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SABRES SEARCHING FOR BLUELINERS

by Erin Pollina / Buffalo Sabres
Darcy Regier (Photo: Buffalo Sabres)
The Buffalo Sabres addressed one part of the roster by signing backup netminder Patrick Lalime Tuesday afternoon.


But following the first day of free agency, General Manager Darcy Regier said there is still one position left to fill for the upcoming season.

“We are still exploring really looking for a defenseman,” he said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon at HSBC Arena. “We’re still working. I’ve been on the phone this morning and we will continue to work.”

Although a slue of blueliners found new homes the opening day of free agency, Regier remains confident that there are good options still available for the organization.

“What I experienced… is yesterday we were making the calls, and today we are getting the calls,” he said. “That for me is positive news and it tells me that players are recognizing, looking at it and saying Buffalo would be a good place to play.”

According to Regier the right fit for the team remains the chief factor in finding a player.

“It’s as much about experience and fitting in with this group as well as being sound defensively,” he said. “And we will look at the offensive side too…. We think Reggie Sekera can cover off a little bit of that but we will look on that side as well.”

Sekera and other young blueliners such as Mike Weber and Marc-Andre Gragnani were recalled from the AHL throughout last season to fill in for a depleted defense corp.

Of the 201 total man-games lost in 2007-08, the back end accounted for 78 of them, not including the 80 games veteran Teppo Numminen missed after undergoing open-heart surgery in September.

But while the immediate needs of the team will be addressed, Regier noted the organization has to remain focused on finding the balance between demands of the present and the future.

“We are looking both short-term needs and we’re looking long-term because we’ve got a number of players that we want to sign and we want to keep here,” he said. “Players that are big contributors now to our hockey club and there are also players down the road... It’s a combination of the short-term picture, the immediate needs and then the long-term. We want to make sure we address both sides of that.

“I remain hopeful.”
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