Sam Reinhart (center) celebrates his first preseason goal with Marcus Foligno (82) and Tyson Strachan (24). ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sam Reinhart’s first goal closes Sabres’ preseason blowout win against Capitals

BUFFALO – Seven minutes, 10 seconds into the third period Wednesday, with the Sabres up four goals against the Washington Capitals, top prospect Sam Reinhart finally found some open ice.

Reinhart, by his own admission, had been pressing this preseason. The savvy 18-year-old couldn’t score or even create opportunities, and it gnawed at him. The hockey IQ fans have heard about so much rarely materialized.

But as Wednesday’s contest dragged on, the center got open ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko skates this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko must keep impressing to earn roster spot

BUFFALO – Two weeks into training camp, center Mikhail Grigorenko remains the Sabres’ biggest surprise. Two more impressive outings could earn the Russian prospect a roster spot.

“He’s been looking really good,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “He’s strong on the puck. He’s been making some really good plays. So the biggest thing right now is keep seeing him do it.”

Grigorenko has two more preseason opportunities, tonight ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart possesses plenty of skill. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Prospect Sam Reinhart running out of time to impress Sabres, knows he must score

BUFFALO – A goal or even a little more assertiveness tonight would greatly boost top prospect Sam Reinhart’s chances of making the Sabres right out of junior hockey.

Time could be running out for the 18-year-old, the No. 2 pick in June. Only two exhibition games are left.

Through three appearances, Reinhart has zero points, just two shots on goal and a minus-1 rating while averaging 16 minutes, 16 seconds of ice time. Incredibly, ... Read the full article

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

Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart must create more offense to earn roster spot

BUFFALO – Time is running out for top Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart to make a notable impression this preseason.

The No. 2 pick in June has zero points and just two shots on goal through three preseason appearances. Still, Sabres coach Ted Nolan has said he’s seen improvements in the slick center’s game, especially late in contests.

Nolan will play Reinhart the final two exhibition games. The Sabres host Washington on Wednesday and play in ... Read the full article

Marcus Foligno battles Toronto's Dion Phaneuf on Friday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Marcus Foligno primed for breakout season

BUFFALO – There have been some glimpses of future stardom during Marcus Foligno’s short career. For brief stretches, the Sabres winger will showcase the unique skills only a few elite power forwards possess, using his 6-foot-3, 223-pound frame to score goals and bang bodies.

But Foligno has mostly performed inconsistently, making fans wonder if the 23-year-old will ever develop into the star many envisioned he would become following his memorable debut in late 2011-12.... Read the full article

Andrej Meszaros has been playing big minutes. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Andrej Meszaros enjoying fresh start with Sabres

TORONTO – Coach Ted Nolan noticed a little smirk on Andrej Meszaros’ face following the defenseman’s recent Buffalo Sabres debut.

Meszaros had just skated a whopping 29 minutes, 39 seconds in Tuesday’s 2-0 win against Carolina. The minutes felt like a warm welcome.

“It felt pretty good,” Meszaros said last week.

Meszaros, 28, hadn’t played that much in a 60-minute game since May 6, 2011. Back then, the Slovak had just been named Philadelphia’s top ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart has played all three preseason games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart due for some rest

BUFFALO – After playing three games in a five-day stretch to open the preseason, top Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart will likely sit out Sunday’s exhibition tilt in Toronto, coach Ted Nolan said.

Reinhart agreed with Nolan’s assessment he enjoyed his best outing in Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Maple Leafs. The center had zero points and one shot in 16 minutes, 46 seconds of ice time, mostly between Cody Hodgson and Brian Gionta.

“I think ... Read the full article

Chris Stewart zooms toward the net Friday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Michal Neuvirth struggles, Chris Stewart shines in Sabres’ preseason loss to Leafs

BUFFALO – If this keeps up, the battle to become the Sabres’ No. 1 goalie could be over soon.

Michal Neuvirth performed poorly in his first preseason action, making only 16 saves in the Sabres’ 6-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday inside the First Niagara Center.

The Leafs scored on four of their first seven shots and five of the first 12.

“A tough game, not a lot of shots,” Neuvirth said. ... Read the full article

Tim Schaller has looked impressive this training camp. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Tim Schaller to make preseason debut

BUFFALO – Ted Nolan knew very little about Sabres prospect Tim Schaller prior to training camp. The center hasn’t dazzled the coach, but his play away from the puck has been catching Nolan’s eye.

“I just thought his hockey intelligence was evident to a few of us,” Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “He kept doing it day after day after day. We just felt that he deserves an opportunity.”

Schaller, an ... Read the full article

Jhonas Enroth stops Carolina's Greg Nemisz on Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Goalie Jhonas Enroth, top line shine in Sabres’ preseason win against Hurricanes

BUFFALO – At one end, Jhonas Enroth thwarted the Carolina Hurricanes, stopping all 35 shots he faced. The diminutive Swede performed like a No. 1 goalie in the Sabres’ 2-0 exhibition win inside the First Niagara Center.

At the other end Tuesday, Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson and Drew Stafford dominated for spells, creating both Sabres goals. The trio performed like a No. 1 line.

Plenty of jobs and roles are up for grabs this preseason. ... Read the full article