Phil Varone played nine NHL games last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Phil Varone believes he can stick with Sabres; Ted Nolan impressed with Mikhail Grigorenko

BUFFALO – Phil Varone’s nine-game run last season grabbed coach Ted Nolan’s attention. The 5-foot-10 forward played well during his first NHL recall, compiling one goal and two points while taking a regular shift.

But Varone, who will play in today’s preseason opener in Washington, couldn’t convert a slew of scoring opportunities he generated.

“The difference between him and (Martin) St. Louis and players of that caliber who’s a smaller structure, when they have an ... Read the full article

Michal Neuvirth only played two games with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Friends Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth ready to battle for Sabres’ starting goalie job

BUFFALO – They’ve been friends for years. Sabres goalies Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth grew up facing each other overseas. When their careers shifted to North America, they kept competing all the way to the NHL.

These days, the 26-year-olds are challenging for the same spot, the No. 1 goalie position.

“It’s Jhonas and Neuvirth’s time,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said Friday inside the First Niagara Center following the first session of training camp.

The ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart skates this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres put top prospect Sam Reinhart on strong line to open training camp

BUFFALO – Hey, it’s never too early for line and defense combinations, right? Clearly, coach Ted Nolan has formed trios and pairs he believes could be used in the regular season.

Here are some notable ones the Sabres are using today during the opening session of training camp (left to right):

– Marcus Foligno, Sam Reinhart and Chris Stewart.

– Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford.

– Cody Hodgson, Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Gionta.... Read the full article

Matt Moulson likes the Sabres' future. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players believe losing will be thing of past; Ted Nolan going to name captain soon

BUFFALO – Their faces told a story. One-by-one, Sabres players took their turn at a podium this morning, the start of training camp. Each one smiled and spoke optimistically.

They all talked about the great things the Sabres, the NHL’s laughingstock last year, can do this season after revamping the lineup this summer

“I didn’t come here to lose,” Sabres winger Brian Gionta, a July 1 signing, said inside the First Niagara Center. “The first ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart skates last week at the NHL Prospects Tournament. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres training camp will have plenty of storylines

BUFFALO – If you love roster battles, the next three weeks of Sabres training camp should be fun.

About 34 players have a legitimate chance to crack the opening-night lineup. They have a prized prospect, slick center Sam Reinhart, vying for a spot. The starting goalie job is up for grabs. Defense spots are open. Nine or 10 guys will be competing for three fourth-line spots.

Players report for physicals today. The first on-ice session ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) jostles with Hurricanes prospect Trevor Carrick for position in front of the Carolina net today. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Photo: Sam Reinhart debuts for Sabres in Traverse City

It’s not quite an NHL regular-season contest, but slick prospect Sam Reinhart finally wore a Buffalo Sabres uniform in game action today at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich.

The No. 2 overall pick in June was held scoreless in the Sabres’ 6-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Vaclav Karabacek, a 2014 second-rounder, scored Buffalo’s lone goal.

The Sabres play the New York Rangers on Saturday.... Read the full article

Nikita Zadorov was sent back to junior early last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Nikita Zadorov believes strong training camp could earn NHL roster spot

BUFFALO – After a seven-game NHL trial as a rookie early last season, Sabres prospect Nikita Zadorov feels ready for primetime. The 19-year-old defenseman believes an impressive training camp could force the Sabres to keep him.

“I’m a year older, a year stronger – everything,” Zadorov said earlier this week. “I have experience.”

Zadorov will be at least a few games richer in experience by next week, after the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart was drafted No. 2 in June. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sam Reinhart headlines Sabres’ Traverse City roster

BUFFALO – Four first-round picks, including center Sam Reinhart, the No. 2 overall selection this year, are on the Sabres’ 24-man roster for the 2014 NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich.

Winger Joel Armia and defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov are the other first-rounders.

The eight-team tournament runs from Friday until next Tuesday. The Sabres won in 2011 and finished second in 2013.

The complete Buffalo roster the team released today is ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart scored a goal Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Photo: Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart with Team Canada

Sam Reinhart hasn’t stopped much this “offseason.” Before the Buffalo Sabres selected him second overall June 27, the slick prospect spent the spring preparing for the NHL Entry Draft. Following his whirlwind draft experience, Reinhart participated in Buffalo’s summer development camp three weeks ago.

Reinhart’s back on the ice again, skating at Team Canada’s world junior camp this week in Quebec. The 18-year-old captained the Canadians and scored a goal in a 6-2 ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis signed a five-year, $23 million contract last week. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Tyler Ennis ready for new challenges after signing 5-year contract

BUFFALO – The setting made Tyler Ennis reflect on a career that almost never started.

The slick Sabres center was about to skate at Callingwood Recreation Centre, the rink around the corner from his childhood home in Edmonton, when word arrived last week his new five-year, $23 million contract had been finalized.

His best friend, Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon, was with him. So were the memories of his struggles as a youngster.

“I was ... Read the full article