Tyler Ennis has scored four goals this season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Ex-Sabres star Tyler Ennis embracing new role with Maple Leafs

BUFFALO – Instead of being relied upon to produce offense, ex-Sabres winger Tyler Ennis is now a fourth-liner.

Sure, Ennis, 29, skates on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ second power-play unit. The former first-round pick even started the season on the No. 1 line beside center Auston Matthews and Patrick Marleau.

But Ennis is no longer the ultra-slick presence from his early days. The concussions he suffered in his final seasons with the Sabres helped stymie ... Read the full article

Conor Sheary has missed four games. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Conor Sheary to return against Maple Leafs

BUFFALO – Suddenly, the Sabres have a three-game losing streak. Sure, they lost three road contests by one goal. It should also be noted the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators, the NHL’s top two clubs points-wise, beat them.

So the Sabres’ 0-2-1 run – they earned a point in Friday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers – isn’t a normal losing skid.

Still, the Sabres, who have another stiff test tonight against the ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark looked sharp as Friday's game progressed. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres implode early, rally in loss to Maple Leafs

TORONTO – Following a three-year AHL apprenticeship, the Sabres expect goalie Linus Ullmark to play around 30 games this season as their new backup.

So watching the Maple Leafs score on their first two shots and three of their first eight in the opening 3:42 of Friday’s preseason tilt had to be concerning.

Then Ullmark, 25, settled down nicely after the Sabres, who opened the scoring 30 seconds in, fell behind 3-1. Over the final ... Read the full article

Victor Antipin's rookie season is over. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres upset NHL didn’t suspend Scott Hartnell for hit

TORONTO – A seething Phil Housley paused before answering the question. The Buffalo Sabres coach clearly wanted to choose his words carefully while still expressing his anger over the NHL’s decision not to suspended Scott Hartnell.

In Saturday’s 7-4 win in Nashville, the Predators forward hit Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin from behind, knocking his head into the glass. The rookie was probably out cold before his body hit the ice.

Antipin will miss the ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart scores on Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen on Feb. 11, 2017 in Toronto. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres finally renew long rivalry with Maple Leafs

BUFFALO – When the NHL scheduled the only four tilts between the Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs over a 28-day late-season stretch, the league likely envisioned the fierce rivals would be battling for playoff spots or positioning.

Sixty-six games into another lost season, the last-place Sabres finally play the Leafs tonight at KeyBank Center, their first meeting since April 3, 2017.

The Sabres, of course, are playing for pride. The Leafs, meanwhile, are firmly ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues grew up cheering for the Maple Leafs. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Toronto debut special for Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues

TORONTO – Growing up in Etobicoke, about a 20-minute drive from the Air Canada Centre, Alexander Mogilny’s talents mesmerized Buffalo Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues.

By the early 2000s, long after his dynamic 76-goal season with the Sabres in 1992-93, Mogilny was still an electrifying presence for some strong Maple Leafs teams.

“He was always trying something new,” Rodrigues said Saturday prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 win against the Leafs. “He always made some real ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (right) has 10 goals and 17 points in 22 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel, Leafs’ Auston Matthews meet with Toronto surging

TORONTO – The Maple Leafs, like the Buffalo Sabres of a year ago, had to improve this season because 30th place was no longer their target.

After bottoming out on purpose, the Leafs added first overall pick Auston Matthews to their large stable of young talent. They also have Mike Babcock, arguably the NHL’s best coach.

Few, however, expected the upstart Leafs would be this good this soon. Right now, having won eight of the ... Read the full article

Jhonas Enroth signed a one-year contract with Toronto in August. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Leafs goalie Jhonas Enroth waited to find new job

BUFFALO – This city, Jhonas Enroth said, will always “have a soft spot in my heart.” The Swede grew up with the Sabres, often performing like the team’s goalie of the future during his 118-game run here.

But almost two years after his last appearance with the Sabres, “the feeling is starting to cool down a little bit,” Enroth said Thursday prior to the Sabres’ 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs are ... Read the full article

Mike Babcock watched the World Series on Thursday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Emotions of World Series wowed Leafs’ Mike Babcock

BUFFALO – Mike Babcock, admittedly, is “not a huge baseball fan.” Still, the Toronto Maple Leafs coach couldn’t help but watch Game 7 of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians late Thursday night and early this morning.

The actual game, a classic that Chicago won 8-7 in 10 innings, didn’t wow Babcock as much as the emotions and scenes in and around the ballpark.

“What a spectacular thing for a city,” ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart scored the shootout winner Monday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Top talent rallies Sabres past Leafs

TORONTO – Call it whatever you want – a tank, a deep rebuild – the Maple Leafs gutted their roster recently, leaving coach Mike Babcock a team filled with unknown neophytes to mold into NHL talent.

The Buffalo Sabres, meanwhile, have already endured what the Leafs are just beginning: a total overhaul. The Sabres are, theoretically, two years ahead of Toronto.

At this stage, they should exploit a reeling club dressing six rookies. The Sabres ... Read the full article