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Neuvirth’s 51 Saves Not Enough In Sabres Loss

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresDespite being traded to worst team in the National Hockey League, Michael Neuvirth was excited to come to the Buffalo Sabres if for no other reason than having an opportunity to showcase his skills and earn more extensive playing time.

He’s getting more than he bargained for.

In his second start since being traded from Washington for Jaroslav Halak, Neuvirth was pummeled with pucks in Carolina.  Forget the 4-2 loss to the Hurricanes, which for most Sabres fans these days represents good news as the lock on the league’s fewest points continues to tighten.  Neuvrith surrendered three of the goals, which on a normal night doesn’t exactly exemplify a quality start.  However, when you allow three goals while facing 51 shots, including 40 in the last two periods alone it’s one helluva a job.

For those keeping score that’s 95 shots Neuvrith’s faced in just two Buffalo starts.  His 51 saves Thursday in Carolina is the most by a Sabres goaltender since Dominik Hasek stopped 55 against the New York Rangers in 1995.

Continue reading ‘Neuvirth’s 51 Saves Not Enough In Sabres Loss’

Bills Re-Sign Chandler For Two Years

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Bills HelmetOn the morning of the first day of free agency, Buffalo Bills general manager told WGR that the team made an aggressive offer to tight end Scott Chandler. Given the fact Chandler didn’t re-up with the club before 4:00pm Tuesday, it’s apparent Chandler wanted to test the open market.  Either league-wide interest was minimal or his heart was truly in Buffalo.  Either way, he’s returning to the club.

Adam Schefter was the first to report that the Bills have re-signed Chandler to a two-year contract. Terms of the deal weren’t immediately available.

Chandler will enter his fifth year with the Bills and is coming off a team-leading 53 receptions for 655 yards and two touchdowns in 2013.

“I’m just really excited to be back in Buffalo,” Chandler told Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News from his home in Iowa. “My family, my wife and I, have really always loved Western New York since we moved there. Obviously, the organization kinda gave me my start. So I’m really excited to be back.”

Continue reading ‘Bills Re-Sign Chandler For Two Years’

Bona Outlasts LaSalle To Advance In A-10 Tourney

Posted on March 13, 2014 by St. Bonaventure Press Release

St.-BonaYoussou Ndoye notched a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds to pace four double-digit scorers to lead St. Bonaventure to an 82-72, wire-to-wire victory over LaSalle on Thursday afternoon in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Championship. With the win, the Bonnies (17-14) advanced to face top seeded Saint Louis in tomorrow’s quarterfinal round at 12:00 p.m.

Charlon Kloof put the game away late with six straight points, highlighted by a rim-rattling dunk with just under two minutes left that extended the Bonnies’ lead to seven while and for all intents and purposes put the game on ice.

St. Bonaventure held a slim three-point lead at 70-67 following a pair of Tyreek Duren free throws with 3:41 to play, but closed out the game on 12-5 run thanks to scoring on each of its final six possessions.

Marquise Simmons scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in one of his best performances of the season, while Kloof finished with 14 points and Jordan Gathers had 10. Dion Wright contributed nine points off the bench – all in the second half. Matthew Wright was held in check most of the day but did score eight points.

Bills Sign Three Free Agents On Day Two

Posted on March 12, 2014 by Patrick Moran

WilliamsAfter a quiet first day that saw plenty of big names sign with new teams across the league, the Buffalo Bills got busy on the second day of free agency, signing three veterans to multi-year contracts.

Offensive guard Chris Williams, cornerback Corey Graham and linebacker Keith Rivers all managed to put the second Buffalo blizzard of the season from their minds and ink deals with their new team. According to several reports Williams signed a four-year, $13.5 million contract that included $5.5 million guaranteed.  Graham also signed a four-year with the club, worth $16 million including $5.5 million in 2014 and a total contract with incentives that could max out at $19 million.  Rivers signed a two-year deal worth a total of $5 million, including $2.5 million guaranteed.

