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by Kevin Sylvester / Buffalo Sabres

Andrej Sekera
-Arbitration season is upon us, and most teams and players are coming to terms before heading to a hearing that usually results in nothing but hard feelings.  Darcy Regier accomplished a deal with Andrej Sekera last week, avoiding an uncomfortable hearing where the agent would have argued how good Sekera is and Regier would have had to argue that he’s not that good.  That was avoided with a four-year deal that provides both sides with security and room to grow.  I was asked the other day if Sekera was that good -   my answer is yes, and he’ll be better.  He has struggled with consistency, but has displayed excellent skating ability and offensive skill.  “Reggie”, as he lets us call him, is also a good guy, polite and hard working. 

-The competition and depth on the blue line is going to make many teams jealous.  Tyler Myers, Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff, Jordan Leopold, Andrej Sekera, Mike Weber, Shaone Morrisonn and RFA Marc-Andre Gragnani are an impressive stable of defenders.  The competition to not be among the guys that sit out as the 7th and 8th defensemen should make everyone better.

-The most common question I’ve been getting in recent days is, “Are the Sabres done with moves?”  The answer is no since the roster currently puts the team over the salary cap for the upcoming season (based upon various reports—no, I don’t get to see the books), so a move or two will have to be made to get under the cap.  Now, I don’t know what that move(s) will be, but it should make training camp even more interesting and competitive.

Zack Kassian (IIHF)
-For those of you that attended development camp a few weeks ago at Niagara, I hope you noticed the hands displayed by Zack Kassian.  He scored a back-hander in tight during a 3-on-3 drill that was big league.  He put a back-hander top corner with his body turned away from the net on the right side.  I also enjoyed seeing Brayden McNabb and Kassian battled down low.  McNabb is big, but had trouble handling the rugged Kassian.

-Congratulations to Patrick Lalime on his recent retirement.  Twelve seasons in the league is something to celebrate, even if his best years were not here in Buffalo.  He is a class act and one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in hockey.  He is now going to work for RDS (the French language sports network in Canada) as an analyst, and he will do very well for them.  Welcome to the booth, Patty!

-From the suggestion box:  “Kevin, since you wrote about the best pancakes in the NHL, can you do that for steaks in the league?”  I’ll have to check the budget for this year, but I am up for it!

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