Posted January 08, 2013 on AP on Fox
First, came the apology. And then, Buffalo Sabres president Ted Black delivered a vow to the team's hockey-starved fans on Tuesday. With the four-month NHL lockout nearly over, Black said it's time for the team to get to work on delivering Buffalo a winner. ''On behalf of the Pegulas and the Sabres, we do apologize that fans have to go through this,'' Black said, referring to team owner Terry Pegula and his wife Kim. ''We're back in business. ... And we're going to do whatever we can to get back on track to the mission that Terry has laid out for us: And that's to win the Stanley Cup.'' Black spoke during a news conference at the team's facility two days after the NHL and NHL Players' Association reached a tentative agreement on a new 10-year labor deal. On Wednesday, Black will be in New York attending the NHL board of governors meeting. That's where owners are expected to approve the new collective bargaining agreement in one of the final steps to prepare for the start of the regular season. Excited as Black might be regarding the prospect of the Sabres taking the ice for the first time in nine months, he went out of his way to address potential hard feelings fans might have toward the Sabres. ''In many ways, fans' patience can be tested to the limits, and sometimes broken. And we hope that hasn't happened here,'' Black said. ''The relationship we have with our fans is the most important thing in our business.'' He's enthused that a 10-year agreement - both sides will have an opportunity to opt out after eight years - provides stability. ''Hopefully,'' Black said, ''fans don't have to go through this for the next 10 years.'' Black said the Sabres' season-ticket base of over 15,000 remained strong through the lockout. He said only about 80 season-tickets have been canceled since last summer. The team still has a 3,000-person waiting list. Though the league has yet to release a regular-season schedule, Black said there's a possibility the Sabres' home-opener will be on Jan. 20. The Sabres are already preparing for the start of a weeklong training camp, which could open as early as Saturday. Many Sabres players are already in Buffalo, where they've been holding regular sessions at a suburban rink during the lockout. And others are beginning to return after spending the past few months playing overseas. Captain Jason Pominville and veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr were the latest to join their teammates for a 75-minute session Tuesday morning. Pominville was so eager to hit the ice in Buffalo that he didn't let a little bit of jet-lag affect him after spending most of Monday traveling home from Germany, where he was playing in Mannheim. ''I think everyone's sorry about what happened. It's disappointing,'' Pominville said. ''But at the end of the day, it wasn't a strike. It was the league not wanting us to play.'' Regehr, who was involved in labor negotiations, described the lockout as ''a pretty ugly chapter in the NHL,'' and focused his blame on Commissioner Gary Bettman. ''For whatever reason, Gary was adamant on locking the doors,'' Regehr said. ''The one I feel the worst for are the fans. There is going to be a level of, I don't know if you want to call it animosity or whatever, but I think it's fully understandable because of the situation that just happened.'' Regehr did to not include Pegula in his criticism. He credited the owner for having built a reputation for looking out for player needs since purchasing the Sabres in February 2011. Black said he's not aware of any concerns players might have with the Sabres because of the lockout. He noted that he exchanged Christmas cards from numerous players. The Sabres have not played since closing last season with a 4-3 shootout loss at Boston on April 7. Buffalo (39-32-11) missed the playoffs by finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference. General manager Darcy Regier has a busy few weeks ahead of him in preparing the roster. With a logjam at defense, Regier said he's already received a call from another team interested in making a potential trade. The Sabres will open camp with nine NHL-ready blueliners, including T.J. Brennan, who would have to clear waivers should he be demoted to the American Hockey League. Regier confirmed that the center Mikhail Grigorenko, selected 12th overall in last year's draft, will attend training camp and have a chance to make the Sabres. Grigorenko is currently playing for Quebec of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Regier expects defenseman Tyler Myers to be ready for the start of the season. Myers missed three weeks after hurting his ankle last month while playing in Austria.

Ryan Miller apologizes to fans

Admitting that "an apology doesn’t really help right now," the Buffalo Sabres goaltender nevertheless offered one to fans for the lengthy lockout.

