Evander Kane arranged a helicopter for a trip to Toronto. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Quick Toronto trip to watch Blue Jays special for Sabres

BUFFALO – The call came at 4:30 p.m. Monday. Sabres winger Evander Kane asked defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, a Toronto native and a huge Blue Jays fans, if he wanted to go watch Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre in a few hours.

“I know some of the boys wanted to go, so I figured out some transportation,” Kane said this afternoon following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

That transportation ... Read the full article

Cody Franson (46) sat out today. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Chad Johnson giving Sabres chance to win; Cody Franson day-to-day

BUFFALO – The numbers lie. In five games this season, Sabres goalie Chad Johnson has accumulated some below-average statistics – 1-4 with a 2.70 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage – subbing for injured starter Robin Lehner.

Still, Johnson, 29, has given the 1-4 Sabres “a chance to win every game he’s played,” coach Dan Bylsma said this afternoon.

“I don’t know if you can ask for much more from him,” Bylsma said following ... Read the full article

Carlo Colaiacovo wants the Sabres to trust every defender. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres plan to use defense by committee

BUFFALO – With zero stars, minute-munchers or big scorers on their blue line right now, the Sabres plan to utilize a defense by committee early this season.

So expect to see ice time spread out evenly. Trying to distinguish between the first and third pairs might be tough.

“We’re going to rely on all six guys,” defenseman Josh Gorges said Thursday prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators. “Some nights you’re going ... Read the full article

Josh Gorges was hurt in his preseason debut. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Josh Gorges OK after minor surgery

BUFFALO – Josh Gorges almost revealed what had sidelined him for a week of training camp.

Almost.

“Just a quick cleanup in my,” the Sabres defenseman said this morning before pausing briefly, “lower body.”

Yes, Gorges, who underwent microfracture surgery in February, has already undergone a minor procedure this season. He said he was injured nine days ago going into the corner against the Ottawa Senators.

While Gorges skated this morning and feels good, he ... Read the full article

Dan Catenacci grew up outside Toronto. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Brendan Guhle still impressing; Dan Catenacci to debut

TORONTO – Instead of being in Canada’s largest city for an NHL exhibition game tonight, Buffalo Sabres prospect Brendan Guhle figured he’d likely be playing his first junior game this season about 3,000 kilometers away – hey, check the dateline – in Saskatchewan for the Prince Albert Raiders.

But the defenseman, the 51st pick in June, will play his third straight preseason game tonight against the Maple Leafs inside the Air Canada Centre.

“Good ... Read the full article

Josh Gorges often spoke passionately after losses last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Josh Gorges refreshed for new season

BUFFALO – Even watching from afar last season, Dan Bylsma could see the Sabres’ constant struggles frustrating defenseman Josh Gorges, a proud veteran the new coach calls “a crusty guy.”

Gorges, Bylsma has quickly learned, expects a lot from himself and his teammates.

“He’s a demanding guy for how he wants the team to play,” Bylsma said Sunday. “He’s … got a little crust to him, and I’ve seen that from him in training camp ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons could switch positions again this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Even with roster mostly set, Sabres training camp has intriguing storylines

BUFFALO – For a team that just endured a brutal 54-point season and might have nine new faces in the lineup opening night, the Sabres should enjoy a remarkably quiet training camp, their first under new coach Dan Bylsma.

There are, of course, still some intriguing storylines to follow. Second overall pick Jack Eichel’s first days in the NHL promise to be exciting. Sam Reinhart, the franchise’s other top prospect, will be fighting for a ... Read the full article

Cody Franson wanted a contract longer than a year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Cody Franson excited for fresh opportunity with Sabres

BUFFALO – After signing three straight one-year contracts, Cody Franson figured he could finally land a multi-year deal in free agency this summer and enjoy some job security. After all, the new Sabres defenseman has quietly scored 97 points in the last three years, including a career-high 36 last season.

Franson’s camp talked to some teams at the NHL Draft and again early after the market opened July 1. But within days, teams stopped calling. ... Read the full article

Cody Franson talks this morning. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Cody Franson happy long summer ends with Sabres contract

BUFFALO – After signing three straight one-year contracts, Cody Franson figured he could finally ink a multi-year deal in free agency this summer and enjoy some job security. After all, the Sabres defenseman has quietly scored 97 points in the last three years, including a career-high 36 last season.

Franson, 28, talked to some teams at the NHL Draft and again early when the market opened July 1. But within days, teams stopped calling. Over ... Read the full article

Cody Franson had a career-high 36 points last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Report: Sabres set to sign defenseman Cody Franson; Update: Buffalo announces contract

BUFFALO – Free agent defenseman Cody Franson will likely sign a two-year deal with the Sabres on Thursday worth about $3.3 million a season, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Update: The Sabres announced the contract Thursday morning. The deal is worth $3.325 million a season, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

Sabres general manager Tim Murray talked openly earlier this summer about adding another veteran defenseman before the season starts. Training camp opens next week.... Read the full article