the past where you change," Ruff said Saturday before the game. "I think LA had a fairly late night too, so I think it's fairly even for both teams.

Plus, Ruff did not have to back off on his choice to start No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller in back-to-back games. Miller allowed just one goal in the 4-1 victory against the Ducks.

"We gave it some thought, but because it has been pretty light (on games) and he didn't play in the Manheim game (on Tuesday), I think we felt that with no practices this morning and we even delayed our meeting by an hour, that we could come back with Ryan," Ruff said.

There should be no other lineup changes.
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 8:25 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Gragnani in, Weber out for opener

HELSINKI -- Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff made one big decision Thursday -- who his captain for the 2010-11 season would be. He had another to make as well -- who would be the odd man out from his talented defense corps?

The answer Friday morning at Hartwall Areena was Mike Weber, as Marc-Andre Gragnani will be in the lineup against the Anaheim Ducks for the opening game of the season in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).

"(Gragnani) been a big part of our power play with the way he moves the puck," Ruff said. "Offensively, he did a very nice job for us at the end of the year and in the playoffs and even defensively he was quite strong. I think special teams is a big part and he's going to be a big, big player for us."

Weber had 4 goals and 17 points in 58 games for the Sabres last season. He also played in all seven Sabres playoff games. Gragnani played nine regular-season games for the Sabres, but had a breakout performance during the playoffs. He had a team-leading 7 points in the seven games against the Philadelphia Flyers and averaged the third-most minutes per game, behind Tyler Myers and the since-departed Chris Butler.

"It is extremely hard taking Mike out of the lineup, but we knew that … we knew that we have seven defensemen and we're going to have one really disappointed player," Ruff said. "There will be situations where we can utilize Weber, and we need our top six to play well for us.

"I'm going to just go game-to-game. I don't think there is ever going to be anything set in stone and I don't think there ever has to be."
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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 8:16 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Day of celebration for Sabres

HELSINKI -- The Buffalo Sabres finished practice Thursday morning at Hartwall Areena with a bit of Finnish.

Coach Lindy Ruff called the team together at center ice, and the team sang "Happy Birthday" (in English) to Tyler Ennis, who turns 22 years old today. After that, they broke into small groups for post-practice stuff, but then Ruff was alerted it also was Ville Leino's birthday.

So the coach called everyone back together for another round of "Happy Birthday" -- only this time assistant coach Teppo Numminen led the club in the Finnish version of the tune in honor of Leino's 28th birthday.

"We didn't realize it was Ville's birthday, too," Ruff said. "We sang that one in Finnish, and I don't know how that one turned out. I sort of hummed along. Teppo could have had us singing anything. I didn't really know -- it could have been a setup."

Coming together was a popular topic after practice Thursday. This is the first European trip for the Sabres since the NHL starting doing it annually a few years ago, and Ruff and the players talked about the positives they have observed from making the trek.

The Sabres have a few key new players to incorporate to the team, Leino and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff among them, and they have had a chance to be like ambassadors for their new teammates when the club has spent time in their respective home countries.

"I thought the visit we had to the hospital (Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany) was a bit of an eye opener for some of us," Ruff said. "Getting to have the team meals, all the different functions together, we'll have another team meal tonight -- all of that brings the team to closer."

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 1:17 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Sabres prepared to be true road team

HELSINKI -- When the Anaheim Ducks scored goals against Jokerit in Tuesday's preseason game at Hartwall Areena, fans of the local club cheered.

Sure, they rooted for their team when the game was close, and there was an audible sigh when Ryan Getzlaf scored in overtime, but early in the game, when Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne where setting up Corey Perry for goals, the game might as well have been in Honda Center. If that was the atmosphere when the Ducks were facing Jokerit, it is fair to say the Buffalo Sabres are going to be facing a partisan crowd Friday in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).

"Yeah, that part is going to be interesting," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "I have so much respect for Teemu. There's not many players who could do what he's done and play at the level he is playing at right now at that age. He'll always be known as a tremendous goal scorer. … If I were a fan in Finland, I'd be here cheering for him, too. I think that part is tremendous."

The Sabres arrived in Helsinki Wednesday afternoon after a long travel day from Germany, but like the Ducks did Sunday, they went straight from the airport to the rink for practice. Buffalo defeated Adler Mannheim Tuesday in its final preseason game, and now the focus has shifted to Friday's opener.

While the Ducks have been here all week and the players have had the chance to see the city and explore the culture, the Sabres only will be here for a little more than 48 hours before the puck drops Friday.

"I think in terms of travel and playing, we're all used to that," Buffalo forward Nathan Gerbe said. "We always play, travel, play, travel. ... I think we just try to take the same way. We want to gear up. The preseason is over and training camp is over. Now it is the real thing."

