Jochen Hecht often shoots the puck from almost anywhere. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Hecht says penchant for odd-angle shots came from former Sabres star

BUFFALO – No angle is too awkward for Sabres forward Jochen Hecht. The veteran’s penchant for shooting the puck – or, perhaps more appropriately, sweeping it – from any spot deep in the offensive zone is legendary.

The 35-year-old scored a nifty goal in Friday’s 4-2 win over Ottawa, backhanding the puck quickly in the left circle with a defender draped on him. Other players surely would’ve passed that shot up.

Still, that wasn’t ... Read the full article

Adam Pardy should stay in the NHL the rest of this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ new defense corps locking down, helping keep slim playoff hopes alive

BUFFALO – There are some perks to hotel life, Adam Pardy said. Each day, a maid makes his bed and cleans his room. That’s not a bad thing, right?

For three months, the defenseman has been living out of a suitcase while shuttling between the Sabres and the Rochester Americans, an experience Pardy chalks up to being “one of those years.”

“It (stinks), but it is what it is,” Pardy said about hotel living Saturday ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek will miss his sixth straight game tonight. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ sole focus on game in front of them; Vanek should practice again Monday

BUFFALO – Forget about the other seven or eight teams battling for that final Eastern Conference playoff berth. The 12th-place Sabres simply need to keep winning games and mind their own business.

“We’ve been same story, focused on the game in front of us like a lot of teams are doing in our situation, where they got to get points out of every game to make the playoffs,” interim coach Ron Rolston said ... Read the full article

Marcus Foligno got behind Ottawa's Cory Conacher (89) Friday before sitting late. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rolston believes Sabres rookie Foligno will bounce back after benching

BUFFALO – Why did interim coach Ron Rolston bench Marcus Foligno late Friday in the Sabres’ 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators?

The rookie winger received only two shifts during the third period for 30 total seconds. On Foligno’s first shift, Eric Gryba put Ottawa up 2-1.

Foligno played two seconds the rest of the game.

“He just wasn’t moving his feet as much as he should be,” Rolston said this afternoon inside the First ... Read the full article

Ville Leino missed the first 27 games this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Leino out indefinitely, season in jeopardy; Vanek out again Sunday

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Ville Leino, out the last three games with what interim coach Ron Rolston called an upper body injury, is out indefinitely.

Rolston said Leino’s injury doesn’t require surgery.

While Rolston wouldn’t speculate, with only 10 games left, the Finn’s season could be over.

A hip injury sidelined Leino the first 27 games this season.

Meanwhile, winger Thomas Vanek practiced again today but will likely miss Sunday’s game against New Jersey.... Read the full article

Luke Adam (right) celebrates his first-period goal Friday as Brian Flynn congratulates him. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres say playoffs still within sight after rallying to down Senators

BUFFALO – On Friday morning, hours before their 4-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators, new assistant captain Steve Ott promised the Sabres would keep fighting for that unlikely playoff berth until the bitter end.

Two days after management jettisoned captain Jason Pominville at the trade deadline with the message the Sabres’ plans have shifted to the future, players emphatically say they’re still focused on the present.

They want to win now.

Ten games ... Read the full article

Cory Conacher made his Senators debut Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Canisius star Conacher thrilled to play in Buffalo again

BUFFALO – Cory Conacher’s family and friends all had their tickets for April 14, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first visit here this season. The homecoming promised to be a special night for the former Canisius College star, the first Golden Griffins product to crack the NHL.

The 23-year-old’s parents reserved a suite inside the First Niagara Center. The Sabres plan to honor Canisius’ recent NCAA Tournament team that night, Conacher said.

Then, in one of ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford wants to stay with the Sabres. ©2013, San Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Stafford relieved trade deadline has passed

BUFFALO – Dealing with Wednesday’s trade deadline wasn’t easy for struggling winger Drew Stafford, one of several Sabres rumored to be on the move.

“I was definitely by my phone,” Stafford said this morning inside the First Niagara Center after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s contest against the Ottawa Senators. “I know that those days can definitely be stressful. It definitely was, especially near the end there when my phone was blowing up around ... Read the full article

Steve Ott skates this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Winning, not Sabres’ captaincy, on Ott’s mind

BUFFALO – Steve Ott said this morning the captaincy isn’t on his radar. The gritty winger, arguably the Sabres’ biggest heart-and-soul-player, received an assistant captaincy for the rest of the season after captain Jason Pominville was traded Wednesday.

Getting the “C” next year seems like a natural progression for popular 30-year-old veteran.

“I truly want to just be a hockey player on this team,” Ott said inside the First Niagara Center after preparing for tonight’s ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek drove Jason Pominville to the airport Thursday morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres know Pominville’s departure could only be first major move

BUFFALO – Darcy Regier’s strong words stuck with Thomas Vanek. Prior to Saturday, the general manager had never publicly made any of his Sabres available to other teams during his long tenure. At that point, four days before trade deadline, the slick winger knew major changes could hit the Sabres.

Sure enough, Regier dealt captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday for two prospects and two draft picks.

It could just be the ... Read the full article