Goodbye Dion Phaneuf, hello massive cap space!

Like Sabres did, Leafs making wily chess moves


Hockey games can be interesting. They were more interesting years ago but you still get the occasional wild one, a back-and-forth tussle with a scrap or two mixed in.

The playoffs are fun too but that's usually just on TV.

Regular seasons are so lengthy that too often you have matchups of weary opponents comprised of players just trying to stay afloat.

And top teams focused on the
Ben Hider/NYSE Euronext
Trading may now commence!

Next up for Sabres: Deadline Day


The playoffs are a near-impossibility, and they weren't this year's mission anyway.No one is talking "tank", which became the buzzword for selling off older players and those on expiring contracts for youth and draft picks, something many teams like the Sabres have done and all teams like them should have. As a state of mind tanking is off the table, but if that's your word
Yes, the Bills' playoff drought has lasted this long.

A season's worth of futile finales


WARNING: This article is long, because it should be.

---------------------------------

Sixteen years, no playoffs. Bills fans know it well. Some might wear it as a tattoo, like a badge of honor, if it didn't need changing every year.

The scar of the playoff drought looks uglier if you add that only once all these years (2004) have the Bills made it to their final regular-season game
For discussion purposes, Toronto is looking beautiful.

Leaf peeping, enviously


Tuesday night's Sabres-Devils game was so devoid of compelling action that your mind was free to wander, which can be good as long as it's not stumbling again and again over the prices of tickets and Harbour Club German Chocolate cake. 

I had a nice time with my brother-in-law and two friends, not that any of it was because of the hockey game. One friend was excited to hear the
Andrew Campbell
Tom Brady, the perennially elusive standard.

'Quarterback purgatory', revisited


Somehow, a column at good-idea fivethirtyeight.com Monday announced the Bills as, to boil it down, a team with a good quarterback and nothing more. I read it, and there was no disclaimer anywhere about it being an April Fools joke. You need more than a good quarterback to win, Bills, it was declared, presumably to widespread uproarious laughter.

Perhaps some football fans digested that and
At Game Managers, when you order fries they bring you cottage cheese.

NFL quarterback designations, ranked


What's more fun in sports to discuss than NFL quarterbacks? So many versions of this parlor game: eye test vs. statistics, wins vs. yards, personality vs. performance. If it were an actual game you could play with friends surely it would be called Cam Newton, or at least he's the picture on the box.

The Bills this season have merged onto the quarterback highway -- the
Hoping to placate fans upset about finishing 29th, the Sabres gave out balloon rabbits.

Sabres' future not all bad


BUFFALO, N.Y. (MS) -- Dylan Strome's first NHL goal wasn't how he grew up imagining it, but he'll take it.

Drafted third by the Buffalo Sabres in June's draft, Strome centered a pass for teammate Mikhail Grigorenko that bounced in off an opponent's skate, the Sabres' lone goal in Monday's 4-1 loss to Columbus.

Buffalo is 0-3 to start the season, hoping to keep
Other newcomers have gotten more billing but Robin Lehner ranks high in importance.

The Sabres' biggest 'what if'


Here it comes, at last, the arrival of a Sabres era two or more controversial years in the making. Long-awaited and highly anticipated, superstar newcomers Jack Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly and Evander Kane make their Buffalo debuts. The misery surrounding consecutive last-place seasons will have bolted out the First Niagara Center doors faster than Pat LaFontaine.

It's time to have fun
The sun set on Rex in New York. Now he joins our fight for respect.

Rex's spirit just right for the new Buffalo


I don't know first-hand how it's tougher, having never lived in New York City, but I can guess. How many tabloid newspapers cover the Jets, a dozen? Most or all strive for the scandal, hoping to splash an embarrassed face on the back page behind a headline we'll all retweet. When they land it, look out. You lose a game and wake up the next morning with the most important city in the
A large straight could equal LeVeon Bell.
Schopp

Buckle up, it's September


Sorry to start with a conclusion but September is the best sports month. A couple of other months are loaded with events but September wins because it's about beginnings. You've been looking forward to September for months, and that makes the difference.

Here's my September calendar of highlights.

September 1 or 2, The Brady decision. Because what great sports month doesn't
Jawbreakers

Enemkpali no doubt a risk, but what's the reward?


When Kiko Alonso got hurt and was lost for the 2014 season, most Bills fans moaned. All the spoken and tweeted words can be summed up with just two: Why us? Alonso, both an integral player on the 2013 Bills' Top 10 defense and a super-popular one with fans, would be no help to a team with a growing number of defensive stars in the primes of their careers, not to mention one on a then-14 year
Dan Snyder picked \"Executive Order\" over \"Trying\", \"Due\" and \"Member Club\".

"Not in Order", the 2014 NFL highlight-show titles


Let's see how NFL teams did naming their 2014 NFL Films-produced highlight shows. Some titles were blunt and obvious, others read like the maker thought he was Stanley Kubrick, and overall, the NFL did its thing misleading fans into thinking all 32 teams are either good or about to be good.

I'll tell you up front, some great names weren't chosen. "Member
Schopp

Jack Eichel's Sabres uniform-number options, ranked


In three nights the Sabres will draft Jack Eichel. Then, presumably, they will fly him to Buffalo and sign him, formally ending his Boston University career. I might suggest that next would come a celebratory beer, but because Eichel is only 18 it will only be everyone else in Buffalo that's drinking.

It is the 2015 draft, so you might see Eichel himself, right after being chosen, holding
In 2007, the Blackhawks were a joke. In 2010, this happened.

Hawks shaking off embarrassment, apparently


So it's June 2015, and the Chicago Blackhawks Monday night won their third Stanley Cup in six years. They are the National Hockey League franchise all others aspire to be: iconic, full of tradition, great.

They stand atop the league's 30 clubs. At the bottom, by performance anyway, are the Buffalo Sabres.

You all read and heard it the last few months just like I did: despite the
Look closely and you'll see Mike Babcock over there paying $7 for a bagel.

Is Buffalo's secret getting out?


As I write to you today the sun is shining on my back. Outside to my right, some fruit trees. To my left, the Upper Niagara River. It's a pleasant 56 degrees, climbing toward a predicted 70. A woman behind me leaving the bank this morning complained that it wasn't warmer out. "It's summer!", she exclaimed.

"Almost," I replied.

"Yes it is summer!",
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TSN's Bob McKenzie thinks the Sabres would have a shot at Steven Stamkos in free agency. Would you pay him $11 million a year?
  Yes. They desperately need his goal scoring
  No. Its too much money.
 
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