Connor McDavid is hockey's biggest prospect in 10 years. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres will get franchise-changing talent in Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel at draft lottery

TORONTO – Whether the Buffalo Sabres win the right to draft mega-prospect Connor McDavid or settle for the second pick tonight, the rebuilding team will emerge victorious from the most anticipated NHL Draft Lottery ever.

Leaving town with Jack Eichel, the consensus No. 2 selection, in your arsenal for years to come wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize, right?

“You look at what the Sabres had in the pipeline, when you add a player ... Read the full article

Cody Hodgson scored only six goals in 2014-15. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Cody Hodgson on awful season: ‘I can’t explain what happened’

BUFFALO – Nothing could ignite Sabres enigma Cody Hodgson. Not moving from wing to center and back. Not switching lines. Not getting scratched.

In the worst season by a Sabres forward not named Ville Leino in recent memory, Hodgson mustered only six goals and 13 points in 78 games, a stunning 14-goal, 31-point drop in six more appearances.

Hodgson scored one goal in a 47-game stretch from Oct. 28 to Feb. 22. He endured ... Read the full article

Tim Murray speaks Sunday after firing Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Plenty of interesting names could be available to coach Sabres

BUFFALO – For the first time since the Sabres replaced Ted Nolan following his initial run almost 18 years ago, the team must search for a new coach.

Yes, it has really been that long.

Lindy Ruff, Nolan’s replacement in 1997, lasted until 2013, when former Sabres general manager Darcy Regier quickly promoted Ron Rolston from Rochester as interim coach. Regier removed the interim tag following the season without interviewing anyone.

Nolan immediately took... Read the full article

Josh Gorges' first season with the Sabres ended Feb. 10. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Josh Gorges feels players’ professionalism suffered

BUFFALO – A player’s mind stays focused on the current season, Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges said. Athletes live in the present. They don’t think a year ahead like their team’s brass.

“You come in with a mindset of we’re going to win, we’re going to try to win,” the veteran said Sunday morning as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers following a 30th-place finish. “As players, our job is not to play for ... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian battles with Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby (87) on Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres close tumultuous season with loss to Penguins, hear cheers

BUFFALO – The roughest season in the Sabres’ 45-year history is finally over, a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday capping an 82-game slate that was tumultuous from start to finish.

The outcome, of course, hardly mattered. The rebuilding Sabres, who never quit throughout the campaign, had already locked up 30th place and either the first or second draft pick in next Saturday’s draft lottery.

The season finale was about regaining some ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel won the Hobey Baker Award on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres clinch 30th place, guaranteed Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel

Either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel will play for the Buffalo Sabres next season.

Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets clinched 30th place for the rebuilding Sabres, meaning they can fall no lower than second during the NHL Draft Lottery next Saturday and select one of the prized 18-year-old centers in June.

The Sabres have a 20 percent chance of getting McDavid, hockey’s biggest prospect since Sidney Crosby.

On Friday, about 240 ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart played nine games with the Sabres earlier this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Sam Reinhart going to Amerks; Connor McDavid ranks No. 1

BUFFALO – The Sabres will give top prospect Sam Reinhart another crack at the pro game this season.

With Reinhart’s junior season and career over, the No. 2 pick was assigned to the AHL Rochester Americans on Wednesday, according to the Kootenay Ice’s website.

The Calgary Hitmen eliminated the Ice on Monday in a seven-game first-round Western Hockey League playoff matchup

Reinhart started the season with the Sabres, registering one assist in nine ... Read the full article

Andrey Makarov played well in his NHL debut Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

End in sight for Sabres after long season

BUFFALO – Finally – or perhaps a more appropriate word would be “mercifully” – the end of the Sabres’ long, trying season is in sight.

Three games are left. A regulation loss tonight at home to the Carolina Hurricanes or later this week will cement 30th place, ending probably the oddest campaign in the franchise’s 45-year history.

Hours after the Sabres’ 3-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday, the 29th-place ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson tips the puck past Chicago goalie Scott Darling on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Blackhawks’ late rally stuns Sabres

BUFFALO – In 47 seconds late Friday, the mood inside the First Niagara Center changed dramatically. The Sabres fans worrying their team would pull its most unlikely upset this trying season felt relieved as mighty Chicago Blackhawks quickly roared back.

When Chicago star Jonathan Toews tied it with 1:43 left, the building, which was filled with red Blackhawks jerseys, erupted.

Some hometown fans who had remained quiet as the Sabres erased an early 2-0 deficit ... Read the full article

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