Friday's game may feel a little like a trip to TD Garden or Bell Centre for the Sabres, though they'll likely have a bit of a home-ice advantage Saturday in Berlin against the Los Angeles Kings (2 p.m. ET, TSN2).

"That's pretty cool," Gerbe said when told the Helsinki fans were cheering Ducks' goals. "It was a lot of fun playing in Germany (on Tuesday). It was a great crowd, great atmosphere and they gave a warm welcome to our German players (Christian Ehrhoff, Jochen Hecht). We know it is going to be pretty rowdy here, so we just have to take it as it is and get ready to play."
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 3:38 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Sabres crush Adler Mannheim8-3 in exhibition

Tyler Ennis scored twice as the Buffalo Sabres rolled to a 8-3 victory against Adler Mannheim in Germany on Tuesday night.

Thomas Vanek, Christian Ehrhoff, Jason Pominville, Ville Leino, Luke Adam and Brad Boyes scored for the Sabres, who will head to Helsinki to take on the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.

Jhonas Enroth picked up the win in net.

Yannic Seidenberg, Mike Glumac and Jamie Sifers scored for Adler Mannheim. Glumac also had an assist.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:55 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

What do you know, the Sabres have scored again

Well, it looks as though Adler Mannheim won't be taking this game to a shootout.

Thomas Vanek has given the Sabres a 6-2 lead in the second period by deflecting a pass from in tight. As long as the Sabres can avoid injuries, this one is going to be a win all around.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:52 PM

By New York Rangers -  /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Ehrhoff pushes Sabres lead back to 3

Christian Ehrhoff, a native of Germany, ripped a shot from the point that found the back of the net to give the Sabres a 5-2.

The goal came on the power play, something that is clearly clicking against Adler Mannheim.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:43 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Adler cuts the lead to two

Jamie Sifers of Adler Mannheim has pulled his team to within 4-2 of the Buffalo Sabres. He converted a cross-ice pass from Mike Glumac that eluded Jhonas Enroth.

Just like Adler did against the Sharks last year, they pulled former NHL goalie Fred Brathwaite midway through the second period, replacing him with backup Felix Bruckmann.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:28 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Sabres, Adler trade goals at start of second period

After Yannic Seidenberg pulled Adler Mannheim to within 3-1, Brad Boyes responded quickly to make 4-1 in favor of the Sabres.

Jhonas Enroth got the start in net for the Sabres.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:04 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Sabres pouring it on against Adler Mannheim

Luke Adam's power-play goal late in the first period has given the Sabres a 3-0 lead in Mannheim.

This performance by Adler Mannheim is a far cry from last season's exhibition game against the San Jose Sharks, who had to rally in a shootout to win 3-2. The Sharks were actually trailing in the shootout and down to their final shooter before Ryane Clowe tied it and Dan Boyle won it in the fourth round.

Through 20 minutes, it's all Sabres.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 1:55 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Not a duplicate post: Ennis scores again

Abour four minutes after scoring on a breakaway, Tyler Ennis banged home a rebound to give the Sabres a 2-0 lead on Adler Mannheim in the first period.

If Ennis can continue this pace throughout the season, he will set an NHL record with 4,000 goals, give or take.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 1:45 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Ennis puts Sabres up 1-0

In their exhibition game with Adler Mannheim, the Buffalo Sabres struck first.

Tyler Ennis scored on a breakaway during the first period to put the Sabres ahead 1-0. The goal came at 7:18 and not longer after the Sabres killed a penalty to defenseman Christian Ehrhoff.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 1:21 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Sabres close preseason vs. Adler Mannheim

The Buffalo Sabres will close their preseason with a game in Mannheim, Germany, against German club team Adler Mannheim.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff told the team's website goalie Jhonas Enroth likely will play the entire game.

Mannheim native Jochen Hecht will not play due to lingering concussion symptoms. However, he could still be part of the pre-game festivities.

Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff leads the team in scoring in the preseason with 2 goals and 3 assists in four games.
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Posted On Monday, 10.03.2011 / 1:01 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Homecooking appeals to Buffalo

There was a little taste of home here for the Sabres on Monday morning.

Buffalo took the ice for Monday's practice at the SAP Arena and was surrounded by a sea of blue and yellow as fans which made the team-sponsored trip flocked to the open practice. They were joined there by fans of Adler Mannheim, the club team which Buffalo plays here in Tuesday night's Compuware Premiere Challenge exhibition, to make quite the festive scene that was nothing more than a traditional morning skate, featuring line rushes and shooting drills.

Yet, the fans cheered every move, including stickhandling drill in which each player had to navigate the puck through a line of closely spaced pucks. If the player failed, he had to start from the beginning again. The fans followed intently, loudly cheering each successful attempt and groaning with each failure.

