Posted on June 10, 2013 by Patrick Moran
The Buffalo Bills threw a bit of a curveball Monday evening, announcing the release of veteran quarterback Travaris Jackson on the eve of mandatory minicamp.
The Jackson era officially ends in Buffalo with him appearing in just one preseason game. Former general manager Buddy Nix acquired Jackson from Seattle late last preseason in a trade following a horrific effort by Bills quarterback Vince Young in an exhibition game at Minnesota.
Despite the struggles of former starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and backup Tyler Thigpen, Jackson was inactive for 16 weeks in 2012.
That didn’t stop the team from signing Jackson to a one-year extension before free agency started. Jackson’s fortunes quickly took a turn for the worse when the team signed free agent Kyle Kolb and later selected E.J. Manuel in the first-round of the NFL draft this past April.
Continue reading ‘Bills Cut Travaris Jackson’
The Buffalo Bandits today announced that the team has opted not to renew the contract of head coach Darris Kilgour for next season. The team will begin its search for a new head coach immediately.
“It’s never easy making this type of decision,” said Scott Loffler, Bandits director of lacrosse operations. “However, we felt that a change at head coach is needed at this time to turn things around. What makes this decision especially difficult is that we are parting ways with Darris Kilgour, who has been an integral part of the success and history of the Buffalo Bandits. Words cannot express our gratitude for what Darris has done for this organization and there is no doubt he will have success in lacrosse circles in the future. We wish him the best of luck.”
“It was an incredibly tough decision,” said Bandits General Manager Steve Dietrich. “Because when I think of the Buffalo Bandits I think of Darris Kilgour and John Tavares. I had the pleasure of playing with, for, and against Darris and I love his utter belief in the Bandits organization. We believe we need a new voice and a new vision behind the bench to lead the new generation of Bandits as we continue to strive to bring the Champion’s Cup back where it belongs.”
Kilgour posted a 103-73 career record as head coach of the Bandits from 2003 to 2013. The Bandits went 11-9 in 20 playoff games under Kilgour, including three NLL Finals appearances and a Champion’s Cup win in 2008.
The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team will host an NHL Draft Party on Sunday, June 30 at First Niagara Center, beginning at 2 p.m. Fans will be able to watch live coverage of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft while enjoying a day of family-friendly entertainment at the arena.
Coverage of the draft will be shown on the high-definition video board beginning at 3 p.m. Broadcast personalities from the Sabres and WGR 550 will be on hand throughout the draft to provide expert analysis and exclusive interviews live from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
In addition to the draft coverage, the night will feature player appearances, floor hockey events on the arena floor, Sabres locker room tours and other activities for the whole family. Fans are reminded that children 12 years of age and younger will be required to wear a helmet if they want to participate in the floor hockey events.
Continue reading ‘Sabres To Host Draft Party June 30′
Posted on June 10, 2013 by Patrick Moran
ESPN.com and Hockey Night in Canada are reporting that the New York Rangers sought and got permission from the Buffalo Sabres to interview former head coach Lindy Ruff for the vacant job in New York.
Even though Ruff was fired by Buffalo during the season, teams still have to technically get the Sabres permission to interview him because the organization is still paying him. In reality the inquiry is a formality as the team would never deny Ruff employment elsewhere.
The Rangers recently fired head coach John Tortorella a few days after getting eliminated in the second round of the NHL playoffs.
Ruff, who finished is NHL playing career with the Rangers in 1991, is thought by man y to be a strong candidate fo the job, although former Rangers icon Mark Messier has expressed interest in the job.
The season opener for the University at Buffalo football team will be played on the national stage as it was announced today that its game at Ohio State on Aug. 31 will air on ESPN2. The game will kickoff at noon at Ohio Stadium.
It will be the first ever meeting between Buffalo and Ohio State. The Buckeyes are coming off a 12-0 season in 2012. The Bulls won three of their final four games in 2012 and with the key nucleus of players returning, much excitement surrounds the 2013 squad.
UB’s game at Ohio State is the first of five games set to air on one of ESPN’s platforms. Beginning in November, the Bulls’ final four games of the regular season will air on ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3.
