The Daily Links

daily-links-logo5Wide receiver Rasmes Barden aims to seize the moment after signing a reserve-futures deal with the Buffalo Bills, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.

Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn has come on strong, Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News writes.

The latest member of the New York State Tourism Advisory Council is also a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed former Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas to the tourism panel, which advises the governor on the state’s tourism efforts.

The “K-Gun” offense helped arm Frank Reich for his new position. Reich, hired this week as Chargers offensive coordinator, spent 14 years as an NFL quarterback. The experience included 10 seasons with the Buffalo Bills, who ran the no-huddle scheme. (San Diego Union Tribune).

The 2014 NFL Draft has three extremely talented tight end prospects expected to be selected within the top 45 picks. One of those players is Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro, a 6’5” 260 pound weapon that was a focal point of the 2013 Red Raiders’ aerial attack. Rob Quinn of ForgedInBuffalo takes an extended look at the tight end prospect.…

Regan’s 25 Leads UB Over Kent State

reganA season-high 25 points from junior Will Regan helped lead the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team to a 71-60 victory over Kent State, Saturday evening at Alumni Arena.  Regan had 19 points in the second half as the Bulls outscored the Golden Flashes, 44-31, over the final 20 minutes of play.  The victory improves UB to 9-5 on the year and 3-1 in the league, while the Bulls remain a perfect 8-0 at Alumni Arena.

UB quickly erased a five-point deficit in the second half as Regan knocked down a triple for the first three of his 19 second-half points.  The Golden Flashes continued to lead 36-34 when the Bulls went on an 18-4 run in just over five minutes to take the lead 52-40 with 10:25 left.  The final three points came from the free throw line as freshman Shannon Evans was fouled on a three-point attempt.  The Bulls continued to increase their lead and a pair of free throw by Regan gave the Bulls a 59-43 advantage with 6:41 left.  The 16-point lead was Buffalo’s largest of the night.

Kent State pulled within 10 at 65-55, but UB quickly went on a 6-0 run to regain that largest lead at 71-55 with 53 second left.  The Golden Flashes scored the final five points of the game.

The Bulls shot 46.4% in the second half, including 45.5% from three and more importantly, turned the ball over just three times in the half.  It was a far cry from the first half when the Bulls really struggled to get anything going offensively, but was able to thank its defensive for heading into the break down just 29-27.…

Sabres Fall In Another Shootout

Sabres

The bad news is the Buffalo Sabres skated off the First Niagara Center ice Saturday on the losing end of the scoreboard for a third straight game.  The good news is this hockey club is no longer a complete bore to witness the losses pile up.

The Sabres trailed by a goal late before scoring with under a minute in regulation before eventually losing in  shootout to the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-3. It’s the third straight time Buffalo has lost by the same score and second consecutive in a shootout.

Buffalo trailed 3-2 before Tyler Myers scored his second goal of the night on a perfect pass from Cody Hodgson with 25 seconds remaining to force overtime.  Drew Stafford scored the Sabres other goal while Tyler Ennis had an excellent night with two assists and several quality scoring chances.

Ryan Miller made 32 saves for Buffalo and allowed only a goal by Ryan Johansen on Columbus’ third attempt of the shootout.  Unfortunately for the Sabres it was all the Jackets would need as Sergei Bobrovsky stymied Matt Moulson, Ennis and Hodgson.  The Sabres are now 0-for-5 in their last two shootouts.

Columbus has won six straight.

Buffalo remains home to face Florida on Tuesday night.

 …

Niagara Hoops Falls At Quinnipiac, 85-71

niagara-logo-300x225The Niagara Purple Eagles were defeated by the Quinnipiac Bobcats, 85-71, on Saturday to split their MAAC road weekend.

Antoine Mason led all scorers with 28 points for his 17th 20-plus scoring effort of the season. Mason is now 10th all-time in career scoring at Niagara, moving ahead of Joe Arlaukas (’87) with 1,612 points. Tahjere McCall and Rayvon Harris joined Mason in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively.

