Tyler Ennis said the lines had to be changed. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ted Nolan changes Sabres’ lines; Brayden McNabb to return Tuesday

BUFFALO – Ted Nolan wanted to give his lines a long look. The interim Sabres coach figured he couldn’t ask his players for consistency if he kept shuffling the trios.

But after a string of losses and more meager offensive production, Nolan switched the lines up today.

“Our top line is having a little bit of trouble, maybe the chemistry wasn’t quite right,” Nolan said this afternoon following practice inside the First Niagara Center. ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko could be playing somewhere else soon. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres could send Mikhail Grigorenko to play with Russians or back to junior

BUFFALO – The Sabres are “discussing all possibilities” to find 19-year-old prospect Mikhail Grigorenko playing time, interim coach Ted Nolan said Tuesday.

That means the Sabres could loan the center, a healthy scratch the last two games, to Russia for the world junior championship later this month if he’s invited. He could also get sent back to the junior Quebec Remparts.

“We’re not 100 percent sure what we’re going to do,” Nolan said following practice ... Read the full article

Nikita Zadorov has played well since returning to London. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ youngsters thriving back in development leagues

Some quick updates on the rookies the Buffalo Sabres’ new regime reassigned to the AHL and junior Nov. 19.

Not surprisingly, the youngsters are thriving outside the NHL. You think these prospects should’ve been sent down earlier?

Johan Larsson, winger, Rochester Americans

The 22-year-old Swede, who had one assist in 17 NHL games, has two goals and seven points in six AHL games as winger beside center Kevin Porter and rookie Joel Armia. ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko hasn't played for interim coach Ted Nolan yet. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres trying to find ‘best solution’ for Mikhail Grigorenko

BUFFALO – Mikhail Grigorenko figured he’d be starting a two-week AHL conditioning assignment Wednesday. The 19-year-old Sabres prospect had already dropped his equipment off at the rink and checked into a Rochester hotel when a team front office member contacted him at 10 p.m. Tuesday.

The NHL had rejected the assignment.

Grigorenko drove back to Buffalo and practiced with the Sabres hours later.

What happened?

“You read the rules and see how they work,” interim ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen played 19 games with the Sabres. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ reassignment of youngsters represents culture change

BUFFALO – Development time used to be mandatory. Before Mikhail Grigorenko cracked the lineup last season, the Sabres hadn’t played an 18-year-old regularly since Pierre Turgeon in 1987-88. Most of their top prospects spent at least one full season in the minors.

But former general manager Darcy Regier, who was fired with coach Ron Rolston last week, dramatically switched philosophies earlier this year as the Sabres started rebuilding.

The struggling Sabres recently became the first ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko had two goals in 15 games. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Veterans happy to see Sabres reassign youngsters: ‘It’s about earning the spot’

BUFFALO – In veteran defenseman Henrik Tallinder’s mind, the Sabres’ old regime handed out too many roster spots to undeserving youngsters. Interim coach Ted Nolan and his boss, Pat LaFontaine, know that. They’re working to correct those past mistakes.

“It’s not about getting the spot; it’s about earning the spot,” Tallinder said this morning inside the First Niagara Center after the Sabres reassigned four rookies, three of them teenagers. “It used to be like that ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko has dominated in junior. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Report: Mikhail Grigorenko sent back to junior; Sabres tough guy John Scott regrets ‘Princess Phaneuf’ comment

BUFFALO – In a not-so-surprising move, the Sabres sent 19-year-old center Mikhail Grigorenko back to the Quebec Remparts late Monday, according to RDS, a Canadian sports network.

Grigorenko has been scratched both games under interim coach Ted Nolan, who has strongly hinted he doesn’t think the Sabres should have four teenagers on the roster.

UPDATE: Grigorenko was just seen leaving the building this morning. Rookie defenseman Nikita Zadorov isn’t on the ice and has ... Read the full article

Nikita Zadorov made his NHL debut Saturday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie Nikita Zadorov ready for more minutes in second NHL game

BUFFALO – If you enjoyed watching Sabres rookie Nikita Zadorov thump opponents during his NHL debut, get ready to see more of the 18-year-old Russian tonight against the gritty Boston Bruins.

Sabres coach Ron Rolston plans to play the 16th overall pick in June more than the 11:01 he skated in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Colorado.

“Matchup-wise, he’s got size, and he’s physical,” Rolston said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “He ... Read the full article

Corey Tropp hasn't played yet this regular season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Corey Tropp practicing again, not upset with Jamie Devane for breaking jaw

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Corey Tropp holds no grudges against Jamie Devane, the 6-foot-5 tough guy who broke his jaw during a Sept. 22 preseason fight in Toronto.

The scrap ignited a huge brawl and became the talk of hockey world. Sabres enforcer John Scott, who immediately went after Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel, has said Devane shouldn’t have punched Tropp a final time and driven his head into the ice.

But the gritty ... Read the full article

The Sabres' Mike Weber (6) fights Steve Downie on Saturday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Awful first period dooms Sabres in loss to Avalanche

BUFFALO – The buzz began building as Drew Stafford wound up at the left point. A second later, as the winger pumped a slap shot on Colorado goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere 14:09 into the game, the 18,422 fans inside the First Niagara Center roared, almost like the Sabres had scored.

It was, of course, a Bronx cheer – perhaps the loudest you’ll ever hear. The hapless Sabres finally had their first shot.

“That’s a low moment,” ... Read the full article