Including kicker Dan Carpenter, who was re-signed moments after free agency began Tuesday the Bills have spent around $45 million in player contracts, of which approximately $15 million is guaranteed.

The trio of moves if nothing else shows the team is at least committed to staying busy, and perhaps take a little sting off losing Jairus Byrd to the New Orleans Saints on a monster six-year deal on Tuesday.

Here’s my own quick take on each of the signings.

Continue reading ‘Bills Sign Three Free Agents On Day Two’

UB: McCrea Named MAC Player of the Year

Posted on March 12, 2014 by University at Buffalo Press Release

MccreaSenior Javon McCrea has been named the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, the league office announced on Wednesday morning.  McCrea, who recently became a three-time All-MAC First Team selection, becomes the third player in school history to be awarded with the MAC’s highest honor.

McCrea received 20 of the 25 media votes for the award, receiving 17 more votes than Western Michigan’s David Brown, who was second on the list with three.

McCrea becomes UB’s first ever three-time All-MAC First Team selection and he was his most dominant this season.  McCrea has averaged 18.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game this season.  McCrea has been named the MAC East Player of the Week three times this year and he went over the 30-point mark three times, including a career-high 34 points in a senior day victory over Bowling Green.

McCrea became UB’s all-time leading scorer earlier in the year and he currently is just three points shy of 2,000 for his career entering this week’s MAC Tournament.  McCrea also has 975 rebounds as he looks to be just the fourth player in MAC history with 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.

“This is a very deserving honor for Javon who has meant so much to our program and to the league,” said head coach Bobby Hurley.  “He has had a monster season and he is the most complete player in the MAC.  Playing at such a high level statistically and helping us win a MAC East Championship put him in a rare group of players that have achieved and accomplished what he has in his career and we are proud of him for that.”

Continue reading ‘UB: McCrea Named MAC Player of the Year’

Byrd Goes To Saints For 6 Years, $54 Million

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Byrd SaintsThe Jairus Byrd era in Buffalo has officially reached its conclusion. The New Orleans Saints announced that the three-time Pro Bowl safety has signed with the team after spending the previous five seasons with the Bills. The news was first announced on the Saint’s official website as six-year deal.

Adam Schefter reports the six-year deal for Byrd is for $54 million and more importantly includes $28 million guaranteed.

Already one of the best safeties in the game, Byrd will now be paired with a rising safety star in his own right in Kenny Vaccaro. Even without Byrd the Saints had the second-best pass defense in the NFL in 2013.

The Saints are certainly a surprise choice to most when it comes to Byrd’s landing spot. Several teams were linked to Byrd over the past few days; a list that included Philadelphia, Washington, Cleveland and Miami among others.

The Saints also entered the day with roughly just $2.7 million in available cap space.

Since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2009 Byrd has 22 interceptions in the league. Only Asante Samuel (25) has had more.

Continue reading ‘Byrd Goes To Saints For 6 Years, $54 Million’

Report: Nolan Carroll To Visit Bills

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Bills HelmetIf you had Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll as the first free agent scheduled to visit the Buffalo Bills once free agency commenced congratulations—you’re a winner.

Jason LaCanfora reported the four-year veteran is Carroll’s first visit while also noting that the 27-year old has others scheduled as well.

A fifth-round pick out of Maryland in 2010, Carroll has impressive size (6-1/205) and speed (4.3/40) and seems to be the prototypical type of defender in Buffalo’s hybrid defense, assuming of course new coordinator Jim Schwartz continues to employ many of the same schemes his predecessor Mike Pettine did.

Carroll had a career-best season in 2013 with Miami, where he picked off three passes and added two sacks to go with 47 tackles.

If the Bills can land Carroll he’s likely to compete with Nickell Robey for the nickel back slot, as the team seems settled with Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin as the starters.  However, it would be a mistake to brush Carroll as a reserve corner aside as meaningless.  Need I remind you of what happened when injuries forced Justin Rogers into a prominent role in 2013?

