Cory Conacher made his Senators debut Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Canisius star Conacher thrilled to play in Buffalo again

BUFFALO – Cory Conacher’s family and friends all had their tickets for April 14, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first visit here this season. The homecoming promised to be a special night for the former Canisius College star, the first Golden Griffins product to crack the NHL.

The 23-year-old’s parents reserved a suite inside the First Niagara Center. The Sabres plan to honor Canisius’ recent NCAA Tournament team that night, Conacher said.

Then, in one of ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford wants to stay with the Sabres. ©2013, San Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Stafford relieved trade deadline has passed

BUFFALO – Dealing with Wednesday’s trade deadline wasn’t easy for struggling winger Drew Stafford, one of several Sabres rumored to be on the move.

“I was definitely by my phone,” Stafford said this morning inside the First Niagara Center after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s contest against the Ottawa Senators. “I know that those days can definitely be stressful. It definitely was, especially near the end there when my phone was blowing up around ... Read the full article

Steve Ott skates this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Winning, not Sabres’ captaincy, on Ott’s mind

BUFFALO – Steve Ott said this morning the captaincy isn’t on his radar. The gritty winger, arguably the Sabres’ biggest heart-and-soul-player, received an assistant captaincy for the rest of the season after captain Jason Pominville was traded Wednesday.

Getting the “C” next year seems like a natural progression for popular 30-year-old veteran.

“I truly want to just be a hockey player on this team,” Ott said inside the First Niagara Center after preparing for tonight’s ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek drove Jason Pominville to the airport Thursday morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres know Pominville’s departure could only be first major move

BUFFALO – Darcy Regier’s strong words stuck with Thomas Vanek. Prior to Saturday, the general manager had never publicly made any of his Sabres available to other teams during his long tenure. At that point, four days before trade deadline, the slick winger knew major changes could hit the Sabres.

Sure enough, Regier dealt captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday for two prospects and two draft picks.

It could just be the ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville played his first game with the Wild on Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Pominville calls trade from Sabres ‘a shock,’ makes Wild debut

BUFFALO – Jason Pominville felt his 11-year run with the Sabres organization could be ending. Before Wednesday’s trade deadline, the struggling team asked its captain to submit a list of eight clubs he could refuse a trade to. The Sabres, a colossal disappointment this season, seemed ripe for a major shakeup.

Still, when Sabres general manager Darcy Regier called Wednesday and said he had been traded to Minnesota, the star winger was shocked.

“It’s still ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek wants to talk to management. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Close friends sad to see Pominville leave Sabres; Vanek unsure about future

BUFFALO – After trading captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild, general manager Darcy Regier said the Sabres’ reconstruction could take some time.

Slick winger Thomas Vanek recently said he “would probably look in the other direction” if the Sabres had a two- or three-year plan.

So, did Wednesday’s deal, coupled with earlier trades of defensemen Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr, change Vanek’s mind?

“Probably, I mean, obviously we gave up three good players ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville became a Sabres regular in 2005-06. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres thinking long-term after trading captain Pominville to Wild

BUFFALO – Instead of trading captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild before the deadline Wednesday, the 13th-place Sabres could’ve tried staying in the playoff chase and acquiring another player to make a run at eighth place, general manager Darcy Regier said.

But the Sabres, whose owner, Terry Pegula, has spent tens of millions of dollars pursuing his championship dream, no longer embrace that kind of philosophy.

They’ve started thinking long-term.

“The preference ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville played 578 games with the Sabres. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres shift focus to future after trading Pominville to Wild

BUFFALO – The Minnesota Wild first asked the Sabres about star winger Jason Pominville three weeks ago, general manager Darcy Regier.

When the Wild’s interest diminished, Regier still approached his captain for a list of eight teams he could refuse a trade to. Regier said he had “no real interest” in trading Pominville, although he wanted to keep his options open.

Then, Tuesday night, Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, who had been talking with Regier ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville will reportedly leave the Sabres. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Report: Sabres trade captain Pominville to Wild

BUFFALO – RDS is reporting the Sabres traded captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild this afternoon.

It’s believed winger Johan Larsson and goalie Matt Hackett are coming back to the Sabres.

Pominville said Tuesday in Pittsburgh he understood he could get dealt.

“I understand the business of things,” Pominville said. “I understand (general manager) Darcy (Regier) has a job to do, and he’s trying to do his best to do what’s best for the ... Read the full article

Kevin Porter scored twice Tuesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres stun Penguins, end 15-game winning streak

PITTSBURGH – The stunning victory might serve as one final reminder of the potential the 2012-13 Buffalo Sabres possess.

On Tuesday, the reeling Sabres limped into Consol Energy Center losers of four straight, just hours away from a possible fire sale before the trade deadline hits at 3 p.m. today.

The mighty Penguins, winners of 15 straight, awaited them. The powerhouse club had blanked its last three opponents and stood just two victories from tying ... Read the full article