Thomas Vanek's ice time ranks 56th among NHL forwards. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

The curious case of Vanek’s ice time

BUFFALO – It’s a fair question that won’t stop being asked until Sabres coach Lindy Ruff ups his minutes.

Why the heck is slick winger Thomas Vanek, the NHL’s most dynamic presence through two weeks with eight goals and a league-high 19 points, only playing 19:13 a game?

That time ranks 56th among NHL forwards. It’s second among Sabres forwards to linemate Jason Pominville’s 20:51 and sixth overall.

“I’m happy with whatever I get,” ... Read the full article

Cody Hodgson missed this morning's workout. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Banged-up Sabres could be down more players Tuesday

BUFFALO – Five Sabres who played Sunday – Christian Ehrhoff, Marcus Foligno, Cody Hodgson, Steve Ott and Jason Pominville – didn’t skate during this morning’s optional workout inside the First Niagara Center.

“We got a couple guys that are nicked up that may be doubtful tomorrow,” coach Lindy Ruff said after the Sabres prepared for Tuesday’s tilt in Ottawa.

Right now, forward Matt Ellis is the Sabres’ only extra player. A recall could be coming.... Read the full article

Ryan Miller stops Tomas Kopecky in front moments before Brian Campbell's game-winning goal Sunday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres blow lead to Panthers, waste Vanek’s 3-point effort

BUFFALO – Sabres star Thomas Vanek dazzled again Sunday, scoring another goal and three more points. That’s a whopping eight goals and 19 points through two weeks for the slick Austrian.

But arguably the greatest individual start in the franchise’s 42-year history is being wasted.

The Sabres have dropped six of seven games (1-5-1) after blowing a 3-1 second-period lead and falling to the hapless Florida Panthers 4-3 on Sunday afternoon before 18,831 fans inside ... Read the full article

John Scott (right) fights George Parros during the second period Sunday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Brennan replaces Sekera on banged-up blue line

BUFFALO – A bruised foot sidelined Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera for Sunday afternoon’s 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers. Rookie T.J. Brennan replaced him, making his second appearance this season.

Sekera blocked Alexei Emelin’s shot shortly into his first shift Saturday, went to the dressing room and returned for several shifts before leaving the Sabres’ 6-1 loss in Montreal again after the first period.

Ruff hopes it’s a short-term injury.

“He took a pretty hard ... Read the full article

T.J. Brennan will replace Andrej Sekera. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Injured Sekera out, Brennan in for Sabres

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera will miss this afternoon’s tilt against the Florida Panthers after bruising his foot Saturday, coach Lindy Ruff said. Rookie T.J. Brennan will replace him.

Sekera blocked Alexei Emelin’s shot shortly into his first shift, went to the dressing room and returned for several shifts before leaving the Sabres’ 6-1 loss in Montreal again after the first period.

Ruff hopes it’s a short-term injury.

“He took a pretty hard shot,” ... Read the full article

Andrej Sekera hurt his foot early today. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sekera’s injury isn’t serious; Sabres’ blue line getting thin

Defenseman Andrej Sekera bruised his foot early in the Buffalo Sabres’ 6-1 loss to the Canadiens this afternoon and will be re-evaluated Sunday, coach Lindy Ruff told reporters in Montreal.

“It doesn’t look like it should be too long,” Ruff said.

He added: “He tried to gut it out.”

Sekera blocked Alexei Emelin’s shot shortly into his first shift, went to the dressing room and returned for several shifts before leaving again after the ... Read the full article

Patrick Rissmiller spent two full seasons in the NHL. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Amerks sign veteran Rissmiller to tryout

BUFFALO – The Rochester Americans signed forward Patrick Rissmiller, a veteran of 192 NHL games, to a professional tryout contract today.

The 34-year-old has 18 goals, 46 points and 60 penalty minutes in NHL stints with San Jose, the New York Rangers, Atlanta and Florida. He spent two full seasons with the Sharks from 2006-08.

With T.J. Brennan, Cody Hodgson and Marcus Foligno all playing with the Sabres and first-round pick Zemgus Girgensons... Read the full article

Cody McCormick hurt his finger last year. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ McCormick returns from finger injury

Buffalo Sabres winger Cody McCormick, sidelined by a finger injury the first seven games, is making his season debut this afternoon in Montreal against the Canadiens.

The 29-year-old’s skating on the right wing beside Matt Ellis and John Scott.

McCormick kept playing after getting injured last winter. But the finger never healed properly.

He was concerned about rushing back and how the finger would hold up in a fight.

“It would react not too favorably ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek has a point in every game so far. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Vanek named NHL’s third star for January

BUFFALO – Thomas Vanek’s scorching start to the lockout-shortened season – six goals and a league-high 15 points through only six games – has earned the slick Sabres winger the NHL’s third star for January.

Vanek’s coming off a dazzling three-goal, five point performance Thursday in the Sabres’ 7-4 win in Boston, his second five-point game this season. The Austrian had two goals and three assists opening day.

Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, who’s 5-0-1 ... Read the full article

Shawn Thornton left early Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Thornton out 7-10 days with concussion after fighting Sabres’ Scott

BUFFALO – Boston tough guy Shawn Thornton will be out seven to 10 days after suffering a concussion during his fight with new Sabres enforcer John Scott, the Bruins announced today.

The two heavyweights scrapped 2:53 into the Sabres’ 7-4 win Thursday. Scott quickly dropped Thornton with a few punches.

Thornton immediately left the game and never returned. Scott, meanwhile, skated 3:34.

The bout could already be one of the most popular in the ... Read the full article