Tag: Alex Sulzer

Goaltender Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres is congratulated by Thomas Vanek #26 after shuting out the Anaheim Ducks 2-0 at Honda Center on February 29, 2012 in Anaheim, California.
(February 28, 2012 - Source: Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America)

Vanek, Miller want to know if they’re part of Buffalo’s future


Winds of uncertainty are blowing through Buffalo right now, and have hit two of the team’s biggest stars.

Leading scorer Thomas Vanek and starting netminder Ryan Miller — two of the club’s longest-tenured players — say they need to speak with GM Darcy Regier to figure out what the plan is moving forward.

In the past six weeks, Regier fired longtime head coach Lindy Ruff and traded away T.J. Brennan, Robyn Regehr, Jordan Leopold and captain Jason Pominville.

So, what’s next?

“You just regroup and figure out what the plan is moving forward, if you’re part of it or not,” Miller told the Buffalo News. “It’s something I haven’t had a chance to talk to [Regier] about and certainly something I can’t speculate on because I’ve never known what Darcy’s going to do.”

Vanek sounded equally confused as to whether he’ll be a Sabre after this year.

“I haven’t talked to them about anything,” he explained. “It’s hard to say yes or no because no one has let me know what direction this is heading.

“Again, we’ll finish the year out and I’m sure at least I would expect them to let me know what the future is with myself.”

Few teams are more in flux than Buffalo.

The Sabres are playing under an interim head coach — Ron Rolston has no guarantees beyond this season — and are heading into an offseason filled with tough decisions.

The club’s pending UFAs aren’t a big deal (Jochen Hecht, John Scott, Adam Pardy, Alex Sulzer) but the restricted free agents are key.

New deals are needed for Cody Hodgson, Luke Adam and goalie Matt Hackett, acquired in the Pominville trade and believed to be Miller’s possible heir apparent.

There’s also the issue of the draft.

Buffalo’s armed to the teeth with picks — they’ll have two first- and two second-rounders — and could make a push for one of the Big Three: WHL Portland defenseman Seth Jones or one of the two QMHJL Halifax stars, Nathan MacKinnon or Jonathan Drouin.

If that happens, the youth movement will certainly be in effect.

Which really makes you wonder what’ll happen with Vanek, who turns 30 next year, and Miller, who’s 33 in July.

Sabres GM Regier making trade calls; Ehrhoff to return tonight

Darcy Regier

It’s been busy in Buffalo lately on both the injury and speculation front.

To the latter — speculation! — Sabres GM Darcy Regier told ESPN.com he’s making calls around the league, looking to make a deal in the hope of snapping Buffalo out of its 3-6-1 start to the season.

More: Sabres GM Regier: “Lindy is the guy”

“”I’ve talked to some GMs the last few days,” Regier said. “It’s a pretty quiet market right now. A number of teams have very small things they want to do, quite honestly, with the hope that whether it’s with their players or our players, they’re going to get them on track because of their previous history of them being a lot better.”

It’s obvious Buffalo needs to improve its defensive play — they’re allowing nearly four goals per game — and that improvement could come from within as injured blueliners return to action.

It also might have to come from within.

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports it “appears to be a soft trade market” at the moment, with defensemen at a premium.

Wade Redden found work quickly after being bought out by the Rangers, and Detroit signed 33-year-old Kent Huskins — unattached to start the year — after a rash of injuries depleted its defense.

Speaking of defensemen, Christian Ehrhoff returns from injury tonight to face the Habs after missing Tuesday’s game in Ottawa with a undisclosed muscle strain.

It’s unclear who he’ll play with on defense because, as alluded to earlier, Buffalo’s a mess injury-wise.

Andrej Sekera and Robyn Regehr are both out with ankle injuries (though head coach Lindy Ruff said both could return by the weekend), and the Buffalo News projects it’ll be Ehrhoff, Mike Weber, Jordan Leopold, Alex Sulzer, Adam Pardy and Tyler Myers on defense, with T.J. Brennan the odd man out.


Lindy Ruff states the obvious: “We need to win games”

Sabres keeping rookie Grigorenko

Mikhail Grigorenko

Mikhail Grigorenko will be in Buffalo’s lineup tonight against Toronto, thus triggering the first year of his entry-level contract.

The Sabres had been debating whether to keep the 18-year-old center or send him back to junior.

“Two things [went into the decision],” Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said, per NHL.com. “The ability to continue his development in conjunction with his ability to help us win hockey games. Those two things really make it up.”

Grigorenko hasn’t been particularly effective in his first five games, failing to register a point while averaging 12:00 of ice time.

But the injury to Ville Leino has left the Sabres on the thin side at the center position.

Grigorenko’s last game, on Sunday against Washington, was also his best game.

“I think it did a lot for his situation,” Regier said.

Update: Two lineup changes for Buffalo heading into Tuesday’s game — defensemen Robyn Regher and Alex Sulzer will be replaced by Mike Weber and T.J. Brennan.

Regher has an undisclosed lower-body injury, though Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports he was seen leaving First Niagara Center with a walking boot on his right foot.

Sulzer’s believed to be a healthy scratch.

Report: Buffalo captain Pominville to join German team


It appears another Sabre is ready to jump the pond.

That’s the word out of Buffalo on Friday as team captain Jason Pominville is reportedly set to sign with Mannheim of the German league, according to Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald.

Pominville told Hoppe he’s been in talks with Mannheim for a while and figured now was a good time to join the club — especially in light of stalled CBA negotiations.

“If it does get settled quick, then I’ll be able to skate for a few weeks, a month – whatever it is,” Pominville said. “It’ll be a mini training camp. And if not, I’ll have a team for the rest of the season.

“I think it’s a move I wanted to do. I just want to play.”

Once the signing’s official, Pominville will become the third locked-out NHLer to join Mannheim. The Deutsche Eishockey Liga club already has Florida’s Marcel Goc and Boston’s Dennis Seidenberg in the mix and also has a standing offer to German-born Jochen Hecht, Pominville’s teammate in Buffalo.

“It’s a team my family felt comfortable going to,” Pominville explained. “We know that maybe eventually Jochen will be there. We’ll be living close to our friends. That’s the good part about it.”

With the move, Pominville becomes the eighth Sabre to have signed overseas during the lockout, joining Tyler Ennis (Switzerland), Andrej Sekera (Slovak Extraliga), Thomas Vanek (Austria), Tyler Myers (Austria), Alex Sulzer (Germany), Jhonas Enroth (Sweden) and Mike Weber (Norway).

Sabres’ Weber joins Norwegian league

Mike Weber

Another day, another NHLer off to Europe.

This time it’s Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mike Weber — the 24-year-old has agreed to join Lorenskog of Norway’s GET-ligaen, the top flight of Norwegian hockey.

The move makes Weber the third locked-out NHLer to try his hand in Norway. Pittsburgh defenseman Deryk Engelland and Florida forward Jack Skille both made their moves in mid-October, joining Rosenborg IHK Elite.

A native of Pittsburgh, Weber had a tough 2011-12 campaign with the Sabres — an influx of defensemen (Christian Ehrhoff, Robyn Regher, Alex Sulzer) saw his playing time decrease, and an upper-body injury cost him 12 games.

As such, Weber finished with relatively low numbers — 1G4A5PTS in 51GP — a far cry from his “breakout” campaign in 2010-11, when he posted 17 points in 58 games and finished tied for second on the team with a plus-13 rating.

Weber is now the seventh Sabre playing abroad, joining Ehrhoff and Sulzer (Germany), Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis (Switzerland), Andrej Sekera (Slovakia) and Jhonas Enroth (Sweden).