Jordan Leopold wants no part of a potential meeting between players and owners. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players not interested in meeting owners

AMHERST – Mediation, as expected, failed to ignite talks between the NHL and the Players’ Association.

Seventy-seven days into the lockout, nothing has gotten the sides on the same page. The clock’s already ticking on the 2012-13 season.

So what about that meeting limited only to players and owners NHL commissioner Gary Bettman proposed Thursday after the two days of supervised talks broke down? Could that work?

Bettman and NHLPA executive director Don Fehr would ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville's joining his childhood friend, Yanick Lehoux, in Mannheim. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres captain Pominville to join Mannheim of German league

AMHERST – Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville’s heading to the Mannheim Eagles of the DEL in Germany to play during the NHL lockout, he told the Times Herald today.

“If it does get settled quick, then I’ll be able to skate for a few weeks, a month – whatever it is,” Pominville said after skating inside the Northtown Center. “It’ll be a mini training camp. And if not, I’ll have a team for the rest ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville hopes mediation will bring new ideas to negotiations between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players hopeful mediation can lead to breakthrough

AMHERST – Mediation can’t hurt, right? Heck, with the NHL lockout now 75 days old, the league and the NHL Players’ Association desperately need something new to help jumpstart negotiations.

Why not get a third party involved?

That finally happened Wednesday at an undisclosed location, as the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service began overseeing negotiations between the league and the NHLPA.

“Hopefully, he can (lend) his opinion and bring some new ideas and make both ... Read the full article

Jordan Leopold thinks last week's CBA negotiations restored some optimism to the process. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players see CBA negotiations as one-sided

AMHERST – What the heck happens now? NHL labor talks finally appeared to be turning a corner last week, with a string of “secret” marathon negotiating sessions raising optimism a deal could be struck in the near future.

Both sides remained tight-lipped. They plowed through session and after session.

Then the collective bargaining agreement talks crumbled again. Sniping between the NHL and the Players’ Association has resumed.

“I think last week with us talking brought ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville wants to stay even-keeled as formal CBA talks begin again. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Players taking wait-and-see approach to new NHL labor talks

AMHERST – Don’t get too giddy yet, players cautioned. A new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and its locked-out talent doesn’t appear imminent.

Nonetheless, for one of the few times during the 52-day work stoppage, there’s some encouraging news. The NHL and the Players’ Association will formally meet today in New York, the first face-to-face bargaining session since mid-October.

A long, productive meeting between NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford still remains optimistic NHL hockey will be played this season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

NHL’s month of game cancellations frustrates Sabres

AMHERST – Now the NHL has canceled all of its games through November, including 11 more Buffalo Sabres contests. Twenty Sabres tilts – 24.4 percent of the 82-game slate – have been axed 42 days into the lockout.

All together, the NHL’s second lockout since 2004-05 has claimed 326 games, a whopping 26.5 percent of the league’s schedule.

It’s almost impossible to argue any other way: Friday was a dark day for hockey. An ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville wants to hear more details of the NHL's proposal to end the lockout. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hope NHL’s offer leads to serious CBA talks

AMHERST – Like other players, Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville heard some positive vibes when he learned the NHL had submitted a new, revamped collective bargaining agreement proposal to the NHL Players’ Association on Tuesday.

The 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue, down from 57 percent for the players under the old CBA, seemed fair and logical to some outside observers. The NBA and NFL both allocated money similarly following lockouts last year. The NHL’s ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk blocks a shot in his professional debut Friday. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

With Sabres’ ‘amazing’ opening night gone, attention has turned to Rochester

ROCHESTER – The 42nd opening night in Buffalo Sabres history would’ve been “huge,” winger Drew Stafford said, even “amazing.” New seasons breed hope and optimism, and if the NHL lockout wasn’t in its 28th day, both would be sweeping through Buffalo right now.

The club was scheduled to host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight inside a capacity First Niagara Center.

The Sabres, healthy and stocked with offseason reinforcements, might’ve been considered ... Read the full article

Jhonas Enroth plans to return home to Sweden later this week. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres exploring options as lockout drags on

AMHERST – A deal had finally been reached. After two weeks of prodding from his friend, locked-out Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth agreed he would play one game for a local pizzeria’s beer league team.

On Tuesday, an excited Enroth announced the “one-game contract” to his more than 20,000 Twitter followers.

“Debut is tomorrow at 10 pm at Buff State,” he wrote.

Enroth tweeted again about an hour later.

“Alright. Agent just called. No game with ... Read the full article

Marcus Foligno established himself as a top NHL talent late last season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres stuck in Rochester trying to embrace unique opportunity

BUFFALO – They’re back for another unexpected AHL run, kicked to the minors again by the NHL lockout.

Marcus Foligno dominated at times during his late-season recall, compiling six goals and 13 points in a rollicking 12-game stretch. By mid-March, the winger had become a star and a Sabres fan favorite.

Center Cody Hodgson, meanwhile, established himself as a regular last year, scoring 19 goals while setting a league record for road appearances.

Both would ... Read the full article