Evander Kane skates today. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Trade deadline looms for Sabres

BUFFALO – Some trade deadline practice notes from KeyBank Center, where the media is gathered in the press room with a television tuned, of course, to TSN:

– Sporting some new lines, the Sabres practiced around 45 minutes today. Naturally, the looming deadline was felt a bit.

“A little of that lingers with an impending 3 o’clock deadline,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. “But treat the situations and the players like they’re going to be ... Read the full article

Nick Baptiste beats St. Louis goalie Jake Allen on Saturday afternoon. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Nick Baptiste scores early in return to Sabres

BUFFALO – A positive trend has developed in the last few months for the Sabres. Each time they recall one of their forward prospects from the Rochester Americans, the youngsters make a strong case to stick around.

Rookies Justin Bailey, William Carrier and Evan Rodrigues have all seized their opportunities and started earning regular NHL duty.

After speedy winger Nick Baptiste’s impressive performance in Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 win against the St. Louis Blues – ... Read the full article

Cody Franson has missed four games. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Cody Franson ready to play; Derek Grant out

BUFFALO – Some quick updates from HarborCenter, where the Sabres practiced briefly today following Thursday’s 2-0 win over Colorado:

Defenseman Cody Franson, out the last four games with a bruised left foot, pronounced himself ready to play after practicing again today, his third straight day on the ice.

“It was supposed to be a two- to three-week thing, and I think we made it almost seven days,” Franson said. “I feel good and ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel makes a play on the ice Sunday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Robin Lehner says comments weren’t directed at specific players

BUFFALO – No teammate, Sabres goalie Robin Lehner said, was singled out during his passionate postgame chat following Sunday’s disappointing 4-2 loss to Vancouver.

“We all, starting with myself, got to take more responsibility,” Lehner said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “It’s not certain lines, it’s not certain people.”

Still, some of Lehner’s words Sunday – “Let’s do another deke, let’s do another play … let’s do the fancy thing,” he said – seemed to ... Read the full article

Justin Bailey has become an elite AHL scorer. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie Justin Bailey earning chances with top talents

BUFFALO – Sabres coach Dan Bylsma believes given Justin Bailey’s recent history, the talented rookie winger will start scoring at the NHL level.

Over the past year, the Williamsville native has morphed into a lethal AHL scorer, compiling 39 goals with the Rochester Americans, including 19 in 39 games this season.

Sooner or later, Bylsma thinks that scoring prowess will translate to the NHL. Bailey has one goal and two points in 14 games ... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian (47) is tied up by Dallas' Antoine Roussel on Jan. 16. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Zach Bogosian out Monday; Predators waive Derek Grant

BUFFALO – Some quick updates from KeyBank Center, where the Sabres practiced this morning following Saturday’s 4-0 win against Ottawa:

Defenseman Zach Bogosian, day-to-day with a muscle/rib injury, won’t accompany the team to New Jersey for Monday’s tilt against the Devils, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. Bogosian hasn’t skated since getting injured Thursday.

Rookie winger William Carrier, out with knee injury, has a bone bruise, Bylsma said.

“It’s a wear-and-tear injury ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe (29) missed five games. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Josh Gorges, Jake McCabe set to return; Justin Bailey recalled

BUFFALO – For weeks, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said, defenseman Josh Gorges “has been one miserable guy to be around.”

“I don’t walk by him without him saying he’s ready to play, and that was about 15 days ago,” Bylsma said this morning inside KeyBank Center.

Gorges, out the last 12 games with a hip injury, can finally stop badgering Bylsma. He will return tonight against the Ottawa Senators. So will defenseman Jake McCabe, ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov was injured in the preseason. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Overcoming back injury tough for Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov

BUFFALO – These days, Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, a young veteran at just 26 years old, said he feels like an old man when he wakes up.

A lower-back bruise has been dogging the Russian for four months, forcing him out of the lineup three times and costing him 26 games.

Kulikov has dealt with the pain through a daily treatment regimen, and Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss against New York Rangers was his fourth ... Read the full article

Nick Deslauriers (44) battles Florida's Jason Demers on Oct. 29. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Deslauriers to play center against Rangers

BUFFALO – Nick Deslauriers, center? Believe it. For tonight at least, the defenseman-turned-winger will pivot the Sabres’ fourth line against the New York Rangers.

To make room for Deslauriers, a healthy scratch the last two games, center Cal O’Reilly will sit.

Update: O’Reilly is on waivers, according to reports.

Deslauriers, Bylsma said, has never played center before. Still, he’s “comfortable down low, comfortable going back for pucks,” Bylsma said this morning inside KeyBank Center.... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson tries to stop the New York Rangers' Chris Kreider on Dec. 1. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres feeling comfortable at home

BUFFALO – Very quietly, after years of ineptitude on home ice, the Sabres have recently morphed into a strong team at KeyBank Center, winning four straight games.

Of course, four consecutive home victories isn’t overly impressive. But for the Sabres, who haven’t finished above .500 at home since 2012-13, the streak represents progress.

It also gives them some hope. With each loss, their slim playoff chances decrease. But tonight’s tilt against the New York Rangers ... Read the full article