Dan Bylsma lasted two seasons as coach. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres start over again by firing GM Tim Murray, coach Dan Bylsma

BUFFALO – Now what? In a stunning move, general manager Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma are gone, victims of the Sabres’ last-place finish.

Tanking, gutting the roster and starting from scratch were supposed to transform the Sabres into perennial contenders.

Instead, they’ve remained a laughingstock. So on Thursday, 11 days after the Sabres completed a disappointing 78-point season in which they regressed, owner Terry Pegula fired Murray and Bylsma.

Obviously, missing the playoffs by ... Read the full article

Tim Murray was hired in January 2014. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres must find direction after firing GM Tim Murray, coach Dan Bylsma

BUFFALO – Now what? In a stunning move, general manager Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma are gone, victims of the Sabres’ last-place finish.

Tanking, gutting the roster and starting from scratch were supposed to transform the Sabres into perennial contenders.

Instead, they’ve remained a laughingstock. So on Thursday, 11 days after the Sabres completed a disappointing 78-point season in which they regressed, owner Terry Pegula fired Murray and Bylsma.

Obviously, missing the playoffs by ... Read the full article

Brian Gionta (left) receives a silver stick from Sabres general manager Tim Murray on Monday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres captain Brian Gionta honored for 1,000th game

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Tyler Ennis said undersized NHL players – a “brotherhood,” he called them – share “an unspoken bond.”

Small players, of course, have the odds stacked against them. Only they can truly understand what they endured to make the league.

Fifteen or 20 years ago, it was even tougher for them to crack the NHL. That’s why Ennis, who’s listed at 5-foot-9, grew up idolizing diminutive stars, including 5-foot-7 Sabres captain Brian ... Read the full article

Evander Kane has enjoyed a terrific three-month stretch. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Slumping Sabres have assets to trade

BUFFALO – So what should the Sabres sell off before Wednesday’s trade deadline? After their most wrenching weekend in years, they can’t possibly be buyers, right?

Brutal road losses to the hapless Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes kicked them down the standings, effectively eliminating them from contention with 20 games left.

Desperate for wins, the Sabres couldn’t handle the NHL’s two worst teams. Think about that. Against the Coyotes, they frittered away a 2-0 third-period ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov was injured in the preseason. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Overcoming back injury tough for Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov

BUFFALO – These days, Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, a young veteran at just 26 years old, said he feels like an old man when he wakes up.

A lower-back bruise has been dogging the Russian for four months, forcing him out of the lineup three times and costing him 26 games.

Kulikov has dealt with the pain through a daily treatment regimen, and Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss against New York Rangers was his fourth ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov has played 23 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Dealing with back injury difficult for Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov

BUFFALO – These days, Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, a young veteran at just 26 years old, said he feels like an old man when he wakes up.

A lower-back bruise has been dogging the Russian for four months, forcing him out of the lineup three times and costing him 26 games.

Kulikov has dealt with the pain through a daily treatment regimen, and tonight’s tilt against New York Rangers will be his fourth straight ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart smiles after scoring Saturday afternoon. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Sam Reinhart finally scores first goal

BUFFALO – As the seven-game mark approached, Sabres forward Sam Reinhart figured after all his missed opportunities, his first goal would be fluky.

“The way the year has been going, that’s the way the first one had to go in, because the chances have been there,” Reinhart said after scoring a power-play goal late in Saturday afternoon’s 3-0 win against the Florida Panthers inside KeyBank Center.

Sure enough, 8:48 into the third period, Reinhart tried ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk was a first-round pick in 2010. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres regular Mark Pysyk happy with Panthers

BUFFALO – Being back here felt “weird,” Mark Pysyk, clad in Florida Panthers workout gear, said Saturday morning as he took a break from preparing for his first game as a visitor at KeyBank Center.

Pysyk, 24, grew up with the Sabres, developing from a first-round pick in 2010 into an NHL defenseman.

“The last six years I’ve been coming here for … everything,” Pysyk said prior to the Sabres’ 3-0 win against ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov (left) chases down new Sabres teammate Zemgus Girgensons with Florida in 2014-15. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Dmitry Kulikov finally joins Sabres

BUFFALO – Coach Dan Bylsma noticed it right away. So did some others on the ice for Wednesday’s practice, the Sabres’ first training camp session with defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.

“A couple comments on the D-man (being) able to get the puck up to the forwards with Dmitry,” Bylsma said inside KeyBank Center. “It’s good to see.”

The Sabres acquired Kulikov from the Florida Panthers on June 25 for a slew of reasons, including his ... Read the full article

Cody Franson suffered a season-ending injury Feb. 19. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres need more defense depth

How remarkably healthy did the Buffalo blue line stay in 2015-16? The Sabres recalled a defenseman as an injury replacement just once.

Think about that. Over the course of the grueling six-month, 82-game season, the Sabres only dipped into the AHL on March 18, when they summoned Chad Ruhwedel to sub for Carlo Colaiacovo prior to their 72nd contest. Ruhwedel played that night and was quickly returned to the Rochester Americans.

The Sabres almost ... Read the full article