Steve Ott thinks the NHL could become a second-tier sports league. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ott worries lockout permanently damaging NHL

BUFFALO – I just chatted with outspoken Sabres winger Steve Ott moments before the NHL canceled games through Dec. 14. Ott’s been a pretty vocal critic of the lockout, and he didn’t mince words today.

Here are some quick highlights:

On the NHL losing its place on the sporting landscape:

“The NHL (is) falling into almost a second-tier league compared to the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. I think they’re starting to accomplish taking ... Read the full article

Steve Ott believes the lockout could erase the momentum the NHL generated over seven years. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

NHL cancels 82 games, including 5 Sabres tilts

BUFFALO – The NHL lockout has now claimed regular-season games, with 82 over the first two weeks – including five Sabres contests – getting canceled Thursday.

With recent collective bargaining agreement talks going nowhere and no new sessions scheduled, more games will almost certainly be wiped out soon.

Sadly, this could only be the beginning. The work stoppage hits the three-week mark Sunday.

“I am shocked, yeah, in essence because … the guys are willing ... Read the full article

Patrick Kaleta has never shied away from contact. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Kaleta’s growth, maturity earns long deal from Sabres

BUFFALO – Three years for a rugged, injury-prone winger who’s averaged only 55 games during his four full NHL seasons. Why did the Sabres give Patrick Kaleta, a 26-year-old short on durability, such a long contract?

The team sees growth and maturity seeping into Kaleta’s game. He’s started reigning in the ultra-aggressive, often reckless style he showcased for years.

The Angola native played a career-high 63 contests last season, eight more than his previous best. ... Read the full article

©2012

Ott thrilled to be with Sabres, ‘brother’ Weber

BUFFALO – Last month, Steve Ott and Mike Weber heard a rumor Ott could be joining his close friend with the Sabres. The two laughed, and then resumed working out together at the gym.

The mere thought of Ott coming to Buffalo resonated, however. The gritty forward was cognizant the Dallas Stars might be looking to deal him.

“Could you imagine?” the friends asked each other.

On July 2, about two weeks later, Ott missed ... 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

Derek Roy hurt his shoulder last preseason. ©2012, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabre Roy undergoes shoulder surgery

BUFFALO – Ex-Sabres center Derek Roy, dished to Dallas last week for forward Steve Ott and defenseman Adam Pardy, underwent shoulder surgery Wednesday and will be out until November, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Roy, who hurt his shoulder last preseason, played through the ailment, only missing notable time in training camp. While he was cleared medically to be dealt, an “intense” physical in Dallas revealed the shoulder injury, according to the paper.

The 29-year-old ... Read the full article

Derek Roy battled injuries and struggled last season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres deal underachieving Roy to Dallas for Ott, Pardy

BUFFALO – The conversations, the first overtures into acquiring Steve Ott, the gritty Dallas forward the Sabres coveted, began last season. General manager Darcy Regier, who held struggling center Derek Roy as a key chip, had been keeping a dialogue with counterpart Joe Nieuwendyk for months.

At times, Regier said he didn’t want to pull the trigger. Other times, Nieuwendyk wasn’t willing.

“Either the timing wasn’t right or the people weren’t right,” Regier said Monday ... Read the full article