Mark Pysyk blocks a shot in his professional debut Friday. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

With Sabres’ ‘amazing’ opening night gone, attention has turned to Rochester

ROCHESTER – The 42nd opening night in Buffalo Sabres history would’ve been “huge,” winger Drew Stafford said, even “amazing.” New seasons breed hope and optimism, and if the NHL lockout wasn’t in its 28th day, both would be sweeping through Buffalo right now.

The club was scheduled to host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight inside a capacity First Niagara Center.

The Sabres, healthy and stocked with offseason reinforcements, might’ve been considered ... Read the full article

Cody Hodgson will return to the Sabres after the lockout ends. ©2012, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald

Sabres loan 20 players to Rochester

BUFFALO – With an NHL lockout likely hitting at midnight tonight, the Sabres loaned 20 AHL-eligible players, including forwards Marcus Foligno and Cody Hodgson, to the Rochester Americans on Friday.

Also assigned were: forwards Luke Adam, Riley Boychuk, Brian Flynn, Zemgus Girgensons, Jacob Lagace, Jonathan Parker, Kevin Sundher, Shawn Szydlowski, Corey Tropp, Phil Varone; defensemen Alex Biega, Nick Crawford, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, Matt MacKenzie, Brayden McNabb, Mark Pysyk; goalies Connor Knapp and Nathan Lieuwen. The Sabres ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko will compete for an NHL spot during training camp. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Grigorenko latest prized prospect in Sabres’ stable

BUFFALO – On Wednesday, the day the Sabres signed slick Russian center Mikhail Grigorenko to a three-year, entry-level contract, general manager Darcy Regier encountered a slew of prospects while visiting the players’ lounge inside the First Niagara Center.

Luke Adam, Marcus Foligno and Brayden McNabb, who all impressed during NHL stints last season, are in town working out. So is Grigorenko, the 12th overall pick last month, and 14th pick Zemgus Girgensons, who inked his ... Read the full article

Development camp showed Zemgus Girgensons he belonged in professional hockey. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Girgensons foregoes Vermont, signs with Sabres

BUFFALO – Three weeks earlier, minutes after the Sabres moved up and selected center Zemgus Girgensons 14th overall at the NHL Entry Draft, the Latvian expressed his commitment to playing for the University of Vermont next season.

But Girgensons’ stance quickly changed. On Monday, the first day of summer development camp, he seemed to be seriously considering signing with the Sabres.

The 18-year-old impressed during the camp, and following a strong scrimmage performance Thursday ... Read the full article

Darcy Regier said Derek Roy elected to undergo shoulder surgery. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Regier insists Sabres dealt healthy Roy to Dallas

BUFFALO – The Dallas Stars’ decision to have Derek Roy undergo shoulder surgery and miss four months doesn’t mean the Sabres traded damaged goods, general manager Darcy Regier cautioned.

If the Sabres hadn’t dealt Roy for winger Steve Ott and defenseman Adam Pardy last week, the center, who was originally hurt last preseason, wouldn’t have underwent the procedure.

“We’re very confident in the decision by our medical staff,” Regier said Thursday inside the First Niagara ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons' junior teammates unanimously voted him captain. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Leadership qualities make Sabres prospect Girgensons stand out

BUFFALO – Jim Montgomery put it up for a vote, so after his Dubuque Fighting Saints won the United States Hockey League championship in 2011, he asked his returning players to pick a new captain.

In addition to three 20-year-olds, the coach had a 19-year-old who played prominent minutes back for another season of junior hockey.

Incredibly, Montgomery’s players passed on the veterans, instead picking a 17-year-old Latvian to captain them.

His name was Zemgus ... Read the full article

©2012

Navy Seals put Sabres prospects through grueling workout

BUFFALO – The wake-up call came at 4:30 a.m., 15 minutes before sunrise Monday. Right away, United States Navy Seals instructors told 39 Sabres prospects to make their beds.

“That was the first time I’ve done that in a while,” winger Marcus Foligno joked.

The youngsters then got in a “proper line format,” going from tallest to shortest. By 5 a.m., they had reached a local beach, where they spent the next two hours swimming ... Read the full article

©2012

Grigorenko could crack Sabres’ opening-night lineup

BUFFALO – If all goes well, then come October, Mikhail Grigorenko, the prized center selected 12th overall Friday at the NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, will be the first 18-year-old playing regularly for the Sabres since Pierre Turgeon in 1987.

The Sabres, who introduced Grigorenko on Monday inside the First Niagara Center, plan to give the Russian every chance to make the big club instead of going back to the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.

General ... Read the full article

The Sabres moved up to take Zemgus Girgensons 14th overall. ©2012, Jim Naprstek, Dubuque Fighting Saints

Sabres leave draft excited about early picks

PITTSBURGH – A blockbuster trade for established talent never materialized. Instead, the Buffalo Sabres dished two high choices to Calgary early, grabbed their second coveted center during a wild first round and kept on picking.

They selected six players in the final six rounds Saturday, the NHL Entry Draft’s second and final day – three centers, two defensemen and one goalie – and left the Consol Energy feeling good about their eight total choices.

The ... Read the full article

The Sabres were thrilled slick Russian Mikhail Grigorenko fell to them at No. 12. ©2012, Quebec Remparts

Sabres draft 2 centers during wild first round

PITTSBURGH – The defensemen kept going and going at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft; seven straight after the Montreal Canadiens selected center Alex Galchenyuk third overall, in fact.

For the Buffalo Sabres, a team targeting a talented center, the planets aligned Friday night inside the Consol Energy Center.

They got two.

Incredibly, picking 12th, the Sabres grabbed a Russian, Mikhail Grigorenko, a slick playmaking center from the QMJHL’s Quebec Ramparts ranked No. 3 ... Read the full article