©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

©2012

Penalties doom Sabres in loss to Devils

BUFFALO – The five triumphs in six games, the recent three-game winning streak, it was probably all just a tease. At this point, the 14th-place Sabres can’t be postseason contenders, can they? Are they really going to leapfrog six teams and nab the last spot?

In their second straight home loss, a weak 4-1 decision to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, the Sabres lacked oomph, taking a season-high seven minor penalties while ... Read the full article

Injuries had pushed Mike Weber's ice time over 20 minutes some nights recently. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Weber playing better with less ice time

BUFFALO – Some players thrive with extra ice time. The constant action and extra pressure helps them find a groove.

Don’t count Sabres defenseman Mike Weber among them. The 24-year-old struggled when a slew of injuries pushed him over 20 minutes a night.

Weber played 19:58 or more in 12 of 13 games recently, including a career-high 26:58 on Jan. 14. He compiled a minus-4 rating one night and a minus-8 overall. The tough, stay-at-home ... Read the full article

©2012

Insults helping transform Sabres’ Kaleta into all-around talent

BUFFALO – For six years, Patrick Kaleta’s heard calls and insults he’s merely a talentless agitator trying to thump bodies. The Sabres winger bristles at the scorn.

The 25-year-old’s earned a regular shift for several seasons. He scored 10 goals in 55 games two years ago, four of them winners. He kills penalties.

“I know a lot of people have said I’m just a mutt, a fourth-liner; I’m just going to go out and hit,” ... Read the full article