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What really mattered
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Goalie Ryan Miller and forward Thomas Vanek are both taking a business-as-usual approach to their uncertain futures with the Sabres. Miller, a former Vezina Trophy winner as the leagues top goaltender, and Vanek, Buffalos top offensive threat, reported for physicals Wednesday after an off-season filled with trade speculation. Both players are in the final year of their contracts and are not currently negotiating extensions with the Sabres. "If you play long enough, youre going to have this type of discussion surround you at some point," Miller said. "I have to be professional enough just to do the job. Im able to do a job in a city Im familiar with, a city Im very much at home. I like to be in Buffalo. I like the people. "So this isnt a bad situation." General manager Darcy Regier said the window for making training camp deals has closed, but that talks will heat up again as the in-season trade deadline approaches. Regier did shore up his roster on another front later in the day, re-signing restricted free agent Cody Hodgson to a multi-year contract. Hodgson is Buffalos top-line centre, who finished last season second on the team with 15 goals and 34 points in 48 games. The Sabres are in transition. They opened last season with Stanley Cup aspirations, but have since elected to rebuild an under-performing roster with prospects and draft picks after missing the playoffs for a second straight year. Miller acknowledged at the end of last season that he may no longer fit into the Sabres long-term plans. Following last seasons home finale, Miller skated a lap around the ice, waving to fans. He also sold his home over the summer and is now renting. "It does look like, OK, Im out of here," Miller said. "People are going to believe it or theyre not going to believe it. I thought it was a smart business decision to have it on the market in the last year of my deal so I didnt at least get low-balled. "I had to laugh at myself and say, this is not going to be looking good to the people of Buffalo. Im not racing out of town. It was just honestly a business decision." Vanek has previously said he is not interested in enduring a lengthy rebuilding process and will take this season to assess. On Wednesday, he was more political. "Im not ready to re-sign, and to be honest, Im not sure if they are ready to re-sign," Vanek said. "If I would have got traded, I wouldnt have been shocked." Regier said the NHLs new collective bargaining agreement has made players with expiring contracts reluctant to sign extensions. "Thats the nature of the new NHL," Regier said. "The expectation from the players side is that the cap is going to go up. To the extent that the cap goes up, it may be beneficial for them to wait for the unrestricted market." Miller, who has played 500 games with the Sabres, left the door open to re-signing long-term. "You start to see a situation here where you can build something good, something thats going to last," Miller said. "Thats what I want to be a part of, whether this is the last season I can make a difference or its going to continue forward. I just want to make sure that Im a positive influence on this team moving forward and that Buffalo has a lot of success or a foundation to build success on in the future, because I do care about this area and the people. I do believe they deserve to be cheering for a team deep into June. "My hope is that we can do that this year." Hodgson is part of that foundation. Hes a fourth-year player, whom the Sabres acquired in a trade with Vancouver in February 2012. We feel he is going to be an important piece of our organizations success," Regier said in a statement released by the team. Regier said hes also had preliminary discussions with the agent for forward Steve Ott about a contract extension. The veteran centre, acquired in a trade from Dallas last off-season, is in the final year of his deal. "I want to be here," Ott said. "I love the organization, the sense of where its going, the young guys, the stable full of prospects. As you add pieces and continue to build the team, I see the uphill climb beginning very shortly." ---- NOTES: Coach Ron Rolston completed his staff by hiring former Harvard assistant Jerry Forton, a Buffalo native who has also worked at UMass-Lowell and Niagara. . Rolston said he will choose his captains at the end of training camp after rotating the captaincy for preseason games. . The Sabres will hold their first on-ice session Thursday and play their first preseason game Sunday in Montreal. ... Buffalo opens the regular season at Detroit on Oct. 2. Flames Jerseys 2021 . The Jets have now won three straight at home and four of the last five at the MTS Centre. After a scoreless first period, Brad Marchand scored his first goal in eight games eight seconds into the second. Custom Calgary Flames Jerseys . Louis Cardinals are one of Major League Baseballs model franchises. https://www.cheapflames.com/. Petersburg