Rasmus Ristolainen already has seven goals. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen scores rare hat trick

As I wrote a week ago, before he scored the first hat trick by a Buffalo Sabres defenseman in almost 28 years, Rasmus Ristolainen is quickly becoming a star.

Ristolainen, 21, might be the Sabres’ best player. With three third-period goals Thursday in Calgary in the Sabres’ 4-3 loss to the Flames, he already has 21 points in 29 games, one more point than he compiled last season in 49 fewer games.

“He ... Read the full article

Evander Kane (9) keeps the puck away from Arizona's Stefan Elliott on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Evander Kane finally scoring

BUFFALO – Realistically, having scored six times in 16 games this season, Sabres winger Evander Kane likely won’t hit his lofty preseason target of 40 or 50 goals.

Scoring once in his first 11 appearances and missing 10 contests with an MCL injury certainly didn’t help.

But that disappointing start has recently become an afterthought, as Kane’s one of the NHL’s hottest scorers as the Sabres start a three-game Canadian road trip tonight against the ... Read the full article

Evander Kane scored twice Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ offense explodes in win over Coyotes

BUFFALO – First, Sam Reinhart utilized his soft hands around the net Friday. Jamie McGinn followed with a wicked one-timer off a perfect feed from Jack Eichel. Evander Kane scored later on a short-handed breakaway.

Not only are the Sabres finally scoring goals these days, they’re generating pretty ones, a sure sign the offense is humming for the first time all season.

The Sabres’ third win in four games, an exciting 5-2 victory against the ... Read the full article

John Scott played only his seventh game Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Tough guy John Scott wants NHL All-Star spot

BUFFALO – The sight, of course, would be odd. Just imagine 6-foot-8 former Sabres tough guy John Scott, who has five goals in his eight-year career, competing against superstars like Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos in the new three-on-three NHL All-Star Game format.

If fans keep casting online ballots for Scott, that could happen Jan. 31 in Nashville.

Right now, Scott, a healthy scratch 19 times with the Arizona Coyotes this season, is the ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson posted strong numbers in November. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres face stiff test in upstart Coyotes

BUFFALO – The Arizona Coyotes, of course, hardly register on the radar around here. As one of the NHL’s perennial dregs, they usually rank among the league’s most irrelevant teams.

But that’s starting to change this season, as two talented rookie forwards – Max Domi and Anthony Duclair – have helped a team many pegged for a lottery pick race out to a 13-11-1 start.

“We don’t see Arizona all that often, but it’s hard ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen was all over the ice Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen developing into star

BUFFALO – No one could believe the number that has been attached to Rasmus Ristolainen’s stat line all season: zero.

In 606 minutes, 12 seconds on the ice spread over 25 games – that’s a team-high 24 minutes, 14 seconds a contest – the Sabres’ ace defenseman hasn’t taken a penalty.

“Zero?” Josh Gorges, Ristolainen’s defense partner, asked incredulously Thursday before saying he was “impressed” and “surprised.”

When informed Ristolainen has zero penalty minutes, ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart starred for Team Canada last year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

World junior memories special for Sabres youngsters

BUFFALO – Eleven months ago, on the grand stages of Montreal and Toronto, Sabres winger Sam Reinhart showcased why he’s regarded as one of hockey’s top prospects, starring for Team Canada during its run to world junior championship gold.

“I had a blast, one of the best times of my life,” Reinhart said this afternoon, shortly after it was announced Buffalo would host the tournament again in 2018.

Two years ago in Sweden, defenseman Rasmus ... Read the full article

Carlo Colaiacovo was hurt Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Carlo Colaiacovo OK after check to throat

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, who was hospitalized Saturday for what coach Dan Bylsma called a “dented trachea,” accompanied his teammates Sunday to Detroit.

Colaiacovo left the Sabres’ 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators 11:43 into the second period after Viktor Arvidsson crossed-checked him in the throat as the two battled for position. Colaiacovo stayed on the ice in noticeable pain before skating off. Arvidsson received a major penalty and was ejected.

“I don’t ... 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