Lions Could Be Interested In Chandler

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

CBS’ Jason LaCanfora is reporting that the Detroit Lions are keeping a close eye on the tight end free agent market and are discussing bringing in Buffalo Bills unsigned tight Scott Chandler for  a visit.

Bills general manager Doug Whaley made it public Tuesday afternoon that the team would like to have Chandler back, telling WGR that the team made “an aggressive offer” to Chandler as well as Dan Carpenter, who did re-sign with Buffalo shortly after free agency began at 4:00pm.

The Lions could be in the market for a tight end since incumbent Brandon Pettigrew is a free agent intent on testing the waters.  Interestingly enough the Lions had dealings with another former Bills tight end, failing to tenure Dorin Dickerson and thus allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Continue reading ‘Lions Could Be Interested In Chandler’

Byrd Set To Visit Saints

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Seemingly from the moment NFL free agency started the safety pool started filling up fast, with at least four signing with new teams within the first hour; a list that included Donte Whitner (Browns), T.J. Ward (Broncos), Antoine Bethea (49ers) and Malcom Jenkins (Eagles).  So when the first 90 minutes of shopping season flew by without a Jairus Byrd sighting, many Buffalo Bills fans hopeful of hsi return quickly concluded the market wasn’t what Byrd thought it was and the inevitability of Byrd returning could be imminent.

Not so fast.

Adam Schefter broke the news around supper time that Byrd has lined up a visit with the New Orleans Saints.  The Saints are a curious team for sure as Byrd’s been linked to  several teams over the past few days, with New Orleans not being one of them.  While the Saints would welcome a three-time Pro Bowl safety to the roster and the presence of Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator surely intrigues Byrd, the Saints aren’t exactly in great shape in regards to the salary cap. In fact, as of early Tuesday New Orleans is operating with a mere $2.7 million in cap space. Surely they’d have to do some significant roster shuffling/restructuring to make any potential deal work.  They’ll be at least $6 million under the cap when they trade of cut running back Darren Sproles—something they plan on doing.

There’s still hope that Byrd will return to Buffalo because of the obvious—he remains unsigned several hours into free agency. However, to assume its New Orleans, Buffalo or bust for Byrd is foolish. I’ve seen firsthand on Twitter several fans concluding Byrd gambled and lost by passing on Buffalo’s reportedly lucrative contract offer and he may have to crawl back to Buffalo—for less.

Continue reading ‘Byrd Set To Visit Saints’

Sabres Stewart May Be Done For Season

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresIt looks like Chris Stewart’s season with the Buffalo Sabres will be even shorter than anticipated.  It’s being reported the forward will miss the next three to five weeks with a high ankle sprain and with only a little over a month remaining in the season, there’s a good chance his 2013-14 campaign is over.

Sabres head coach Ted Nolan confirmed the news following Tuesday morning’s team skate, saying he “doesn’t look good right now.”

Stewart came over as part of the trade that sent Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis.  He didn’t register a point in his two games with Buffalo, but looked good in the contest at Tampa and had several quality scoring chances before injuring his ankle in the third period after running into Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback.

At 26 years old Stewart still has a year left on his contract and could be an interesting watch this summer.  On one hand Stewart could provide leadership and proven ability to a young team that’s almost certain to get younger between now and next season.  Stewart had 15 goals in 58 games with the Blues and has scored 115 goals in 379 career games. Assuming he’s still on the roster next season Stewart is almost sure to be a top six forward.

On the other hand, he could become trade bait over the summer.  With a reasonable cap hit of just over $4 million for next season Stewart could fetch value for Sabres general manager Tim Murray at the trade table and particularly near draft time.

The Stewart-less Sabres are home tonight to host the Nashville Predators.

Report: Carpenter Likely To Re-Sign With Bills

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Bills HelmetNFL free agency doesn’t official start for another few hours, but it sounds like the Buffalo Bills will be quickly retaining at least one of their own.  Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports reported that incumbent Bills kicker Dan Carpenter flew from Miami to Buffalo this morning, which indicates that he’ll be re-signing to stay on with the Bills.

Due a veteran minimum deal that provided the Bills with salary cap relief last season, Carpenter is not able to sign with the Bills—or any other organization before the start of the new league year, which commences at 4:00pm today.

Carpenter had the best season of his six-year career with the Bills in 2013, converting on 91.7% of his attempts that included connecting on four of six kicks from at least 50 yards.  Still, there is a considerable chance Carpenter will have to compete for the Bills job this season.  Buffalo drafted Dustin Hopkins in the sixth-round last year and despite missing last season with a groin injury the club still likes him.

Carpenter spent the first five years of his career with Miami before being cut last August.  He tried to catch on with Arizona and then the New York Jets but was released by both clubs within a 10-day span before signing with the Bills in early September after Hopkins was injured.

Source: Bills Haven’t Pulled Byrd Offer

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Patrick Moran

Jairus ByrdWithout knowing specific details of any offer, a team related source tells me whatever deal that was proposed to Buffalo Bills pending free agent Jairus Byrd has not been pulled off the table, and the team still holds out hope Byrd will return after testing the open market when free agency officially begins at 4:00pm today.

I’m also told that the contract extension offered and accepted by safety Aaron Williams had nothing to do with not using the franchise tag on Byrd,  the team decided they wanted Williams long-term and would’ve taken the same course of action, even had a deal been struck with Byrd beforehand.

There’s been several reports published that the Bills, assuming Byrd will command at least $8 million per year in the open market wouldn’t pay north of $14 million annually for a pair of safeties.  According to the source, those reports aren’t accurate.  While the Bills have obviously prepared themselves for Byrd’s departure, they’d still welcome him back at the rate they’ve proposed.

The Associated Press reported last week that the team offered Byrd a deal that would reach $30 million over the first three years of the deal and he’d be the highest paid safety in the NFL over the first two years.

I reported last week that the Bills offered Byrd a contract that bettered the $42.5 million/five-year deal Dashon Goldson got with Tampa Bay last offseason.

As for not using the franchise tag when they had the chance, I’m told the Bills didn’t want another one-year deal for Byrd with a bunch of important free agents already on the docket for next offseason, and are determined to move forward with him or move on from him now.

Continue reading ‘Source: Bills Haven’t Pulled Byrd Offer’

McCrea Named First-Team All-MAC;

Posted on March 10, 2014 by University at Buffalo Press Release

McCreaSenior Javon McCrea has been named to the All-MAC First Team for the third straight season, while senior Joshua Freelove was named All-MAC Honorable Mention and Shannon Evans was named to the All-MAC Freshman Team.  The all-conference teams were announced by the league office on Monday afternoon.

McCrea becomes UB’s first ever three-time All-MAC First Team selection and he was his most dominant this season.  McCrea has averaged 18.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game this season and he leads the MAC in points and rebounds amongst conference games only at 19.6 and 9.8, respectively.  McCrea has been named the MAC East Player of the Week three times this year and he went over the 30-point mark three times, including a career-high 34 points in a senior day victory over Bowling Green.

McCrea became UB’s all-time leading scorer earlier in the year and he currently is just three points shy of 2,000 for his career entering this week’s MAC Tournament.  McCrea also has 975 rebounds as he looks to be just the fourth player in MAC history with 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.

Freelove was named All-League Honorable Mention as he averaged 13.1 points per game in his first season with Bulls.  His total increased to 13.4 points per game in league games only, which was good for 12th in the league in scoring.  Freelove was named MAC East Player of the Week following a career-high 24 points in a win over Miami (OH), including 21 in the second half.  He also had 21 points in a win over Akron and he was tied for second in the MAC in league games for three-pointers per game.

Continue reading ‘McCrea Named First-Team All-MAC;’

Kane Scores In Buffalo Return

Posted on March 9, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresThe Buffalo Sabres may be the worst team in the NHL, but they gave the defending Stanley Cup champs all they could handle Sunday at the First Niagara Center. In the end, however, it was a familiar result for Buffalo as they were on the wrong end of a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Patrick Kane’s homecoming.

