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(Page 144 of 211)
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Sabres expect rapid improvement after summer moves

Saturday, 08.16.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Jon Lane - Staff Writer continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray set the bar at his season-ending news conference in April while evaluating the NHL's worst team in 2013-14. On the job for three months, Murray made it clear that change was coming — and lots of it.

"A lot of nights, this team was hard to watch," Murray said.

It wasn't pretty. Coach Ron Rolston and GM Darcy Regier were fired following a franchise-worst 4-15-1 start. The Sabres finished last in wins (21) and points (52) and their 150 non-shootout goals was the lowest total in the expansion era. Following what he called a "completely unacceptable" season, Murray refused to buy into a five-year rebuild and accelerated the Sabres' reconstruction with the signing of five free agents on July 1.


Offense, battle in goal highlight Sabres' five questions

Saturday, 08.16.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Jon Lane - Staff Writer

The Buffalo Sabres weren't going to sit back and wait for their young talent to fully mature over time. General manager Tim Murray revamped the roster with the intention of escaping the Eastern Conference basement and perhaps making a little noise in the race to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The road to contention may be long and winding, but days appear brighter in Buffalo if the Sabres can answer five questions heading into the 2014-15 season:


Sabres' Stewart seeks consistency in contract year

Saturday, 08.16.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Jon Lane - Staff Writer

Chris Stewart doesn't care about the prophecies that the Buffalo Sabres will be vying for gifted prospects Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel at the top of the 2015 NHL Draft. Defiant enough to proclaim the Stanley Cup Playoffs a "realistic goal" for the NHL's worst team in 2013-14, he's moved past what was a disappointing season for both the franchise and the 26-year-old forward.

After scoring 15 goals and 26 points in 58 games, the lowest totals since his rookie year in 2008-09, Stewart is entering this season brimming with confidence. The sweeping changes made in Buffalo have Stewart, acquired in the trade that sent goalie Ryan Miller to the St. Louis Blues in February, primed for a bounceback season.


Sabres hope top 10 prospects lead successful rebuild

Saturday, 08.16.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray was a busy man the first week of August, with top prospects taking part in national junior evaluation camps in Montreal and Lake Placid, N.Y.

Those camps had teams from six nations and featured nine potential future Sabres with opportunities to play for their respective countries at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

"It's the future," Murray told "It shows you the depth we have in the organization. If they all do the right things going forward, they have the chance to be National Hockey League players. It's exciting. It shows that we do have some high-end young talent in the organization."


Blackhawks let draft pick Hayes become free agent

Friday, 08.15.2014 / 11:59 PM / News Staff

The Chicago Blackhawks and prospect Kevin Hayes did not come to a contract agreement by the NHL deadline Friday and the 22-year-old forward is now an unrestricted free agent.

"We offered Kevin what we believed was a generous and fair contract. Unfortunately, he felt it was in his best interests to become a free agent," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. "We are looking forward to the compensatory draft pick we are receiving and are focused on the excitement surrounding the start of training camp next month."

Under rules in the collective bargaining agreement, Chicago will receive the 54th pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.


Penguins' Crosby pleased with how wrist has healed

Friday, 08.15.2014 / 6:59 PM / News

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said Friday he is pleased with the way his injured right wrist has responded to treatment.

"It's good," Crosby told The Associated Press in Estero, Fla., where he has been working out. "You want to see how things progress throughout the summer once you start skating and get back to that regular routine. You want to see how it reacts, so I'm happy with the way it's gone."


Ducks sign Silfverberg to one-year contract

Friday, 08.15.2014 / 1:00 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

The Anaheim Ducks signed forward Jakob Silfverberg to a one-year contract, the team announced Friday.

Financial details were not disclosed, but Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reported the value of the contract to be $850,000. Silfverberg, who turns 24 years old in October, was a restricted free agent.


Harding, Backstrom will be ready for Wild: report

Friday, 08.15.2014 / 8:50 AM / News

Minnesota Wild goaltenders Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom are healthy and will be ready for training camp and the start of the regular season, general manager Chuck Fletcher told the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune on Thursday.

"Everything's a go with both goalies," Fletcher told reporter Michael Russo. "Everybody seems to be feeling pretty good, and at this stage, knock on wood, all of our players who were banged up at the end of the season is feeling better. Josh has felt good. Right now we're not expecting any issues for anybody with respect to passing training-camp medicals."

Harding played his final game of last season Dec. 31 and then was sidelined by complications related to multiple sclerosis. Backstrom last played Jan. 30 and had surgery to repair an abdominal injury March 25.


Iginla in, Stastny out as Avalanche lineup changes

Friday, 08.15.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

After three seasons without making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche welcomed a new era in 2013-14 helmed by a pair of franchise legends.

The results, with Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic in charge, were a smashing success. Colorado not only returned to the postseason, but finished with the second-most points in franchise history and won a division title for the first time since Roy and Sakic were on the roster.

Led by a collection of young stars, the Avalanche were one of the most exciting teams in the NHL. They defied analytics during the regular season before the Minnesota Wild ended their season in the Western Conference First Round.

It was an interesting offseason in Colorado. Center Paul Stastny left for the division rival St. Louis Blues on a pretty reasonable contract, and was replaced by Jarome Iginla while wunderkind Nathan MacKinnon slides over to center. P.A. Parenteau was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Daniel Briere.

The Avalanche also acquired defenseman Brad Stuart, so it was clear they were looking for more veterans. Whether the team is improved could also be hindered by what the advanced stats-friendly crowd expects to be a precipitous regression in 2014-15.

Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Avalanche:


2014 pick Bleackley heads Avalanche top 10 prospects

Friday, 08.15.2014 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2014-15

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

What are the odds center Conner Bleackley becomes the fifth draft pick in five years by the Colorado Avalanche to go straight to the NHL?

As good and mature as Bleackley is as an 18-year-old, that wouldn't appear to be in the cards since Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon have the top two center positions locked up. Though Bleackley could be eased into a third-line role, there's no reason to rush him and his return as captain of the Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League would appear imminent following training camp.

The bottom line here is that the right-shot pivot might be best suited in a top-six role, and the Avalanche seem well fortified in that area entering 2014-15.

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Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins