Evander Kane (9) keeps the puck away from Colorado's Carl Soderberg on Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres buckle down, beat Avalanche

BUFFALO – At times, Thursday’s 2-0 win probably felt a bit unsettling for the Sabres. The woeful Colorado Avalanche, the NHL’s worst team, isn’t just bad.

The club’s on pace to be one of the worst this century.

So it was hardly surprising the Sabres mostly had their way with the Avalanche. Still, after two periods, they had a 21-11 shot advantage but only a 1-0 lead thanks to Sam Reinhart’s power-play goal.

Colorado, which ... Read the full article

Nikita Zadorov has endured a rough season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Avalanche NHL’s worst

BUFFALO – The ineptitude of some of the worst NHL teams this century – the 1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers and the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Sabres, for example – can easily be explained.

Yes, the Thrashers were terrible even by low expansion standards, earning only 39 points. But it was their first year. What can you expect?

The Sabres mustered 52 and 54 points because they fielded weak teams and sold off their best assets to secure ... Read the full article

Evander Kane (9) skates away from Anaheim's Josh Manson last Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Thursdays rough for Sabres this season

BUFFALO – Here’s a head-scratcher: the Sabres, 24-23-10 this season, are 1-10-2 on Thursdays.

“I’m aware of it,” coach Dan Bylsma said this morning after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s tilt against the hapless Colorado Avalanche at KeyBank Center. “I’m well aware of it.

How is that possible? The Sabres are 10-3-3 on Tuesdays.

After some emotional, hard-fought wins on Tuesdays, the Sabres have enjoyed the next day off. Perhaps the Sabres are still drained ... Read the full article

Nick Deslauriers (44) fights Jared Boll last Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres heavyweight Nick Deslauriers wants to fight

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Nick Deslauriers can’t hide the disappointment in his voice discussing his difficulty finding fight partners this season.

The Sabres’ top heavyweight has only fought three times in 29 appearances entering tonight’s tilt against the hapless Colorado Avalanche at KeyBank Center.

“I’ve been trying to get some,” Deslauriers said Saturday in Toronto. “I haven’t got that many fights.”

Deslauriers, 25, didn’t fight until Jan. 10, his 19th game after a knee injury ... Read the full article

Sabres rookie Jack Eichel (15) celebrates his first-period goal Sunday afternoon. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Early lead helps Sabres down Avalanche

BUFFALO – Just like that, for one of the few times this season, the Sabres seized full control of a game early in Sunday afternoon’s 4-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche.

By the 4:42 mark, Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov was on the bench, a lethal Jack Eichel shot and a flubbed 50-footer from Evander Kane his undoing.

Varlamov didn’t even make one save inside the First Niagara Center. Yikes.

“Couldn’t ask for a better start,” ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) celebrates his first-period goal Sunday afternoon. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie Sam Reinhart continues hot streak

BUFFALO – Many days, long after most of their Sabres teammates have finished practicing, center Ryan O’Reilly and winger Sam Reinhart stay on the ice and work on tip drills.

O’Reilly, an adroit passer, has probably fed Reinhart thousands of pucks this season, helping the rookie quickly morph into a supreme net-front presence.

The chemistry they’ve quickly developed was on display 17:14 into the Sabres’ 4-1 win Sunday afternoon against the Colorado Avalanche, when Reinhart ... Read the full article

Sabres rookie Justin Bailey played his second NHL game Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Mother’s guidance helped Justin Bailey reach Sabres

BUFFALO – On Thursday night, after proudly watching her son, Sabres winger Justin Bailey, make his NHL debut, everything finally hit Karen Buscaglia.

Bailey, 20, had just become the fifth Buffalo-born player to skate for the Sabres, and before Buscaglia went to bed in her Philadelphia hotel room, she looked at her mother.

“I’m like, ‘Holy crap, we just saw Justin’s first NHL game,’” Buscaglia said Friday prior to seeing Bailey, a Williamsville native, ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly might get a new contract soon. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres send strong message with big trades at NHL Draft

SUNRISE, Fla. – If the Buffalo Sabres win the Stanley Cup someday, remember Friday as the perhaps one of the most pivotal days in the franchise’s 45-year history.

In addition to drafting center Jack Eichel second overall, the rebuilding team swung two significant trades, including a blockbuster deal with the Colorado Avalanche that brought center Ryan O’Reilly to Buffalo.

After two wretched seasons in which they finished 30th and became the NHL’s laughingstock, the ... Read the full article

Tim Murray isn't afraid to wheel and deal. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres pull off major trade, acquire Ryan O’Reilly from Avalanche

SUNRISE, Fla. – Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray has pulled off another blockbuster trade.

The Sabres tonight acquired center Ryan O’Reilly and winger Jamie McGinn from the Colorado Avalanche for center Mikhail Grigorenko, defenseman Nikita Zadorov, winger J.T. Compher and the 31st pick in this weekend’s NHL Draft.

Stay tuned for more updates.... Read the full article

Brian Gionta believes Sabres fans cheered for the team Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres focused on future, not fan support

BUFFALO – Brian Gionta wouldn’t go there. The Sabres captain knows his words carry weight.

Gionta played almost 25 minutes in the Sabres’ 4-3 overtime loss Thursday, a game in which many hometown fans rooted for the Arizona Coyotes, creating a bizarre scene inside the First Niagara Center.

Surely, the veteran heard the loud cheering for the opposition.

“No, our fans were cheering for us,” Gionta insisted Friday after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s ... Read the full article