Nick Deslauriers has a two-game point streak. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Deslauriers finally playing, contributing

BUFFALO – When Sabres coach Dan Bylsma charged Nick Deslauriers with creating some energy, the gritty winger’s first instinct, of course, was to fight.

But these days, those opportunities are scarce. Deslauriers has only fought four times this season. He certainly wasn’t going to find one enjoying a rare shift on the first line with the listless Sabres down three goals Saturday.

“I would’ve loved to get a fight there, but I don’t think ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo (21) hurt his ribs Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo week-to-week; Nick Deslauriers moves into lineup

BUFFALO – With leading scorer Kyle Okposo week-to-week after hurting his ribs, instead of recalling a forward, the Sabres will dress Nick Deslauriers for tonight’s tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Deslauriers, a healthy scratch the last four games, has zero points this season. Okposo has 19 goals and 43 points.

The Sabres can’t exactly fill Okposo’s void.

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said Okposo has the same injury winger Evander Kane suffered opening night, meaning ... Read the full article

Matt Moulson is at his best around the net. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Matt Moulson moving around Sabres lineup

BUFFALO – Early in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, Sabres winger Matt Moulson skated as a fourth-liner beside fill-in center Nick Deslauriers and Tyler Ennis.

But Moulson, as he has all season, didn’t stay with the same linemates long inside KeyBank Center.

Jack Eichel filled in for Deslauriers, a winger with zero points this season. Moulson also played on the top power-play unit, a promotion with winger Sam Reinhart out.

Moulson, 33, has ... 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

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

Evan Rodrigues grew up cheering for the Maple Leafs. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Toronto debut special for Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues

TORONTO – Growing up in Etobicoke, about a 20-minute drive from the Air Canada Centre, Alexander Mogilny’s talents mesmerized Buffalo Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues.

By the early 2000s, long after his dynamic 76-goal season with the Sabres in 1992-93, Mogilny was still an electrifying presence for some strong Maple Leafs teams.

“He was always trying something new,” Rodrigues said Saturday prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 win against the Leafs. “He always made some real ... Read the full article

Tonight will be Evan Rodrigues' fifth NHL game. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall Evan Rodrigues again; Cody Franson out 2-3 weeks

TORONTO – This afternoon, hours before his fifth NHL game, Buffalo Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues couldn’t stop smiling.

“He’s always all smiles,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said inside the Air Canada Centre.

True, Rodrigues, 23, always seems to be grinning. But tonight’s tilt, which will be broadcast across Canada on “Hockey Night in Canada,” is extra special for Rodrigues, who grew up a Maple Leafs fan in Etobicoke, about 20 minutes from Toronto.

“It’s going ... Read the full article