eight games left

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Hodgson

Sabres goalie Matt Hackett stops Arizona's Shane Doan on Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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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-ranked Coyotes essentially secured the NHL’s worst team the …

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New Jersey's Steve Bernier (18) celebrates with Scott Gomez on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – During a 17-game run with the Sabres late in 2007-08, Steve Bernier mustered only three goals, two of which he scored in his first game. The winger mostly disappeared after that, and he was quietly traded to Vancouver months later.

Mention Bernier’s name around some Sabres fans, and inevitably someone will bring up his rollicking debut.

Now, after Bernier’s two-goal performance Friday in the New Jersey Devils’ 3-1 win against the Sabres, the 29-year-old might have a new claim to …

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Sabres goalie Anders Lindback gloves a shot Monday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – After getting throttled nine days earlier in Washington, the Sabres wanted another crack at the Capitals oh-so badly. The blowout loss left the rebuilding club bitter.

“It was a stinker last time we were in Washington,” winger Tyler Ennis said Monday following the Sabres’ entertaining and spirited 4-3 shootout loss. “They had their No. 1 unit out when it was 5-1, and they scored to make it 6-1 and celebrated pretty hard.”

The Sabres matched the Capitals for 65 minutes …

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Johan Larsson (left) chats with assistant coach Bryan Trottier earlier this month. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

TORONTO – Johan Larsson’s new assignment really hit him when he lined up for a faceoff Saturday against Washington Capitals star Nicklas Backstrom, the NHL’s best playmaker and a fellow Swede.

Larsson, the Buffalo Sabres’ new No. 1 center, has only three goals and 11 points in 53 NHL games. After scoring a goal and two assists in Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs – his first-ever three-point outing – the 22-year-old has seven points this season.

Backstrom, a former …

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Mikhail Grigorenko has spent most of this season in Rochester. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – For once, center Mikhail Grigorenko can relax a little bit. Eighteen games are left in the Sabres’ trying season. The NHL’s weakest lineup needs reinforcements.

Sabres coach Ted Nolan wouldn’t commit to Grigorenko staying for the rest of the year. But the Russian should get a long look after getting recalled from Rochester again Thursday.

This could be Grigorenko’s best opportunity since his rookie season two years ago.

Grigorenko, the 12th pick in 2012, was excited when he spotted a white …

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Mikhail Grigorenko recently returned from a knee injury. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – For once, center Mikhail Grigorenko can relax a little bit. Eighteen games are left in the Sabres’ trying season. The NHL’s weakest lineup needs reinforcements.

Grigorenko, the 12th pick in 2012, should get a long look after getting recalled from Rochester again this morning.

The Russian was excited when he saw a white practice jersey hanging in his locker today. That meant he would be centering the second line beside Marcus Foligno and captain Brian Gionta.

“I think it’s a really …

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Zemgus Girgensons blocked a shot Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

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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Johan Larsson's comments last month upset Sabres coach Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – As the Sabres trickled out on the ice Sunday morning, coach Ted Nolan and winger Johan Larsson skated around and talked about the prospect’s latest recall.

Upon getting demoted to Rochester in early January, Larsson voiced his displeasure with having to skate on the fourth line in the NHL, a complaint that irked Nolan.

“Yeah, I was upset,” Nolan said. “Players play. The tail can’t wag the dog.”

So Nolan gave Larsson a direct message during their brief chat prior to …

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Johan Larsson didn't like his linemates his last trip up. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The lower-body injury Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges has been nursing could sideline the veteran for a while.

Sabres coach Ted Nolan wouldn’t say Gorges’ season is over, however.

“I’m not too sure about that,” Nolan said this morning after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll see. He’s going to get a second opinion.”

Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta, meanwhile, had played 21 consecutive games, a long streak for the oft-injured agitator. But …

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Zach Bogosian grew up in Massena. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The mood on the ice inside HarborCenter belied the Sabres’ sorry state. Players laughed and had fun throughout Saturday’s up-tempo practice, the end of another trying week for the rebuilding club.

For some, the session, the first with new Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian, was therapeutic.

“We got a good group of guys,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “They give us what they have every day. They’re trying to keep their spirits up as best we can. There’s problems outside the …

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