Mikhail Grigorenko (right) "doesn't look like a junior player," coach Lindy Ruff said. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ruff wants Grigorenko’s play to force Sabres to keep him

BUFFALO – About 10 minutes into his first NHL practice, Mikhail Grigorenko calmed down, channeled his nervous energy and began showcasing the many talents that could land the 18-year-old in the Sabres’ opening-day lineup next week.

The slick Russian center enjoyed a solid showing on Sunday, the first day of training camp and the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

But, as Lindy Ruff said, “practice drills are one thing.” Competition drills, where Grigorenko can utilize his 6-foot-3, ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko skated against NHL competition for the first time this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

All eyes on Sabres prospect Grigorenko as training camp begins

BUFFALO – Mikhail Grigorenko’s many talents – the passing and playmaking ability, the long strides – had caught everyone’s eye just a few minutes into the Sabres’ first training camp session this morning.

Most observers believe the top prospect will enjoy a long NHL career.

But when will the slick 18-year-old center’s big league tenure start? Will he be in the Sabres’ opening-day lineup next Sunday?

Stay tuned. The Sabres will be giving the Russian, ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford and the Sabres open the season next Sunday at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ 48-game schedule will be dizzying

BUFFALO – Get ready for a hectic pace, Sabres fans.

The team’s lockout-shortened 48-game, conference-only 2012-13 schedule will be completed in only 97 days.

The slate, which starts with an afternoon tilt next Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers inside the First Niagara Center, features some odd quirks and new twists.

With 10 of their final 14 games at home, including the April 26 season finale against the New York Islanders, the Sabres could have a ... Read the full article

The Sabres said in June prospect Mikhail Grigorenko would have a chance at an NHL roster spot. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Roster battles promise to make Sabres camp interesting

BUFFALO – Thanks to the agonizingly long NHL lockout, 281 days have passed since the Sabres last played a game. Thankfully, the team will finally start an abbreviated training camp today. The season opens in just a week.

So what’s changed in the last nine months? How’s this group different from the high-priced, ninth-place team that was built to win the Stanley Cup in 2011-12?

The Sabres got tougher, acquiring Steve Ott to be the ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller made sure he greeted local media members Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Miller believes ‘hockey will be OK’ after long lockout

AMHERST – As Ryan Miller leaned against a wall inside the Northtown Center, waiting for the first question, the Buffalo Sabres goalie finally had enough.

“We’re going to get right into it, no pleasantries?” Miller asked Friday afternoon.

So Miller, one of the more vocal players during the 113-day NHL lockout, went around to each cameraman and reporter, shaking his hand or patting his arm.

In his first meeting with local reporters since September, ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller acknowledged the NHL lockout was "stupid." ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Miller had doubts NHL season would be played

AMHERST – As Ryan Miller leaned against a wall inside the Northtown Center, waiting for the first question, the Buffalo Sabres goalie finally had enough.

“We’re going to get right into it, no pleasantries?” Miller asked this afternoon.

So Miller, one of the more vocal players during the 113-day NHL lockout, went around to each cameraman and reporter, shaking his hand or patting his arm.

In his first meeting with local reporters since September, a ... Read the full article

Jochen Hecht played six games at home in Germany ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Teammates thrilled Hecht rejoining Sabres

AMHERST – Not surprisingly, Jochen Hecht’s Buffalo Sabres teammates are excited the popular 35-year-old veteran, who battled concussions last season, is rejoining the Buffalo Sabres for a 10th campaign.

“Bring him back, pick him up,” Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said this afternoon after practicing with teammates inside the Northtown Center, his first skate here since September. “I’m just glad he’s healthy, No. 1. Watching what he went through last year was hard to watch ... Read the full article

Tyler Myers said playing in Austria was a "great alternative" to the NHL. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Myers healed and ready for NHL season

AMHERST – Tyler Myers acknowledged the left ankle injury he suffered last month in Austria was the “nightmare scenario” for any locked-out NHL player in Europe.

At first, the Buffalo Sabres defenseman was nervous about the injury.

“But once we figured out what it was, I knew it would be pretty quick,” Myers said Tuesday after skating about 90 minutes with some Sabres teammates inside the Northtown Center. “I didn’t want to push it to ... Read the full article

Tyler Myers played 17 games in Austria. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Myers ‘100 percent’ after suffering ankle injury in Austria

AMHERST – Tyler Myers acknowledged the left ankle injury he suffered last month in Austria was the “nightmare scenario” for any locked-out NHL player in Europe.

At first, the Buffalo Sabres defenseman was nervous about the injury.

“But once we figured out what it was, I knew it would be pretty quick,” Myers said this afternoon after skating about 90 minutes with some Sabres teammates inside the Northtown Center. “I didn’t want to push it ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff spent much of the NHL lockout monitoring prospects. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ruff readying for hectic season ahead

BUFFALO – Lindy Ruff had already endured 113 days of the NHL lockout, so waiting another 60 minutes to find out the work stoppage was over wouldn’t have bothered the Sabres coach.

“My phone had gone off while I was sleeping,” Ruff said Wednesday about how he heard the lockout had ended. “It was one of these, somebody had texted me at 6 a.m., ‘Congrats, it’s over.’ And (you think), ‘Wait an hour to ... Read the full article