The Buffalo Sabres announced the hiring of John Koelmel as president of HARBORcenter, the mixed-use hockey and entertainment facility currently under construction on the Webster Block in downtown Buffalo.
As president, Koelmel will oversee the day-to-day operations of the complex, including the facility’s hotel, restaurant, ice rinks and parking structure. Upon its completion, the HARBORcenter will feature two full-size NHL ice rinks, a full-service hotel, a two-story restaurant, street-level retail space, and a five-level, 850-space parking structure. The ice rinks, restaurant, and retail stores are scheduled to open in September 2014. The hotel is slated to open in the spring of 2015.
“John is among the most well-respected professionals in Western New York,” Sabres Owner Terry Pegula said. “He has a long history as a successful businessman in the region, which will serve him well in his new role. We’re excited to welcome him to the team and we look forward to his contributions as president.”
Koelmel, who most recently spent more than 10 years with First Niagara Financial Group – including six years as chief executive officer and president – has nearly 30 years of management experience in his career.
Continue reading ‘Koelmel Hired As President of HARBORcenter’
Posted on June 5, 2013 by Patrick Moran
On Tuesday the Buffalo Bills had veteran free agent offensive lineman Doug Legursky in for a visit. One day later he has signed with the team.
Buffalo announced the signing Wednesday afternoon, landing the former Pittsburgh Steeler who should be very much in the mix for a job as the team’s starting left guard.
To make room on the roster the Bills cut linebacker Greg Lloyd.
Colin Brown, Chris Scott and Sam Young among others are also in the mix to replace the departed Andy Levitre, but Legursky’s experience and versatility probably gives him the advantage going into training camp this summer.
Legursky has spent the past four years in Pittsburgh, making 17 starts at both guard and center. He’s appeared in 50 games total, including a career-high 10 starts in 2011 as the Steelers offensive line was decimated with injuries.
The Bills had also hosted San Diego free agent guard Tyronne Green on Tuesday.
If Legursky ends up as a starter it would likely be the third starter the team has acquired through free agency this offseason. Alan Branch and Manny Lawson look like good bets to be at the top of the team’s depth chart at their respective positions. Free agent quarterback Kevin Kolb could also end up starting is head coach Doug Marrone deems rookie E.J. Manuel as not ready before the season begins.
Posted on June 5, 2013 by Patrick Moran
The Buffalo Bills have officially announced their dates for 2013 training camp, which once again takes place at St. John’s Fisher campus in Rochester, where it’s been for the past 14 years.
The schedule includes 15 practices, all of which are open to the public. For morning and daytime practices (10 total) no ticket is required for fans to attend. For the five evening practices fans are required to have a ticket to get in the gates. Those five evening practices are scheduled for July 28 as well as August 5, 19, 14 and 20.
Facilities will always be open one hour before practice begins.
Courtesy of the Bills, here’s the photo of all scheduled practice dates and times as well as attendance and ticket information.
In a related note, I look forward to bringing you what’s anticipated to be some of the team’s biggest and best training camp positional battles over the next several weeks. With a new head coach and general manager, there could be several changes to the final 53-man roster not necessarily expected at this time. It’s sure to be an interesting summer in Western New York.
Senior linebacker Khalil Mack has been named a third-team Preseason All-American by Phil Steele on Wednesday morning, one of two Mid-American Conference players honored on the defensive side of the ball.
Last season, Mack earned first-team All-Conference honors for the second straight season, and also was tabbed by Sports Illustrated as an honorable mention All-American. The Fort Pierce, FL native had 94 tackles, including 21 tackles for loss, again putting him among the nation’s best in the category. Mack added four forced fumbles and eight quarterback sacks in 2012.
He begins his senior campaign within reach of two NCAA all-time career records as he is just 19 tackles for loss shy of the all-time national mark and just three forced fumbles away from the career leaders as well.
Mack and the Bulls begin the season on Aug. 31 at Ohio State.
