Jason Pominville played in the first Winter Classic. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

10 years later, Winter Classic memories still special for Sabres

NEW YORK – When the NHL announced more than 10 years ago it planned to stage an outdoor game in Buffalo, the novel idea the league named the “Winter Classic” was met with some skepticism, including from one of the Sabres’ marquee names.

“Originally, (I was) probably like, ‘I don’t want to play outside,’” former Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell told the Times Herald by phone Friday.

NHL players are creatures of habit. They don’t ... Read the full article

Matt Moulson is at his best around the net. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Matt Moulson moving around Sabres lineup

BUFFALO – Early in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, Sabres winger Matt Moulson skated as a fourth-liner beside fill-in center Nick Deslauriers and Tyler Ennis.

But Moulson, as he has all season, didn’t stay with the same linemates long inside KeyBank Center.

Jack Eichel filled in for Deslauriers, a winger with zero points this season. Moulson also played on the top power-play unit, a promotion with winger Sam Reinhart out.

Moulson, 33, has ... Read the full article

Brian Gionta (12) celebrates his go-ahead goal Saturday afternoon. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Wild third-period outburst helps Sabres beat Jets

BUFFALO – If the last-place Sabres go on a three-month tear, roar up the standings and do the unthinkable – that’s secure a playoff spot – remember their offensive outburst late in Saturday afternoon’s thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind win.

Down 3-1 against the Winnipeg Jets and trudging toward their eighth loss in 10 games, the Sabres suddenly exploded for three goals in just 4:42, sending the capacity crowd of 19,070 fans into a frenzy.

The wild ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo will sign a lucrative contract. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres won’t find elite talent in free agency

BUFFALO – The pickings are so slim in NHL free agency this year, perhaps the most coveted player available, Kyle Okposo, has never cracked the 30-goal or 70-point marks.

Okposo, of course, is a talented winger. The Minnesota native is coming off a 22-goal, 64-point season with the New York Islanders. He has 139 goals and 369 points in 529 NHL games over nine years, including three 20-goal seasons and two 60-point campaigns.

Yes, Okposo ... Read the full article

Brian Campbell should hit 1,000 games in April. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres star Brian Campbell still motivated by early adversity

BUFFALO – More than 12 years later, the number is seared into Brian Campbell’s memory. It is a part of the popular former Sabres defenseman. After a Stanley Cup and multiple NHL All-Star appearances, it still motivates the Florida Panthers standout as he approaches a prestigious milestone.

Back in 2003-04, Campbell’s fifth NHL season, the youngster couldn’t crack the Sabres’ less-than-stellar defense corps, regularly serving as a spare part.

“I don’t forget how many healthy ... Read the full article

Jaromir Jagr played his first game in Buffalo more than 25 years ago. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Panthers star Jaromir Jagr still feasting on Sabres

BUFFALO – Late Monday, around 10:30 or 11:30 p.m., as many of his Florida Panthers teammates were probably turning in for the night, 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr was allegedly inside the First Niagara Center working out.

“Our cameras caught him,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said Tuesday prior to Jagr’s 87th career appearance against Buffalo, a 5-1 Panthers win in which the Czech scored his 736th NHL goal.

As Jagr has grown older, his legend ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff’s Stars lead the NHL with 15 wins. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Lindy Ruff returns to Buffalo with elite Stars team

BUFFALO – A scorching start buoyed by the NHL’s best offense. Young superstar talent. Terrific depth.

When did the Dallas Stars’ Lindy Ruff have all that before? Nine years ago, when Ruff coached a slick young Sabres team to the 2006-07 Eastern Conference final following a 113-point regular season.

Back then, Ruff had a stacked club led by co-captains Daniel Briere and Chris Drury and young talent like Brian Campbell, Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville and ... Read the full article

Randy Cunneyworth talks Wednesday. ©2015, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Randy Cunneyworth happy to be back coaching Amerks

ROCHESTER – For three years, wherever Randy Cunneyworth went, he was asked the same question.

“I don’t think there was a person I came across that didn’t mention, ‘Are you going to get back into coaching or not?’” Cunneyworth recalled Wednesday after being introduced as the Rochester Americans’ new coach inside the Blue Cross War Memorial.

Cunneyworth enjoyed his player development job with the Buffalo Sabres – “I’m into whatever I’m doing,” he said – ... Read the full article

Randy Cunneyworth was Montreal’s interim coach for 50 games in 2011-12. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres name Randy Cunneyworth Amerks coach

BUFFALO – As the summer dragged on and the Rochester Americans’ coaching job remained open, one name kept popping up in rumors: Randy Cunneyworth, who had coached the Sabres’ AHL affiliate for eight seasons before moving up to the NHL.

Cunneyworth appeared to be the logical choice. The 54-year-old, a noted talent developer, was already a special assistant and a player development coach with the Amerks. He’s familiar with Buffalo’s prospects and the organization.... Read the full article

Joe Cecconi couldn’t hide his excitement Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Youngstown native Joe Cecconi drafted by Stars

SUNRISE, Fla. – Youngstown native Joe Cecconi said he started getting “a little bit scared” as the NHL Draft wore on Saturday. The defense prospect still hadn’t been picked almost halfway through the fifth round.

“I was like something might not happen, I might not get chosen,” a smiling Cecconi said after the Dallas Stars selected him 133rd overall inside the BB&T Center. “But seeing Dallas was up and they called my name, the ... Read the full article