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

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