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

Superstar Sidney Crosby hasn't played in Buffalo since Dec. 11, 2010. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ critical late-season tilt against Pens could be wildly entertaining

BUFFALO – Give it a shot. Try drawing up a better late-season NHL matchup. The Sabres’ tilt against the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins tonight could make for a wildly entertaining three hours inside the First Niagara Center.

This one promises to be action-packed and fun, folks.

The scorching Sabres, having climbed into eighth place Tuesday, are roaring toward another unlikely playoff appearance. They’ve won five straight games and seven of the last nine, piling up goals ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford has six goals and 14 points in the last eight games. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Stafford finally scoring again

BUFFALO – The thinking went like this: Drew Stafford, fresh off a breakout offensive campaign, was a cinch for another big season. After all, the Sabres winger tallied 31 times in only 62 games last year.

Perhaps he could hit 40 goals. The 26-year-old had arrived as an NHL star, right?

One epic slump later, Stafford’s finally that lethal scoring threat again. It just took four months and an awful stretch of six goals in ... Read the full article

©2012

Knee injury will sideline Sabres’ Ehrhoff indefinitely

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who left Tuesday’s 5-1 win in Washington following a knee-on-knee collision with the Capitals’ Troy Brouwer, is out indefinitely.

Coach Lindy Ruff offered few details about the slick German’s left knee injury Wednesday, only saying the 29-year-old had been evaluated and would miss “some time.” He wouldn’t specify if it could be days or weeks. He said the injury news was better than he expected.

Mike Weber, a healthy ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres send Turnbull back to Rochester

BUFFALO – With winger Patrick Kaleta back from his three-absence – he’s wearing a cast on his right hand and reportedly has a broken thumb – the Sabres have returned Travis Turnbull to Rochester.

The rookie center scored his first NHL goal and fought once subbing for the agitator.

Kaleta, meanwhile, played only his 58th game this season Tuesday in Washington.

“It’s exciting,” Kaleta told reporters in Washington. “I honestly don’t really like sitting ... 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

Sabres’ Miller named March’s second star

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who led the NHL with four wins thanks to a gaudy 1.26 goals-against average and .956 save percentage, has been named the league’s second star for the week ending March 25.

Miller allowed only five goals during the week and just two during his last three starts. He recorded his career-high sixth shutout in a 3-0 win Wednesday over Montreal.

“It’s not something you do on your own,” Miller ... 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