John Scott, shown here after a fight last season, sent a message Sunday in Toronto. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Fight night in Toronto: Sabres and Leafs brawl in exhibition tilt

TORONTO – It was a not-so-subtle message: John Scott, the Buffalo Sabres’ 6-foot-8, 258-pound tough guy, lining up for a faceoff against slick Maple Leafs superstar Phil Kessel, who’s about eight inches shorter and 60 pounds lighter.

A minute earlier, 6-foot-5 Leafs fighter Jamie Devane had knocked Corey Tropp out briefly and bloodied him.

The Sabres didn’t like Devane fighting someone five inches smaller.

So Sabres coach Ron Rolston had Scott on the ice ... Read the full article

Marcus Foligno has three goals in two preseason outings. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Marcus Foligno impressing Sabres again early after forgettable season

BUFFALO – When Marcus Foligno’s dismal, five-goal season ended in April, the 22-year-old could’ve laid the blame on others or taken responsibility, Sabres coach Ron Rolston said.

“Whether they think it’s me or them, ultimately they got to make that change, and I think he took that ownership on that,” Rolston said Saturday prior to the Sabres’ 3-2 exhibition shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs before a capacity crowd of 19,070 fans inside the ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis played the wing Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres turn to Tyler Ennis for center help

BUFFALO – On Friday, coach Ron Rolston said the Sabres “would look at all options” to find another center, even if it meant moving someone over from the wing.

Sure enough, Tyler Ennis was centering Marcus Foligno and Drew Stafford this morning as the Sabres prepared for tonight’s preseason contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the First Niagara Center.

Where does Rolston see Ennis winding up eventually, center or wing? The 23-year-old has ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson scored twice in his third preseason game Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Center prospect Johan Larsson making strong bid to crack Sabres

BUFFALO – Right now, the Sabres’ depth down the middle is, well, a bit thin beyond Cody Hodgson.

Consider this: the five other centers coach Ron Rolston has played in the team’s three exhibition contests – Matt Ellis, Mikhail Grigorenko, Johan Larsson, Cody McCormick and Kevin Porter – have combined for 64 goals and 154 points in 816 NHL games.

That’s it.

So what will the Sabres do?

“We’re going to continue ... Read the full article

Andrey Makarov is beginning his first professional season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres send 13 players to Amerks

BUFFALO – The Sabres trimmed their training camp roster by 15 players today.

The team sent the following players to AHL Rochester: forwards Colin Jacobs, Eric Locke, Johnny McGuire, Jonathan Parker, Kevin Sunder, Shawn Szydlowski and Frederick Roy; defensemen Nick Crawford (pending waivers), Alex Lepkowski and Matt MacKenzie; goalies Connor Knapp, Nathan Lieuwen and Andrey Makarov.

In addition, the Sabres sent defenseman Brady Austin and forward Peter Trainor back to their junior clubs.... Read the full article

Joel Armia saw plenty of action Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Joel Armia makes home debut memorable

BUFFALO – This wasn’t a three-minute YouTube package of European highlights or a summer development camp scrimmage. This was slick Sabres prospect Joel Armia finally skating in some NHL action.

The hype surrounding Armia has been building since the Sabres selected the Finnish winger 16th overall in 2011. Yet few fans had seen the 20-year-old, who spent the last three seasons playing at home in SM-liiga, up close prior to Thursday’s exhibition home opener, ... Read the full article

Joel Armia skates this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Joel Armia set for home debut tonight

BUFFALO – The hype has been building since slick Finnish winger Joel Armia was selected 16th overall in 2011. In the 20-year-old, the Sabres possess a prospect so talented many believe he could crack the NHL right away.

Yet few have seen Armia, who spent the last three seasons playing at home in SM-liiga, up close.

Who exactly is this guy?

Fans will find out tonight, when Armia makes his Buffalo debut in the ... Read the full article

Jamie McBain had only one goal and eight points last season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jamie McBain looking for fresh start after Hurricanes career fizzled

BUFFALO – Jamie McBain disputes his former general manager’s belief he reported to training camp out of shape last season.

The new Sabres defenseman acknowledged Tuesday that workouts “kind of slipped away from me a little bit” during the lockout. But McBain had played briefly in Finland and felt ready for an abbreviated season with the Carolina Hurricanes following the work stoppage.

“My on-ice conditioning was just fine,” said McBain, who could face the Hurricanes ... Read the full article

Corey Tropp earned his first regular NHL duty late in 2011-12. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Corey Tropp confident he will regain rookie form after serious knee injury: ‘I have no doubt in my mind’

BUFFALO – Corey Tropp’s late-season AHL comeback was about more than simply playing games. The gritty 24-year-old Sabres winger returned for some peace of mind after suffering a serious knee injury opening night.

“That’s one of the real reasons why we did try to make the comeback, so you’re not sitting around all summer thinking, ‘How’s it going to hold up in that first exhibition game or intrasquad scrimmage game?’” Tropp said Tuesday morning ... Read the full article

Corey Tropp only played six games last season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Tonight’s game more than meaningless exhibition for Sabres’ Corey Tropp

BUFFALO – Seventeen months after Corey Tropp played his last NHL game, the 24-year-old Sabres winger will return to the lineup tonight in Columbus.

Yes, it’s just an exhibition contest. But for Tropp, who suffered ligament damage in his right knee playing for Rochester opening night last season, it’s more than a preseason tilt.

Tropp’s back in the NHL.

“I’d be lying to you if I told you when I finished the season two ... Read the full article