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Rochester Americans

Marcus Foligno was playing some of his best hockey ever in December. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Given the Sabres’ sorry state these days, it’s almost difficult to remember now. But for a brief stretch earlier this season, they morphed into a young team on the rise, winning a string of exciting games in dramatic fashion.

The rebuilding club triumphed 10 times in 13 games – they have only 20 victories in 75 outings all season – during a rollicking run in November and December, roaring back night after night.

The Sabres were never out of any …

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Mikhail Grigorenko has one goal this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Sabres center Mikhail Grigorenko appreciates coach Ted Nolan’s honesty and tough love. The 20-year-old Russian sees it as a sign of support.

“I know everyone wants me to succeed in this organization,” Grigorenko said Thursday prior to the Sabres’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes inside the First Niagara Center. “Everyone has their ways. Teddy, he thinks being hard on me is only going to help me.”

Nolan ripped Grigorenko following his last demotion to Rochester earlier this month, …

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Matt Hackett has started three games this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Almost a year later, Matt Hackett hasn’t fully recovered from his torn right ACL. The goalie still experiences soreness after games, so the Sabres want him to rest.

The 25-year-old performed strongly in Saturday’s 3-0 loss in Nashville, making 40 saves. But Sabres coach Ted Nolan started Anders Lindback on Monday in Dallas.

Hackett will likely start tonight’s contest against the Arizona Coyotes, his fourth nod this season.

“He fought through a long recovery period,” Nolan said Wednesday inside the First …

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Ted Nolan can't grasp wanting to finish last. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Oh, Ted Nolan knows. The coach likely understands the Sabres’ rabid fan base will root against them throughout Thursday’s highly anticipated tilt against the Arizona Coyotes. A loss would almost guarantee the Sabres either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in June.

Nolan can’t say much, however.

“I can’t control what other people think and what other people do,” Nolan said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “The only thing I know is what I feel. I’m not speaking for …

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Tim Schaller has played 13 NHL games this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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With Tyler Ennis ill and Jerry D’Amigo recovering from a high-stick, the Buffalo Sabres have recalled Tim Schaller from Rochester for tonight’s road game against the Dallas Stats.

Schaller has one goal and two points in 13 NHL games this season. The Sabres sent him back to the Americans on Friday.

The 24-year-old has 15 goals and 40 points in 58 AHL contests.

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New Jersey's Steve Bernier (18) celebrates with Scott Gomez on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – During a 17-game run with the Sabres late in 2007-08, Steve Bernier mustered only three goals, two of which he scored in his first game. The winger mostly disappeared after that, and he was quietly traded to Vancouver months later.

Mention Bernier’s name around some Sabres fans, and inevitably someone will bring up his rollicking debut.

Now, after Bernier’s two-goal performance Friday in the New Jersey Devils’ 3-1 win against the Sabres, the 29-year-old might have a new claim to …

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Mikhail Grigorenko has one goal and two points in 13 games this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres recalled center Mikhail Grigorenko from Rochester this afternoon and sent center Tim Schaller and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel down.

Grigorenko’s sixth recall this season is another opportunity for the 20-year-old to prove he belongs in the NHL. So far, the Russian, the No. 12 pick in 2012, has compiled only one goal and two points in 13 outings this season.

The Sabres host the New Jersey Devils tonight at the First Niagara Center.

In his last appearance March 6, Grigorenko …

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Tyler Ennis (63) skates by Minnesota's Jared Spurgeon earlier this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – On an anemic team about to break its own dubious record for fewest goals scored in modern NHL history, slick Sabres winger Tyler Ennis has 18 goals.

The 25-year-old scored 21 times last season, when the Sabres scored only 150 goals. They have 126 goals through 70 games this season, a pathetic 148-score pace.

Through all the turmoil, through all the losses, Ennis has remained a consistent offensive threat with neophytes feeding him the puck.

“Somebody asked me who’s the most …

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Patrick Kaleta should return next week. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – If Patrick Kaleta keeps progressing, the Sabres winger will likely miss three more games and return from his knee injury next Thursday against Arizona.

“It’s just how it reacts to battle drills and divots and all that sort of stuff,” Kaleta said Thursday after his first full practice. “I have more mobility in my knee now, so it’s building up the strength and getting the movements down. Once you start doing things that you’re not used to doing, it …

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Sam Reinhart smiles at Team Canada's camp in December. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – These are the final weeks of top Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart’s spectacular junior career.

As expected, the slick 19-year-old has dominated the Western Hockey League in his five months back with the Kootenay Ice, compiling 18 goals and 59 points in only 44 games.

But hockey observers knew Reinhart, the No. 2 pick in June, would be a superstar playing among teenagers again. The Sabres sent the intelligent center back to junior to help him build his body and perfect …

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