Pavel Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings will now be visiting Buffalo regularly. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

NHLPA consents to realignment; Sabres in new division with Red Wings

BUFFALO – The NHL Players’ Association consented to the NHL’s realignment plan this afternoon, meaning the league will use a four-division format next season.

The Sabres will play in a new Eastern Conference division featuring four Northeast Division holdovers – the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs – and three newcomers – the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Western Conference transfer Detroit Red Wings – pending the approval of the ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville celebrates his shootout-winning goal Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Buoyed by Vanek, Sabres rally late, stun Canadiens in shootout

BUFFALO – As the final seconds ticked away Thursday toward the Sabres’ fourth straight loss, thousands of disgusted fans left the First Niagara Center. The remnants of the crowd of 18,866 booed their struggling team mercilessly.

During one of the final whistles, The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” blared loudly from the speakers, including the never-more-appropriate verse, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

Were the Sabres trying to create a good atmosphere ... Read the full article

Christian Ehrhoff returned Thursday following a one-game absence. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ehrhoff’s return pushes Pardy out of Sabres’ lineup

BUFFALO – Going back to the minors was difficult at first, Adam Pardy said. Other than a two-game conditioning stint last season, the Sabres defenseman had spent more than four years in the NHL.

Then the Sabres, who acquired Pardy from Dallas in July, waived the 28-year-old during training camp last month. Numbers kicked Pardy, the ninth defenseman in an eight-man race, back to the AHL.

“It’s something I’ve never went through before,” Pardy said ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff keeps trying to reinvent things around his team. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ruff insists Sabres haven’t become stale

BUFFALO – Like it or not, the Sabres have a stale perception around the NHL.

Coach Lindy Ruff and general manager Darcy Regier have been together more than 15 years without winning a Stanley Cup. Right now, after losing seven of eight, they’re barreling toward a second straight season out of the playoffs. They’ve missed the postseason six times in 10 seasons with much of the same personnel.

So, Lindy, are things getting stale? Would ... Read the full article

Christian Ehrhoff skated this morning. ©2013. Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ehrhoff plans to return tonight

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ banged-up defense corps should be getting their best player back tonight against the Montreal Canadiens.

Christian Ehrhoff, sidelined by a muscle strain Tuesday, skated this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

“I took the whole skate and I’m ready to go tonight,” Ehrhoff said afterward.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff wouldn’t pronounce Ehrhoff fully ready yet, however.

“He’s going to take warm-up tonight and we’ll see where he’s at,” Ruff said. “Early ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff postponed a scheduled off day Wednesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Last-place Sabres trying to dig out of early-season hole

BUFFALO – Everything’s becoming ugly very quickly for the reeling Sabres, whose season is already on the brink of collapsing after losing three straight contests and seven of the last eight.

Three wins and seven points through 10 games have them mired in last place in the Northeast Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference following Tuesday’s 4-3 defeat in Ottawa, a game they nearly roared back and tied.

Incredibly, depending how some other ... Read the full article

Patrick Kaleta was taken to the hospital on a stretcher last week. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kaleta nearing return following scary neck injury

BUFFALO – If Sabres agitator Patrick Kaleta has his way, he’ll return to the lineup tonight against the Montreal Canadiens

Forget that the winger left the First Niagara Center on a stretcher last Tuesday after injuring his neck and spent the night in the hospital. Forget that he’s only been through one non-contact practice. Forget that coach Lindy Ruff wasn’t sure if the 26-year-old has even been cleared to play yet.

“I’m available whenever ... Read the full article

©2012

Miller’s shutout over Habs has Sabres sniffing playoff spot

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ shocking resurgence – one that’s vaulted them from the Eastern Conference basement to a points tie with eighth-place Washington in 33 days – can be attributed to several factors.

The banged-up defense corps has stayed healthy and locked down. Several slumping stars have started scoring again, giving the team a secondary scoring attack. A few youngsters have contributed immediately upon their arrival from Rochester.

Most notably, though, Ryan Miller began playing ... Read the full article

©2012

First NHL recall ‘best thing’ Sabres rookie Turnbull has ever heard

BUFFALO – Travis Turnbull said he never stopped believing he’d crack the NHL someday. Still, the odds looked stacked against the undrafted center. The Sabres possess a slew of talented youngsters and high-priced veterans in Rochester.

The 25-year-old Turnbull’s name has rarely popped up as a prospect since he was inked out of the University of Michigan in 2009.

The Sabres had already summoned six forwards from the AHL this season when Turnbull’s phone rang ... Read the full article

Marcus Foligno already has five goals and seven points just six games into his career. ©2012, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Scorching Sabres rookie Foligno off to historic start

BUFFALO – NHL success can be fleeting, especially for 20-year-olds thrown headfirst into a ferocious postseason race. Today’s hero can quickly become overwhelmed the next day.

With five goals and seven points just six games into his career, winger Marcus Foligno’s already enjoying one of the greatest rookie stretches in the Sabres’ 41-year history.

Only Phil Housley (nine points, 1982-83) and Ray Sheppard (seven, 1987-88) have tallied seven or more points in their first six ... Read the full article