"It made for a fun practice and a fun atmosphere," coach Lindy Ruff said. "It's funny how (the stickhandling drill) turned into something that fans kept an eye on. I think it created an extra pressure for the player trying to do it. Some passed the test and some got frustrated. It was fun."

The loudest cheer of the day, though, came in the dying minutes of the session when local-boy-done-good Jochen Hecht joined practice in time for the picture the team took with the 110 or so members of the fan club in attendance.

Hecht was held out of practice as he battles concussion-related symptoms and he won't play in Tuesday's NHL Premiere Challenge exhibition against Manheim, the team for which he turned pro almost 15 years ago. It was a bitter blow for both Hecht and the fans of Adler Mannheim, who have anticipated Tuesday's reunion for much of the past two months.

Despite the profound disappointment Hecht was feeling as he came to grips with the death of his dream to play before the Mannheim fans as a member of the Sabres, he said that Monday's reception by the fans certainly helped his spirits.

"It felt great of course," Hecht said. "Coming here and being able to say hello to the fans that don't get to see me during the summer. They want to show that I belong to them. This is my hometown. I used to be one of them sitting in the stands watching the team."

The practice ended with the fan club members being invited on to the ice for a picture with the team. Forty members of the fan club missed the practice after they were delayed in the United States. They are expected to arrive Tuesday morning. After the picture, the players stayed on the ice and mingled with the fans.

"It tells a lot about our fans that they travelled all this way," Ruff said. "It was nice to give them a little something extra. The 10 minutes of interaction we had on the ice was great for our fans. I think that part of it is really important and I think the players enjoy it too."

Young defenseman Tyler Myers agreed. He stayed on the ice longer than many of his teammates, signing banners and photos and taking pictures with fans.

"Today was kind of cool," Myers told NHL.com. "It was unexpected, for sure. When you get that many fans out there, it makes it a lot of fun. The fans are a big part of what we do. They fuel the fire."

 

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Posted On Monday, 10.03.2011 / 12:34 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Sleep issues remain for Sabres

Alarm clocks were a necessity Monday morning for the Buffalo Sabres.

The trans-Atlantic flight did serious damage to the internal clock of some of the players.

"I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep," defenseman Tyler Myers said.

Rookie Luke Adam said he was up from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. before finally falling back asleep.

"When my alarm finally went off, it felt like it was 2 a.m.," Adam told NHL.com

Even Christian Ehrhoff, a native of Gemany who makes the flight on a regular basis, admitted to struggling a bit with jet lag on Monday afternoon.

Coach Lindy Ruff, though, was happy the sleeping struggles did not manifest themselves in Monday's practice session.

"I thought the guys looked pretty good this morning," Ruff said. "I thought their jump was good and I think going into tomorrow's game it will give us another measure of the energy of our team."


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Posted On Monday, 10.03.2011 / 12:31 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Ruff expects stern challenge from Mannheim

Lindy Ruff expects the best out of Adler Mannheim in Tuesday's Compuware NHL Premiere Challenge game at SAP Arena.

After all, Mannheim gave the San Jose Sharks all they could handle in an exhibition here last October. San Jose eventually prevailed, 3-2, in the shootout, but not before being pushed to the limit by a quick and hungry home team.

"I think it is going to be a highly competitive game judging by the fact that last year they played San Jose and almost beat San Jose," Ruff said after Monday's practice. "They can skate and they have some guys that can shoot. They have a lot of pride and I think any time you get to play a team from the NHL and you can knock them off, that is a feather in your cap. So, I think the game is going to be real competitive."

That's a situation that suits Ruff just fine. Just three days removed from the start of the team's regular season -- a NHL Premiere game against Anaheim in Helsinki, Finland -- Ruff believes his team can use a spirited final tune-up.

"It's a good environment for us," he said. "I think a real competitive game is a good environment for us. To play under the gun and to play against guys that are competing really hard and they are not teammates, it's a good tune-up for starting the season."

With that said, Ruff isn't committing to his starting lineup for Tuesday's game.

Backup goalie Jhonas Enroth will get the start after starter Ryan Miller went the distance in Saturday night's preseason game against Washington back in the United States.

"We want to get (Enroth) some work," Ruff said.

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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 11:13 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

A blast from the past

Rene Corbet is from is from Victoriaville, Quebec and was a second-round pick by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1991 Entry Draft. Today, he lives and works in Calgary, a place in which he played 68 of his 362 NHL games during a nine-year career that ended in 2001.

But, it was here in Mannheim that Corbet found his hockey home. After leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins iN 2001 -- the final stop in a five-team journey across the NHL -- Corbet decided to give Germany a try. He signed with the Mannheim franchise after leaving the Penguins and ended up staying for eight years.

Tuesday night, he will have his number retired before Adler plays the Buffalo Sabres in a NHL Challenge game at SAP Arena.

