Sam Reinhart scored the shootout winner Monday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Top talent rallies Sabres past Leafs

TORONTO – Call it whatever you want – a tank, a deep rebuild – the Maple Leafs gutted their roster recently, leaving coach Mike Babcock a team filled with unknown neophytes to mold into NHL talent.

The Buffalo Sabres, meanwhile, have already endured what the Leafs are just beginning: a total overhaul. The Sabres are, theoretically, two years ahead of Toronto.

At this stage, they should exploit a reeling club dressing six rookies. The Sabres ... Read the full article

Brad Boyes attended training camp on a tryout. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabre Brad Boyes happy with Leafs after tough summer

BUFFALO – At times throughout his uncertain summer, former Sabres forward Brad Boyes said he wondered, “Why is this happening?”

For the second time in three years, Boyes, a former 43-goal scorer, couldn’t find work.

In 2013, after a strong season with the New York Islanders, Boyes, 33, had to earn a spot in Florida on a tryout. He parlayed that into a two-year extension and figured after scoring 35 goals over two seasons, he ... Read the full article

Florida goalie Roberto Luongo watches the puck in front of Cody Hodgson on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres fall apart early against Panthers, get blanked by Roberto Luongo again

BUFFALO – It’s getting ugly again. In fact, it’s starting to feel like October. The Sabres are losing every game. They can’t score. Opponents keep outshooting them.

Following an exciting 10-3 run, the Sabres have lost three straight games and seven of the last eight.

A wretched start, an early-season staple, doomed the Sabres in Friday’s boring 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers before a capacity crowd of 19,070 fans inside a quiet First Niagara ... Read the full article

Brad Boyes has 12 goals this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres disappointment Brad Boyes thriving with Panthers

BUFFALO – Brad Boyes’ comeback generated no interest. The 31-year-old former Sabres winger rejuvenated his career last season beside star John Tavares and Matt Moulson on the New York Islanders’ No. 1 line.

Then, despite compiling 10 goals and 35 points in 48 games, Boyes couldn’t find a team during one of the oddest summers in NHL history.

With the salary cap coming down and rosters packed, plenty of notable veterans experienced similar situations.

“It ... Read the full article

The Sabres acquired Cody Hodgson at last season’s trade deadline. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ recent trade-deadline activity has yielded mixed results

PITTSBURGH – With the NHL trade deadline hitting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, here’s the Buffalo Sabres’ Eastern Conference standing and their activity since 2006:

2006, third place, 83 points

General manager Darcy Regier made no additions, only trading No. 3 goalie Mika Noronen to Vancouver for a second-round pick (current backup goalie Jhonas Enroth). Some argued the inactivity bit the surprising Sabres, who lost four defensemen to injury during their run to the Eastern Conference ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko played his 15th NHL game Saturday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Grigorenko plays little in return; Leino feeling better, wants Sabres to have ‘higher demands’

BUFFALO – Sitting out hockey games, watching them in a suit from the press box high above the ice was a new and difficult experience for 18-year-old Sabres rookie Mikhail Grigorenko, a healthy scratch three straight games and four of the last six before returning Saturday.

“I think every hockey player wants to play hockey,” Grigorenko said prior to the Sabres’ 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders inside the First Niagara Center, his first ... Read the full article

Brad Boyes had little impact during his brief run with the Sabres. ©2012, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald

Brad Boyes signs with Islanders, leaves Sabres disappointed

BUFFALO – Now that forward Brad Boyes has moved on, inking a one-year, $1 million contract with the New York Islanders and leaving behind a Sabres team he scored 14 goals for over 93 games, what the heck happened to the former NHL All-Star here?

Boyes, who signed the deal shortly after free agency opened Sunday, once ranked among the league’s most feared scorers, tallying 76 goals over a two-year span, including 43 in 2007-08.... Read the full article

The Sabres acquired Christian Ehrhoff’s rights before free agency started last year. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres could be quiet as free agency opens

BUFFALO – In this new era, nothing may be off limits for the Sabres during free agency. A year ago, owner Terry Pegula spent $67 million on two players in his first foray into the market, showcasing an aggressiveness never seen in these parts.

The Sabres wheeled and dealed, jumping the gun, acquiring Christian Ehrhoff’s rights and awarding the coveted defenseman a 10-year, $40 million contract. Then they gave winger Ville Leino a six-year, $27 ... Read the full article

The Sabres selected Tyler Myers 12th overall in 2008, the last time they had two first-round picks. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Keeping high picks might be Sabres’ best draft choice

PITTSBURGH – A year and zero playoff games later, Darcy Regier still has the keys, full reign to aggressively pursue elite talent and make the Buffalo Sabres a contender again.

If you believe the general manager, then he’s in the mix and will be active on the Consol Energy Center floor this weekend during the NHL Entry Draft, which starts tonight when the Sabres pick twice – 12th and 21st, compliments of ... Read the full article

Derek Roy endured criticism last season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Roy’s days with Sabres could be numbered

BUFFALO – It was March 30, Fan Appreciation Night, when Derek Roy, as part of the Sabres’ “Jersey Off My Back” promotion, awarded a lucky seat holder his jersey during a brief video message.

Each of the Sabres made an announcement that night; only one, Roy, was booed.

The fans’ frustration boiled over during the center’s fifth straight pointless game at crunch time, so they jeered him a bit, even snickered when he popped up ... Read the full article