Steve Ott believes "Rockout The Lockout" will have some intensity. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ott hopes charity game wows fans

BUFFALO – In Steve Ott’s mind, the special “Rockout The Lockout” charity hockey game he’s helping present Saturday could become more than a mere exhibition contest.

Eighty-three days into the NHL lockout, players are starving for some game action, the Sabres winger said.

So don’t expect the event “to be just an all-star game,” he said. Players are becoming increasingly competitive as they wait for the season to start. Some haven’t played a game in ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller usually makes his feelings known. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Miller has long history of displaying passion

BUFFALO – If you’ve spent any time following Ryan Miller’s career, then you’re aware the Sabres goalie might be the NHL’s most passionate player.

Miller says whatever he thinks, a rarity in sports today. Sometimes he’s lauded for it. Other times he’s flayed for it.

But he’ll stand up for whatever he believes is right.

So it’s hardly surprising details are emerging that Miller, one of the 18 or so players negotiating with owners in ... Read the full article

Jordan Leopold said he hadn't been briefed on Tuesday's meetings in New York. ©2012, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Leopold ‘cautiously optimistic’ CBA meetings moving process forward

AMHERST – Finally, 81 days later, the NHL lockout may mercifully be nearing an end. Eighteen players, including Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, and six owners held a marathon day of collective bargaining meetings Tuesday in New York.

When the sides emerged, NHL Players’ Association special counsel Steve Fehr, flanked by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, said, “In some ways I’d say it might be the best day we’ve had, which isn’t too overly ... Read the full article

Boston's Jeremy Jacobs is believed to be the NHL's most hardline owner. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players hoping meeting with owners will get labor talks rolling

AMHERST – Perhaps today’s meeting between players and owners in New York can facilitate some meaningful dialogue, even generate a breakthrough in the contentious negotiations between the NHL and the Players’ Association.

Eighty days into the NHL lockout, adding a fresh dynamic to the stale labor talks could be beneficial, some Buffalo Sabres players said.

“I don’t know if it will (facilitate dialogue), but it’s worth a shot,” Sabres winger Thomas Vanek said Monday after ... Read the full article

Jordan Leopold wants no part of a potential meeting between players and owners. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players not interested in meeting owners

AMHERST – Mediation, as expected, failed to ignite talks between the NHL and the Players’ Association.

Seventy-seven days into the lockout, nothing has gotten the sides on the same page. The clock’s already ticking on the 2012-13 season.

So what about that meeting limited only to players and owners NHL commissioner Gary Bettman proposed Thursday after the two days of supervised talks broke down? Could that work?

Bettman and NHLPA executive director Don Fehr would ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville's joining his childhood friend, Yanick Lehoux, in Mannheim. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres captain Pominville to join Mannheim of German league

AMHERST – Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville’s heading to the Mannheim Eagles of the DEL in Germany to play during the NHL lockout, he told the Times Herald today.

“If it does get settled quick, then I’ll be able to skate for a few weeks, a month – whatever it is,” Pominville said after skating inside the Northtown Center. “It’ll be a mini training camp. And if not, I’ll have a team for the rest ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville hopes mediation will bring new ideas to negotiations between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players hopeful mediation can lead to breakthrough

AMHERST – Mediation can’t hurt, right? Heck, with the NHL lockout now 75 days old, the league and the NHL Players’ Association desperately need something new to help jumpstart negotiations.

Why not get a third party involved?

That finally happened Wednesday at an undisclosed location, as the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service began overseeing negotiations between the league and the NHLPA.

“Hopefully, he can (lend) his opinion and bring some new ideas and make both ... Read the full article

Steve Ott believes NHL fans have a right to be angry. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ott wonders if lockout making NHL into ‘second-tier league’

BUFFALO – Seventy days later, the NHL lockout has claimed 422 games, including 27 Sabres tilts after the league made its third round of cancellations Friday.

With no negotiating sessions scheduled and Wednesday’s new offer by the NHL Players’ Association – one the union has said is about as good as the players will make – dismissed quickly, it’s fair to wonder if the 2012-13 season will even be played.

In Steve Ott’s mind, the ... Read the full article

Steve Ott thinks the NHL could become a second-tier sports league. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ott worries lockout permanently damaging NHL

BUFFALO – I just chatted with outspoken Sabres winger Steve Ott moments before the NHL canceled games through Dec. 14. Ott’s been a pretty vocal critic of the lockout, and he didn’t mince words today.

Here are some quick highlights:

On the NHL losing its place on the sporting landscape:

“The NHL (is) falling into almost a second-tier league compared to the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. I think they’re starting to accomplish taking ... Read the full article

Teppo Numminen represented Finland in four Olympics. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres defenseman Numminen earns IIHF Hall of Fame honor

BUFFALO – Former Sabres defenseman and current assistant coach Teppo Numminen, who won three Olympic medals representing his native Finland, will be inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in May.

His father, Kalevi, was inducted as a builder 2011. The two will become the first father-son duo in the Hall of Fame.

Numminen played in four Olympics, winning silver in 1988 Calgary, bronze in 1998 in Nagano and silver in 2006 ... Read the full article