Nathan Gerbe's goal scoring has dropped dramatically this season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Gerbe developing into strong checker as offense vanishes

BUFFALO – Sabres sophomore Nathan Gerbe – the collegiate scoring machine, AHL star and NHL rookie that tallied at a 30-goal pace the second half of last season – has five scores this season, just one in the last 21 games.

Right now, the diminutive Gerbe’s not a scorer; he’s quickly morphed into a strong checker, playing a tenacious left wing on a line with Paul Gaustad and Patrick Kaleta that draws the opposition’s best.... Read the full article

Paul Gaustad should be worth a high draft pick, possibly a first-round choice. ©2012, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Gaustad could be in demand at trade deadline

BUFFALO – In a seller’s market, with bubble teams clamoring for any asset that might buoy their playoff chances and contenders searching for that last piece, Sabres veteran Paul Gaustad should be coveted at the upcoming NHL trade deadline.

The versatile American, an unrestricted free agent in July, has been at his best recently, centering a strong shutdown line with Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Kaleta.

Gaustad has three goals, including the winning score Sunday, and ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis' nifty goal Sunday likely made some highlight reels. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ennis explains highlight-reel goal

BUFFALO – Lost in the excitement of the Sabres’ 6-2 annihilation of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon was center Tyler Ennis’ quiet highlight-reel goal.

Stationed low in the slot with 3:17 left in the game, Ennis grabbed Zack Kassian’s pass on the forehand, passed/batted the puck to himself and then knocked it in on his backhand.

“I just tried to spin and get a lane for my stick for Kass to pass to,” ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres showcase early-season form, throttle Pens

BUFFALO – On Sunday morning, shortly before the Sabres began their 6-2 shellacking of Pittsburgh, coach Dan Bylsma recalled an earlier defeat the underachieving club had laid on the Penguins.

Back on Oct. 15, the Sabres’ tenacious effort during their 3-2 triumph in Pittsburgh impressed Bylsma, who saw an active, speedy team dictating the game.

Bylsma believed the Sabres would be “a real good team, real dangerous team.” Like many others, he’s stunned they’ve fallen ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres’ checking trio stymies potent Malkin line

BUFFALO – Rather than merely shadowing Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin and his wingers Sunday afternoon, Sabres center Paul Gaustad and his checking line planned to aggressively shut down one of the NHL’s best trios.

Gaustad, Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Kaleta – charged with stopping the NHL’s leading scorer, 30-goal man James Neal and Chris Kunitz – would dictate the play.

“We didn’t want to back off on them. If we backed off, it gives ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres’ power play struggling despite new additions

BUFFALO – Take the NHL’s No. 9 power play in 2010-11, and add Christian Ehrhoff, an elite point presence who possesses a lethal shot, and Brad Boyes, a forward proficient at pulling the trigger down low.

What do the Sabres have?

One of the league’s worst power plays.

Entering this afternoon’s tilt against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the First Niagara Center, the Sabres are four of the last 50 in 20 games since Jan. 3. ... Read the full article

©2012

Shootout loss to Habs knocks Sabres into last place

BUFFALO – Throughout their dizzying two-month run of injuries, as the Sabres plummeted down the Eastern Conference standings, they kept using the missing regulars as a crutch.

Coach Lindy Ruff said he didn’t want to make excuses, yet repeated how he wanted his team back. Then owner Terry Pegula took it a step further, saying they had to “get Humpty back together.”

Well, the Sabres essentially fielded their normal team for the 10th straight ... Read the full article

©2012

Habs coach Cunneyworth experiencing difficult acclimation to Montreal

BUFFALO – Jason Pominville grew up in Quebec and still makes his offseason home there. The bilingual Sabres captain knows the Montreal Canadiens market well. He understands “the circumstances of the public wanting a French-speaking coach.”

“But at the same time,” Pominville said Friday morning inside the First Niagara Center, “I don’t think you can pass up a guy that could be your best option even though he doesn’t speak the language.”

Randy Cunneyworth, the ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis has only four goals in 22 games this season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ anemic offense could become team’s worst ever

“I’m sure that again we’ll finish the year around (240 goals).” – Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, December 15, 2011

“I guarantee you it’ll come again. It always has.” – Ruff on his anemic offense, January 23

BUFFALO – Not long ago, Ruff could speak confidently because the post-lockout Sabres had always found ways to score. They annually overcame any struggles and ranked among the NHL’s slickest attacks, averaging 256 goals a year.

But the ... Read the full article

Jochen Hecht endured three concussions in a 10-month period. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Hecht hopes to play again this season

BUFFALO – The symptoms have vanished, Jochen Hecht said. The non-surgical neck procedure the Sabres center underwent last week worked, so now he’s concentrating on returning from his third concussion in 10 months.

An upbeat Hecht, who’s beginning to exercise again, hopes to play this season.

But on Jan. 24 in New Jersey, when Hecht began feeling the effects a collision three days earlier in St. Louis, he lost control of his emotions.

“It was ... Read the full article