Steve Ott can't wait to make his Sabres debut. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ott: ‘Time to celebrate that hockey’s back’

BUFFALO – All along, Steve Ott took the optimistic approach. Throughout the 113-day NHL lockout, the Sabres winger believed a season would eventually be played.

Still, when Ott heard Saturday’s marathon bargaining session between the NHL and the Players’ Association could result in the long-awaited agreement, he was “pretty cautious.”

“I didn’t want to get too overly excited because every time it seemed a deal would start gaining some ground the wheels would fall ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford thinks a 48-game schedule would be a grind. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

1994-95 Sabres recall fun and intense 48-game season

BUFFALO – Buckle up, Sabres fans. You could be watching a lot of intense, high-stakes hockey very soon.

If the NHL and the Players’ Association reach a new collective bargaining agreement by next Friday’s deadline, the league will most likely begin a shortened 48-game schedule against conference opponents Jan. 19.

Sure, losing 34 contests from the normal 82-game slate may be disappointing. But the increased importance of each game could make for some wildly entertaining ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis believes players must get their "nose to the grindstone." ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players ratcheting up workouts as optimism for season increases

AMHERST – For the first time in the NHL’s agonizing 109-day lockout, players “know there could be an end in sight,” Buffalo Sabres forward Matt Ellis said today, “whether we are playing or whether we’re not playing.”

Of course, nothing’s finalized yet, but positive signs are emerging a schedule of 48 games or so could begin later this month. The NHL and the Players’ Association have been tight-lipped as they’ve exchanged detailed proposals over the ... Read the full article

Luke Adam recently reeled off five goals and nine points in eight games. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Adam feeling confident again

BUFFALO – It was a year in the making. During a recent eight-game run, Rochester Americans forward Luke Adam morphed into a dynamic presence again, using his 6-foot-2, 206-pound frame to dominate down low.

Adam compiled five goals – he had only six in his first 44 games with the Amerks dating back to last season – and nine points, including scores in four straight. He was tough on pucks, won battles and got to ... Read the full article

T.J. Brennan already has 12 goals this season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Amerks’ Brennan making strong case to stick with Sabres if NHL season starts

BUFFALO – In the coming weeks, if the NHL and the Players’ Association hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement, the Sabres will convene for an abbreviated training camp and begin molding a six-man defense corps from a stacked group that stretches more than 10 deep.

The Sabres boast eight NHL defensemen after acquiring Adam Pardy from Dallas this summer. Eleven defenders in the organization appeared in the big leagues last season, including T.J. Brennan, ... Read the full article

Marcus Foligno scored the overtime winner in Wednesday's wild 7-6 win. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Amerks not expecting another crazy affair

BUFFALO – So, about those two wild 7-6 games between the Rochester Americans and the Lake Erie Monsters recently.

The Sabres’ AHL affiliate rallied from three three-goal deficits Dec. 13 in Cleveland. Then, incredibly, the Amerks rallied again late Wednesday in Rochester, forcing overtime before Marcus Foligno won it.

Don’t expect another goal bonanza tonight inside the First Niagara Center.

“They’re going to be pretty (ticked) off they blew a couple leads there,” said ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe has nine points in 16 games with the University of Wisconsin. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect McCabe named Team USA captain

BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Jake McCabe has been named captain for Team USA’s entry in the 2013 world junior championship in Ufa, Russia.

The 19-year-old defenseman, the 44th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has two goals, nine points and 18 penalty minutes in 16 games with the University of Wisconsin this season.

The Sabres had the sophomore rated as a first-round choice.... Read the full article

Steve Ott wants the NHL to bring its players a new offer. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ott believes new CBA needed ‘in next 10 days’ to save season

AMHERST – Forget that no drop-dead date to save the NHL season has been set 98 days into the lockout. Whether anyone acknowledges it, with Christmas and 2013 quickly approaching, the clock is beginning to tick loudly.

“A deal better be done in the next 10 days, or I guess you can say the league will just lock the doors again like they did (by canceling the season) in ’04 and continue to ruin the ... Read the full article

Seats in NHL arenas could stay empty the entire season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

NHL cancels games through Jan. 14

BUFFALO – Seven more Sabres contests were erased with the NHL’s sixth round of game cancellations today. With all games through Jan. 14 canceled, 42 Sabres tilts – 51.2 percent of their 82-game schedule – have been axed 96 days into the lockout.

The league has now canceled 625 games, a shocking 50.8 percent of the season.

Sadly, the next set of cancellations could be the biggest – the rest of the season.

While ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko already has 29 goals and 50 points in 30 games. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Reports: Sabres to keep Grigorenko in junior

BUFFALO – Some interesting news out of Quebec, where some media outlets have reported slick Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko will stay with the QMJHL’s Remparts for the entire season.

Sabres general manager Darcy Regier had said the Russian center, the 12th overall pick in June’s NHL Entry Draft, would be given “every opportunity” to make the big leagues.

Of course, back then another lockout seemed unimaginable. Training camp will be abbreviated if it ... Read the full article