Ville Leino missed the first 27 games this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Leino out indefinitely, season in jeopardy; Vanek out again Sunday

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Ville Leino, out the last three games with what interim coach Ron Rolston called an upper body injury, is out indefinitely.

Rolston said Leino’s injury doesn’t require surgery.

While Rolston wouldn’t speculate, with only 10 games left, the Finn’s season could be over.

A hip injury sidelined Leino the first 27 games this season.

Meanwhile, winger Thomas Vanek practiced again today but will likely miss Sunday’s game against New Jersey.... Read the full article

Luke Adam (right) celebrates his first-period goal Friday as Brian Flynn congratulates him. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres say playoffs still within sight after rallying to down Senators

BUFFALO – On Friday morning, hours before their 4-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators, new assistant captain Steve Ott promised the Sabres would keep fighting for that unlikely playoff berth until the bitter end.

Two days after management jettisoned captain Jason Pominville at the trade deadline with the message the Sabres’ plans have shifted to the future, players emphatically say they’re still focused on the present.

They want to win now.

Ten games ... Read the full article

Cory Conacher made his Senators debut Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Canisius star Conacher thrilled to play in Buffalo again

BUFFALO – Cory Conacher’s family and friends all had their tickets for April 14, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first visit here this season. The homecoming promised to be a special night for the former Canisius College star, the first Golden Griffins product to crack the NHL.

The 23-year-old’s parents reserved a suite inside the First Niagara Center. The Sabres plan to honor Canisius’ recent NCAA Tournament team that night, Conacher said.

Then, in one of ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford wants to stay with the Sabres. ©2013, San Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Stafford relieved trade deadline has passed

BUFFALO – Dealing with Wednesday’s trade deadline wasn’t easy for struggling winger Drew Stafford, one of several Sabres rumored to be on the move.

“I was definitely by my phone,” Stafford said this morning inside the First Niagara Center after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s contest against the Ottawa Senators. “I know that those days can definitely be stressful. It definitely was, especially near the end there when my phone was blowing up around ... Read the full article

Steve Ott skates this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Winning, not Sabres’ captaincy, on Ott’s mind

BUFFALO – Steve Ott said this morning the captaincy isn’t on his radar. The gritty winger, arguably the Sabres’ biggest heart-and-soul-player, received an assistant captaincy for the rest of the season after captain Jason Pominville was traded Wednesday.

Getting the “C” next year seems like a natural progression for popular 30-year-old veteran.

“I truly want to just be a hockey player on this team,” Ott said inside the First Niagara Center after preparing for tonight’s ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek drove Jason Pominville to the airport Thursday morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres know Pominville’s departure could only be first major move

BUFFALO – Darcy Regier’s strong words stuck with Thomas Vanek. Prior to Saturday, the general manager had never publicly made any of his Sabres available to other teams during his long tenure. At that point, four days before trade deadline, the slick winger knew major changes could hit the Sabres.

Sure enough, Regier dealt captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday for two prospects and two draft picks.

It could just be the ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville played his first game with the Wild on Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Pominville calls trade from Sabres ‘a shock,’ makes Wild debut

BUFFALO – Jason Pominville felt his 11-year run with the Sabres organization could be ending. Before Wednesday’s trade deadline, the struggling team asked its captain to submit a list of eight clubs he could refuse a trade to. The Sabres, a colossal disappointment this season, seemed ripe for a major shakeup.

Still, when Sabres general manager Darcy Regier called Wednesday and said he had been traded to Minnesota, the star winger was shocked.

“It’s still ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek wants to talk to management. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Close friends sad to see Pominville leave Sabres; Vanek unsure about future

BUFFALO – After trading captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild, general manager Darcy Regier said the Sabres’ reconstruction could take some time.

Slick winger Thomas Vanek recently said he “would probably look in the other direction” if the Sabres had a two- or three-year plan.

So, did Wednesday’s deal, coupled with earlier trades of defensemen Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr, change Vanek’s mind?

“Probably, I mean, obviously we gave up three good players ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville became a Sabres regular in 2005-06. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres thinking long-term after trading captain Pominville to Wild

BUFFALO – Instead of trading captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild before the deadline Wednesday, the 13th-place Sabres could’ve tried staying in the playoff chase and acquiring another player to make a run at eighth place, general manager Darcy Regier said.

But the Sabres, whose owner, Terry Pegula, has spent tens of millions of dollars pursuing his championship dream, no longer embrace that kind of philosophy.

They’ve started thinking long-term.

“The preference ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville played 578 games with the Sabres. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres shift focus to future after trading Pominville to Wild

BUFFALO – The Minnesota Wild first asked the Sabres about star winger Jason Pominville three weeks ago, general manager Darcy Regier.

When the Wild’s interest diminished, Regier still approached his captain for a list of eight teams he could refuse a trade to. Regier said he had “no real interest” in trading Pominville, although he wanted to keep his options open.

Then, Tuesday night, Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, who had been talking with Regier ... Read the full article