French Connection

Sabres to honor French Connection with statue at First Niagara Center


On Oct. 12, the Buffalo Sabres will unveil a tribute to the most storied trio in franchise history.

The French Connection — comprised of center Gilbert Perreault, left wing Rick Martin and right wing Rene Robert — combined for 18 all-star games while playing in Buffalo from 1972-79, forming one of the most elite scoring lines in league history.

Now, they’re getting their own statue.

From the Sabres website:

The Buffalo Sabres today announced plans to honor the team’s renowned French Connection, one of hockey’s all-time greatest forward lines, with a statue outside of First Niagara Center.

The statue will be part of a larger ‘Alumni Plaza,’ which is in the planning stages and will be set in the plaza directly outside of the arena. A special unveiling of the statue will take place on Oct. 12 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the French Connection first playing together in 1972.

“History has always been an extremely important facet of our organization’s philosophy,” said Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black. “We hope this statue and the surrounding ‘Alumni Plaza’ will serve as a proper tribute to all the great players who have made this franchise what it is today, while also serving as an inspiration to future Sabres fans and players that will keep us a strong and successful team for years to come.”


— The statue will be designed and constructed by Jerry McKenna, who has done 17 portrait busts for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also won the 2003 Sports Sculptor of the Year award, which apparently is a thing.

— The Alumni Plaza will have a new statue every year honoring a member of the Sabres organization. Also, it will contain five brick columns that will have a plaque for every player who has played for Buffalo.

(Image Courtesy Ron Moscati, Buffalo Sabres)

Slepyshev earns final Oilers roster spot; Draisaitl to AHL

Anton Slepyshev, Anton Lander
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The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.

The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.

The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.

But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.

“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”

Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.

Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado

Jared McCann, Connor McDavid, Ben Hutton

A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.

The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)

It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.

Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.

Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.