Posted on June 4, 2013 by Patrick Moran
Former University at Buffalo wide receiver is getting another crack at the NFL. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports Rivers has signed a deal with the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
To make room for Rivers on the 90-man roster the Ravens cut quarterback Dayne Crist.
Rivers came into his own during his junior and senior years at UB. As a junior in 2010 he caught 50 passes for a team-high 690 yards and scored five touchdowns. Rivers followed his 2011 campaign by grabbing 60 passes for 615 yards and two touchdowns as a senior.
He went undrafted in 2012 but signed as a free agent with the Green Bay Packers. He didn’t make the roster and later spent time in the CFL with Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos.
Locally born, Rivers was a two-sport star at Lackawanna high school, also excelling in basketball, where he was a first-team, All-WNY selection by the Buffalo News a senior. He was also an All-WNY selection at football as a defensive back in 2006.
Posted on June 4, 2013 by Patrick Moran
Former University at Buffalo basketball star Mitchell Watts has earned a tryout with the Orlando Magic of the NBA, the school announced on Monday.
Watt averaged 16.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game under Reggie Witherspoon as a senior in 2011-12. For his efforts he was named the MAC Conference Player of the Year. He went undrafted last year but did play with the Memphis Grizzlies summer league team. Unfortunately it didn’t lead to a NBA deal.
Watt took his talents overseas to Israel, playing last season with the Hapoel Gilboa Gailil of the Israeli Basketball Super League.
He was one of four American’s on the team’s roster.
Orlando already has one former area college star on their roster. St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson was a first-round pick of the team last season. Nicholson averaged 7.8 points per game as a rookie.
Posted on June 4, 2013 by Patrick Moran
Hall of Fame former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly announced on Monday that he has cancer.
“I was recently diagnosed with Squamous-cell carcinoma (cancer) of the upper jaw bone,” Kelly said in a statement released by the team. “I have undergone tests which have shown that the cancer is isolated to my upper jaw and has not spread to other parts of my body. Surgery is scheduled for June 7th and doctors have told me that the prognosis for my recovery is very good.”
The legendary quarterback who still calls Buffalo home long after his playing days ended, has battled several health issues over the past several years, including surgeries on both his back and neck. He also had a cyst removed in his gums and naval cavity.
Of course, that all pales in comparison to the battle he’s facing now.
On a personal level, we’ve all had an athlete or two growing up that we admired more than the rest and for me, that guy was Jim Kelly. He made Buffalo Bills football relevant for the first times since the O.J. Simpson era when he stepped off the plane in Western New York in the mid-80s. Kelly was the ultimate gamer on the field, and I strongly suspect he’ll be up to the challenge of defeating cancer off the field as well.
He certainly won’t lack support in this fight. Several former teammates, media, current players and fans are praying for a full recovery. In fact, Twitter was inundated with well wishes from all the above on Monday as Kelly’s name was trending world-wide for several hours.
Our prayers here are certainly with him. All the best, Jimbo.
Posted on May 30, 2013 by BSD Staff Reports
The Buffalo Bills official website has a full report from Chris Brown on the happenings at Bills OTAs from Wednesday, giving praise to newly acquired linebacker Jerry Hughes among other topics.
WGR’s Joe Buscaglia also has his own take from the OTAs, offering five specific observations based on what he saw. Here’s a hint—he likes cornerback Drezdon Butler’s game right now.
Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine had plenty to say about a number of Buffalo defenders on the John Murphy show last night.
The Buffalo News has plenty regarding the two young men facing federal charges in connection of their prank on former Bills general manager Buddy Nix a few months ago.
Continue reading ‘The Daily Links – May 30, 2013′
Posted on May 30, 2013 by Patrick Moran
Two people from Massachuesetts played a prank on then Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix and Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik that became world-wide news when the website Deadspin published a taped phone conversation between the two on March 12.
For their efforts, Joshua Barber (20) and Nicholas Kaiser (20), both of Plymouth, MA were paid a total of $200 by the website. It may turn out to be the worst decision the pranksters ever made.
