Thomas Vanek's scoring pace would be high for a normal 82-game season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres can’t rely on Vanek’s sizzling production forever

BUFFALO – Follow Sabres superstar Thomas Vanek’s dynamic run closely. Enjoy watching the nifty goals, the points and knowing each time he steps on the ice something special could happen.

This might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. NHL players just don’t score at Vanek’s torrid pace anymore.

The slick Austrian already has 10 goals and 21 points through 10 appearances, a stat line from eras past. He’s on track for 47 goals and 99 points in ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville celebrates his shootout-winning goal Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Buoyed by Vanek, Sabres rally late, stun Canadiens in shootout

BUFFALO – As the final seconds ticked away Thursday toward the Sabres’ fourth straight loss, thousands of disgusted fans left the First Niagara Center. The remnants of the crowd of 18,866 booed their struggling team mercilessly.

During one of the final whistles, The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” blared loudly from the speakers, including the never-more-appropriate verse, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

Were the Sabres trying to create a good atmosphere ... Read the full article

Christian Ehrhoff returned Thursday following a one-game absence. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ehrhoff’s return pushes Pardy out of Sabres’ lineup

BUFFALO – Going back to the minors was difficult at first, Adam Pardy said. Other than a two-game conditioning stint last season, the Sabres defenseman had spent more than four years in the NHL.

Then the Sabres, who acquired Pardy from Dallas in July, waived the 28-year-old during training camp last month. Numbers kicked Pardy, the ninth defenseman in an eight-man race, back to the AHL.

“It’s something I’ve never went through before,” Pardy said ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff keeps trying to reinvent things around his team. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ruff insists Sabres haven’t become stale

BUFFALO – Like it or not, the Sabres have a stale perception around the NHL.

Coach Lindy Ruff and general manager Darcy Regier have been together more than 15 years without winning a Stanley Cup. Right now, after losing seven of eight, they’re barreling toward a second straight season out of the playoffs. They’ve missed the postseason six times in 10 seasons with much of the same personnel.

So, Lindy, are things getting stale? Would ... Read the full article

Christian Ehrhoff skated this morning. ©2013. Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ehrhoff plans to return tonight

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ banged-up defense corps should be getting their best player back tonight against the Montreal Canadiens.

Christian Ehrhoff, sidelined by a muscle strain Tuesday, skated this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

“I took the whole skate and I’m ready to go tonight,” Ehrhoff said afterward.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff wouldn’t pronounce Ehrhoff fully ready yet, however.

“He’s going to take warm-up tonight and we’ll see where he’s at,” Ruff said. “Early ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff postponed a scheduled off day Wednesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Last-place Sabres trying to dig out of early-season hole

BUFFALO – Everything’s becoming ugly very quickly for the reeling Sabres, whose season is already on the brink of collapsing after losing three straight contests and seven of the last eight.

Three wins and seven points through 10 games have them mired in last place in the Northeast Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference following Tuesday’s 4-3 defeat in Ottawa, a game they nearly roared back and tied.

Incredibly, depending how some other ... Read the full article

Patrick Kaleta was taken to the hospital on a stretcher last week. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kaleta nearing return following scary neck injury

BUFFALO – If Sabres agitator Patrick Kaleta has his way, he’ll return to the lineup tonight against the Montreal Canadiens

Forget that the winger left the First Niagara Center on a stretcher last Tuesday after injuring his neck and spent the night in the hospital. Forget that he’s only been through one non-contact practice. Forget that coach Lindy Ruff wasn’t sure if the 26-year-old has even been cleared to play yet.

“I’m available whenever ... Read the full article

Pressure will only mount on Lindy Ruff if the Sabres keep losing. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Reeling Sabres searching for answers on ‘off day’

BUFFALO – The stumblebum Sabres have lost three straight contests and seven of eight. Tens tilts into the 48-game schedule, they have only three wins and seven points. They’re last in the Northeast Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference after falling 4-3 on Tuesday in Ottawa following a late rally.

After missing the playoffs last season and starting this campaign so wretchedly, should the Sabres be concerned changes are coming among the player ... Read the full article

Mike Weber isn't practicing this afternoon ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ defense corps getting woefully thin

BUFFALO – Remember just a few weeks ago when the Sabres’ defense corps went nine deep? Heck, they even waived Adam Pardy, an NHL veteran.

Well, the Sabres are down to five defensemen this afternoon at practice inside the First Niagara Center.

Mike Weber’s the newest name missing. Stay tuned for an update. It could merely be a maintenance day. He joins Christian Ehrhoff (muscle strain), Robyn Regehr (lower body) and Andrej Sekera (bruised ... Read the full article

Jhonas Enroth hasn't won a game since Nov. 26, 2011. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Enroth has lots riding on second start

Fifteen months ago today, Jhonas Enroth, who will make his second start of the season tonight in Ottawa, was stealing the Buffalo Sabres’ starting goalie job from Ryan Miller.

On that night at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, the young backup received a surprise nod, keeping the former Vezina Trophy on the bench a second straight game.

Enroth sparkled again, making 25 saves in a 3-2 shootout win over the Senators.

The rookie’s dynamic play had ... Read the full article