BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The underachieving Buffalo Sabres began retooling for the future by trading defenceman Jordan Leopold to the contending St. Louis Blues on Saturday. The move was announced hours before Buffalo hosted the Washington Capitals. And it could be the first of many for the Sabres before the NHL trade deadline on Wednesday. In exchange for Leopold, Buffalo received a second-round pick and a conditional fifth-round selection in the June draft. Leopold is a 10-year NHL veteran who has spent the past three seasons in Buffalo. He has two goals and six assists in 24 games this season in the final year of his contract. "He provides us with stability and experience back there," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said during a conference call. "Hes a guy thats going to come in here and give us a good steady influence on our back end." Armstrong noted Leopold can play in every situation, including the power play, and ranked second among the Sabres with an average of more than 21 minutes in ice time per game. Leopold has 65 goals and 202 points in 610 career games for Calgary, Colorado, Florida, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Leopold enjoyed his best season with Buffalo in 2010-11, when he reached career highs with 13 goals and 35 points. The Blues (17-14-2) were in need of help after losing three in a row and four of five. They began the day in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, a point ahead of Dallas and Columbus. "We feel a lot stronger. We feel our depth is much more improved as of 3 oclock today than it was 3 oclock yesterday," Armstrong said. "Our goal, first and foremost, we have to get into the playoffs. Weve put ourselves in a position where were going to have to work hard to maintain our position and improve it." The Sabres (13-16-5) have been inconsistent in a season in which theyve already fired coach Lindy Ruff. Buffalo is 3-1-1 in its past five, but began the day sitting 12th in the East. "His contracts up at the end of the year, and where we are as an organization, its an opportunity to get something thats more focused on the future," Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said. Regier suggested everyone on the roster is available for the right price -- including goalie Ryan Miller. "Listen, where our hockey club is right now, we have to be open to listening to just about anything and everything," he said when asked about Miller. "I have talked to all 29 GMs over the last week, and Ill continue to try to figure out ways that we can get better not just for the rest of this year but, more importantly, for the future." Miller, captain Jason Pominville and leading scorer Thomas Vanek each have one more season left on their contracts. The Sabres have traded away two defencemen this month, after T.J. Brennan was dealt to Florida on March 15 in exchange for a fifth-round pick. Earlier in the day, the Blues assigned goalie Jake Allen to Peoria, their American Hockey League affiliate. Elite Darren McFadden Jersey
. Michel Therrien said Lars Eller will return to the line-up. The decision was made Friday, prior to learning about Pacioretty. Therrien said Eller is part of the team and wants a healthy competition. Limited Charles Woodson Jersey
. Cleveland has been awaiting a second meeting with Kelly, the Ducks offensive mastermind, on Saturday to hopefully complete a deal to make him the Browns sixth fulltime coach since 1999. http://www.raiderssportsgear.com/pink-d ... wv-62.html
. France has lost several key players from the team that lost 8-7 to New Zealand in the 2011 final, and coach Philippe Saint-Andres side showed its limitations in defeats to Italy, Wales and England before scraping a 13-13 draw against Ireland. The team needed to overcome a 6-0 halftime deficit on Saturday to edge out Scotland thanks to second-half tries from centre Wesley Fofana and winger Maxime Medard. Raiders #24 Jersey
. Cherry took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, criticizing the Leafs organization for their handling of the 21-year-old prospect Nazem Kadri, most recently with honest comments about Kadris fitness testing. Sebastian Janikowski Jersey
. Ekblad is one of 42 bantam-aged hockey players taking part in this weeks All-State All-Canadians Mentorship Camp led by 21-year NHL veteran Gary Roberts.Happy Monday! Lots to talk about in the NBA. Heres a quick look at a few topics catching my eye around the League. 1. MIKE DANTONI (Lakers): I think we were all convinced that it was Phil Jackson once Mike Brown got whacked. I guess Phils demands were a bit much for the Buss family. Ill say this, if DAntoni thought he had pressure in New York coaching the Knicks, taking this job is a totally different ball game altogether, particularly with the fact that youre getting the job and Phil Jackson isnt. Wow. He did a terrific job in Phoenix and not so good in New York and Denver in his other head coaching stints. When he has talent, hes a terrific offensive innovator who puts his guys in excellent spots to succeed. For most coaches, that should be the case. It wasnt the case with Mike Brown, who I like immensely but this wasnt a good fit for him, nor was he for them. There are a few issues for him to deal with: Dwight Howard is a free agent on July 1. They better win; if not, does he want to deal with drama like this over the long-haul? The bench play is lousy; can they get him some help here? DAntonis style of play is predicated on having a bunch of three-point shooters to open the floor up for pick-and-roll options and penetration. Again, can a few shooters be added here to help? Now its on the players to produce and GM Mitch Kupchak to fix some issues. Will be fun to watch. 2. SMALL FORWARD SPOT (Raptors): When you look at the 3-spot for this team with close to $11 million locked into Landry Fields and Linas Kleiza, the question has to be asked: are you getting enough return on your investment? Add Alan Anderson and Dominic McGuire to the mix at minimal salaries and the big picture here is the fact that this is still a position that has challenges on this team. Rookie Terrence Ross has lots of potential as one of the wing players in the future. I think you can argue that his ceiling is higher than all of these guys long-term. Is he ready to play major minutes against first-unit players in this league right now? Not so sure particularly after four non-playoff seasons and the attempt to improve and be in the hunt for that last playoff spot. Either way, somehow or some way this spot has to become at least consistent for them to be decent. Right now, injuries (Fields and Anderson) and in the case of Kleizaa (excused family absence) are holding back the development of this spot.ddddddddddddBig challenge here - is there a solution in place? Not sure. Could hold them back. Just be solid, steady and decent, whomever plays. 3. JAMAL CRAWFORD (Clippers): Want a guy with pretty good skills who can score for you and still make good plays overall? Then this is your guy. Is he a bit of a gunner? Yes, but he can score. Period. As a second-unit guy he was a good pickup for the Clips. Not sold on him as a starter at this stage of his career but for a team that needs a little veteran scoring punch off the bench, hes not a bad gamble. Hell be a decent guy in the locker room and knows the ins and outs of the league and will be professional. Makes sense to me. New York Jets @ St. Louis Rams Gets suspended for two games and fined for a verbal altercation with Spurs broadcaster Sean Elliott. Is this kid for real? I think hes got immense potential but there comes a point where you just shake your head and wonder, "Will the light ever come on fully?" Someone needs to get to this guy and talk some sense to him (Im sure hes had tons of folks try) and get him to recognize that hes got a chance to have a very good career if he gets it together. I really like his game but Im concerned with his immaturity. If he doesnt get it together, hell be your classic head case that will bounce around from team to team with coaches and GMs taking a chance at him due to his potential, and the chance of lots of folks losing their jobs due to the risk not being worth it. Enough is enough. Grow up, shut up, produce, be professional and help your team turn it around. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. 5. CHASE BUDINGER (T-Wolves): Knee Injury. He was playing quite well this season and has good shooting touch as well as very good athletic ability with a solid overall floor game. Tough break. Seemed like an ideal style of play for him playing for coach Rick Adelman and now this. If youre the training staff in Minnesota youre working OT big-time. Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, JJ Barea and Brandon Roy (how much does he have left?) are all injured. This team when healthy has the vibe of a playoff team or at the very least a tough out every night but how long can they hold on and deal with issues like this? ' ' '