The two were charged Wednesday and now face Federal charges, both accused of by criminal complaint with intentionally intercepting a wire communication and with making a telephone call without disclosing their identity with the intent to annoy or harass the person at the called number.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiGiacomo, Barber phoned the office of Nix claiming to be Dominik. Nix answered but there was no one on the line. Barber then telephoned the office of Mark Dominik claiming to be Buddy Nix.
Continue reading ‘Pair Face Federal Charges In Nix Prank’
After leading the Canisius College hockey team to its most successful season in school history, Dave Smith has signed a contract extension that will keep him as head coach of the program through the 2016-17 season, announced by Director of Athletics Bill Maher on Wednesday.
Smith is set to enter his ninth season in charge of the Golden Griffin program after leading Canisius to its first conference championship during the 2012-13 campaign.
“Dave has done a tremendous job in building Canisius into a championship level program in the Atlantic Hockey Association, which was evident with the team’s run to the program’s first conference championship and NCAA Tournament berth in 2013,” Maher said. “He continues to recruit outstanding student-athletes who represent what is best about Canisius, both on and off the ice. This past season was another positive step for Canisius College hockey and we are thrilled that Dave will lead the program as we continue building on last season’s success.”
Smith has continued to lead the Golden Griffin program to new heights as head coach. During the 2012-13 campaign, Canisius won its first Atlantic Hockey title with a 7-2 win over Mercyhurst, advancing to the NCAA East Regional Semifinal. The Griffs also finished the season ranked 19th in the final USCHO.com Division I poll, the program’s highest placement in the national rankings.
Continue reading ‘Griffs Give Smith Contract Extension’
The Bisons had just three hits and Durham scored five runs in the fifth inning to win its third-straight game against Buffalo, 10-2 Monday night.
Buffalo’s pitching staff allowed a combined 16 hits in the game. The Bisons have allowed the fourth-most hits in the International League this season.
In the eighth inning the Bisons were up 2-1. But, then Mike Fontenot doubled to right to lead off the inning for the Bulls.
Two batters later Juan Apodaca tripled to center to score Fontenot and Rich Thompson then singled to right, scoring Apocada and Jason Bourgeois singled to put runners on the corners. Vince Belnome followed that up with a double to left field, scoring in two more runs and the Bulls were up 6-2 in the blink of an eye.
Continue reading ‘Bisons Drop Third Straight’
Posted on May 29, 2013 by BSD Staff Reports
Joe Buscaglia of WGR reports that Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Kyle Williams is aiming for a return by training camp.
Bills.com has highlights from day seven of Buffalo OTA’s, including the return of Stevie Johnson to full team work.
Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine would like to see the bulls eye come off of defensive end/linebacker Mario Williams.
Perhaps Pettine is referring to reports like these, in which the Olean Times Herald says the whole Williams saga is simply embarrassing.
Continue reading ‘The Daily Links: May 29, 2013′
A walk-off single by Durham’s Tim Beckham blew the Bison’s three-run lead heading into the ninth inning as Buffalo dropped its second game in a row, 9-8.
The Herd got down early in the first inning again against the Bulls, only this time it was not as difficult to come back from.
Center fielder Moises Sierra tied the game at three in the third inning with his second home run in as many games. It was his fifth home run of the season.
Buffalo took the lead for the first time in the game in the fourth inning. Right fielder Ryan Langerhans singled and after a wild pitch sent him to second base, shortstop Ryan Goin’s sacrifice-bunt advanced Langerhans to third. Second baseman Mike McCoy doubled to right to give the Bisons a 4-3 lead.
Continue reading ‘Bisons Fall On Walk-Off Single’
Posted on May 28, 2013 by Patrick Moran
Translation = If you thought the amount of NFL mock drafts were enormous in the past..
It’s also worth noting that the 2014 NFL league year/free agency will begin the same date as this past year, March 11… and the NFL combine will stay take place on February 18-25 in Indianapolis. Essentially, it’s an extra two weeks of endless draft speculation that constitutes change.