Sabres coach Ruff ready for NHL season - at last

The only thing missing on coach Lindy Ruff's calendar is a day when the Buffalo Sabres can open training camp now that an NHL labor agreement is nearly in place. Otherwise, Ruff's plans are firmly in order in preparing for a tight turnaround in which the Sabres - and everyone else - will have little time to be ready for a regular season expected to open within 10 days. ...

Buffalo Sabres eager to test Mikhail Grigorenko

The Buffalo Sabres definitely need to freshen up their offense this season. That is why coach Lindy Ruff will start the season with youngster Marcus Foligno playing with Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford on his two scoring units.That line finished last season with a flourish.Ruff also wants to see what rookie center Mikhail Grigorenko can do. The youngster got extra time in the Quebec...

GARTH: Pommer and Regehr Join The Fray

The trickle in theory is in full effect today, as Sabres team leaders Jason Pominville and Robyn Regehr joined the fray at the Northtown Center in Amherst for some pre-training camp fun and frivolity, according to my man, Kevin Snow of the Sabres. Pominville had been playing for Adler Mannheim in the German Elite League. The Sabres captain had himself a productive mini-run in...

GARTH: Ott: Son Of Anarchy

On the first day of hockey after the end of the NHL lockout, Steve Ott skated hard. Following @OtterN9NE lead, the ten other skaters moved at a higher pace. When Ott dug his edges in, flipped his hips and turned and burned to recover a loose puck, the defenseman closed on the biscuit with a higher sense of urgency. This is who Steve Ott is. This is how he rolls. He leads by example...

Win Buffalo Sabres Tickets Courtesy Of Queen City Sports

Hockey is finally back which means everyone can start heading down to First Niagara Center to catch the Buffalo Sabres in action. We here at Queen City Sports would like to treat one lucky reader to a night out at a Sabres game. That is why we are giving away tickets to a Buffalo Sabres [...]The post Win Buffalo Sabres Tickets Courtesy Of Queen City Sports appeared first on Queen City Sports.

Kevin Freiheit: Grigorenko, Miller, and NHL schedule info

It's Monday morning and more good news regarding the Sabres and hockey. As you may know by now, Mikhail Grigorenko has been invited to training camp. Here's what he has done the past two seasons in the QMJHL: The NHL schedules will be released on Wednesday, and the Sabres announced that they will release information regarding season tickets and mini packs. All...

QCS Buffalo Water Cooler: Hockey’s Back!

This week’s Water Cooler features QCS writers Mike Bundt, Ryan Talbot, Brandon Hess, Mike Straw, Johnathan Snyder, and Bradley Gelber. This is part two of this week’s two-part Buffalo Water Cooler. Today we focus on the Buffalo Sabres and the end of the NHL Lockout. Mike Bundt: Hockey is back! After over three months of [...]The post QCS Buffalo Water Cooler: Hockey’s Back...

Adam French: Grigorenko

After being subjected to so much garbage and poetic pinning bordering on the ludicrous, I wanted to just write something on why I like and dislike Mikhail Grigorenko. If you go back to the Mock Drafts and so forth, people will know I really liked Grigorenko, I defended him and was one of the few citing his mono as the reason why his play really took a nose dive in the final 15 games...

Tyler Ennis Continuing to Develop

Syracuse's future point guard has been working hard on his game at St. Benedict's. He spoke to about how the season is going, his thoughts on the 2012-13 Orange, and more.

GARTH: Grigo Earns His Wings Into Hockey Heaven

The old saying goes “when people are talking about you, your ears ring”. Mikhail Grigorenko’s ears must have been ringing on Tuesday afternoon. Not from the 30,000 foot altitude of the flight back to Quebec, but from the Sabres singing his praises aloud. At the same time Sabres President Ted Black and GM Darcy Regier were holding their first official press conference...

GARTH: When your ears are ringing...

The old saying goes “when people are talking about you, your ears ring”. Mikhail Grigorenko’s ears must have been ringing on Tuesday afternoon. Not from the 30,000 foot altitude of the flight back to Quebec, but from the Sabres singing his praises aloud. At the same time Sabres President Ted Black and GM Darcy Regier were holding their first official press conference...
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