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by Erin Pollina / Buffalo Sabres
Michael Ryan
For Michael Ryan, a penny earned is a penny saved.

After all, why throw out a lucky coin?

Attached to the 27-year-old’s stall in the Sabres locker room are two copper pennies taped to blue scraps of paper.

Written on each note is “Good Luck this Season Michael”- a gift from a pair of young fans from Bradford, Penn.

“We were here last week, Pommer [Jason Pominville] and I, skating with the Timbits,” Ryan said, referring to Nov. 20 when more than 400 children gathered at HSBC Arena for the annual Timbits skate. “A couple of kids just gave those to me so I figured I would throw them in the stall here.”

It was a seemingly small act, but as far as Ryan is concerned it had significant results.

The following night against the Ottawa Senators, Ryan scored his first goal since March 9, 2007, in a 4-2 win for the Sabres (Watch ).  It snapped a 20-game goalless streak.

“It worked out good,” Ryan said. “I’ll keep them there for the rest of the year, and hopefully, it will keep bringing me some luck.”

While the good fortune is welcomed by the Boston, Mass. native, Ryan said he initially held on to the keepsake for a different reason.

It was all about the gesture.    

“It puts things in perspective a little bit,” he said. “Kids that watch you, when they do something like that, you want to let them know that you appreciate it. It’s only a little thing but if those guys dropped in, I’d let them know that they are in my stall and say thanks.

“It’s funny. Even last night leaving the rink, there were dozens of kids out there screaming my name. At first I think they thought I was Ryan Miller, they always seem to get me and him mixed up, but it’s a big hockey city. And to reach kids like that from Pennsylvania, not even from Buffalo… it’s nice.”

It is also refreshing as this time it was the fan that impacted the athlete. Ryan said while he has done work with some community events and charities in the past, experiences such as the Timbits skate keep him looking to become involved in more.

“I’ve talked to Millsey [Ryan Miller] about some things at Children’s Hospital and stuff so hopefully once the schedule eases up a little bit, maybe around Christmas, I’ll have more time to do some of that,” he said.

For now the coins serve as a reminder to Ryan of what he can do, and what the fans have done for him already.

“I probably don’t get as much [fan mail] as Miller and Pominville and those guys, but the things that I do get I appreciate.”

Now that is two cents worth hearing about.
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