Posted on May 28, 2013 by Patrick Moran
Hopefully you’ve noticed that for the past few weeks that Buffalo Sports Daily has been inactive. Since I have a staff that basically consist of myself, coupled with a slowdown in local sports activity during this team of year, I used the opportunity to take some time off and recharge the batteries a bit.
If you’ve missed me, and going by the majority of the comments in wake of my absence, you haven’t, I plan on doing whatever it takes to make this blog stop for you bigger and better than ever. I’m openly recruiting new talent to join the staff and plan to incorporate some new features into Buffalo Sports Daily, most notably a regular podcast.
Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend.
The Canisius baseball team will make its NCAA Tournament debut as the No. 4 seed in the Chapel Hill Regional, facing No. 1 overall seed North Carolina at 6 p.m. on Friday, at Boshamer Stadium. Sun Belt Conference champion Florida Atlantic (39-20) earned the No. 2 seed while Colonial Athletic Conference champion Towson (29-28) received the No. 3 seed in the region. All games in the four-team, double-elimination regional can be viewed on ESPN3.
The Golden Griffins won the 2013 MAAC Championship in dramatic fashion, defeating Siena College 12-11 at ARM & HAMMER Park in Trenton, N.J. on Sunday. Canisius loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and junior Jose Torralba was hit by a pitch to force home the winning run.
Canisius enters the NCAA Tournament with a 42-15 record, setting the program and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference records for wins in a season. The Golden Griffins have won 33 or more games for the fifth time in the last six seasons, the only team in the Northeast to make that claim. Since the 2008 season, Canisius has won 217 games and is tied for 28th in the country during that timeframe with a .625 winning percentage.
Continue reading ‘Canisus To Face N.C. In NCAA Opener’
Posted on May 28, 2013 by BSD Staff Reports
From WGRZ-TV, video and a story on Buffalo Bills wide receiver T.J. Graham giving back to the community with a skills challenge in Williamsville.
For Memorial Day the Bills website had a great story on fan and United States Staff Sergeant William Wilson III. It’s definitely worth a read.
A Buffalo-based unit of the National Guard named a base for former Bills offensive lineman Bob Kalsu during the Iraq War. Kalsu was killed in Vietnam in 1970. (Buffalo Rumblings)
Sabres.com has a story on the pee wee Sabres invading Quebec.
Continue reading ‘The Daily Links: May 28, 2013′
Posted on May 16, 2013 by Patrick Moran
With the NFL draft over and seemingly not much going on during this month, I decided to take an extended vacation and recharge the batteries.
I’ll slap a post or two up over the next couple of days, and be back permanently (and regularly) come Monday May 20. As my (rotten) luck would have it, there actually ended up pently of hot Buffalo sports topics to focus on during my hiatus.
The Toronto Blue Jays today announced that they have optioned Ricky Romero to the Buffalo Bisons. The Blue Jays also announced that they have selected the contracts of pitcher Ramon Ortiz and pitcher Mickey Storey off the Bisons roster.
Romero, 28, made two starts for the Blue Jays this season, making his 2013 debut on May 3rd against Seattle. The southpaw has won 51 games with the Blue Jays over the last four seasons including a 15-11 during an All-Star campaign with Toronto in 2011. He started 32 games in three consecutive seasons with the Blue Jays (2010-2012) and has 621 strikeouts in 127 career major league starts.
Ortiz, 39, returns to the Blue Jays for a second time this season after making one relief appearance on April 17. The veteran has spent the majority of 2013 with the Bisons, posting a 2-0 record in four appearances, three starts with a 2.18 ERA.
Storey, 27, has appeared in nine games, all in relief for the Bisons in 2013, posting a 0-1 record with a 3.93 ERA, striking out 23 in 17.1 innings.
Posted on May 9, 2013 by Patrick Moran
We haven’t posted much so far this month of may, because as usual there hasn’t been a lot of post-worthy news. However, Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News tweets that Sabres newly-minted head coach Ron Rolston has decided to part ways with two assistants left over from the Lindy Ruff regime.
Minutes later, Gleason made it clear on Twitter that he still doesn’t think much of general manager Darcy Regier.
We’ll have more in this developing story later.