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Sharpen Up: May 29, 2017

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

It's become a hockey staple in Buffalo at this time of year, and it's back this week. The NHL Scouting Combine returns to HarborCenter and KeyBank Center, which has played home town the event since 2015 and will continue to host through 2019.

The top prospects eligible for this year's draft will be in town, undergoing interviews throughout the week and conducting physical tests on Friday and Saturday.

With this being the third go-around, you might be familiar with the process by now. But in case you're not, here are a couple things to know about the Combine.

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Lambert relieved of duties as Rochester Americans head coach

by Sabres PR @SabresPR / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres announced today that Dan Lambert has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the Rochester Americans.

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What you need to know about Victor Antipin

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Fresh off of winning a bronze medal with Russia at the World Championship last weekend, defenseman Victor Antipin has agreed to a one-year, entry-level deal with the Buffalo Sabres.

Antipin, 24, scored four assists at the tournament, logging major minutes for a Russian team that only lost twice in 10 games. He's coming off of a season in which he scored a career-high 24 points (6+18) in 59 regular-season games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. 

On Wednesday, Antipin was named to the KHL's All-Star team for the 2016-17 season. 

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Sabres sign defenseman Antipin

by Sabres PR @SabresPR / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has signed defenseman Victor Antipin (an-TEE-pihn) to a one-year, entry-level contract.

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Sabres sign affiliation agreement with Cincinnati Cyclones of ECHL

by Sabres PR @SabresPR / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has signed an affiliation agreement with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, the professional developmental league for the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League. Cincinnati joins the Rochester Americans, the Sabres' AHL affiliate, as the chief minor-league development teams for the Sabres organization. 

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Botterill talks coaching search, scouting and more on 'Instigators'

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

One can only imagine what the past two weeks have been like for Jason Botterill. With the title of Sabres general manager came a laundry list of pressing responsibilities: scouting meetings with an unfamiliar staff, preparations for an upcoming draft and expansion draft, and a coaching search among them.

Botterill joined Andrew Peters, Craig Rivet and Marty Biron on The Instigators Tuesday morning to shed a bit of light on how his first two weeks have gone, as well as what to expect in the weeks ahead. Press play on the SoundCloud link below to listen to the full interview, or read on for some of the highlights. 

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Sharpen Up: May 22, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The NHL Scouting Combine will be in town next week, and with it comes some pretty cool events for fans to check out around KeyBank Center and HarborCenter.

Here's what you need to know. 

 

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O'Reilly, Canada win silver at Worlds as Sweden claims gold in shootout

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

High drama highlighted the gold medal game of the 2017 IIHF World Championship on Sunday in Cologne, Germany. Sixty minutes of regulation play and a 20-minute overtime session were not enough to decide an instant classic between Canada and Sweden. 

Buffalo's Ryan O'Reilly scored the game-tying goal for Canada in the third period, but hit the post in the shootout as Team Sweden defeated the Canadians 2-1. Nicklas Backstrom and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored in the best-of-five shootout for Sweden, while Henrik Lundqvist was credited with 41 saves.

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O'Reilly's late goal sends Canada to gold medal game

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Ryan O'Reilly had already left his mark on the game by the time Nathan MacKinnon scored to tie Canada's semifinal matchup with Russia late in the third period on Saturday. The Sabres forward led all skaters with six shots, contributing yet another standout two-way performance. 

Who knew at that point that the best was yet to come? O'Reilly's seventh shot was the real difference maker, a put-back shot that gave Canada the lead 3:02 remaining in regulation.

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Canada advances, USA eliminated in Worlds quarterfinals

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

 

Well, so much for a matchup between Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly. While O'Reilly and Canada advanced to the semifinal round with a victory over Germany on Thursday, Eichel and Team USA were eliminated with a loss to Finland. 

That leaves Canada, Finland, Russia and Sweden as the final four teams at the IIHF World Championship. Canada, the top remaining seed, will play Russia on Saturday 9:15 a.m. Finland and Sweden will play that same day at 1:15 p.m. Both games will be played in Cologne, Germany. 

Here's a recap of today's action:

 

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