Tim Gleason and Steve Ott fight during the first period Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Anemic Sabres showcase little finish in loss to Hurricanes

BUFFALO – Lindy Ruff spent four games patiently waiting for his anemic, one-line offense to jumpstart itself. The Sabres coach mostly left his combinations intact, believing they’d eventually shake out of their funks.

But following Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes before 18,824 fans inside the First Niagara Center, Ruff finally had enough.

The top trio of Cody Hodgson, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek will remain intact. With another goal from Vanek on Friday, ... Read the full article

Ville Leino had a good 20-minute skate Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres say no surgery planned for Leino’s injured hip

BUFFALO – Right now, Sabres winger Ville Leino has no plans to undergo surgery on the injured right hip that sidelined him a fourth straight game Friday.

Leino enjoyed a strong 20-minute skate Friday morning inside the First Niagara Center before he began feeling tired and the hip tightened up, he said. Still, that represents progress.

“It feels better,” Leino said prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. “Today it felt a ... Read the full article

Nathan Gerbe made his season debut Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Gerbe: ‘I just decided to not touch him and keep my mouth shut’

BUFFALO – Can you blame Nathan Gerbe for getting really hot?

Following offseason spine surgery, the Sabres winger endured a long and arduous road back to the ice.

Then, minutes into his season debut Thursday, Carolina’s Drayson Bowman knocked Gerbe into the boards from behind, a scary hit similar to the one that began his troubles.

Gerbe, understandably, was livid during the ensuing scrum. But when he began jawing with Chad LaRose, referee Dan ... Read the full article

Ville Leino hasn't played yet this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Leino says injured hip improving, has no plans for surgery

BUFFALO – Right now, Sabres winger Ville Leino has no plans to undergo surgery on the injured right hip that will sideline him a fourth straight game tonight.

Leino enjoyed a strong 20-minute skate this morning inside the First Niagara Center before he began feeling tired and the hip tightened up, he said. Still, that represents progress.

“It feels better,” Leino said this morning. “Today it felt a lot better.”

Surgery, Leino said, could be ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller lost a shutout with 1:42 left in the game Monday. ©2013. Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

How many more shutouts could Miller have?

BUFFALO – In his 462-game career, Sabres goalie Ryan Miller has 28 shutouts. That’s one every 16.5 games or an average of four per full season.

But how many more shutouts could Miller have?

When the Maple Leafs’ Nazem Kadri scored with 1:42 left in the Sabres’ 2-1 win Monday in Toronto, it was the seventh time had Miller lost a shutout with three minutes or less left in the game, according to a local ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville (front) and Thomas Vanek began skating together regularly last season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Pominville, Vanek proving to be dynamic wing combination

BUFFALO – Early in the second period of the Sabres’ 2-1 win Monday, Thomas Vanek knocked Nikolai Kulemin down in his own zone, grabbed the loose puck and zoomed down the left wing into Toronto territory on a three-on-two break.

Vanek then laid a perfect pass over to Jason Pominville, almost without looking, as he stopped at the top of the left circle. Cody Hodgson, meanwhile, was roaring to the crease with a ... Read the full article

Nathan Gerbe practiced with Mikhail Grigorenko and Steve Ott on Wednesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Gerbe close to returning; Enroth to get first start

BUFFALO – While Nathan Gerbe still had to be cleared to play Wednesday, it appears the feisty Sabres winger could make his season debut tonight in Carolina after undergoing offseason spine surgery.

Gerbe skated on the wing Wednesday beside 18-year-old rookie Mikhail Grigorenko and Steve Ott, his first action on a regular line this year.

“We’ll see where he’s at (today),” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

Gerbe underwent ... Read the full article

Nathan Gerbe could make his season debut Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Gerbe skating on line with Grigorenko, could return Thursday

BUFFALO – While Nathan Gerbe still must be cleared to play, it appears the feisty Sabres winger could make his season debut Thursday in Carolina after undergoing offseason spine surgery.

Gerbe skated on the wing this morning beside 18-year-old rookie Mikhail Grigorenko and Steve Ott, his first action on a regular line this year.

“We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

Gerbe underwent ... Read the full article

Cody Hodgson already has two goals in two games this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres banking on youngsters Ennis, Hodgson becoming top centers

BUFFALO – The inexperience is their greatest asset and most glaring weakness. It excites and worries Sabres coach Lindy Ruff in the same breath.

His top two centers, Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson, are true neophytes, veterans of just a combined 235 NHL games.

Ennis only began playing center regularly late last year, his second full season. The 23-year-old was dynamic, though, compiling eight goals and 19 points over a 12-game stretch.

Hodgson, meanwhile, ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller dazzled Monday while making 34 saves. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres showcase more toughness in gritty win over Leafs

TORONTO – Remember this one. The Buffalo Sabres’ gritty 2-1 triumph over the Maple Leafs on Monday could be their blueprint for success in this lockout-shortened season.

Against a team fresh off a big opening-night win and playing its first home tilt, the Sabres showcased unyielding muscle, capitalized on their few chances early and received splendid goaltending from Ryan Miller before a capacity crowd of 19,475 fans inside the Air Canada Centre.

“We came in ... Read the full article