Ryan Miller dazzled Monday while making 34 saves. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres showcase more toughness in gritty win over Leafs

TORONTO – Remember this one. The Buffalo Sabres’ gritty 2-1 triumph over the Maple Leafs on Monday could be their blueprint for success in this lockout-shortened season.

Against a team fresh off a big opening-night win and playing its first home tilt, the Sabres showcased unyielding muscle, capitalized on their few chances early and received splendid goaltending from Ryan Miller before a capacity crowd of 19,475 fans inside the Air Canada Centre.

“We came in ... Read the full article

Marcus Foligno poses for a photo with a fan this morning inside the First Niagara Center. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Your Sabres pregame update

BUFFALO – All seems forgiven. The hockey-deprived Sabres fans look amped for this afternoon’s season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers. Thanks to the NHL 113-day lockout, it’s been 288 days since the Sabres last played a game.

Right now, however, it feels like the NHL never left. The First Niagara Center will be packed and jumping today. Fans spent the week gobbling up discounted merchandise and wondering if 18-year-old Mikhail Grigorenko could crack the lineup ... Read the full article

Ville Leino's questionable for this afternoon's season opener. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Leino questionable for opener; Grigorenko set for debut

BUFFALO – The Sabres have their first injury of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

“A nagging little” problem that flared up kept Ville Leino from practicing Saturday, coach Lindy Ruff said.

The winger’s questionable for this afternoon’s season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers inside the First Niagara Center.

Leino, who left practice early Friday, plans to skate this morning before making a decision. It’s believed he’s nursing a leg injury.

“If he feels like he’s good, ... Read the full article

Cody McCormick needs to test his injured finger's strength. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Injured Sabres progressing well

BUFFALO – Some quick Sabres injury updates following another training camp session today inside the First Niagara Center:

– Nathan Gerbe (spine) had his second full practice with contact today. At one point late, the 5-foot-5, 173-pound winger clipped 6-foot-8, 280-pound tough guy John Scott in the mouth with his stick as the two battled one-on-one.

“That was great. I love it,” Gerbe said about bumping with Scott. “He’s a big guy. I think he’s ... Read the full article

John Scott's presence isn't always intimidating. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

New Sabres tough guy Scott ready to protect teammates: ‘I’ll take care of it’

BUFFALO – John Scott, the stay-at-home Michigan Tech University defenseman, had no future playing big league hockey. Ten years ago, the NHL “really wasn’t on my radar at all,” the Sabres’ new enforcer said.

Scott was merely an average NCAA player. His hockey life would expire with his eligibility.

But Scott hadn’t yet grasped his 6-foot-8 stature could transform him into an NHL prospect. He possessed size, a precious commodity.

“My coach at Tech,” Scott ... Read the full article

The Sabres said in June prospect Mikhail Grigorenko would have a chance at an NHL roster spot. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Roster battles promise to make Sabres camp interesting

BUFFALO – Thanks to the agonizingly long NHL lockout, 281 days have passed since the Sabres last played a game. Thankfully, the team will finally start an abbreviated training camp today. The season opens in just a week.

So what’s changed in the last nine months? How’s this group different from the high-priced, ninth-place team that was built to win the Stanley Cup in 2011-12?

The Sabres got tougher, acquiring Steve Ott to be the ... Read the full article

Tyler Myers said playing in Austria was a "great alternative" to the NHL. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Myers healed and ready for NHL season

AMHERST – Tyler Myers acknowledged the left ankle injury he suffered last month in Austria was the “nightmare scenario” for any locked-out NHL player in Europe.

At first, the Buffalo Sabres defenseman was nervous about the injury.

“But once we figured out what it was, I knew it would be pretty quick,” Myers said Tuesday after skating about 90 minutes with some Sabres teammates inside the Northtown Center. “I didn’t want to push it to ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff will begin coaching a shortened training camp in the coming days. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ruff always believed NHL season would be played

BUFFALO – In his first meeting with local reporters since July, Lindy Ruff couldn’t wipe the smile off his face during a 20-minute chat this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. Clearly, the Sabres coach can’t wait for the season to start.

Ruff thanked the fans for their support before fielding questions about the upcoming season and how he spent his time during the NHL lockout.

Here are some quick highlights:

On if the season ... Read the full article

©2012

Ott thrilled to be with Sabres, ‘brother’ Weber

BUFFALO – Last month, Steve Ott and Mike Weber heard a rumor Ott could be joining his close friend with the Sabres. The two laughed, and then resumed working out together at the gym.

The mere thought of Ott coming to Buffalo resonated, however. The gritty forward was cognizant the Dallas Stars might be looking to deal him.

“Could you imagine?” the friends asked each other.

On July 2, about two weeks later, Ott missed ... Read the full article

Development camp showed Zemgus Girgensons he belonged in professional hockey. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Girgensons foregoes Vermont, signs with Sabres

BUFFALO – Three weeks earlier, minutes after the Sabres moved up and selected center Zemgus Girgensons 14th overall at the NHL Entry Draft, the Latvian expressed his commitment to playing for the University of Vermont next season.

But Girgensons’ stance quickly changed. On Monday, the first day of summer development camp, he seemed to be seriously considering signing with the Sabres.

The 18-year-old impressed during the camp, and following a strong scrimmage performance Thursday ... Read the full article