The South Buffalo native played in front of his hometown crowd for the first time since October 2010 and with the stands filled with family and fans, didn’t disappoint. Kane recovered a loose puck in the Sabres zone early in the first period, skated around Chad Ruhwedel and buried a perfect wrist shot that went through Ruhwedel’s legs and over goaltender Jhonas Enroth in the upper right corner of the net just 3:12 into the game.

Jonathan Toews scored the game-winner for the Hawks early in the third period at 1:34 after spinning away from Sabres defensemen Jamie McBain.

Drew Stafford scored Buffalo’s lone goal on assists from Cory Conacher and Drew Stafford at 9:11 of the first period.  Conacher made his Sabres debut.

Continue reading ‘Kane Scores In Buffalo Return’

Griffs Season Ends With Loss In MAAC Semis

Posted on March 9, 2014 by Canisisus College Press Release

Baron NetThe Canisius men’s basketball saw its run toward a MAAC Championship come to an end Sunday night in the MassMutual Center as the Golden Griffins fell to top-seeded Iona 75-72. The Griffs (21-12) trailed by 10 points with 4:00 left on the clock and made a furious comeback effort late, but the Gaels (22-9) were able to hold off the Blue and Gold’s charge to advance to Monday’s conference title game where they will meet Manhattan.

Senior Billy Baron led Canisius with 23 points as four Golden Griffins reached double figures. Senior Chris Manhertz recorded his second consecutive double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman Zach Lewis scored 13 points while senior Chris Perez added 12 points.

“We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. Iona got off to a good start but we made a great comeback and really wanted to be more aggressive in the second half, Canisius coach Jim Baron said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our guys, especially the four seniors. They have showed tremendous character, heart and determination.

“Iona just beat us today. They hit the shots. I told our guys to be proud and not hang their heads.”

Continue reading ‘Griffs Season Ends With Loss In MAAC Semis’

Bandits Overcome Slow Start, Improve To 7-2

Posted on March 8, 2014 by Buffalo Bandits Press Release

BanditsJust over three weeks removed from game action, concerns about rust proved to be accurate for the Buffalo Bandits early. But, the Bandits regained form, scoring three unanswered goals to end the fourth quarter to close out the victory.

Dhane Smith’s third goal of the game 11:12 into the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winning-goal, as the Buffalo Bandits defeated the Minnesota Swarm 12-9 on Saturday at First Niagara Center.

Chad Culp started the break that produced the game-winner. Culp lost the ball, but Smith found the ball and beat Higgins over the shoulder to give the Bandits the lead.

“(Culp) got held down, and I kept sprinting,” Smith said. “I kind of panicked, and did not know what I was going to do. I stuck with what I had and I put the ball into the net.”

Mark Steenhuis added four goals to lead Buffalo. Smith recorded his fourth hat trick of the season, while defenseman Steve Priolo chipped in a team-high four assists. Goaltender Anthony Cosmo held the Swarm to just three goals over the last three quarters to earn his seventh win of the season.

Continue reading ‘Bandits Overcome Slow Start, Improve To 7-2′

UB Wins MAC East Division Title

Posted on March 8, 2014 by University at Buffalo Press Release

McCreaOff a career-high 34 points from senior Javon McCrea, the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team became MAC East Division Champions on Saturday, defeating Bowling Green, 88-65, in front of 5,452 fans for Senior Day.  The Bulls improved their record to 19-9 and finish conference play with a school-record 13 victories.  The Bulls will open up MAC Tournament play on Thursday evening in the quarterfinals.

After a pre-game celebration of UB’s five-member senior class, head coach Bobby Hurley started all five seniors: Corey Raley-Ross, Auraum Nuiriankh, Joshua Freelove, Jarod Oldham and McCrea.  The Bulls even got an early three-pointer from Nuiriankh.  The Falcons never led by more than two in the contest, which they held with 15:24 left before the Bulls answered with a Shannon Evans three pointer.  The Bulls ended up going on a 12-4 run to open up a 20-14 lead.  The Bulls had their biggest lead of the half right at the end, going into the break up 41-31.

