John Scott (right) fights George Parros during the second period Sunday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Brennan replaces Sekera on banged-up blue line

BUFFALO – A bruised foot sidelined Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera for Sunday afternoon’s 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers. Rookie T.J. Brennan replaced him, making his second appearance this season.

Sekera blocked Alexei Emelin’s shot shortly into his first shift Saturday, went to the dressing room and returned for several shifts before leaving the Sabres’ 6-1 loss in Montreal again after the first period.

Ruff hopes it’s a short-term injury.

“He took a pretty hard ... Read the full article

Cody McCormick hurt his finger last year. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ McCormick returns from finger injury

Buffalo Sabres winger Cody McCormick, sidelined by a finger injury the first seven games, is making his season debut this afternoon in Montreal against the Canadiens.

The 29-year-old’s skating on the right wing beside Matt Ellis and John Scott.

McCormick kept playing after getting injured last winter. But the finger never healed properly.

He was concerned about rushing back and how the finger would hold up in a fight.

“It would react not too favorably ... Read the full article

Shawn Thornton left early Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Thornton out 7-10 days with concussion after fighting Sabres’ Scott

BUFFALO – Boston tough guy Shawn Thornton will be out seven to 10 days after suffering a concussion during his fight with new Sabres enforcer John Scott, the Bruins announced today.

The two heavyweights scrapped 2:53 into the Sabres’ 7-4 win Thursday. Scott quickly dropped Thornton with a few punches.

Thornton immediately left the game and never returned. Scott, meanwhile, skated 3:34.

The bout could already be one of the most popular in the ... Read the full article

Mike Weber (center) tried to keep James van Riemsdyk out of Ryan Miller's crease Tuesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Weber still battling for regular spot on blue line

BUFFALO – The cycle repeats each year. Inevitably, Mike Weber begins the season as the Sabres’ seventh or eighth defenseman, a spare part.

Weber sat the first eight games and 20 of the opening 22 contests as a healthy scratch in 2010-11. The 25-year-old watched the first 10 games last season.

The Pittsburgh native couldn’t break the trend this year, sitting five times before Sabres coach Lindy Ruff dressed him for Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime loss ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford's still looking for his first goal this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Struggling Sabres trying to ‘get rid of the pond hockey’ mentality

AMHERST – In about 27 hours, the Buffalo Sabres morphed from a tight five-man unit into a disjointed, ugly mess, performing brutally during consecutive losses to the once-hapless Carolina Hurricanes.

So much for all that optimism the Sabres’ hot 2-0 start had generated just several days ago.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff broke up his lines Saturday and ripped into his team­ on the Northtown Center ice, at one point barking, “Every freakin’ puck is ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko skated sparingly on the fourth line Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ruff regrets playing top prospect Grigorenko so little

AMHERST – Lindy Ruff couldn’t hide his disgust Saturday morning inside the Northtown Center.

The Buffalo Sabres coach sighed before acknowledging the obvious.

“It’s like burning a game,” Ruff said about skating 18-year-old rookie Mikhail Grigorenko a career-low 6:48 in Friday’s 3-1 loss to Carolina.

The Russian center can play five times before the first-year of his entry level contract kicks in. Each appearance is precious in the Sabres’ evaluation.

The Sabres wasted Grigorenko’s ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko skated just two shifts after the first period Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ruff on Grigorenko’s fourth appearance: ‘I burned up a game’

AMHERST – Lindy Ruff couldn’t hide his disgust this morning inside the Northtown Center.

The Buffalo Sabres coach sighed before acknowledging the obvious.

“It’s like burning a game,” Ruff said about skating 18-year-old rookie Mikhail Grigorenko a career-low 6:48 in Friday’s 3-1 loss to Carolina.

The Russian center can play five times before the first-year of his entry level contract kicks in. Each appearance is precious in the Sabres’ evaluation.

The Sabres wasted Grigorenko’s fourth ... Read the full article

Tim Gleason and Steve Ott fight during the first period Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Anemic Sabres showcase little finish in loss to Hurricanes

BUFFALO – Lindy Ruff spent four games patiently waiting for his anemic, one-line offense to jumpstart itself. The Sabres coach mostly left his combinations intact, believing they’d eventually shake out of their funks.

But following Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes before 18,824 fans inside the First Niagara Center, Ruff finally had enough.

The top trio of Cody Hodgson, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek will remain intact. With another goal from Vanek on Friday, ... Read the full article

Nathan Gerbe practiced with Mikhail Grigorenko and Steve Ott on Wednesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Gerbe close to returning; Enroth to get first start

BUFFALO – While Nathan Gerbe still had to be cleared to play Wednesday, it appears the feisty Sabres winger could make his season debut tonight in Carolina after undergoing offseason spine surgery.

Gerbe skated on the wing Wednesday beside 18-year-old rookie Mikhail Grigorenko and Steve Ott, his first action on a regular line this year.

“We’ll see where he’s at (today),” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

Gerbe underwent ... Read the full article

Nathan Gerbe could make his season debut Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Gerbe skating on line with Grigorenko, could return Thursday

BUFFALO – While Nathan Gerbe still must be cleared to play, it appears the feisty Sabres winger could make his season debut Thursday in Carolina after undergoing offseason spine surgery.

Gerbe skated on the wing this morning beside 18-year-old rookie Mikhail Grigorenko and Steve Ott, his first action on a regular line this year.

“We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

Gerbe underwent ... Read the full article