‘Is this a guy the Sabres want on their team while they’re trying to keep co-captains Chris Drury and Daniel Briere? Afinogenov is a seductive talent, an electrifying player who puts people in the seats. He also gets them out of their seats when he’s not drawing teammates offside and giving away the puck. And while his 134 points in 133 games in two regular seasons are impressive, his eight goals and 17 points in 33 postseason games over the same span are not. He has 10 goals and 23 points in 49 career playoff games. Remember, his overtime winner against the Rangers came after he was a healthy scratch.’
'Thomas Vanek is worth more than this season's $942,000 salary. Center Derek Roy (career-high 21 goals and 63 points) was a bargain, given his $627,000 salary. Forward Dainius Zubrus will be highly coveted, meaning he should earn more than this year's $1.85 million. Adam Mair and Daniel Paille were key role players making a combined $1.35 million. So let's do the math. That's five forwards capable of making $1 million or more apiece per season, another two worthy of $5 million apiece. Total minimum price, $15 million. Cap room left, less than $4 million.'
'Will the ENTIRE team be back? In a word, no. It's quite likely two or more big contracts will be moved in one way or another, with Ales Kotalik still marketable elsewhere, and replaceable here, as one example.'
'Everyone knew going into these playoffs that Ottawa was coming on strong. They won almost every game late in the season, dispatched their first two playoff opponents with ease and looked like the better team, the hungrier team, against the Buffalo Sabres.'
'I think that no one said it better than Chris Drury, echoing Lindy Ruff's comments that you have to do things out of character to win in the playoffs. His comments were very revealing; that several of his teammates did not pay the price necessary to win in the post-season. Lindy Ruff seemed to say that this was another step for a young team. But, I would argue that this team as currently assembled won't take that next step, because they still need some changes to their roster before they can win the Cup.'
'Quinn also looked ahead to the future as he prepares to try and resign both Chris Drury and Daniel Briere this offseason. He defended the team's practice of not negotiating contracts during the season because it may look like the team is favoring one player over another. "I do think it works," Quinn said, "because unless you're prepared to do everybody you're saying to one guy you're not coming back and you are."'
'We really are living in a Hockey Nation, and Buffalo is its undisputed capital. We’re a city with Sabres Fever. Everywhere, from grocery stores to construction sites, is bursting with pride and love for our boys in blue and gold. We think of you as family. When Marty Biron was traded, we felt we were losing an old friend. When Chris Drury took that cheap shot, thousands of Western New Yorkers were literally ready to go after Chris Neil themselves. We had your back.'
'A free agent this summer, Zubrus is completely open to the prospect of signing with Buffalo next season. As time wears on, Buffalo has grown on Zubrus. "Why not? Right now I'm a Sabre," said Zubrus. "I'm a Sabre till July 1st. Honestly, I enjoyed it here. I honestly didn't know what to expect when I was coming here. But from day one the coaches, guys in the locker room and everyone around the area made me feel very comfortable. Everyone has been good to me, so there is no reason why not."'
'"I wish something would've been done earlier in the year with either me or Chris," Briere said. "The tough part is nobody knows what's going to happen."'
'Says another: “I am so proud of the city of Buffalo and ‘our’ fans. Where else would 10,000 people show up to watch an away game on a Jumbotron? Where else would 10,000 people stand outside to watch a home game on a big screen TV (God love ’em)? . . . That’s Buffalo . . . a great city with great sports fans who always get their collective hearts broken.”'
‘“To be honest with you, I have no clue what’s going to happen. There hasn’t been any discussions as far as contracts go with the Sabres, and I didn’t even have any talks with my agent yet about the game plan.”’
‘For the record, I suspect the Sabres will make a strong play in the next five weeks to keep Drury and hope they still have enough left over for Briere. Then again, as both players know, you should never assume anything.’
‘“I enjoy it here,” Zubrus said while taking a break from cleaning out his locker in HSBC Arena. “I didn’t know what to expect when I was coming here, but from Day One the guys in the locker room, the coaches and everybody made me comfortable. The fans have been good to me. So there’s no reason why not.”’
'This just shouldn’t happen to a major sport during its playoffs.'
'With the Sabres unlikely to sign all unrestricted free-agent forwards Daniel Briere, Chris Drury, Adam Mair and Dainius Zubrus, the gritty Milwaukee native is just about guaranteed a roster spot for the 2007-08 season. Stafford is the latest of the Sabres seemingly endless supply of very good forward prospects.'