The second half turned into a show that the season-high crowd won’t soon forget.  The Falcons cut the lead into single digits at 48-39, but the Bulls answered with an 11-1 run, which was capped off on an unbelievable fast-break dunk where Evans passed the ball off the backboard and sophomore Justin Moss slammed it home.  A layup from Evans with 9:32 left gave the Bulls a 66-42 lead, but the Falcons cut into the lead, trimming the Buffalo advantage to 71-58.  However, a layup from McCrea ignited an 11-1 run, which put the Bulls up 82-59 with 2:57 remaining.  UB went on to score the final six points of the game, with the final exclamation point coming on a put-back dunk from Moss.

Continue reading ‘UB Wins MAC East Division Title’

Griffs Battle Past Siena in MAAC Quarterfinals

Posted on March 8, 2014 by Canisius College Press Release

ManhertzWith all five starters scoring in double figures, the No. 4 Canisius men’s basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the MAAC Championship for the first time since the 2002 season with a hard-fought, 71-65 win over the No. 5 seed Siena Saints in the MassMutual Center on Saturday afternoon.

Canisius will face No. 1 seed Iona College at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. That game will be shown live on ESPN3.

Senior Billy Baron led Canisius with 17 points to go along with six assists and five steals. Senior Chris Manhertz posted his 13th career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Chris Perez scored 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting while freshman Zach Lewis had 10 points, four assists and four steals. Senior Jordan Heath scored 11 points, including 3-for-6 on 3-pointers.

“This was a real battle today, a true conference tournament game,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “Give Siena credit. They played hard and they played with a lot of confidence. I think the difference was our ability to get the ball inside, especially in the second half. Chris Manhertz has been a leader for us for the last two years and he showed again today why he’s a true leader. He stepped up when we needed him to, but we got a lot of great effort from everyone at both ends of the floor.”

Continue reading ‘Griffs Battle Past Siena in MAAC Quarterfinals’

Niagara Ousted In MAAC Quarterfinals, 89-80

Posted on March 8, 2014 by Niagara University Press Release

MasonThe Niagara Purple Eagles had their season come to an end on Saturday night with an 89-80 defeat to the third-seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats in the 2014 MAAC Tournament Quarterfinals.

“A very hard fought game and extremely hard played by both teams and I thought our guys really competed hard,” head coach Chris Casey said.  “As you have it in most of these tournament games, it comes down to few a plays and they made a couple of them. I’m proud of the way we fought against a very good team.”

Quinnipiac, which trailed for the majority of the first half, led 38-36 at halftime. The Purple Eagles (7-26) went on a 15-4 run to take a 23-13 lead at the 10:54 mark. Quinnipiac (20-10) answered with a 15-5 run to tie the game at 28-28 with 4:10 left and eventually led 36-31 before Niagara reeled off five straight points to even the score at 36-36 with 20 seconds left.

The Bobcats began to pull away midway through the second half. A Marvin Jordan 3-pointer brought Niagara to 50-49 with 15:13 remaining before Quinnipiac went on a 24-10 spurt en route to its biggest lead, 74-58, with 6:43 left.

Continue reading ‘Niagara Ousted In MAAC Quarterfinals, 89-80′

Baron Named 2014 Pepsi MAAC Player of the Year

Posted on March 8, 2014 by Canisius College Press Release

BaronThe Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced Friday night that Canisius senior guard Billy Baron has been named the 2014 Pepsi MAAC Player of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 11 head coaches. Baron received the award at the MAAC’s annual Postseason Awards Show, which was held in the in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Baron is the third Canisius player to win the MAAC’s Player of the Year title, joining previous MAAC Players of the Year Craig Wise (1995) and Darrell Barley (1996).

