Jhonas Enroth played sparingly the second half of the season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth slumped badly after hot start

BUFFALO – Jhonas Enroth’s starts quickly became anticipated, must-see events. The Sabres goalie couldn’t lose. Not late last season. Not early this one.

Fans clamored for more appearances from Enroth. They wanted the rookie backup, not established starter Ryan Miller, carrying the load.

Dating back to last season, Enroth had won nine straight decisions by early November, including his first six in 2011-12.

Then, suddenly, the 23-year-old stopped winning – and playing. He started only ... Read the full article

Derek Roy was critical of coach Lindy Ruff as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ disappointing season could claim victims

BUFFALO – Their run together stands at 423 total games over five fruitless seasons. In that time, the Sabres’ homegrown core players have earned two playoff appearances and zero series wins.

That’s it.

Most teams would’ve broken up that group years ago. The Sabres have plodded forward, mostly keeping it intact despite little success.

But a veteran star could finally be jettisoned following a bitterly disappointing ninth-place finish this season. A club constructed to hoist ... Read the full article

Paul Gaustad's failure to go after Milan Lucic helped dramatically alter the season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Much went wrong during Sabres’ lost season

“The main thing is start talking about it and just put it out there that we want to win a championship. We want to do it the right way, and we just have to hit a few checkpoints along the way and set ourselves up for it.” – Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, September 16, 2011

BUFFALO – Nearly seven months after his upbeat chat as training camp opened, Miller and the Sabres will clean out ... Read the full article

Clarke MacArthur thinks Toronto fans have a right to voice their displeasure. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Leafs’ season crumbled quickly

TORONTO – By the third period of the hapless Maple Leafs’ 11th consecutive home loss Thursday, the remaining fans inside the Air Canada Centre – normally some of the NHL’s quietest and most corporate patrons – finally had enough.

Watching the Philadelphia Flyers throttle their Leafs 7-1 put the self-proclaimed “Center of the Hockey Universe” in a baseball mood.

“Let’s go Blue Jays” fans chanted three times, getting pretty loud by the end.

Yikes!... Read the full article

©2012

Pens hault scorching Sabres’ winning streak at 5 games

BUFFALO – At the 11:43 mark of the second period Friday, slick Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby zoomed into the Sabres zone, slowed down at the top of the right circle and dished perfectly across the ice to a streaking James Neal, who beat goalie Ryan Miller to make it 3-2 on the power play.

Fresh off five straight convincing wins, the Sabres looked unstoppable, like they might run the table and roar into the ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres’ Hodgson getting accustomed to new city, team

BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson said he loves exploring cities. On the road, where he’s on pace to play an NHL-record 48 games this season, the 22-year-old Sabres center tries to see all the sights.

Hodgson just visited Times Square last week prior to his first game in New York. The Toronto native rates Dallas – sorry, Sabres fans – and Nashville among his favorite cities.

One day recently, Hodgson hopped in his rental car and ... Read the full article

Alex Ovechkin's Capitals have 84 points. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ ‘biggest game’ of season could vault them into playoff spot

BUFFALO – In reality, it’s a single game for the Sabres, one of 82 regular-season contests. Tonight’s anticipated eight-versus-nine tilt in Washington is potentially worth two points for them, just like any other game.

If the Sabres win, break their tie with the Capitals (84 points) and move into eighth place, they could quickly lose the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot again. Don’t forget, they stayed there less than a day after grabbing it Saturday.... Read the full article

©2012

Scorching Sabres down Wild, roar into eighth place

BUFFALO – Beaten down, broken and seemingly finished at several points this season, the Sabres’ tight 3-1 triumph over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday – their 18th win in 28 tries – bumped the scorching club into the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.

On Feb. 17, the Sabres fell into the cellar, nine points out of the last postseason spot.

If the Sabres, who lead ninth-place Washington by two points (84-82), hold on, the ... Read the full article

©2012

Miller’s shutout over Habs has Sabres sniffing playoff spot

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ shocking resurgence – one that’s vaulted them from the Eastern Conference basement to a points tie with eighth-place Washington in 33 days – can be attributed to several factors.

The banged-up defense corps has stayed healthy and locked down. Several slumping stars have started scoring again, giving the team a secondary scoring attack. A few youngsters have contributed immediately upon their arrival from Rochester.

Most notably, though, Ryan Miller began playing ... Read the full article

Illness has sidelined Andrej Sekera the last five games. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sekera’s return could force a Sabres defenseman out

BUFFALO – Ten days ago, as Andrej Sekera was preparing for warm-ups prior to the Sabres’ tilt against Carolina, the defenseman began feeling ill.

“Just came out of nowhere,” Sekera said Friday after practicing inside the First Niagara Center. “My stomach hurt before the game, and then it just hit me – fever, headaches.”

Sekera sat that game, and then hoped to play two nights later in Ottawa.

Instead, the Slovak’s condition “got worse and ... Read the full article