Robin Lehner plans to play the entire game tonight. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner ready for preseason debut

BUFFALO – Six months removed from ankle surgery, fiery Sabres goalie Robin Lehner, as you might expect, is excited to play his first game preseason game tonight.

“I don’t know if the excitement I sense is because it’s a new year and where he’s at physically and being ready to go or playing the Ottawa Senators and (he) doesn’t want (Mike) Hoffman to score tonight,” coach Dan Bylsma said after the Sabres prepared for ... Read the full article

Cole Schneider (10) chases Columbus' Seth Jones in his NHL debut April 8. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Williamsville’s Cole Schneider impressing Sabres

BUFFALO – In the first days of the season, Cole Schneider, an undrafted winger with two games of NHL experience, not an established veteran or hotshot prospect, has emerged as the biggest standout in Sabres training camp.

After scoring a hat trick in the first scrimmage and a one-goal, two-point performance the next day, Schneider, 26, could already have an inside track to earn a roster spot as the 12th or 13th... Read the full article

Giorgio Estephan scored 30 goals last season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Giorgio Estephan quietly one of Sabres’ best prospects

BUFFALO – The most prolific goal scorer among Sabres prospects last season wasn’t top pick Alexander Nylander, 83-point man Eric Cornel or even Justin Bailey, whose fine play earned him his first NHL action.

Try Giorgio Estephan, a 2015 sixth-round selection, 152nd overall, who scored 30 goals and 74 points in only 59 games for the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2015-16.

If you haven’t heard much about Estephan, that ... Read the full article

Justin Bailey enjoyed a terrific rookie season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospects will fight for jobs in rookie camp

BUFFALO – Sure, it’s just rookie camp, four days reserved for Sabres prospects before training camp. By the end of the month, most of the youngsters participating will be back in junior or the minors.

But with young talent relied on so heavily these days, the battle for NHL jobs really begins today, when camp opens inside HarborCenter.

Five prospects – forwards Justin Bailey, Hudson Fasching and Evan Rodrigues and goalies Jason Kasdorf and ... Read the full article

William Carrier skates Thursday with a parachute a development camp. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect William Carrier close to making NHL

BUFFALO – By around mid-March, it looked imminent. William Carrier, the often overshadowed Sabres prospect, was about to earn his first NHL recall from the Rochester Americans.

In a 21-game stretch, Carrier scored nine goals and 20 points. Before his torrid run, Carrier had compiled only 11 goals and 31 points in his first 94 AHL contests.

“One good game, two good games – it just starts rolling out,” Carrier said Thursday following a development ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander could play in four places next season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander not looking far ahead

BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Hudson Fasching was looking for small details in Alexander Nylander’s game. Sure, he could see the eighth overall pick possesses terrific speed and soft hands.

But when a player is that talented, Fasching, 20, likes to examine him a little closer.

“You can kind of just tell, if you pay a little extra attention to him, every puck he shoots it’s crisp, it’s in a direction,” Fasching said Wednesday following ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis will have options if he retires. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Popular Amerks veteran Matt Ellis pondering future

ROCHESTER – Physically, Matt Ellis said, he hasn’t felt this good in four or five years. At 34 years old, having just finished his 14th pro season, the popular former Buffalo Sabres forward believes he could keep playing.

“I definitely feel like I got lots left in the tank,” Ellis said Thursday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial.

Still, Ellis understands he could be nearing retirement. This season, his first out of the NHL ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner recently underwent ankle surgery. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner ready to carry load next season

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Robin Lehner knew his pain threshold would be tested when he returned in mid-January from the high right ankle sprain he suffered opening night.

“Since that day it’s been pain, it’s been swelling after every practice, every game,” Lehner said Sunday as the Sabres held their end-of-season meetings inside the First Niagara Center.

After missing more than three months, Lehner started 20 times, often performing like the No. 1 goalie the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel wants to rest a bit this offseason.©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Strong second half gives Sabres hope

BUFFALO – When center Ryan O’Reilly joined his new teammates seven months ago, the stench leftover from consecutive 30th-place finishes – the culture of losing, you might call it – still surrounded the Sabres.

“I think you could sense it a bit, for sure,” O’Reilly said this morning as the Sabres held their end-of-season meetings inside the First Niagara Center. “I think there’s a lot of habits, when you look at winning teams, ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Jason Kasdorf makes a first-period save in his NHL debut Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres fall in home finale to Blue Jackets, won’t hit .500

BUFFALO – In the big picture, failing to hit a .500 points percentage, a notable mark the Sabres sorely wanted, shouldn’t matter much.

The Sabres’ 4-1 loss in Friday’s home finale to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets secured their third straight losing season (34-36-11), and like so many other home games recently, they let a weak opponent exploit them.

Still, the Sabres’ recent 7-2-2 run thrust them up the standings, giving them a real goal ... Read the full article