NU (5-14, 2-6 MAAC) forced 15 turnovers which led to a 24-9 points off turnover advantage and outscored Quinnipiac in the paint, 34-28.  The Purple Eagles, though, were unable to overcome another double-digit second half deficit.

NU went 0-for-9 from behind the arc (2-for-13 for the game) in the first half, while the Bobcats (11-6, 6-2 MAAC) held a 14-0 advantage in second chance points (23-2 for the game).  Quinnipiac closed the half on a 9-4 spurt to take a 41-27 halftime lead.…

Canisius’ Gibbons Listed on Hobey Baker Ballot

canisius2Senior forward Kyle Gibbons of the Canisius College hockey team is among the players nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, handed out to the nation’s top player.

Fans can vote for the player they believe deserves the award by visiting hobeybaker.com and clicking the Vote for Hobey icon. The first phase ends March 9 and the list will be narrowed down to 10 semifinalists with the second phase beginning on March 20.

Gibbons leads the Griffs with 19 points and nine goals during his senior campaign. The Westlake, Ohio native also ranks first on the team and places 11th nationally with five power-play goals this season.

During his four-year career, Gibbons has totaled 111 points, 51 goals and 60 assists. He is one of nine active players nationally with 100 career points and 50 career goals, while placing sixth in the program’s history in career points and second in career goals.

Gibbons and the Griffs return to the ice on Saturday, hosting Bentley in Atlantic Hockey action. Game time at the Buffalo State Sports Arena is set for 12:05 p.m.…

Sabres “UnPucked” Event Set To Debut

SabresThe Buffalo Sabres today announced they will be hosting the inaugural “Sabres UnPucked” event on Saturday, March 1st on the floor of First Niagara Center.  All proceeds from Sabres UnPucked, for which doors open at 6:30 p.m., will benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.

The event will kick-off with a writer’s roundtable led by songwriters David Lee Murphy (singer/songwriter who has written multiple top 40 hits by artists such as Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and Jake Owen), Doug Johnson (Love Like Crazy – Lee Brice), Tony Arata (The Dance – Garth Brooks) and Jim Peterik (Eye of the Tiger – Survivor).  Current/former Sabres players and coaches will join in the festivities as guest musical performers and celebrity bartenders throughout the evening.  UnPucked will also feature an auction of unique items from a variety of top 40 recording artists as well as the Sabres organization, along with a performance by Black River Entertainment’s The John King Band to close out the night.

General admission tickets will be available at a cost of $35, with VIP tickets on sale for $200.  VIP guests will receive a credential and lanyard, complimentary food and beverages and be granted admittance to an exclusive lounge located next to the stage.

Tickets go on sale Monday, Jan. 20 at 12 p.m., with an exclusive season ticket holder presale commencing at 10 a.m. on that same day.

Tickets can be purchased online at Sabres.com or by calling Lauren Yurko at (716) 855-4468.…

The Daily Links

daily-links-logo5Buffalo Sabres goaltender Johnas Enroth has had a hard luck season when playing net for Buffalo, but there’s at least one bright spot in his future, WGR’s Paul Hamilton writes.

Zegmus Girgensons says it’s hard to score on Ryan Miller.

Speaking of Girgensons, Buffalo News columnist writes that it’s his passion and talent that makes him special.

Ryan Nagelhout of Buffalo.com always has a colorful post game column following Sabres games. If you missed his latest, here’s his reactions following the shootout loss to Toronto on Wednesday.

The Buffalo Bills have hired Jeff Hafley to the coaching staff as Defensive Assistant.. Hafley will enter his third season in the NFL coaching ranks in 2014 after spending the previous two years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including 2013 as the team’s safeties coach. (Bills.com)

Mike Pettine’s candidacy with the Cleveland Browns is more intriguing for Buffalo than Cleveland, Tim Graham of the Buffalo News writes.…

Bills Hire Hafley As Defensive Assistant

billsThe Buffalo Bills made an addition to their coaching staff on Thursday with the announcement of Jeff Hafley joining as a Defensive Assistant.

Hafley spent the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and last year as the team’s safeties coach under Greg Schiano, who was fired at the end of this past season. It’s his third season overall in the NFL.

Before reaching the NFL Hafley  was in the college ranks for the past 11 years, working at Worcester Polytechnic University (2001), University of Albany (2002-05), Pittsburgh (2006-10) and Rutgers University (2011).

For those going crazy and thinking Hafley’s hire means Mike Pettine is on the move, relax. His addition very unlikely has something to do with Pettine potentially getting the Browns head coaching job.

In other Bills news, Damond Talbot of NFL Draft Diamonds reports the team has signed defensive end/OLB Willie Jefferson to a futures contract.  Jefferson made the Houston Texans 53-man roster last year as an undrafted free agent, but was cut along with two teammates when they were caught smoking cigars in a hotel room.

Talbot writes that “Willie played college ball at Baylor before transferring to the FCS ranks.  Jefferson tore it up his senior year of college and was able to play in the Raycom All Star Game.”…

Canisius-Manhattan Set to Play on ESPNU Feb. 7

canisiius-248x300The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and ESPN announced today that the Canisius-Manhattan men’s basketball game, scheduled for Friday, Feb. 7, will be broadcast live to a national audience on ESPNU. Tipoff inside the Koessler Athletic Center is set for 7 p.m.

Additionally, the MAAC has announced that the Canisius-Niagara women’s game, also scheduled for Friday, Feb. 7, will tipoff at 4 p.m., in the Koessler Athletic Center. That game will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN3.

Canisius and Manhattan are currently tied atop the MAAC standings, with each team boasting a 5-1 record in MAAC play. The game will mark the first meeting of the two schools this season. The same two teams will end the 2013-14 regular season March 2, in Riverdale, N.Y. The Golden Griffins and the Jaspers have played 82 previous times with Manhattan leading the all-time series 49-33. Last season, the two teams split the regular-season series, with each school winning on its home court.

Tickets for all remaining Canisius home basketball games, including the Feb. 7 doubleheader, can be purchased at the Canisius Ticket Office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (716) 888-2885, or online through GoGriffs.com and Ticketmaster.com.

Canisius is 11-6 overall and 5-1 in the MAAC after beating Monmouth 87-67 Jan. 12, at home. The 5-1 start in league play marks the program’s best conference record through six games since 1996-97, when the team also started the conference slate with a 5-1 mark. The Griffs will return to action Friday, Jan. 17, when the team travels to play Iona in New Rochelle, N.Y. That game will tipoff at 9 p.m., and will be televised nationally on ESPNU.…

Thoughts On Kiper’s Bills Mock Selection

robinson-229x300Even though the 2014 NFL draft doesn’t arrive until early May and we sit in the wintry middle of January, water cooler talk formally commenced Wednesday when Mel Kiper released the first of what’s sure to be dozens of first-round NFL mock drafts.  Chatter is sure to be passionate among Buffalo Bills fans, as Kiper tabbed Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson with the Bills first selection, ninth overall.

Based on plenty of reaction on Twitter and early analysis from a few scribes, including ESPN.com’s Mike Rodrak, it doesn’t appear taking Robinson would be a popular move for Buffalo.

The rationale for cynicism are quite palpable— Buffalo has bigger needs, Cordy Glenn was terrific at left tackle in 2013, quality starters or at least depth can be found in the mid-to-late rounds, and oh—did I mention the Bills have bigger needs?

For what it’s worth, I don’t entirely concur —with the skeptics, that is.

For starters, take a look at who won’t be available and/or who the Bills aren’t going to take. Love or hate E.J. Manuel the Bills are not taking Johnny Football, Teddy Bridgewater or anyone else who throws a football for a living with the ninth pick.…