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Wednesday, 08.17.2011 / 1:45 PM ET / News
By Kevin Snow  - (@kwsnow)
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Everybody had good things to say about the city of Buffalo being a great place to live with your kids and a good place for them to grow up... - Christian Ehrhoff
For Christian Ehrhoff, the process of becoming a Buffalo Sabre probably seemed like a series of strange dreams. Because while the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent was sleeping at home in Germany, his negotiating rights were being bounced around the NHL.

It started on Tuesday, June 28 when the Vancouver Canucks traded Ehrhoff’s rights to the New York Islanders in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft. That deal didn’t sit well with Ehrhoff, who thought there was a chance he would remain in Vancouver.

“I was obviously a little disappointed when I got traded from Vancouver,” Ehrhoff explained Wednesday as he met with the Buffalo media for the first time since signing a 10 year/$40 million contract with the Sabres on June 30. “But I woke up in the morning and I was with the Islanders, and started the process of talking to them.”

8/17 - Christian Ehrhoff Press Conference

After spending all day Wednesday negotiating with the Islanders, Ehrhoff quickly realized there wasn’t a fit for him there.

“For me, the number one criteria is that I want to play for a championship, and I didn’t see that with the Islanders. So I decided not to take their offer, which was a great offer.”

Buffalo stepped in late Wednesday night, and acquired Ehrhoff’s rights from the Islanders in a trade that sent a 2012 fourth rounder to Long Island. So once again, Ehrhoff had another surprise waiting for him when his alarm clock went off in Germany.

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“The next morning I woke up I was with Buffalo, and I went through the process again of talking to ownership, management and the coach. I also talked to a few guys I played with – Jochen (Hecht), Mike Grier and Darryl Shannon, who I played with in Germany.

“Everybody had good things to say about the city of Buffalo being a great place to live with your kids and a good place for them to grow up – which was another criteria I was looking for. And since Terry (Pegula) took over the team he has showed that he is very committed to putting a team together that can win the Stanley Cup. For me it made a lot of sense and that’s why I joined the team.”

Christian Ehrhoff interview

Ehrhoff was seventh among all NHL defensemen in scoring last season, posting career highs in points (50) and assists (36) in 79 games with Vancouver. He also matched his career best with his second straight 14-goal season. Ehrhoff collected 28 (6+22) of his 50 points on the power play, good for fourth among NHL blueliners. He was also second on the team in blocked shots (108) and time on ice (23:59). The durable Ehrhoff has only missed 15 games over the past five seasons.

Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff thinks the 29-year-old Ehrhoff will be a perfect fit on the Sabres blueline.

“Christian fits the way we play. We’re a team that has our defense involved and get up ice. If you look at the way Vancouver’s defensemen played and were involved in the offensive side of the game, it’s an automatic fit. He also brings another weapon to us on the power play with a great shot. He’s a just another real good piece for this hockey club and we’re excited to have him.”

Darcy Regier (Photo:
Sabres GM Darcy Regier met with the media afterwards, and said he’d like to address the team’s salary cap issues through trades rather than just send a veteran down to Rochester.

“Hopefully that’s not the case. Hopefully we’ll be able to make some moves to address that prior to the start of the season.”

Listen to Darcy Regier's comments

Regier said he also expects to make an announcement early next week regarding assistant coaches for Rochester. Former US National Team development head coach Ron Rolston was hired as the Amerks’ new bench boss on July 27.

Team President Ted Black opened the press conference by announcing the Sabres have already doubled the amount of mini-packs that were sold last year. The team had previously announced they would cap mini-pack sales at 3,500 this season, and Black anticipates reaching that number within the next two weeks. Black also expects regular season individual game tickets to sell out quickly once they go on sale to the public on September 17.

Black followed up those comments by introducing Regier as “the GM that currently has the highest payroll in the NHL.”
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