Cody Franson has missed four games. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Cody Franson ready to play; Derek Grant out

BUFFALO – Some quick updates from HarborCenter, where the Sabres practiced briefly today following Thursday’s 2-0 win over Colorado:

Defenseman Cody Franson, out the last four games with a bruised left foot, pronounced himself ready to play after practicing again today, his third straight day on the ice.

“It was supposed to be a two- to three-week thing, and I think we made it almost seven days,” Franson said. “I feel good and ... Read the full article

Tonight will be Evan Rodrigues' fifth NHL game. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall Evan Rodrigues again; Cody Franson out 2-3 weeks

TORONTO – This afternoon, hours before his fifth NHL game, Buffalo Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues couldn’t stop smiling.

“He’s always all smiles,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said inside the Air Canada Centre.

True, Rodrigues, 23, always seems to be grinning. But tonight’s tilt, which will be broadcast across Canada on “Hockey Night in Canada,” is extra special for Rodrigues, who grew up a Maple Leafs fan in Etobicoke, about 20 minutes from Toronto.

“It’s going ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen (55) tries to block a shot Thursday against the New York Rangers. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres tie game late, lose to Rangers in OT

BUFFALO – The scoreboard read zero goals, but in reality, the Sabres could’ve had five or six by late in the third period of Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Rangers.

The Sabres, studs at home in recent weeks, zoomed around Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist all night, generating chance after chance. But with six minutes left in regulation and their shot total approaching 40, the Sabres hadn’t scored yet.

Finally, Sabres defenseman Cody ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov was injured in the preseason. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Overcoming back injury tough for Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov

BUFFALO – These days, Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, a young veteran at just 26 years old, said he feels like an old man when he wakes up.

A lower-back bruise has been dogging the Russian for four months, forcing him out of the lineup three times and costing him 26 games.

Kulikov has dealt with the pain through a daily treatment regimen, and Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss against New York Rangers was his fourth ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov has played 23 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Dealing with back injury difficult for Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov

BUFFALO – These days, Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, a young veteran at just 26 years old, said he feels like an old man when he wakes up.

A lower-back bruise has been dogging the Russian for four months, forcing him out of the lineup three times and costing him 26 games.

Kulikov has dealt with the pain through a daily treatment regimen, and tonight’s tilt against New York Rangers will be his fourth straight ... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian scored his first goal Saturday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Depleted Sabres defense thrives

BUFFALO – In 25 years as a professional coach and player, coach Dan Bylsma said he had never seen it before. In Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win in Montreal, the Sabres dressed five right-handed defensemen.

“Kind of an odd situation,” Bylsma said Monday inside HarborCenter after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s road tilt against the Nashville Predators.

Unlike other sports, lefties are more plentiful in hockey. According to the New York Daily News, a whopping 62 ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov writhes in pain after getting hit Sept. 30. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov close to playing

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, out the last 12 games with a lower-back bruise, practiced this morning and could return this week, coach Dan Bylsma said.

“See how he responds to that,” Bylsma said inside HarborCenter. “But it bodes well for him seeing some time this week.”

Kulikov, 26, has been dogged by the injury all season after getting knocked into an open bench door Sept. 30, his preseason debut.

The Russian has ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner (40) tries to stop Winnipeg's Drew Stafford on Jan. 7. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner defends wave: ‘I don’t care what anyone thinks’

BUFFALO – Before Robin Lehner threw a fit after getting yanked from Tuesday’s 4-3 loss in Toronto, the fiery Sabres goalie skated to bench during a break and waved to a child whose mother was sitting in the first row and face-timing with her son at home.

Not long after that, Lehner was back at the bench erupting after allowing three goals in less than 10 minutes.

Some, of course, will say Lehner’s wave as ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis has missed 30 games following groin surgery. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres know they must develop consistency

BUFFALO – When goalie Robin Lehner spent a few days at home recovering from the flu last week, the young veteran developed a different perspective on the Sabres’ struggles watching two road losses from his couch.

“Playing the game or being on the bench, it’s one thing,” Lehner said Sunday inside KeyBank Center. “But when you sit down on the couch and you turn on the TV, you kind of get a little perspective on ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis has played only 35 games in a season and a half. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Tyler Ennis close to playing

BUFFALO – While there is still no official word, winger Tyler Ennis’ 69-day wait to return to the Sabres lineup following groin surgery could be over.

“We’ll see about that,” coach Dan Bylsma said when asked if the Sabres’ longest-tenured player could return for Monday afternoon’s tilt against Dallas.

But strong signs point to Ennis, 27, playing his first game since Nov. 7. Ennis’ full practice today inside KeyBank Center included regular work beside top ... Read the full article