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

Josh Gorges had a hard time sitting out. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Josh Gorges returns; Nick Deslauriers stays at center

BUFFALO – The badgering has finally stopped. Josh Gorges is healthy, back playing after a hip injury cost him 12 games. So Sabres coach Dan Bylsma can walk by the defenseman again without getting an earful.

“Josh has been one miserable guy to be around,” Bylsma said Saturday morning. “I don’t walk by him without him saying he’s ready to play, and that was about 15 days ago.”

Gorges, 32, played in Saturday’s 4-0 win ... Read the full article

Josh Gorges has been battling an odd hip problem. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Josh Gorges finally healthy

BUFFALO – The badgering has finally stopped. Josh Gorges is healthy, ready to return from a hip injury that cost him the last 12 games. So Sabres coach Dan Bylsma can walk by the defenseman again without getting an earful.

“Josh has been one miserable guy to be around,” Bylsma, who has called Gorges “crusty,” said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I don’t walk by him without him saying he’s ready to play, and thawas ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe (29) missed five games. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Josh Gorges, Jake McCabe set to return; Justin Bailey recalled

BUFFALO – For weeks, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said, defenseman Josh Gorges “has been one miserable guy to be around.”

“I don’t walk by him without him saying he’s ready to play, and that was about 15 days ago,” Bylsma said this morning inside KeyBank Center.

Gorges, out the last 12 games with a hip injury, can finally stop badgering Bylsma. He will return tonight against the Ottawa Senators. So will defenseman Jake McCabe, ... Read the full article

Justin Falk has bounced around the NHL for years. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Justin Falk grateful for time with Sabres

BUFFALO – On Wednesday, after almost three months of commuting back and forth to Rochester, Sabres defenseman Justin Falk moved his family into an extended-stay hotel here.

For Falk, who has shuttled between the NHL and minors for years, having his wife and two children close by, of course, offers some comfort.

“That helps … just to have a little sense of feeling at home,” said Falk, who said he sometimes made the 75-mile drive ... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson tries to stop the New York Rangers' Chris Kreider on Dec. 1. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres feeling comfortable at home

BUFFALO – Very quietly, after years of ineptitude on home ice, the Sabres have recently morphed into a strong team at KeyBank Center, winning four straight games.

Of course, four consecutive home victories isn’t overly impressive. But for the Sabres, who haven’t finished above .500 at home since 2012-13, the streak represents progress.

It also gives them some hope. With each loss, their slim playoff chances decrease. But tonight’s tilt against the New York Rangers ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis (63) tries to check Montreal's Alexander Radulov on Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres have chance to rebound at home

BUFFALO – Flush it. Forget about it. Just get rid of it.

“Obviously, last night’s game we have to throw out the window because it was horrendous,” winger Marcus Foligno said about Tuesday’s wretched 5-2 road loss to the Montreal Canadiens, arguably the Sabres’ worst setback all season.

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma added: “We got beat badly.”

No kidding. The Canadiens led 5-0 before the Sabres scored two late goals. The game, by any measure, ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) battles Dallas' Jiri Hudler on Jan. 16. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres emerge from break focused on playoffs

In eight years in the NHL, Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane said he has never seen the standings so crunched barely halfway through the season.

Following the three-day NHL All-Star break, the Sabres start the stretch run tonight at the Montreal Canadiens in seventh place, tied with the Detroit Red Wings for the fewest points in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

Still, with 49 points through 48 games, the Sabres, who have three contests ... 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

Ryan O'Reilly buoyed the Sabres late Friday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ryan O’Reilly helps push Sabres past Red Wings in OT

BUFFALO – With just over four minutes left in regulation Friday and the Sabres trailing 2-1, Ryan O’Reilly zoomed down the right wall hellbent on grabbing the puck from Danny DeKeyser deep in the Detroit zone.

O’Reilly eventually twisted DeKeyser around, grabbed the puck and skated behind the net, where he zeroed in on linemate Kyle Okposo in front.

But the rest of the Red Wings hadn’t caught up, so a surprised O’Reilly skated out ... Read the full article