'"The area itself is one big reason why I returned to the Sabres," commented Patrick who resides with his wife, Deborah, and their two daughters, Brenna and Quinn in the WNY area throughout most of the last four years. "We think the schools and the kids programs here are second to none. The housing and cost of living are fantastic. In fact, we would consider remaining here, depending on how things go with my post-hockey playing career."'
'For the first time since the Sabres problems surfaced, I'm scared… scared that their future in Buffalo may be in question. I was in the group for a while that said "no way." I did not think there was any way this team would be in danger of leaving. My view has changed.'
'"The fans don't question the coaching, management or the players," Ray continued. "They're more or less saying why should they come out and support something they feel has screwed them over? They were promised a lot of things for the town itself, not just hockey, but things like jobs and the price of cable."'
'The Sabres will be in serious trouble if they don't heat up before they get to Raleigh, N.C. They have scored eight goals in their past five games.'
He has lasted far longer than he could have ever imagined. He has played his entire NHL career in one town, two hours from home (Stirling, Ont.). He married a local girl. Yeah, maybe he compromised some dollars to stay in Buffalo, but he is comfortable there; he is appreciated there.
Flames have not won since Oct. 19 at Chicago. They are 0-1-1-2 since.
This year, we are allowed to cheat a little bit more and it is going to create some turnovers some times, two-on-ones or three-on-ones coming our way, but we have got to ask Marty (Biron) to make a big save for us. Our team has to take chances to score goals.
The top offensive player is the often underachieving Chris Gratton, with three goals and eight assists. Gratton was on the block last season when he had only four goals and nine assists in the first 50 games.
'"I hope Buffalo never loses its team," said Boughner. "The Buffalo fans are super hockey fans and I enjoyed the time I played there."'
'However, the outcome should never have been in doubt because the undisciplined Sabres were so willing to serve up a Canucks triumph. No wonder they don't have an owner. The only thing missing in Buffalo's game plan was a serving platter. Yet, the Canucks could muster but 22 shots and surrendered the tying goal to rookie Ales Kotalik with less than three minutes remaining in regulation time.'
'It looked anything but easy, especially in the third period when the Sabres held a 9-2 edge in shots on goal.'
'They should consider themselves fortunate. The score flattered the Canucks, who despite being handed nine power-play opportunities by the Sabres couldn't generate anything offensively.'
'Finally, for what seems like the first time in 10 National Hockey League seasons, the once mystifying Chris Gratton is playing with enough certainty to become a leader of distinction.'
'Buffalo, the most penalized team in the NHL, continued to take a lot of penalties, but Vancouver also continued to struggle with the man advantage.'
'Recalled from the minors on Sunday, Kotalik swept the puck past goaltender Dan Cloutier from the bottom of the left faceoff circle to force overtime. Defenseman Jason Woolley's one-timer from the right side never reached the net and came to Kotalik, whose only other NHL goal came on March 19.'