Jon Cooper spent three seasons in the AHL. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Yzerman insists Ruff wasn’t on Lightning’s radar

Sure enough, former Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was immediately linked to the first opening since his Feb. 20 dismissal, the Tampa Bay Lightning job.

Ultimately, general manager Steve Yzerman promoted Jon Cooper from the Lightning’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse today to replace Guy Boucher.

But how much did Yzerman, who hired Ruff as an assistant coach as GM of Team Canada’s 2010 Olympic entry, pursue him?

“To be perfectly honest with you, I called ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk (53) battled Toronto's James van Riemsdyk on Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie Pysyk quickly earning keep on blue line

MONTREAL – Earlier this season, rookie Mark Pysyk, the same defense prospect now playing almost 16 minutes a game for the Buffalo Sabres, sat as a healthy scratch in the AHL three times.

“I just needed a little wake-up call,” Pysyk said Saturday inside the Bell Centre prior to the Sabres’ 2-1 win, his fourth NHL game.

When interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston benched Pysyk with the Rochester Americans in December, the odds of ... Read the full article

Chris Kaleta played two games with the Cincinnati Cyclones. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kaleta proud of younger brother’s professional hockey debut

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta couldn’t wipe the grin off his face while talking about his 25-year-old brother’s recent professional debut with the Cincinnati Cyclones.

Chris Kaleta, a Division III star with Cortland, played with the ECHL club March 15 and 16. Fifteen goals and 28 points in 24 games during his senior season earned the forward some notice.

“Going in, he knew he was probably only going to get two games,” Patrick ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller made 38 saves Saturday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Tight win over Canadiens has Sabres back in playoff chase

MONTREAL – This one could’ve gotten ugly early as the Buffalo Sabres bumbled around their own zone and the Canadiens kept relentlessly applying pressure.

Somehow, though, the Habs missed a slew of prime chances during the first period Saturday.

If they didn’t misfire in front of Ryan Miller, the franchise goalie gobbled it up. His play and a little luck kept the Sabres in the game.

Just a few weeks ago, the struggling team might’ve ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford battled Clarke MacArthur (16) in his last appearance Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Slumping Stafford benched as Gerbe returns for Sabres

MONTREAL – In just 32 days on the job, interim coach Ron Rolston has quickly put his mark on the Buffalo Sabres, scratching five regular forwards.

Prior to Saturday, struggling winger Drew Stafford had escaped a benching, only receiving some fourth-line duty for his poor play. With a two-goal effort last Saturday and the shootout-tying score Thursday, it appeared the assistant captain would keep dressing.

But Stafford, who has only four goals and a ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford has struggled all season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Struggling Stafford to sit tonight as Gerbe returns for Sabres

MONTREAL – Naturally, getting benched for tonight’s game against the Canadiens is disappointing, Drew Stafford said. The struggling Buffalo Sabres winger, who has only four goals in 31 games this season, hasn’t been a healthy scratch in years.

But the 27-year-old veteran, an assistant captain, understands why interim coach Ron Rolston will sit him.

“I mean, it’s no secret I haven’t been getting on the score sheet,” Stafford said this afternoon following Buffalo’s skate ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford has only four goals this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Struggling Stafford wants to remain with Sabres

MONTREAL – The rumors, Drew Stafford said, are simply not true. The struggling Sabres winger doesn’t want to be traded. The 27-year-old would like to stay in Buffalo, his only NHL home.

Right now, Stafford’s focusing on busting out of his long offensive slump. Asking to be dealt with two years and more than $8 million left on his contract, well, that would be the easy way out.

“No matter how bad it gets, ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek has battled injuries all season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Vanek should return against Canadiens

MONTREAL – When Christian Ehrhoff’s point blast hit Thomas Vanek squarely in the hip early in the Sabres’ 3-2 overtime win here on Tuesday, the slick winger thought the worst.

“I thought he broke my hip because it was puck on bone,” Vanek said Friday after practicing inside the First Niagara Center, his first session back on the ice.

But the Sabres’ leading scorer has healed quickly. He felt good during the short skate and ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek has missed one game. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Vanek plans to play against Canadiens

BUFFALO – When Christian Ehrhoff’s point blast hit Thomas Vanek squarely in the hip early in the Sabres’ 3-2 overtime win Tuesday in Montreal, the slick winger thought the worst.

“I thought he broke my hip because it was puck on bone,” Vanek said this afternoon after practicing inside the First Niagara Center, his first session back on the ice.

But the Sabres’ leading scorer has healed quickly. He felt good during the short skate ... Read the full article

John Scott (32) declares victory after bloodying Toronto’s Frazer McLaren during the first period Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Relentless Sabres roar back to down Leafs in ultra-intense tilt

BUFFALO –For 65 wildly entertaining minutes Thursday, the Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs fought, traded goals and battled for every inch as they zoomed up and down the ice before a noisy bipartisan crowd of 19,070 fans inside the First Niagara Center.

The Sabres’ 5-4 shootout victory was NHL hockey at its fiercest and most exciting.

“They got their money’s worth tonight,” interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston said about the capacity crowd.

Fittingly, Sabres agitator ... Read the full article