BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 10: Steve Ott #9 of the Buffalo Sabres attracts the attention of front row fans before their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 10, 2013 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Sabres’ misery continues at hands of Blue Jackets


Thomas Vanek scored a highlight reel goal midway through the first period. It was his second marker of the season — which accounts for 40% of all Sabres’ goals through five games.

The Buffalo Sabres have been miserable this season and that’s been highlighted by their near total inability to find the back of the net. They suffered a 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight and are now off to a 0-4-1 start.

Going into the 2013-14 campaign, the Sabres looked like a team in transition and it’s entirely possible that Vanek and goaltender Ryan Miller will be traded before the end of the season, but even by those standards, this start is tough for Buffalo fans to swallow. Towards the end of the game, those in attendance at First Niagara Center started to chant for the firing of long-time GM Darcy Regier, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl.

Unfortunately, things don’t get any easier for Buffalo from here as its next contest is against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets are now 2-1-0 going into Saturday’s match versus the Boston Bruins.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.