Nathan Gerbe skates this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Gerbe not giving Sabres a reason to play him

BUFFALO – With slick Sabres winger Thomas Vanek too sore to play tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs, either Nathan Gerbe or John Scott will return after being healthy scratches.

The two have three goals and six points combined, all from Gerbe. Vanek, of course, is the Sabres’ leading scorer with 14 goals and 31 points.

Scott, a hulking tough guy, will likely play after three straight scratches. The Leafs sport a lot ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller was prepping for his 27th appearance this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Miller to start for Sabres tonight

BUFFALO – Following goalie Jhonas Enroth’s strong 34-save performance in the Sabres’ 3-2 overtime triumph Tuesday in Montreal, interim coach Ron Rolston and his staff considered giving the backup another start.

Ultimately, though, Rolston awarded tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs to Ryan Miller.

“We like what Jhonas is doing and how he’s building his game and building confidence, and certainly he’s given us two big wins here recently,” Rolston said this morning inside ... Read the full article

Steve Ott said he wanted to "earn" his Sabres jersey. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ott’s fearless, team-first approach earning respect from Sabres

BUFFALO – Not surprisingly, Steve Ott jelled with his new Sabres teammates immediately after nine seasons with the Dallas Stars. Having Mike Weber, a friend so close he calls him a brother, helped the transition. And Ott’s infectious personality would probably make the 30-year-old fit in quickly anywhere.

Still, back in January, Ott felt a bit like an outsider. In his mind, he had to earn his Sabres jersey following the offseason trade. The ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek will miss his fourth game of the season tonight. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Vanek out against Leafs

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Thomas Vanek will miss tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs after taking a shot off the hip Tuesday.

Interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston said Vanek is simply too sore to play.

“He’s better today,” Rolston said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “He feels actually good. He’s starting the process. So we’re hoping to get him on the ice tomorrow.”

Vanek could play Saturday in Montreal.

Christian Ehrhoff’s ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek has missed three games this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Vanek questionable for Leafs; Sekera likely out

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Thomas Vanek, who took a lethal Christian Ehrhoff point shot off the hip early in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime win in Montreal, missed practice Wednesday and is questionable for tonight’s tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“He’s a little bit better but still going to be day-to-day, what he can tolerate,” interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston said Wednesday inside the First Niagara Center. “He’s certainly a possibility.”

Meanwhile, defenseman Andrej Sekera practiced ... Read the full article

Pavel Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings will now be visiting Buffalo regularly. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

NHLPA consents to realignment; Sabres in new division with Red Wings

BUFFALO – The NHL Players’ Association consented to the NHL’s realignment plan this afternoon, meaning the league will use a four-division format next season.

The Sabres will play in a new Eastern Conference division featuring four Northeast Division holdovers – the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs – and three newcomers – the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Western Conference transfer Detroit Red Wings – pending the approval of the ... Read the full article

James van Riemsdyk fires in his second goal of the game past Tyler Myers and Ryan Miller on Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Leafs spoil Rolston’s coaching debut, down Sabres

TORONTO – Well, maybe it wasn’t Lindy Ruff’s fault after all. Perhaps the Buffalo Sabres are simply a bad hockey club.

If they couldn’t cobble together a strong, 60-minute effort Thursday, a day after the Sabres axed the NHL’s longest-tenured coach, will they ever?

With the franchise reeling and Ron Rolston making his debut as interim coach, the Sabres played another terrible second period, allowing two goals, the difference in the 3-1 loss ... Read the full article

Ron Rolston coaches his first NHL game Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rolston thrilled to be NHL coach

TORONTO – Ron Rolston walked to a podium Thursday afternoon inside the Air Canada Centre, surveyed the landscape before him – about 30 reporters and a dozen cameras – and immediately cracked his first joke as the Buffalo Sabres’ interim coach.

“It looks like the same media coverage as Rochester,” joked Rolston, who replaced Lindy Ruff on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Rolston was preparing his Rochester Americans for an AHL tilt against the Texas Stars. ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek said this afternoon he keeps "waiting for Lindy to come back." ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players emotional over Ruff’s dismissal

TORONTO – A day later, Lindy Ruff’s dismissal as coach of the Buffalo Sabres after 15 seasons still hadn’t sunk in for some of his former players. For 13 current Sabres, Ruff was the only NHL coach they had even known before Ron Rolston took over on an interim basis Wednesday.

Ruff’s firing following the Sabres’ terrible 6-10-1 start stunned them. He had just led a 90-minute practice. But when Ruff boarded the team bus ... Read the full article

Ron Rolston smiles this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rolston ready to lead Sabres

TORONTO – Ron Rolston walked to a podium this afternoon inside the Air Canada Centre, surveyed the landscape before him – about 30 reporters and a dozen cameras – and immediately cracked his first joke as the Buffalo Sabres’ interim coach.

“It looks like the same media coverage as Rochester,” joked Rolston, who replaced Lindy Ruff on Wednesday.

A day ago, Rolston was preparing his Rochester Americans for an AHL tilt against the Texas ... Read the full article