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Buffalo Sabres to Give Youngsters Another Look Sunday Against Toronto Maple Leafs

September 28th, 2014 at 12:15 PM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101

The Buffalo Sabres have given their veteran corps two warm-ups over the past week for the regular season. Sunday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m.), coach Ted Nolan said the team's youngsters will get in another game.

Many of the veterans who will comprise the opening-night lineup played in Friday night's home loss to the Leafs. Nolan said the likes of Brian Gionta, Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford won't hit the ice in Toronto, but prospects fighting for roster spots like Joel Armia and Mikhail Grigorenko will.

That extra ice time figures to battle the likes of Nicolas Deslauriers, who's one of the young guns with his sights set on the NHL:

"We'll keep the foot on the pedal. I'm still battling for a spot, and I just want to make the team and have the best spot as possible."

The competition has been reduced somewhat after 13 players were demoted Friday. Of those, 11 were sent to the Rochester Americans: Luke Adam, Brady Austin, William Carrier, Dan Catenacci, Colin Jacobs, Justin Kea, Jerome Leduc, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Kevin Sundher, Chad Ruhwedel and Phil Varone. The demotion of Ruhwedel is particularly surprising and means another youngster, Jake McCabe, is impressing enough to earn serious consideration for one of the Sabres' blueline spots.

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Buffalo Sabres’ Jhonas Enroth Seems to Have Early Edge in Goalie Battle

September 27th, 2014 at 12:00 PM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101

For the first time in a decade, the Buffalo Sabres are uncertain who their starting goalie will be in training camp.

With Ryan Miller now in Vancouver by way of St. Louis, the Sabres have his former backup, Jhonas Enroth, competing with Michal Neuvirth for the No. 1 job. The race is still open in the two remaining weeks before the season opener, but Enroth would seem to hold a slight edge based on this year's performances.

Enroth stopped 35 shots Tuesday to shut out the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-0, in preseason action. Neuvirth, by comparison, stopped only 16 of 22 shots in Friday's 6-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But career-wise, Neuvirth might have the edge. The 26-year-old has a 59-43-12 career record with a 2.67 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. He went 0-2-0 in two games after being acquired by the Sabres last spring but stopped 93 of 98 shots in those two losses. He's also got playoff experience, winning a playoff series with the Washington Capitals in the 2010-11 postseason. He's 4-5 overall in nine playoff starts.

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Chris Stewart Shines in Buffalo Sabres Loss to Toronto Maple Leafs

September 26th, 2014 at 10:10 PM
By Anthony Custode Jr

Chris Stewart scored two goals and contributed with a fight, but it wasn't enough for the Buffalo Sabres as they lost 6-4 to the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.

Stewart looked like the power forward the Sabres will need in the future. He played hard and was able to get the puck into the back of the net. His physical play is what Buffalo has needed for a while and if the Sabres decide to re-sign him before the end of the season, he could be a good replacement for Drew Stafford if the team decides to cut ties with him.

The Sabres still have a ton of work to do in order to be considered a legitimate team in the NHL. Tonight was a tough reminder to Sabres fans that Ryan Miller is no longer between the pipes, as Michal Neuvirth had a rough game. Neuvirth made just 16 saves on 22 shots and allowed a fair share of soft goals. Jhonas Enroth had a decent game Tuesday, earning a 2-0 shutout, but he has proved that he cannot be relied on to be an every-night starter. The Sabres will struggle with goaltending this season, and tonight's performance was an early indication why.

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Buffalo Sabres to Hold Blue and Gold Carpet Event Before Tonight’s Game Against Toronto Maple Leafs

September 26th, 2014 at 9:00 AM
By Anthony Custode Jr

Since Terry Pegula became the owner of the Buffalo Sabres, the team has held events in the preseason where fans can interact with their favorite players before they enter the First Niagara Center.

This preseason will be no different, as players will be arriving in cars donated by Northtown Automotive Group and will walk the Blue and Gold carpet into the arena before tonight's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brian Duff and Danny Gare will host the event and will interview players as they make their way into the arena. Fans are encouraged to show up early to the event for a chance to see their favorite players walk the carpet and possibly obtain an autograph or picture.

The Sabres will come into the game with a 1-1 preseason record and fresh off of a 2-0 shutout of the Carolina Hurricanes. Tonight will be Buffalo's first of two meetings with Toronto this preseason, and the matchup last preseason was memorable. The Sabres and Maple Leafs ended up in a full brawl in a preseason contest last year. This game may not be as intense, but it will be worth watching, as all games between the two teams are entertaining.

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Drew Stafford Set to Become Fool’s Gold for Another Contract Season

September 24th, 2014 at 9:00 AM
By Anthony Custode Jr

Drew Stafford had a career-high 31 goals and 52 points in the 2010-2011 season, which just so happened to be the year his contract was set to expire.

This season is the final year of Stafford's current deal, and it's not surprising that he's producing in the preseason already.

Stafford may be the most miserable, inconsistent players in recent team history. Though he did earn 50 points in 2011-2012, he missed the 40-point mark in each of his last two seasons and has never played a full 82-game season. Last season, Stafford tallied just 16 goals on a Sabres team that had its share of under-performing offensive players.

Stafford scored a goal and added an assist in last night's preseason win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Though it's just one game, and a meaningless one at that, it's noteworthy to point out his contract status. Sabres general manager Tim Murray has not been shy to move players for assets, especially players that are in the final year of their contracts. Stafford fits that description this season, and Stafford seems to only be motivated when he is playing for another contract.

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