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SABRES BOLSTER LINEUP WITH VETERANS

Buffalo signs Gionta, Moulson, McCormick, Meszaros; Acquires Gorges

Tuesday, 07.01.2014 / 6:28 PM / News
By Chris Ryndak  - Sabres.com (@chrisryndak)
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SABRES BOLSTER LINEUP WITH VETERANS
\"We\u2019re more competitive. We have a lot of character now. We have leadership now.\" -Sabres GM Tim Murray

Entering the free agency market, the Buffalo Sabres made it a priority to find veteran players who could not only produce points, but add some leadership to the team.

By signing Brian Gionta, Matt Moulson, Cody McCormick and Andrej Meszaros and trading for Josh Gorges on Tuesday, Sabres general manager Tim Murray feels they were able to accomplish that goal.

“We’re more competitive. We have a lot of character now. We have leadership now. That’s important to me when we’re adding young players every year,” he said at First Niagara Center.

“There’s a short term and a long term and the long term is your young players get better. Your young players become pros. They’re not just good players, they’re good NHL players. And I think this group that we’ve added today can help in that regard.”

We’re more competitive. We have a lot of character now. We have leadership now. That’s important to me when we’re adding young players every year.Tim Murray

Adding these players will help both the young players on the roster like Zemgus Girgensons, Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno (whom the team also re-signed to a two-year contract) and Tyler Myers and the players coming up in the system like 2014 first-round pick Samson Reinhart.

Gionta, 35 and a native of Greece, N.Y., who spent the past five years with the Montreal Canadiens, is expected to provide that guidance.

“Yesterday he was the captain of the Montreal Canadiens, a storied franchise, a playoff team. That wasn’t a token title. That was real,” Murray said. “There is stuff in this game that’s real and stuff that’s not real. And that’s real stuff. That’s legendary stuff. And he’s now a Buffalo Sabre.”

Murray said he thought the day’s acquisitions – Gionta in particular – can serve as mentors to a player like Reinhart and help him make the team in the fall.

“It’s going to make it easier for him, for sure. It’s going to allow him to play his game a little more. It’s going to allow him to not look over his shoulder so often,” Murray said. “I think it gives him a comfort level that if he does come into camp prepared, that he’s got people around him that can help him.

“And if he makes the team and plays great out of the gate and all that – we know he’s going to hit rough patches. We know he’s going to hit speed dumps and that’s what these guys are here for – besides playing, they’re here to help our young guys get over those rough patches and we’re going to have them.”

There’s no doubt in Murray’s mind that the players in the organization are looking at these moves and thinking that the organization is serious about turning things around.

“I think our kids are sitting at home going, ‘Wow,’ you know? They know these players,” he said. “They watch the National Hockey League and they know the quality of the player, they know the quality of the person, they know the character.

“As excited as they are to get drafted by Buffalo in the last couple years, they know it’s a team that’s not there. We can say it’s a team on the rise. People have to see that. I just think there’s some kids at home saying, ‘This is great.’”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82