Josh Gorges (4) has been battling an upper-body injury. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Healthy Sabres defense corps presents problem

BUFFALO – In reality, it’s a good problem. With Josh Gorges ready to play, the Sabres have eight healthy defensemen. Given the rough-and-tumble nature of the position, bodies are always at a premium, especially at this time of year.

Still, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma doesn’t like it much. He’s already had to mothball defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, who has played one game since Dec. 7. Now someone else must sit.

What will the Sabres do? Could ... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian suffered a lower-body injury early in training camp. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Zach Bogosian regaining old form

BUFFALO – In seven seasons in Atlanta and Winnipeg, two NHL cities a long ways from Massena, Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian never enjoyed the comfort he has felt playing just five hours from home.

As an upstate New York guy, Bogosian feels he “can really relate to a lot of people in the area.” He’s so close to home his father, Ike, drives to Buffalo for almost every game.

“It’s just been a comfort maybe ... Read the full article

Phil Varone scored his fifth NHL goal Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Phil Varone feeling good after goal in season debut

BUFFALO – Just 18 days ago, when the Rochester Americans made their yearly visit to the First Niagara Center, Phil Varone watched as a healthy scratch. At that point, almost halfway through his fifth professional season, the forward appeared to be on the outs with the Sabres organization.

Despite playing 28 NHL games last year and earning a contract worth $200,000 in the minors, Varone’s poor play and the Amerks’ glut of veterans helped him ... Read the full article

Evander Kane played four seasons in Winnipeg. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Evander Kane downplays return to Winnipeg

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Evander Kane, understandably, has been tight-lipped about his return to Winnipeg, where he spent four tumultuous seasons with the Jets.

Beyond offering some clichés, Kane, 24, hasn’t said much about this afternoon’s tilt in Winnipeg, his first appearance at the MTS Centre since the Jets traded him in a blockbuster deal Feb. 11.

“Just another game,” Kane told reporters Saturday in Winnipeg.

But Sabres coach Dan Bylsma knows how much ... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian (47) showcased some speed Saturday afternoon against Detroit. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ defense corps much improved

BUFFALO – When Mark Pysyk returns from his broken foot later this week, the Sabres will receive a smooth, puck-moving defenseman and have what coach Dan Bylsma believes is a good problem.

Assuming no one else gets injured before Pysyk plays his first game since Nov. 17, the Sabres, who have used the same six defensemen the last 11 games, will have eight on the roster, “not a good number to have,” Bylsma said.

Still, ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has been on a tear recently. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres lose to Red Wings despite two Jack Eichel goals

BUFFALO – When the Sabres hatched their grand rebuild plan and sacrificed two seasons for future glory, they envisioned performances like youngsters Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart gave in Saturday afternoon’s 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

With the Sabres down 2-0, Eichel scored two slick goals – a nifty power-play score and a breakaway – in a span of 3:01 in the second period, igniting the capacity crowd of 19,070 fans inside the ... Read the full article

Brian Gionta scored his second goal this season Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel and Brian Gionta help Sabres down Hurricanes

BUFFALO – Shortly before Jack Eichel’s nifty winning goal in the Sabres’ 4-1 win Friday, the rookie took an ill-advised skate from his own blue line back toward the net and into danger.

Eichel, 19, coughed up the puck to the Carolina Hurricanes, leading to Zach Bogosian’s interference penalty.

But the Sabres, who ended their six-game losing streak, can live with the occasional mistake from Eichel because, just 23 games into his career, the center ... Read the full article

Carlo Colaiacovo has earned some regular duty recently. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Carlo Colaiacovo grateful for opportunity

BUFFALO – Having endured a string of injuries in his 20s that almost derailed his career, Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo understands what it’s like to nearly lose something you love so dearly.

That’s one reason why the affable veteran, who’s on his fourth team in four seasons and nearly went to Russia last year before an opportunity materialized in Philadelphia, is cherishing his time with the Sabres.

“To have been in the league for so ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons has missed four games. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Zemgus Girgensons close to returning

BUFFALO – Sure, Zemgus Girgensons has only mustered one goal and two points in 17 games this season. But the center, 21, is one of the Sabres’ best two-way players.

Not coincidentally, the Sabres have lost all four games since an upper-body injury sidelined Girgensons.

“We’ve missed him considerably,” said coach Dan Bylsma, who noted the Sabres have allowed more scoring chances without Girgensons. “It’s a big piece down the middle and a big piece ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (15) has six goals this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Improved Sabres have long ways to go

BUFFALO – Realistically, one quarter into the season, seventh in the stacked Atlantic Division is a place many envisioned the Sabres would be at climbing out of their rebuild.

The 8-10-2 Sabres, as their current four-game losing streak (0-2-2) illustrates, are still a raw work in progress. They’ve already endured a string of ups and downs – a disappointing 2-6 start, a significant 6-2 run to reach .500 and injuries to defenseman Zach Bogosian and ... Read the full article