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The Sabres' Torrey Mitchell splits the Vancouver defense Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Of course, the Sabres’ best stretch in two months could end soon. The trade deadline is three days away. The rebuilding club will almost certainly deal some of its top assets.

If Thursday’s 6-3 win against the Vancouver Canucks was the final game for a few players, they gave the Sabres one heck of a goodbye before a capacity crowd of 19,070 fans inside the First Niagara Center.

Consider the exploits of these players with expiring contracts in the Sabres’ …

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Zemgus Girgensons blocked a shot Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Top Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons, who blocked a shot with his right ankle Tuesday, will play again this season, coach Ted Nolan said this morning.

Nolan hinted Girgensons could be finished after James Wisniewski’s shot hit the Latvian halfway through the 4-2 win in Columbus.

“It’s bad but not as bad as we thought,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center.

Nolan wouldn’t say if Girgensons’ ankle was broken.

“It could be, but it still could be healed in two weeks,” he …

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Cody Hodgson has only two goals all season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Some nights, Ted Nolan said, he lies awake in bed wondering how he can fix Cody Hodgson, his struggling winger. Right now, the Sabres coach and his staff can’t get through to the 24-year-old, who might be enduring the worst season of any NHL forward.

Nolan scratched Hodgson, who has two goals and eight points in 51 games this season, for Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, the third time he has been benched this season. Marcus …

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St. Louis goalie Jake Allen stones Brian Flynn on a third-period breakaway. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Thursday’s 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues was the Sabres’ 34th defeat this season and their 15th setback in the last 16 games. But against an NHL powerhouse, the league’s worst team held its own, carrying the play for stretches and generating some prime scoring chances.

If the Sabres converted a couple of opportunities – they had two clear-cut breakaways – then they might have upset the NHL’s hottest team. Instead, an opponent shut them out for the ninth …

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An upper-body injury sidelined Brian Gionta 13 games. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Instead of jetting to a tropical locale during the NHL All-Star break, Sabres coach Ted Nolan went home to Northern Ontario to relax a bit and clear his mind.

“Guys go to beaches,” Nolan said Monday afternoon, “I go to snow and shovel my deck off and enjoy the family and friends.”

The Sabres, losers of a franchise-record 11 straight games in regulation entering tonight’s tilt in Calgary, sorely needed some extended time away from hockey. So with their last …

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Ted Nolan knows the Sabres are too soft. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have lost a franchise-record nine consecutive games and 31 of 45 this season. They rank 29th overall and dead last or close to the bottom in every major statistical category. They just lost 7-0 to a reeling Minnesota Wild team, their worst home defeat since 1977.

Of course, the Sabres were supposed to lose this season. But was the rebuilding club supposed to lose so badly this often? Opponents have outscored them 39-9 during their skid.

Very few …

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Rasmus Ristolainen has missed two games. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – While the top line remained intact, Sabres coach Ted Nolan rearranged his other three trios today, an attempt to jumpstart the struggling team.

The new lines, left to right: Brian Flynn beside Mikhail Grigorenko and Chris Stewart; Cody Hodgson with Cody McCormick and Drew Stafford; Nick Deslauriers beside Johan Larsson and Patrick Kaleta.

Injuries and illness have ravaged the Sabres recently. They haven’t had a second line with Marcus Foligno and Brian Gionta sidelined.

“If you looked at our last seven …

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Mikhail Grigorenko played his second NHL game this season Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Mikhail Grigorenko knew the Sabres were short one forward and had the Colorado Avalanche, a team led by Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy, his former junior coach, coming up on the schedule.

Grigorenko, who played in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss in Winnipeg before going back to Rochester, wanted to get recalled again badly. To his relief, the Sabres summoned the Russian again Saturday morning.

“I was hoping I would get called up, especially that game against Colorado against Patrick,” Grigorenko …

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Canisius College players skate at HarborCenter recently. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Instead of dressing at the First Niagara Center and busing to the Riverside Ice Rink or another local facility Thursday, the Sabres simply put on their sandals or sneakers and walked across the street in their uniforms to HarborCenter, the new $170 million facility that opened earlier this fall.

Practicing outside the First Niagara Center is no longer a hassle. Naturally, the Sabres’ first session inside the sparkling facility had a huge “wow” factor.

“It’s beautiful,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan …

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HarborCenter impressed Drew Stafford. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Instead of dressing at the First Niagara Center and busing to the Riverside Ice Rink or another local facility today, the Sabres simply put on their sandals or sneakers and walked across the street to HarborCenter, the new $170 million facility that opened earlier this fall.

Practicing outside the First Niagara Center is no longer a hassle. Naturally, the Sabres’ first session inside the sparkling facility had a huge “wow” factor.

“It’s beautiful,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said inside HarborCenter. …

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