Sabres optimistic Vanek will play Tuesday

‘positive sign on Monday, Vanek took part in the team’s optional practice. “I felt a lot better today than I did yesterday, so we’ll see how it reacts and how it feels tomorrow,” Vanek said afterwards. Does he think he can play? “I hope so.”‘

Sabres haven’t made Grigorenko decision yet

‘”No. No, and we don’t have to right now,” the head coach said after Monday’s optional skate. “We’ll have friendly discussions today.”‘

Ott’s thoughts

‘But as much as I loved it there, I was looking for that new adventure. You always wonder, and you hear the rumblings, but when it finally happens, it hits you. I was really excited once I found out it was Buffalo. Obviously my great friend Mike Weber has been talking about Buffalo and how awesome it is here for a long time. I felt like I already knew what I was getting into during my “gym talks” with Webby. You add all those things up, and I definitely had a lot of mixed emotions going on.’

Sabres come up empty, drop third straight

‘“It’s just little things now,” Buffalo defenseman Jordan Leopold said. “It’s not anything big. It’s attention to detail. We had a couple minor mistakes, but it’s a learning curve early in the year. There’s not a lot of time to recoup those points that you end up losing.”’

Grigorenko hopeful after ‘best effort’

‘“Overall, it was a good showing for him,” said coach Lindy Ruff, who had Grigorenko come to the rink Sunday morning for additional tutoring. “He’s receptive. He understands there’s some areas he has to get better. He knows that. Overall, I thought it was maybe his best effort.”’

Monday’s Washington Coverage

Alex Ovechkin scores first goal of season as Washington forges first win (Washington Post)
Alex Ovechkin scores and Washington Capitals win, both finally breaking through (Washington Post)
Photo gallery (Washington Post)
Capitals hold on for first victory of Adam Oates era (Washington Times)
Marcus Johansson benched vs. Sabres (Washington Times)
Capitals finally give Adam Oates his first victory (Washington Examiner)
Caps defenseman John Erskine makes a muffin (Washington Examiner)
Caps, Ovechkin return to form (CSN Washington)
Effort gets Caps their first win (CSN Washington)
Oates from Hall of Fame to Head Coach (WGR-AM)
Washington Capitals Postgame Notes & Quotes (WashingtonCaps.com)
Photo gallery (WashingtonCaps.com)
Photo gallery (Sabres.com)

Ovechkin scores; Caps get 1st win, top Sabres 3-2

‘Tyler Ennis scored in the first period, and Miller made 27 saves for the Sabres, who have lost three straight after opening the season with a pair of wins. Buffalo played without left wing Thomas Vanek, who had been on the ice for all 11 goals in Buffalo’s first four games. Vanek sat out with a muscle strain, sustained in the loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.’

Washington 3, Buffalo 2

‘Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno each lit the lamp for the Sabres, who have dropped three straight after opening the campaign with two wins. Ryan Miller gave up all three goals on 30 shots in the loss.’

How did missing Vanek work?

‘In the end it’s back to the drawing board for Lindy Ruff as Gerbe looked awful with this line. It was evident from the start that Pominville and especially Hodgson missed Thomas Vanek. They have to be better than that. You can’t fall apart just becasue your best player isn’t available to play.’

Caps Top Sabres 3-2

‘Miller turned aside 27 shots while Neuvirth stopped 22. Mikhail Grigorenko skated for 17:10 and was in on a couple of scoring chances. Now that his fifth NHL game is over, the Sabres must decide whether to keep Grigorenko with the team or return him to juniors.’

Sabres Vanek is out

‘Thomas Vanek is out with a muscle injury. Lindy Ruff said, “He’s day to day really. He skated this morning, but isn’t quite there.”’

Grigorenko decision should not be about contract clock

‘There should only be three major questions asked to come to this decision and conclusion: 1. Has he shown he will hurt us while on the ice? 2. Can he help us win this year? 3. Will he develop better being in Buffalo or back in juniors for the next 3-4 months?

Ovechkin scores, Oates earns first win as Caps coach

‘Without Vanek, the Sabres’ offense struggled, especially during a second period that featured only six shots on net for the road team.’

Sabres drop third in a row in Washington

‘With Sabres defenseman Alexander Sulzer in the box for clearing the puck over the glass, Ovechkin stationed himself to the right of Miller at the faceoff circle. Mike Green found Ovechkin with a pass from the far boards, and he made no mistake with an absolute laser into the twine for his first of the season.’

Sabres seek balance, answers to questions

‘“He’s 18 years old and people tend to forget how young he is and every day is experience,” said Ott. “Obviously the rest of it is up to management. … You see flashes of great stuff. When I look at myself when I was young, sometimes you’re going to play less minutes, sometimes you’re going to play a little bit more and get thrown opportunities to succeed. Then you’re going to be backed off a little more. That’s part of becoming a professional hockey player. He’s handling it really well for 18 years old.”’