"I never expected anybody to retire my number," Corbet told NHL.com minutes after arriving at SAP Arena straight from his flight on Sunday. "It's certainly an honor. I have a lot of memories from this team in the eight years I was here . That was a really special time. I have two boys that were born in Germany. This is a special place for me.

"It's unbelievable. It's a class organization and they took such good care of me for eight years. It's hard to stay in one place that long in Europe."

Corbet helped manheim win a DEL title during his time with the club -- a memory that he considers his most fond from his time in Germany -- and finished with 111 goals and 96 assists in 266 DEL games.
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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 11:09 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Bigger isn't always better for Sabres

The Sabres quickly learned Tuesday's exhibition game against the Adler Mannheim hosts could pose several problems.

The building is built in such a way that the fans -- even in the top sections -- are extremely close to the ice. Plus, the area behind the goal Mannheim protects twice is a standing-only section that is jammed with the team's most ardent supporters. They sing and clap throughout the game, which can be a disruptive force for an opposition unused to such tactics.

But, by far, the biggest challenge will be adapting to the bigger ice surface as the SAP Arena features an Olympic-sized sheet of ice.

After Sunday's practice, Tomas Vanek called it an ocean, referring to the extra room in the Corners of the offensive zone. Goalie Ryan Miller, meanwhile, was talking about how his angles were a bit off and how he had to fight the tendency to move too far side-to-side when tracking rushes. He says his visual clues are all off because of the wider ice surface.

Lindy Ruff knows his team will have some issues with the big ice, but he is grateful Tuesday's game is the only one that will be played on the Olympic-sized surface. The NHL Premiere games in Helsinki and Berlin will be played on NHL-sized ice sheets.

"You'll see a little bit of difference in the game (Tuesday)," Ruff said. "Outside the (faceoff) dots, you have the extra 20 feet that players can use, but inside the dots you are looking at the same game from the dots-in.  IF you make sure you are playing on the inside, you usually play well. If you get caught on the outside and handling the puck, you can look pretty good -- but you generally don't get too much done. In our case, it is to try to play our (NHL) game on this ice."
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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 10:31 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Juggling the lines

The Buffalo Sabres brought 24 players to Europe and could open ther season with this lineup -- minus emergency goalie Drew MacIntyre, who is here on a roster exemption.

Of those 23 players, Luje Adam might be the biggest surprise. The young forward, taken in the second round in 2008, has taken advantage of some injuries (Jochen hecht) and suspensions (Brad Boyes) to really open the eyes of the coaching staff.

During Sunday's practice, Luke centered a line with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville and could play in that role in Tuesday's exhibition game against Adler Manheim. With Adam in that spot, Drew Stafford moved up to play on a line with Nathan Gerbe and Derek Roy, while Boyes played with Ville Leino and Tyler Ennis. The fourth line was a rotating trio of fashioned from four forwards --  Patrick Kaleta, Paul Gaustad, Matt Ellis and Cody McCormick -- while Hecht took part while wearing a non-contact jersey.

So, can the 21-year old Luke make the Sabres after his first pro season, which saw him score 62 points in 57 AHL games, as well as 4 points in a 19-game cameo with the Sabres?

"Right now, we are still in the evaluation process, you know," Ruff said. Derek (Roy) is coming off injury. We'll  take another look at Luke (Tuesday) night. I think he has played well. Brad Boyes is coming off injury and I thought his last game was his best one. There are players pushing for ice time and position right now."
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Posted On Sunday, 10.02.2011 / 10:22 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Sabres arrive in Germany

The Buffalo Sabres arrived in Mannheim, Germany Sunday morning and imnmediately made their way to the rink for a one-hour practice at SAP Arena that was heavy on skating drills.

Coach Lindy Ruff planned both the time and content of practice to give his team the best chance to get accilimated to European time. The club travelled overnight from Buffalo and landed at approximately 9 a.m. local time. By noon, 6 a.m. on their bo0dy clocks, they were on the ice for a pretty spirited practice.

“I think to just get the legs underneath you, and break up what’s going to be a long day. We want to try and stay on schedule, and make sure that everybody stays up and gets back on what would be our North American schedule,” he explained. “We have stressed the importance of staying on schedule, and not laying down and ending up with a three-hour nap and then you can’t sleep during the night.

“I actually thought they looked pretty good. We kept it a little on the lighter side. But overall I thought the boys skated pretty well.”

The players, who did not seem to sleep much on the trans-Atlantic flight, were happy for the chance to do something
upon arrival, if only to kill some time until they can shut it down tonight.

"I think the idea is to fight it for six or seven more hours and try to get to bed at 7:30 or 8 p.m.," goalie Ryan Miller told NHL.com. "I'm not going to make it much longer than that. Maybe a little bit of food and hopefully there is something to do for awhile." 


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Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie