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Neale to replace Lorentz

The Toronto Star reported today that Harry Neale is set to replace Jim Lorenz as the Buffalo Sabres color commentator.  This is great news for Sabres fans as Neale is a very knowledgeable hockey guy who has worked almost exclusively as a Leafs commentator.  Neale is a Western New York resident so the move makes sense for both sides.

According to sources, the Buffalo Sabres will announce today that analyst Harry Neale is leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs' regional broadcasts to join them.  

If the news proves to be true I will be one of the most excited Sabres fans around.  I did not get an opportunity to listen to John Tucker doing the color but Matthew Barnaby was absolutely awful.  Mike Robitaille does an outstanding job but he also does a great job on The Shootout, the Buffalo Sabres postgame show on MSG.

In other Sabres News:

Sabres complete roster

The Sabres sent three players down to Rochester and Clarke MacArthur still remains with the team.

Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier announced today the team has assigned forwards Mark Mancari and Marek Zagrapan, and defenseman Michael Funk to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.

There was speculation that Mike Funk might beat out Andrej Sekera for the seventh defenseman spot but it appears that Sekera held off Funk, at least temporarily.

Kotalik is out

Sabres forward Ales Kotalik is going to miss the opening weekend of the season Lindy Ruff announced today.  Kotalik was expected to open the season on a line with Tim Connolly.  Connolly had missed most of the pre-season with a strained groin but he scored a goal in his only game Saturday night against Pittsburgh.

Sabres forward Ales Kotalik is expected to miss Buffalo's season opener against the New York Islanders on Friday because of a knee injury.

Coach Lindy Ruff said Monday that Kotalik is experiencing pain in his knee and has not been cleared to skate.

"It doesn't look good for playing in the opener or this opening weekend, but I wouldn't project past that of him missing any more games," Ruff said.

Party Time

The Sabres announced that they would have a party in the plaza before Friday's home opener.  The party in the plaza became famous last year when the Sabres drew a crowd of 10,000 people to watch a playoff game on a giant TV screen outside the Arena.

The Buffalo Sabres will holding a "Party in the Plaza" prior to the game.

The festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. outside HSBC Arena in the Plaza area located near Perry and Illinois St. where fans can enjoy live music from the Tommy Z Band. There will also be special guest appearances throughout the night, and a 12' by 9' video monitor where fans will be able to watch a live broadcast of the game. Food and drink will be available for purchase; with a three beer limit. The Presidents’ Trophy will also be on display for fans to see.

Fans should also be reminded that Perry Street will be closed from Washington St. to Illinois St. by 4 p.m. to allow families to enjoy the festivities.  Fans driving to HSBC Arena should plan alternate routes to account for the street closings.