Mark Giordano has 29 points in 29 games this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Flames captain Mark Giordano quietly one of NHL’s best defensemen

BUFFALO – Seven years ago, Mark Giordano bolted from North America, all the way to the Russian KHL. Just 55 games into his NHL career, the Calgary Flames defenseman wanted more playing time and money.

“I didn’t really know if I’d ever come back,” Giordano said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “I thought I could be a good player in Europe for a long time if I had to.”

Following one season with ... Read the full article

Cody Hodgson has struggled all season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Cody Hodgson to be scratched against Flames

BUFFALO – Struggling center Cody Hodgson, who has one goal and three points in 28 games this season, will be a healthy scratch for the first time in his Sabres career tonight against the Calgary Flames.

“Maybe a game watching will get him out of that funk,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

Winger Chris Stewart, a scratch last game, will return, Nolan said.

Hodgson has been ... Read the full article

Chris Stewart knows he must play physically if he's not scoring. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Chris Stewart knows he must be better, still irked over benching

BUFFALO – Struggling Sabres winger Chris Stewart has three goals in 27 games this season, skated less than 10 minutes in each of his last two appearances and recently had his coach accuse him of doing “pirouettes” on the ice.

Still, a seething Stewart said getting scratched for the Sabres’ 1-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday was “a big surprise.”

“I’m not happy about it,” Stewart said Wednesday following a long skate. ... Read the full article

Nathan Lieuwen made his NHL debut on Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ goalie situation unclear with injuries; Rookie Nathan Lieuwen could start against Flames

BUFFALO – A day after his surprising NHL debut, everything had settled down a bit for Sabres rookie Nathan Lieuwen.

Lieuwen said his body felt OK after playing three games in three days, a rarity for a goalie. He even remembered some of the action he faced Sunday. Memories were a blur following his 22-minute, 10-save relief appearance in the Sabres’ 2-0 loss to Montreal.

“I could remember a few more things this ... Read the full article

Steve Ott (right) battles Calgary's Mark Giordano on Saturday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres muster little offense against Flames, fall in OT

BUFFALO – An announced crowd of 18,368 fans trudged through the snow Saturday afternoon to watch the hapless Sabres face the Calgary Flames, a matchup of anemic NHL lightweights.

About three hours later, after the Sabres fell 2-1 in overtime, many of them had to be asking themselves why they bothered showing up.

Incredibly, the Sabres scored one goal or less for the 17th time in 33 games this season.

Their 51st goal, ... Read the full article

Brayden McNabb will likely play this afternoon. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Cody Hodgson to take pregame warm-up

BUFFALO – Sabres center Cody Hodgson (lower body) will this take this afternoon’s pregame warm-up and decide if he can play against the Calgary Flames.

“He’s getting real close,” interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center.

Update: Hodgson is out again. Luke Adam is a healthy scratch up front.

If Hodgson misses his second game, Matt Ellis will play. The Sabres recalled the 32-year-old after he scored the ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis (37) battles Lake Erie's Matt Hunwick outdoors Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Matt Ellis scores Amerks’ shootout winner in ‘Frozen Frontier,’ earns recall to Sabres

ROCHESTER – From a skill perspective, Chadd Cassidy had better options six rounds into Friday’s wild shootout. But the Americans coach wanted Matt Ellis, his trusted captain, to try to win the “Frozen Frontier,” an outdoor game played in 18-degree temperatures.

“With the game on the line, I want it on his tape because good things happen to good people,” Cassidy said. “There’s nobody that’s worked harder for the opportunities that he’s gotten than ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis celebrates his first-period goal Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall Matt Ellis from Amerks

ROCHESTER – Matt Ellis certainly earned this recall to the Buffalo Sabres.

Shortly after scoring the shootout winner in the Americans’ 5-4 triumph against the Lake Erie Monsters in Friday’s outdoor “Frozen Frontier,” the Sabres summoned their AHL captain, the Times Herald has learned.

Ellis also opened the scoring and added an assist. He hasn’t played in the NHL since the Sabres waived him in February.

The 32-year-old has played 197 games with the Sabres. ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford hasn't scored since Nov. 5. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres confident offense improving, finally going to start scoring

BUFFALO – In Thursday’s 2-1 loss in Ottawa, Sabres winger Drew Stafford generated three strong scoring chances and a season-high six shots, yet endured his 15th consecutive goalless game.

The 28-year-old missed the net on a glorious opportunity against a stickless goalie, drew a penalty after zooming to the crease and got stymied on a late breakaway by Craig Anderson with the Sabres down a goal.

No one embodies the Sabres’ scoring struggles more ... Read the full article