Carlo Colaiacovo didn't sign a contract until October last year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Carlo Colaiacovo excited for opportunity with Sabres

BUFFALO – Two days after signing a one-year contract with the Sabres, Carlo Colaiacovo hadn’t stopped smiling yet, the defenseman said Sunday.

A year ago, Colaiacovo couldn’t find work. As the summer dragged on, the free agent became uneasy. The stress wore on him.

Colaiacovo eventually decided to bolt to a Russian club in the KHL. But the contract took so long to consummate a one-year-deal with Philadelphia materialized in October before he could leave.... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons could have a long career with the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ recent drafts have yielded mixed results

SUNRISE, Fla. – How good have the Buffalo Sabres drafted in recent years? Judge for yourself below.

Since most drafts don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at the Sabres’ selections from 2007-12 and some notable hits and misses. Sixteen of Buffalo’s 45 draft choices over that time – 36 percent – have made the NHL.

The Sabres have eight picks at this weekend’s NHL Draft, including the No. 2 selection, ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen (55) battles Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds for the puck earlier this year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen enjoying career-best stretch

BUFFALO – It was March 14, and Zach Bogosian’s injury had suddenly left the Sabres short-handed. Coach Ted Nolan needed a defenseman to fill the newcomer’s big minutes, so he turned to 20-year-old Rasmus Ristolainen, one of his top prospects.

At times, Ristolainen’s second NHL season had been a rough ride. He had already been playing 20 minutes many nights. Why add more to the youngster’s plate?

Nolan wanted to see how Ristolainen, ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Matt Hackett stops Arizona's Shane Doan on Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres fans revel in loss, cheer for Coyotes

BUFFALO – Mike Weber spoke passionately, like a man who felt jilted. The gritty defenseman had just experienced perhaps the oddest game of his career, the Sabres’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

The payoff, the prize for all the “suffering” for two seasons had been laid in front of Sabres fans Thursday, creating a bizarre scene inside the First Niagara Center that will likely never be repeated.

A loss to the 29th... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko has one goal this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Mikhail Grigorenko grateful for Ted Nolan’s honesty

BUFFALO – Sabres center Mikhail Grigorenko appreciates coach Ted Nolan’s honesty and tough love. The 20-year-old Russian sees it as a sign of support.

“I know everyone wants me to succeed in this organization,” Grigorenko said Thursday prior to the Sabres’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes inside the First Niagara Center. “Everyone has their ways. Teddy, he thinks being hard on me is only going to help me.”

Nolan ripped Grigorenko following his ... Read the full article

Matt Hackett has played three games this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Matt Hackett to start against Coyotes; Jerry D’Amigo out for season

BUFFALO – Naturally, starting Matt Hackett, a goalie with a weak .893 save percentage, over Anders Lindback, who has a gaudy .926 save percentage, for tonight’s McEichel showdown against the Arizona Coyotes might raise a few eyebrows.

But Sabres coach Ted Nolan has plenty of reasons to start Hackett, who made 40 saves in Saturday’s 3-0 loss in Nashville. The 25-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent if he doesn’t play five more games.... Read the full article

Matt Hackett has started three games this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Matt Hackett ready for start, must deal with soreness

BUFFALO – Almost a year later, Matt Hackett hasn’t fully recovered from his torn right ACL. The goalie still experiences soreness after games, so the Sabres want him to rest.

The 25-year-old performed strongly in Saturday’s 3-0 loss in Nashville, making 40 saves. But Sabres coach Ted Nolan started Anders Lindback on Monday in Dallas.

Hackett will likely start tonight’s contest against the Arizona Coyotes, his fourth nod this season.

“He fought through a long ... Read the full article

Ted Nolan knows Buffalo understands the value of hard work. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ted Nolan expects crowd to be respectful Thursday

BUFFALO – The scene could be bizarre Thursday for the “Game of Weak” showdown between the Sabres and the Arizona Coyotes, the NHL’s two worst teams.

Would Sabres fans really cheer for the Coyotes, who have a five-point lead, inside the First Niagara Center? Would they boo a Sabres goal?

After all, another Sabres loss would essentially secure them 30th place, meaning they are guaranteed either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, the two ... Read the full article

Ted Nolan's team hasn't quit on the season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ted Nolan expects fans will respect Sabres’ effort Thursday

BUFFALO – The scene could be bizarre for Thursday’s highly anticipated McEichel sweepstakes showdown between the Sabres and the Arizona Coyotes, the NHL’s two worst teams.

Would Sabres fans really cheer for the Coyotes, who have a three-point lead, inside the First Niagara Center? Would they boo a Sabres goal?

Sabres coach Ted Nolan expects the city’s blue-collar fans will appreciate his team’s effort.

“I don’t think you have to say anything to this city,” ... Read the full article

Patrick Kaleta should return next week. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Patrick Kaleta nearing return; Zach Bogosian out against Devils

BUFFALO – If Patrick Kaleta keeps progressing, the Sabres winger will likely miss three more games and return from his knee injury next Thursday against Arizona.

“It’s just how it reacts to battle drills and divots and all that sort of stuff,” Kaleta said Thursday after his first full practice. “I have more mobility in my knee now, so it’s building up the strength and getting the movements down. Once you start doing things that ... Read the full article