Sabres goalie Anders Lindback tries to stop New Jersey's Steve Bernier (18) with Andre Benoit's (61) help March 20. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres could still finish 29th, lose guarantee of elite prospect

BUFFALO – Just like that, 29th place – a precarious spot that wouldn’t guarantee the Sabres either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, the mega-draft prospects they covet – is back in play.

Sorry, fans, the race isn’t over yet. The Sabres’ 4-1 victory Monday in Arizona moved them to within four points of the Coyotes, who looked awful throughout the night.

The 30th-place Sabres also have a game in hand, so ... Read the full article

Marcus Foligno was playing some of his best hockey ever in December. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Lots has gone wrong for Sabres in awful season

BUFFALO – Given the Sabres’ sorry state these days, it’s almost difficult to remember now. But for a brief stretch earlier this season, they morphed into a young team on the rise, winning a string of exciting games in dramatic fashion.

The rebuilding club triumphed 10 times in 13 games – they have only 20 victories in 75 outings all season – during a rollicking run in November and December, roaring back night after night.... 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

Sabres goalie Matt Hackett stops Arizona's Shane Doan on Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres fans revel in loss, cheer for Coyotes

BUFFALO – Mike Weber spoke passionately, like a man who felt jilted. The gritty defenseman had just experienced perhaps the oddest game of his career, the Sabres’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

The payoff, the prize for all the “suffering” for two seasons had been laid in front of Sabres fans Thursday, creating a bizarre scene inside the First Niagara Center that will likely never be repeated.

A loss to the 29th... Read the full article

Ted Nolan thinks fans will cheer for the Sabres tonight. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ted Nolan believes Buffalo wants Sabres to win

BUFFALO – Deep down, Sabres coach Ted Nolan probably knows the scene inside the First Niagara Center could get ugly for tonight’s anticipated matchup with the Arizona Coyotes, a contest between the NHL’s two worst teams.

With a prized, potentially franchise-changing prospect – either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel – essentially guaranteed with a loss, fans could do the unthinkable – root against the 30th-place Sabres, who trail Arizona by five points with ... Read the full article

Ted Nolan can't grasp wanting to finish last. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ted Nolan: ‘If somebody wants to finish last, good for them’

BUFFALO – Oh, Ted Nolan knows. The coach likely understands the Sabres’ rabid fan base will root against them throughout Thursday’s highly anticipated tilt against the Arizona Coyotes. A loss would almost guarantee the Sabres either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in June.

Nolan can’t say much, however.

“I can’t control what other people think and what other people do,” Nolan said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “The only thing I know is ... Read the full article

Ted Nolan knows Buffalo understands the value of hard work. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ted Nolan expects crowd to be respectful Thursday

BUFFALO – The scene could be bizarre Thursday for the “Game of Weak” showdown between the Sabres and the Arizona Coyotes, the NHL’s two worst teams.

Would Sabres fans really cheer for the Coyotes, who have a five-point lead, inside the First Niagara Center? Would they boo a Sabres goal?

After all, another Sabres loss would essentially secure them 30th place, meaning they are guaranteed either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, the two ... Read the full article

Dylan Strome scored 129 points in 2014-15, 90 more than last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Otters star Dylan Strome quietly one of hockey’s biggest prospects

In a year without mega-prospects Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel grabbing constant headlines, slick Erie Otters center Dylan Strome would be junior hockey’s brightest and most talked-about star.

Strome capped a scintillating regular season in grand fashion Sunday, winning the Ontario Hockey League’s scoring title with a dominant four-goal, six-point effort in the powerhouse Otters’ 8-7 win against the Niagara IceDogs.

The 18-year-old compiled 45 goals and 129 points in his second junior season, improving ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Anders Lindback (35) tries to stop the puck Saturday in from of Nikita Zadorov (51). ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Struggling Sabres could win some games down the stretch

BUFFALO – At this point, it’s a fair question to ask. Given the Sabres’ sorry state – they’re on a 0-5-1 run with AHL players filling out the NHL’s weakest roster following the trade deadline – can they win again this season?

A few more losses could cement 30th place and secure the rights to draft either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, the mega-prospects the Sabres covet so dearly.

The Sabres have 14 ... Read the full article

Chris Stewart joined Minnesota on Monday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres trade assets at deadline, weaken NHL’s worst roster

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ deals before Monday’s trade deadline stripped the NHL’s worst team of four assets. Gone are starting goalie Michal Neuvirth, first-line winger Chris Stewart and centers Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell, two checkers thrust into bigger roles thanks to the rebuilding team’s shortage of talent.

In return, the Sabres received, well, nothing very notable or of immediate help. Only one NHL player, backup goalie Chad Johnson, came back. They also added four ... Read the full article