“It is an honor and a privilege to be named the MAAC Player of the Year,” Baron said. “I’m also very honored to have earned the trust from my teammates to make decision with the ball throughout the year. This coaching staff has done a great job in helping me make strides as a player and stay consistent. I honestly believe this award goes to my teammates as much as it goes to me. To win this award, you have to win games. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are now. This is a really good league. There are a lot of guys that can play and every night is a battle. I’m proud to be a part of helping turn the Canisius men’s basketball program around.”

Baron finished the regular season by averaging 24.4 points, 5.2 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Golden Griffins, which earned the No. 4 seed in this weekend’s MAAC Championship with a 20-11 overall record and a 14-6 mark in conference action. Baron, who ranks third nationally in scoring average, is just the second player in school history to score more than 750 total points in a season, and he is the program’s single-season record holder for made 3-point field goals, as he has knocked down 98 shots from behind the arc this season. His 161 total assists makes him the third player in school history to have 150-plus assists in back-to-back seasons, and his 5.2 assists per game average ranks second in the conference.

Continue reading ‘Baron Named 2014 Pepsi MAAC Player of the Year’

Niagara Survives First Game in MAAC Tourney

Posted on March 7, 2014 by Niagara University Press Release

NiagaraThe eleventh-seeded Niagara Purple Eagles withstood a ferocious second half rally en route to eliminating No. 6 seed Marist, 78-76, in the 2014 MAAC Tournament First Round on Thursday.

“It was a very hard fought game with two teams playing extremely hard and wanting their season to continue,” head coach Chris Casey said. “I thought we were terrific in the first half. In the second half, we needed to make a few more free throws. We kept just enough of a cushion as they came at us hard in the final seven minutes. We stayed tough and I’m proud of the guys for staying tough and we made the plays necessary to win the game.”

Antoine Mason led all scorers with 38 points, the fifth most in a MAAC Tournament game, for his 12th 30-point game of the season, and dished out a game-high four assists. Mason also continued his scoring success against the Red Foxes (12-19) as he increased his scoring average to 23.5 points per game in six all-time meetings. Marcus Ware had his third career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds and Marvin Jordan added 11 points.

The Purple Eagles (7-25) lit up Marist in the opening 20 minutes. NU shot 65.4 percent from the field which was the highest first half field goal percentage since shooting 71.4 percent (20-for-28) versus Howard on No. 20, 2009. NU finished the game shooting a season-high 60 percent from the field.

Niagara sprinted to a 16-3 lead while Marist struggled from the field, going 1-for-11 during NU’s run.  The Purple Eagles broke Marist’s full court pressure with ease which led to layups and a 28-10 advantage in points in the paint as Niagara took a 43-24 halftime lead.

Continue reading ‘Niagara Survives First Game in MAAC Tourney’

Enroth, Myers Shine In 3-1 Win At Tampa

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SabresEarlier Thursday the Buffalo Sabres announced that former goaltending great Dominik Hasek will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame later this month. Perhaps current Sabres netminder Jhonas Enroth was paying homage, because he put on a Hall worthy performance of his own in the Sunshine state.

Enroth made 43 saves, including many of the spectacular variety to help the Sabres steal a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning despite being outshout, 44-21.

Tyler Myers, Marcus Foligno and Cody Hodgson provided the Sabres offensive ammunition as Buffalo improved to 3-1 since the Olympic break—a remarkable feat considering Ryan Miller, Steve Ott, Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick have all been sent packing over the past six days.

With Miller gone Enroth has the first chance of his career to stake claim as Buffalo’s long-term answer in net, and he continues to pass the eye test. Since the Olympic break Enroth is 3-1 with a 2.50 goals against average and .931 save percentage. He’s had at least 29 saves in four straight starts.

“As many shots as he had and a handful being point blank shots and point blank saves,” Sabres Myers said. “He kept us in it the whole game and we wouldn’t have won without him.”

Despite the lopsided shots on net disadvantage , Enroth was no one-man show for the Sabres.

