Fans continue to support the Buffalo Sabres with their votes and their wallets.
The NHL released updated voting totals for the Eastern Conference All-Star team Tuesday, and Ryan Miller, Brian Campbell and Daniel Briere are on pace to be named starters for the Jan. 24 exhibition in Dallas.
Miller leads the goaltenders with 253,024 votes, 44,532 ahead of second-place Marc-Andre Fleury of Pittsburgh. Campbell is second among defensemen with 242,852 votes, trailing only Toronto's Bryan McCabe (245,976). Briere (214,295) holds the third forward spot behind runaway leader Sidney Crosby (401,365) and his Pittsburgh teammate Evgeni Malkin (217,146).
Sabres forwards Maxim Afinogenov (200,776) and Chris Drury (156,788) are fifth and sixth in the voting. Thomas Vanek leads in write-in votes with 92,103, good for 10th among forwards. Defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who hasn't played since Oct. 26 because of a broken forearm, is nonetheless fifth among defensemen at 202,637.
The league also released information about November sales at NHL.com, and the Sabres were the top-selling team for the second straight month. The NHL said Sabres' sales totals were up about 1,000 percent from November 2005.
Customized Sabres jerseys were the league's top seller and the Miller T-shirt was No. 3. Crosby had the highest-selling jersey, while Afinogenov (second), Miller (third), Briere (fourth), Jason Pominville (seventh) and Drury (eighth) were all in the top 10.
Dave Andreychuk is going golfing in the land where the sport was invented, compliments of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning honored its former captain in the St. Pete Times Forum prior to facing the Sabres, with whom Andreychuk began his career. The 20-minute ceremony included a 10-minute video with speeches by Andreychuk, Scotty Bowman, Craig Ramsay and Doug Gilmour.
Andreychuk's parents, wife and three children were in attendance, and the club provided gifts to all. The Lightning presented Andreychuk with a rocking chair, a walker equipped with ice skates and a large plaque with a picture of the player and his family holding the Stanley Cup, flanked by the score sheets from his first and final games.
A bagpipe band then entered, and the emcee announced that the Lightning was sending Andreychuk to the British Isles for a golf vacation.
Doug Janik's three-year career with Buffalo could be summed up like this: OK, Doug, someone's hurt, so come up from Rochester and play tonight. Just don't mess up.
Now that the defenseman is with Tampa Bay, his career is totally different. Not only is it OK if he messes up, the Lightning expects it. And the team is all right with that.
"We want to develop him. We feel he has a very bright future," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "He makes mistakes. Sometimes you have to turn your head and live with those mistakes, especially at that position, defense, because it's such a tough position to play. You have to allow them to live through their mistakes without being totally on top of them. We feel he's coming."
There was a stretch in early November when Tortorella felt the mistakes were weighing on Janik, so he reduced the 26-year-old's minutes. But since being paired with Dan Boyle late last month, Janik has become a regular. He's playing more than 17 minutes and has dressed for all 28 games, including Tuesday night's home game against the Sabres.
"I'm just trying to work hard," said Janik, who played only 15 games with the Sabres. "It's nice to start the year here and be here all year. You get a lot more confidence, a lot more rhythm."e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org