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

Jason Pominville plans to play an exhibition game tonight in Quebec. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Locked-out Sabres pursuing new jobs

AMHERST – Following another informal skate Wednesday, Jason Pominville packed up his hockey equipment, hopped in the car and drove home seven hours to Montreal.

It’s that hard for the locked out NHL players to find a game these days.

The Sabres captain said he’ll play tonight in the Quebec Caravan League, a charity exhibition series pitting players from Montreal against others from around the province. The contests should resemble intense shinny, he said.

His ... Read the full article

Jordan Leopold insists the locked-out players have hope. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres trying to remain upbeat as lockout practices begin

AMHERST – Now they’re officially on their own, locked out and barred from any contact with the organization. About 12 Buffalo Sabres regulars skated with some prospects Monday morning inside the Northtown Center, the first of possibly dozens of practices without a regular coaching staff.

The team employees who had recently assisted with informal skates have left. Other than the Sabres logo on their jerseys, something the players could soon ditch, the symbol has almost ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville can't believe another NHL lockout is imminent. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres feel lockout coming, begin making provisions

AMHERST – It’s looming. Barring a major negotiating breakthrough, the NHL plans to lock out its players at midnight Saturday, a sad and stunning end to a collective bargaining agreement under which the league generated record revenues.

Beginning today in Manhattan, at least 10 Buffalo Sabres will be among the 250 or so players attending the NHL Players’ Association meetings. The two sides also reportedly plan to meet again today, a bit of good news.... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons' junior teammates unanimously voted him captain. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Leadership qualities make Sabres prospect Girgensons stand out

BUFFALO – Jim Montgomery put it up for a vote, so after his Dubuque Fighting Saints won the United States Hockey League championship in 2011, he asked his returning players to pick a new captain.

In addition to three 20-year-olds, the coach had a 19-year-old who played prominent minutes back for another season of junior hockey.

Incredibly, Montgomery’s players passed on the veterans, instead picking a 17-year-old Latvian to captain them.

His name was Zemgus ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek last hit the 40-goal mark in 2008-09. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Vanek not living up to expectations

BUFFALO – Five years after the Sabres matched the astonishing seven-year, $50 million offer sheet Edmonton awarded winger Thomas Vanek, the star expected to score 40 goals annually and flirt with 50 has averaged just 32 a season.

At times, Vanek still utterly dominates the game like few players can these days. See the beginning of 2008-09, the end of 2009-10 and the start of his past one season for proof.

For long stretches, however, ... Read the full article

Luke Adam has struggled since getting demoted to Rochester. ©2012, Craig Foltz/Ben Hall, Lake Erie Monsters

Sabres prospect Adam struggling to find scoring touch in Rochester

ROCHESTER – Luke Adam, the same Buffalo Sabres prospect whose NHL exploits early this season – three goals in his first four games and 10 tallies before Christmas – made him a Calder Trophy candidate, can’t even score much in the AHL, a league he dominated last year.

Since being demoted to the Rochester Americans on Feb. 11 in the midst of an epic slump, Adam, the AHL’s top rookie a year ago, has only ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller performed terribly for three months before regaining his old form. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Miller’s ‘enough is enough’ mentality turned around awful season, Sabres’ fortunes

BUFFALO – Ryan Miller couldn’t offer any strong explanations for suddenly transforming back into one of the NHL’s elite goalies following a wretched, career-worst three months.

When the 31-year-old Sabres veteran began feeling better during the winter, everything became easier, he said. The ice opened up and he started reading plays and seeing shots clearly again.

Nothing magical happened. Miller had just experienced enough mediocrity.

“Mainly, it was kind of, ‘Enough is enough. I’m better ... Read the full article

Derek Roy was critical of coach Lindy Ruff as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ disappointing season could claim victims

BUFFALO – Their run together stands at 423 total games over five fruitless seasons. In that time, the Sabres’ homegrown core players have earned two playoff appearances and zero series wins.

That’s it.

Most teams would’ve broken up that group years ago. The Sabres have plodded forward, mostly keeping it intact despite little success.

But a veteran star could finally be jettisoned following a bitterly disappointing ninth-place finish this season. A club constructed to hoist ... Read the full article

A broken ankle ended Tyler Myers' season March 30. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Broken ankle shelved Sabres’ Myers

BUFFALO – Early in the Sabres’ 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh on March 30, Tyler Myers took a shot off his face and fell down on the ice. It looked bad.

The 22-year-old was fine, however, and he got up and kept playing.

In the third period, when Paul’s Martin’s harmless-looking shot hit Myers’ skate, few noticed and the defenseman finished the game.

“It just felt like a little stinger like any other day,” Myers said ... Read the full article