of the KHL. Belov was a free agent last summer when he signed a one-year contract with the Oilers. In 57 games this season he had one goal and six assists with 34 penalty minutes in Edmonton. Calgary Flames Store . Louis Blues are reportedly taking restricted free agent forward Vladimir Sobotka to arbitration. Calgary Flames Pro Shop . Gordon reportedly failed another drug test and is facing a one-year ban. Gordon led the NFL in yards receiving last season despite being suspended two games for violating the leagues substance-abuse policy.WASHINGTON - For the second time in three seasons, the Washington Nationals will head to the post-season with the top seeding in the National League.They hope they can take advantage of that status this year.The NL East champion Nationals locked up home-field advantage until the World Series by beating the Miami Marlins 4-0 on Doug Fisters three-hitter in the opener of a day-night doubleheader Friday.Miami earned a split by winning the insignificant second game 15-7 with 22 hits, including Kike Hernandezs grand slam and J.T. Realmutos three-run triple. The Marlins hadnt scored at least that many runs since a 16-10 victory over the Nationals on Sept. 1, 2010, according to STATS.Washingtons record was 94-66 at the end of a long day; the last pitch was thrown 9 hours, 35 minutes after the first.Its important to have home-field advantage. If we want to get to where we want to get to, then thats important. So thats accomplished, rookie manager Matt Williams said.Only two regular members of Washingtons lineup, right fielder Jayson Werth and catcher Wilson Ramos, started Fridays second game; both sat out the opener. Werth tripled in the first inning, doubled in the second and singled in the fifth, and the right fielder also threw out Donovan Solano trying to stretch a single into a double. A homer shy of the cycle, Werth was hit by a pitch in the sixth and struck out in the ninth.Was he thinking about needing that homer in his final at-bat?I surely was. ... From T-ball on, I dont think Ive ever hit for the cycle, Werth said. I knew it was available. Especially in a blowout game, definitely wasnt trying to work a walk or anything like that.Taylor Hill (0-1) took the loss in his first major league start, allowing seven runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings, but he also singled for what he said was not only his first hit in the majors but also his first hit ever in professional baseball.Believe it or not, Hill said, I had no hits prior in the minor leagues.A.J. Ramos (7-0) earned the win with a 1-2-3 eighth inning.Earlier, Solano was the only player who got a hit off Fister (16-6) a€” a pair of harmless singles in the first and fourth innings, and a triple with two outs in the ninth.dddddddddddd. The next batter, Casey McGehee, lined out to diving second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera to end that game.Fister threw 104 pitches, 77 for strikes, and heard a loud ovation when he jogged from the dugout to the mound for the ninth.Obviously some adrenaline, some emotions run through there, the lanky righty said. Its one of those things where you kind of take a second and you soak it in and then you get back to work.Washingtons Anthony Rendon hit a solo shot to left off wild-as-can-be Jarred Cosart (4-4 with the Marlins; 13-11 overall in 2014, including his time with the Astros) in the first for his 21st homer. Cosart walked eight.Fister had zero walks and nine strikeouts in the second shutout of his career.What really mattered, though, was sewing up the home-field edge.That was a big milestone for us, Fister said. Its always nice to be home. Youve got your home fans, weve got our own lockers, our own chairs, whatever it may be. Guys are comfortable here. And that means a lot.Then again, Washington knows full well being the highest-seeded club guarantees nothing. The Nationals led the majors with 98 wins in 2012, but were eliminated in the NL division series by wild-card St. Louis.This year they clinched their division title Sept. 16 and have gone 7-3 since then in the push for the NLs top record.They have everything they need over there to win a World Series, Cosart said.At 77-83, the Marlins could finish anywhere from second to fourth in the NL East, but they know they wont finish last.TRAINERS ROOMNationals: CF Denard Span returned to action for the first time since leaving Tuesdays game after a diving, tumbling catch that left his right knee scraped and sore. Span started Fridays first game, going 1 for 4 with a walk. Afterward, he said he felt rusty but fine. ... Zimmerman started the opener, playing left field for the second day in a row. He struck out as a pinch hitter in the second game.UP NEXTWilliams said the Nationals will stick to their planned starting pitchers this weekend, including RHP Stephen Strasburg (13-11, 3.23 ERA) for a final pre-playoffs tuneup Saturday against Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldo (6-13, 4.44). ' ' '
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