Thomas Vanek began his point bonanza on opening day. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Crazy early pace by Sabres’ Vanek could help shatter short-season records

The scoring benchmarks set during the only other lockout-shortened season – the 48-game 1994-95 campaign – are steep. The NHL hadn’t fully devolved into a clutch-and-grab league then.

Top scorers still racked up some pretty gaudy numbers.

Peter Bondra’s 34 goals, two more than Jaromir Jagr, topped the league. Jagr and Eric Lindros both scored 70 points. Ron Francis had 48 assists.

With an utterly dominant three-goal, five-point performance in the Buffalo Sabres’ dizzying ... Read the full article

Boston's Jeremy Jacobs is believed to be the NHL's most hardline owner. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players hoping meeting with owners will get labor talks rolling

AMHERST – Perhaps today’s meeting between players and owners in New York can facilitate some meaningful dialogue, even generate a breakthrough in the contentious negotiations between the NHL and the Players’ Association.

Eighty days into the NHL lockout, adding a fresh dynamic to the stale labor talks could be beneficial, some Buffalo Sabres players said.

“I don’t know if it will (facilitate dialogue), but it’s worth a shot,” Sabres winger Thomas Vanek said Monday after ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville hopes mediation will bring new ideas to negotiations between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players hopeful mediation can lead to breakthrough

AMHERST – Mediation can’t hurt, right? Heck, with the NHL lockout now 75 days old, the league and the NHL Players’ Association desperately need something new to help jumpstart negotiations.

Why not get a third party involved?

That finally happened Wednesday at an undisclosed location, as the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service began overseeing negotiations between the league and the NHLPA.

“Hopefully, he can (lend) his opinion and bring some new ideas and make both ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk blocks a shot in his professional debut Friday. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

With Sabres’ ‘amazing’ opening night gone, attention has turned to Rochester

ROCHESTER – The 42nd opening night in Buffalo Sabres history would’ve been “huge,” winger Drew Stafford said, even “amazing.” New seasons breed hope and optimism, and if the NHL lockout wasn’t in its 28th day, both would be sweeping through Buffalo right now.

The club was scheduled to host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight inside a capacity First Niagara Center.

The Sabres, healthy and stocked with offseason reinforcements, might’ve been considered ... Read the full article

©2012

Pens hault scorching Sabres’ winning streak at 5 games

BUFFALO – At the 11:43 mark of the second period Friday, slick Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby zoomed into the Sabres zone, slowed down at the top of the right circle and dished perfectly across the ice to a streaking James Neal, who beat goalie Ryan Miller to make it 3-2 on the power play.

Fresh off five straight convincing wins, the Sabres looked unstoppable, like they might run the table and roar into the ... Read the full article

Superstar Sidney Crosby hasn't played in Buffalo since Dec. 11, 2010. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ critical late-season tilt against Pens could be wildly entertaining

BUFFALO – Give it a shot. Try drawing up a better late-season NHL matchup. The Sabres’ tilt against the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins tonight could make for a wildly entertaining three hours inside the First Niagara Center.

This one promises to be action-packed and fun, folks.

The scorching Sabres, having climbed into eighth place Tuesday, are roaring toward another unlikely playoff appearance. They’ve won five straight games and seven of the last nine, piling up goals ... Read the full article