Nick Deslauriers has a two-game point streak. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Deslauriers finally playing, contributing

BUFFALO – When Sabres coach Dan Bylsma charged Nick Deslauriers with creating some energy, the gritty winger’s first instinct, of course, was to fight.

But these days, those opportunities are scarce. Deslauriers has only fought four times this season. He certainly wasn’t going to find one enjoying a rare shift on the first line with the listless Sabres down three goals Saturday.

“I would’ve loved to get a fight there, but I don’t think ... Read the full article

Evander Kane (left) celebrates his third-period goal with Cody Franson on Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres roar back late, beat Sharks in OT

BUFFALO – Almost halfway through the third period of Tuesday’s rollicking, come-from-behind 5-4 overtime win, the Sabres looked finished, headed toward an ugly loss that would’ve given them sole possession of last place in the Eastern Conference.

“We looked like we didn’t have a lot of jump and we didn’t have a lot of energy for a lot of that game,” coach Dan Bylsma said after Jack Eichel slickly fed Evander Kane on a two-on-one ... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson has been sporting a Pride Flag on the back of his mask. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson proud to be ambassador for ‘Hockey is for Everyone’

BUFFALO – When the Edmonton Oilers held their annual skills competition last season, goalie Anders Nilsson and his teammates wrapped their stick blades with a new rainbow-colored tape.

Using Pride Tape, which promotes inclusiveness in sports, got Nilsson, now the Sabres’ backup netminder, thinking.

“They said we were the first team in North America to do that,” Nilsson said Sunday. “That’s when … I thought, ‘Why not be the first goalie to put it on ... Read the full article

Derek Grant began the season with the Sabres. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Full Sabres roster pushed Derek Grant to Amerks; Goalie Anders Nilsson to start

BUFFALO – OK, so if the Sabres need a fourth-line center – they’ve been using Nick Deslauriers sparingly in that spot, forcing them to essentially use only three trios – why did they assign Derek Grant to the Rochester Americans?

When the Sabres reclaimed Grant on waivers Monday, it was assumed they would utilize him as their No. 4 pivot. After all, Grant played 35 games in that role before the Nashville Predators claimed him ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly scored the Sabres' only goal Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rally late, fall to Sharks in overtime

BUFFALO – Somehow, some way, the Sabres have been finding ways to win recently, and when Ryan O’Reilly tied Saturday’s tilt early in the third period, it looked like they might do it again.

Heck, they had to, right? They were playing the San Jose Sharks, a team that had won here once in its 24-year existence.

But the upstart Sabres, who reached .500 for the first time in three seasons on Thursday, couldn’t convert ... Read the full article

Nick Deslauriers (44) battles Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat on Nov. 5. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Deslauriers needs to showcase more physicality

BUFFALO – Without his gritty, sandpaper style, Nick Deslauriers morphs from a strong fourth-line winger into a journeyman the Sabres are willing to scratch.

Sure, the popular 24-year-old possesses a strong shot, chips in the odd goal and even occasionally earns fill-in duty on a scoring line.

But physicality, something Deslauriers’ game has been lacking recently, is his bread and butter.

So on Thursday following the pregame warm-up in Florida, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson stops Pittsburgh's Patric Hornqvist on Oct. 29. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson earns start against Sharks

BUFFALO – In his sixth NHL start Thursday, rookie goalie Linus Ullmark dazzled again, stopping 38 shots in the Sabres’ 3-2 win in Florida. But two nights earlier in Tampa Bay, Chad Johnson looked sharp throughout the Sabres’ 4-1 win, making 31 stops.

So which netminder will Sabres coach Dan Bylsma use tonight against the San Jose Sharks inside the First Niagara Center? Johnson will make his 12th appearance this season.

“I think for ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (15), Cody Franson (46) and the rest of the Sabres have done a lot of celebrating recently. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Significant wins have Sabres primed to go over .500

BUFFALO – Eighteen NHL teams, including nine in the Eastern Conference and four in the Atlantic Division, have more points than the Sabres’ 16. At 8-8, they’re one of 20 clubs at .500 or better.

On the surface, and without fully understanding their recent turbulent past, the Sabres’ start might look a bit pedestrian. But having won three straight games and six of eight, they’ve roared back into the playoff picture. In the last two ... Read the full article

Doug Wilson, now San Jose's general manager, captained the Sharks in 1992-93, his final NHL season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sharks’ NHL-record losing streak was ‘mind-numbing’

Drew Remenda laughs about the experience now. The loquacious television analyst illustrates the haplessness of the 1992-93 San Jose Sharks, co-owners of the longest losing streak in NHL history, with long, colorful stories. He even sounds nostalgic recalling the epic 17-game skid.

But 22 years ago, Remenda, then a 30-year-old assistant coach in charge of video for the second-year franchise, was suffering through a hellish season in which the Sharks became so bad they tied ... Read the full article

Brian Gionta had three points Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Brian Gionta’s first goals lead Sabres past Sharks

BUFFALO – Outside the First Niagara Center, temperatures dipped into the low 20s and winds gusted up to 30 mph Tuesday. It was bone-chilling cold.

But there was very little snow on the ground downtown. The area immediately around the arena remained navigable all day. So did Buffalo’s Northtowns.

Just miles away, however, an early-season storm was annihilating the Southtowns.

Five feet fell in some areas. There was chaos everywhere. No one could budge.

Still, ... Read the full article