By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Rob Ray of the Sabres

Taken in Round 5 in 1988

Other pick in that round: Peter Popovic, a Montreal draft choice, went at No. 93 and played almost 500 NHL games. The star of that round, though, is coming up in a few days.

The details: Rob has been part of the furniture in Buffalo for more than 30 years. He broke in with the Sabres in 1989-90 and stayed through 2003. Ray retired after a brief stop in Ottawa, and returned “home” to raise a family and work with the Sabres’ broadcast team. It’s been a nice run for a 40-goal scorer in the NHL – even if it took him 900 games to reach that number.

Other 97s: Richard Smehlik stepped into the Sabres lineup in 1992, and stayed through 2002. A steady, underrated defenseman, Smehlik was a good-sized part of some fine Sabre teams in the 1990s. Safety Coy Wire was a backup safety for the Bills for six seasons in the 2000s.
Doug Rombough was a spare center for the Sabres in 1973-74.

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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