Robin Lehner plans to play the entire game tonight. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner ready for preseason debut

BUFFALO – Six months removed from ankle surgery, fiery Sabres goalie Robin Lehner, as you might expect, is excited to play his first game preseason game tonight.

“I don’t know if the excitement I sense is because it’s a new year and where he’s at physically and being ready to go or playing the Ottawa Senators and (he) doesn’t want (Mike) Hoffman to score tonight,” coach Dan Bylsma said after the Sabres prepared for ... Read the full article

Cole Schneider (10) chases Columbus’ Seth Jones in his NHL debut April 8. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Williamsville’s Cole Schneider impressing Sabres

BUFFALO – In the first days of the season, Cole Schneider, an undrafted winger with two games of NHL experience, not an established veteran or hotshot prospect, has emerged as the biggest standout in Sabres training camp.

After scoring a hat trick in the first scrimmage and a one-goal, two-point performance the next day, Schneider, 26, could already have an inside track to earn a roster spot as the 12th or 13th... Read the full article

Jason Kasdorf made his NHL debut April 8. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres re-sign Jason Kasdorf, Dan Catenacci

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed goalie Jason Kasdorf, who made his NHL debut late last season, to a two-year, two-way contract, the team announced Sunday.

The 6-foot-3, 172-pound Kasdorf, 24, will likely begin next season with the AHL Rochester Americans.

Kasdorf, an afterthought in the blockbuster 2015 Evander Kane with the Jets, joined the Sabres in March after finishing his NCAA career with R.P.I. He played his only pro game April 8, making ... Read the full article

Tom Ward has an impressive high school resume. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hire Tom Ward as assistant coach; Dan Catenacci re-signed

BUFFALO – The Sabres have hired Tom Ward, a top prep coach who groomed Sidney Crosby, Kyle Okposo and other future NHL players at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, as the final assistant on Dan Bylsma’s staff, the team announced this afternoon.

Ward, 52, spent the last 18 seasons as the head coach of the boys prep team at the Minnesota high school, winning nine USA Hockey National Championships and finishing as runner-up twice.

Shattuck is known for ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk figured he was in the Sabres’ plans. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Mark Pysyk surprised by trade from Sabres to Panthers

BUFFALO – Fresh off his first full NHL season, Mark Pysyk figured he was in the Sabres’ long-term plans. With the defenseman skating regular minutes in 55 games, the team improved 27 points, moving from last overall to 23rd.

“I wasn’t really banking on anything happening,” Pysyk told the Times Herald by phone Sunday.

Then Saturday morning, as Pysyk slept, his phone began lighting up with calls and texts. Eventually, his fiancé informed ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen has been a strong pick for the Sabres. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ recent drafts have yielded potential high-end talent

BUFFALO – To thrive in the modern NHL, teams must build through the draft. It’s that simple. The days of loading up with veteran players through free agency or trades are long gone. The league belongs to the 20-somethings now, and if teams draft poorly, they’re doomed.

How good are the Sabres at drafting? Judge for yourself below. Since drafts usually don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at their selections ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis will have options if he retires. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Popular Amerks veteran Matt Ellis pondering future

ROCHESTER – Physically, Matt Ellis said, he hasn’t felt this good in four or five years. At 34 years old, having just finished his 14th pro season, the popular former Buffalo Sabres forward believes he could keep playing.

“I definitely feel like I got lots left in the tank,” Ellis said Thursday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial.

Still, Ellis understands he could be nearing retirement. This season, his first out of the NHL ... Read the full article

Nick Deslauriers beats Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson on Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Deslauriers savors each goal

TORONTO – As a third- or fourth-liner known more for his fists than his soft hands, gritty Buffalo Sabres winger Nick Deslauriers has endured some long goal droughts.

While the likable Deslauriers scored his career-high sixth goal in Friday’s 3-1 home win against the Ottawa Senators, he has only 12 in his 160-game career. After scoring three times in the first 11 games this season, the former defenseman went 41 appearances before finally scoring again ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (15) will miss his first NHL game. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie Jack Eichel out with flu

TORONTO – The flu will force Buffalo Sabres rookie Jack Eichel to miss his first NHL game tonight, coach Dan Bylsma said.

To replace the center against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, the Sabres have recalled rookie winger Dan Catenacci from the Rochester Americans. Cal O’Reilly will move to center, Bylsma said.

Eichel, 19, finished Friday’s 3-1 home win against the Ottawa Senators, recording as assist, his 49th point.

“It didn’t come on until ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson stops Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan on Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson temporary starter again

BUFFALO – In the span of six months, Sabres goalie Chad Johnson has been a backup, a starter, part of a platoon with rookie Linus Ullmark and a backup again.

For this weekend at least, with Robin Lehner sidelined, Johnson is the Sabres’ top netminder again.

Johnson started Friday’s 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators inside the First Niagara Center, his fifth straight victory, and will get another nod tonight in Toronto against the Maple ... Read the full article