Cal O'Reill skates Saturday in his first NHL game this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Cal O’Reilly’s hot start with Amerks rewarded

BUFFALO – Some heads turned when the Sabres awarded center Cal O’Reilly, a talented minor leaguer almost four years removed from his last NHL game, a two-year, $1.4 million contract in 2015.

But O’Reilly, the AHL’s leading scorer, has morphed into a valuable asset for the organization, captaining the Rochester Americans and providing depth for the Sabres.

O’Reilly, 30, proved that Saturday just hours after earning a recall, scoring the shootout winner in the ... Read the full article

Josh Gorges (4) battles with Pittsburgh's Scott Wilson on Feb. 21. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Josh Gorges takes pride in facing opposition’s best

BUFFALO – About 20 times tonight, Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges will jump over the boards to take on arguably the toughest task in hockey, trying to stop Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby.

Gorges will probably spend around 20 minutes defending Crosby and his linemates, a stiff challenge the 12-year veteran embraces.

To Gorges, the dynamic Crosby is the NHL’s best player, someone to measure yourself against.

“He just does things no one else can do,” ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly has missed three games. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly still sidelined

BUFFALO – A couple of quick updates from KeyBank Center, where the Sabres practiced this morning after Thursday’s 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay:

– Top center Ryan O’Reilly, out of the last three games with a mid-body injury, didn’t practice today or even skate on his own, coach Dan Bylsma said. O’Reilly is day-to-day but is doubtful for Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh.

– Bylsma said the lower-back injury defenseman Dmitry Kulikov suffered late in ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov (77) battles Florida's Aaron Ekblad on Oct. 29. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov out against Blues

BUFFALO – Some quick updates from HarborCenter, where the Sabres practiced about an hour this morning before flying to St. Louis:

– The Sabres plan to recall some players before Tuesday’s road tilt against the Blues. Only 17 players – 10 forwards, five defensemen and two goalies – practiced today.

They need a defenseman and at least one forward. Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (undisclosed injury) missed today’s practice and will miss his third straight game Tuesday, ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis skates in his final NHL game April 11, 2015. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabre Matt Ellis happy in retirement, excited for future

BUFFALO – As last season unfolded, popular former Sabres forward Matt Ellis sensed the inevitable end to his long and unlikely career.

At times, Ellis, 35, said he felt like a spare part with the Rochester Americans, a victim of age and a changing game. AHL veteran rules often forced him to sit out as a healthy scratch. The adversity, he believes, tested his character and how badly he wanted to keep playing.

“There ... Read the full article

Goalie John Muse played in Friday's 8-1 loss to Toronto. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres trim training camp roster by 17

BUFFALO – Forward prospects Justin Bailey and Evan Rodrigues were among 17 players the Sabres assigned to the Rochester Americans this morning.

Also sent to the AHL club: William Carrier, Dan Catenacci, Eric Cornel, Jean Dupuy, Vaclav Karabacek, Justin Kea, and Cole Schneider; defensemen Brady Austin and Brycen Martin; goalie Jason Kasdorf.

Catenacci and Schneider, a Williamsville native, must clear waivers.

Five players have also been released from their tryouts and will ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis looked strong Tuesday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Tyler Ennis strong in debut, will face Leafs

BUFFALO – In his first game in almost nine months Tuesday, slick Sabres winger Tyler Ennis skated aggressively, proving the season-ending concussion he suffered Dec. 30 wasn’t lingering in his mind.

“I like the way he skated,” coach Dan Bylsma said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. “He played with some urgency, he played with some jam. In the third period, he drew the penalty with his skating.... Read the full article

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