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

The Sabres introduced Evander Kane on Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Evander Kane happy to be with Sabres: ‘I’m definitely excited to have a fresh start’

BUFFALO – For almost 13 minutes, Evander Kane smoothly answered questions about his turbulent past with the Winnipeg Jets and the future that could be special for the 23-year-old winger following his recent acquisition by the Sabres.

Wearing jeans, a Sabres hoody with his No. 9 and a sling around his surgically repaired left shoulder, an upbeat Kane sounded relieved to be out of Winnipeg, a city he calls a “fishbowl.”

“Let’s just put it ... Read the full article

Phil Varone only played sparingly Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Phil Varone running out of time to impress Sabres

BUFFALO – In a deep rebuild, with losses and injuries piling up, plenty of jobs on the Sabres are still available.

Heck, the Sabres have had openings throughout the lineup for two years. Sooner or later, someone – a top prospect, an unknown youngster, a waiver acquisition or a depth veteran – has to step up and grab one, right?

Sabres coach Ted Nolan wants the newcomers do something different, stand out and make a ... Read the full article

Gary Bettman speaks to the media Monday. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Gary Bettman hints Sabres could host another outdoor game

BUFFALO – The Sabres officially have the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. They plan to bid on an NHL All-Star game. The team has already secured the league’s scouting combine for the next two years.

Hmmm, what other big event could be in the works?

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said owner Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim, mentioned Monday the Sabres would be interested in hosting another outdoor game.

The Sabres had the first Winter Classic ... Read the full article

Mike Grier instructs his players this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Mike Grier enjoying retirement, understands Sabres’ rebuild

BUFFALO – Retirement has been good for Mike Grier. Since leaving the NHL, the popular former Sabres winger has enjoyed the family life he couldn’t experience during his playing days.

But after almost three years of helping out his wife, “I think now she’s ready for me to get out of the house,” Grier joked this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

Grier’s beginning to get more involved in hockey again. He’s about to ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel talks to the media Wednesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Mega-prospect Jack Eichel focused on college career

BUFFALO – NHL.com recently asked nine scouts which 2015 NHL draft prospect they preferred: Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. McDavid, the more recognizable name, won by the slimmest of margins, 5-4.

The informal poll proved what many hockey observers have been saying for years: 2015 could have two once-in-a-generation, franchise-changing talents at the top of the class.

Eichel, an ultra-slick Boston University freshman, will be the marquee attraction at tonight’s All-American Prospects Game inside the ... Read the full article