Continue reading ‘Enroth, Myers Shine In 3-1 Win At Tampa’

Sabres To Induct Hasek Into Hall

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Buffalo Sabres Press Release

HasekThe Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame Selection Committee  announced the induction of Dominik Hasek into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame. Hasek, one of the most prolific goaltenders in NHL history, will be officially inducted as the 42nd member of the Sabres Hall of Fame in a ceremony on March 29, prior to the team’s home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at First Niagara Center.

Hasek, who was originally acquired by the Sabres from the Chicago Blackhawks on Aug. 7, 1992, remains as one of the most decorated goaltenders in team and league history, appearing in a total of 491 games for the Blue and Gold over a span of nine seasons from 1992-2001.  While backstopping the Sabres, he became the first goaltender in NHL history to win the Hart Trophy twice (1997 & 1998), while also capturing six Vezina Trophies (1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999 & 2001) as well as the Wiliam M. Jennings Trophy (1994 & 2001) and the Lester B. Pearson Award twice (1997 & 1998).

During his time in Buffalo, Hasek held numerous franchise records and, upon his departure from the Sabres, owned the records for most all-time games played (491), wins (234), shutouts (55) and lowest career goals-against average (2.22).  Hasek appeared in a career-high 72 games for the club in the 1997-98 season, setting a team record with 13 shutouts, only to follow that up with a career-best 1.87 GAA, .937 save percentage and a Stanley Cup Final berth in 1998-99.

After his time with the Sabres, he spent a total of four seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, where he earned a pair of Stanley Cup championships (2002 & 2008) and also suited up for the Ottawa Senators during the 2005-06 season.

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Source: Bills Interested In Geoff Schwartz

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Patrick Moran

SchwartzThe Buffalo Bills will speak with several imminent free agents when NFL league rules allow teams to start communicating to players on Saturday, but I’ve learned of one name in particular. According to a team source the Bills have definitely expressed an interest in Kansas City Chiefs free agent guard Geoff Schwartz.

Schwartz, 27, was a seventh-round pick in 2008 and spent his first three seasons in Carolina, where he played both right tackle and guard and started all 16 games in 2010 before missing all of the following year with a hip injury. The free agent signed a one-year deal with Minnesota in 2012 but didn’t start before moving on to Kansas City last year, where he started eight games and played extremely well.

He’s regarded by some as the top available guard in this free agent class.  The Chiefs are reportedly still interested in re-signing the 6-foot-6, 340-pounder, though it now looks likely Schwartz will test the free agent market.

The Bills are in the market for at least one new starting guard.  Kraig Ubrik occupies one and likely to remain as such for 2014 even though he struggled for parts of 2013, carries a $3.375 cap hit this season and still has three years left on his deal.

Buffalo also has Doug Legursky on the roster, but the veteran played poorly last season after suffering a knee injury, and the team could eventually save $1 million by releasing him. The team also has J.J Unga, Antoine McClain and Mark Asper on its roster.

Free agency begins on March 11.

Deadline Solidifies Foundation For Sabres Rebuild

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Chris Ostrander

HudsonIt may have taken a late flurry, but Tim Murray put his stamp on the organization with a firm, aggressive series of trades around the 2014 trade deadline.

He got started early by sending Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis on Friday and threw his hat in the ring with one of the earlier trades on Wednesday. Murray shipped Brayden McNabb, two second round picks and Jonathan Parker to Los Angeles for Hudson Fasching and Nicolas Deslauriers.

Murray’s punctuated his first deadline with two 11th hour deals involving three of this pending UFAs that ensured previous investments would continue to pay dividends. After finding a dance partner to take Matt Moulson (and Cody McCormick), Murray managed to flip Jaroslav Halak for a younger goaltender with term.

It was a productive deadline that provides the framework for the way Murray will shape the roster through the 2014 and 15 drafts. Two drafts that will see the Sabres make four (possibly five) first round selections.

Buffalo holds additional picks throughout the 2014 and 2015 second round and despite shipping two of them to Los Angeles along with McNabb, Murray came out even after pulling two second round picks in exchange for Moulson. I thought he put it well when he said the team was helped more by the two forwards acquired from LA.

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