Phil Varone nearly skipped professional hockey for school. ©2012, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Varone impressing in Rochester

ROCHESTER – It was a life-changing decision. In September, Phil Varone impressed the Buffalo Sabres, so the club offered an AHL contract following his training camp tryout. But Varone was also strongly considering attending the University of New Brunswick.

“It was 50-50,” Varone said Friday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial following the Rochester Amercans’ 5-1 win over the Syracuse Crunch.

Varone, a scoring star with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters, went home and ... Read the full article

Luke Adam has struggled since getting demoted to Rochester. ©2012, Craig Foltz/Ben Hall, Lake Erie Monsters

Sabres prospect Adam struggling to find scoring touch in Rochester

ROCHESTER – Luke Adam, the same Buffalo Sabres prospect whose NHL exploits early this season – three goals in his first four games and 10 tallies before Christmas – made him a Calder Trophy candidate, can’t even score much in the AHL, a league he dominated last year.

Since being demoted to the Rochester Americans on Feb. 11 in the midst of an epic slump, Adam, the AHL’s top rookie a year ago, has only ... Read the full article

©2012

Kaleta wants to remain with hometown Sabres

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta said he can’t picture himself wearing a different jersey.

“Yeah, I would not like it at all,” the Angola native said Monday as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers inside the First Niagara Center.

Fresh off playing a career-high 63 games, the injury-prone agitator will be a restricted free agent this offseason.

The 25-year-old plays an aggressive checking style that began earning him big minutes in the winter.

He’s ... Read the full article

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

Sabres goalie 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

The Sabres acquired Jochen Hecht nearly 10 years ago. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Hecht likely finished with Sabres

BUFFALO – Jochen Hecht said when the symptoms of another concussion began hitting him following the morning skate Jan. 24 in New Jersey, he lost it, he “was gone.”

The German’s third head injury in 10 months left him fearing for his career.

“I cried. I didn’t know what’s going to happen,” the longest-tenured Sabre recalled Monday, his eyes welling up with tears during what could’ve been his farewell chat with the Buffalo media. “It ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller performed terribly for three months before regaining his old form. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Miller’s ‘enough is enough’ mentality turned around awful season, Sabres’ fortunes

BUFFALO – Ryan Miller couldn’t offer any strong explanations for suddenly transforming back into one of the NHL’s elite goalies following a wretched, career-worst three months.

When the 31-year-old Sabres veteran began feeling better during the winter, everything became easier, he said. The ice opened up and he started reading plays and seeing shots clearly again.

Nothing magical happened. Miller had just experienced enough mediocrity.

“Mainly, it was kind of, ‘Enough is enough. I’m better ... 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

A broken ankle ended Tyler Myers' season March 30. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Broken ankle shelved Sabres’ Myers

BUFFALO – Early in the Sabres’ 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh on March 30, Tyler Myers took a shot off his face and fell down on the ice. It looked bad.

The 22-year-old was fine, however, and he got up and kept playing.

In the third period, when Paul’s Martin’s harmless-looking shot hit Myers’ skate, few noticed and the defenseman finished the game.

“It just felt like a little stinger like any other day,” Myers said ... 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

Marcus Foligno had six goals and 13 points during his latest recall. ©2012, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres assign Foligno, Tropp to Rochester

BUFFALO – The Rochester Americans’ playoff push got a big boost Friday, as the Sabres assigned rookie wingers Marcus Foligno and Corey Tropp to their 11th-place AHL affiliate.

Foligno and Tropp had secured regular NHL roles recently, impressing during the Sabres’ run at the postseason, which ended with Thursday’s 2-1 loss in Philadelphia.

The Amerks, two points behind eighth-place Houston for the final Western Conference playoff spot, have five games remaining. They play tonight in ... Read the full article