Johan Larsson tips the puck past Chicago goalie Scott Darling on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Blackhawks’ late rally stuns Sabres

BUFFALO – In 47 seconds late Friday, the mood inside the First Niagara Center changed dramatically. The Sabres fans worrying their team would pull its most unlikely upset this trying season felt relieved as mighty Chicago Blackhawks quickly roared back.

When Chicago star Jonathan Toews tied it with 1:43 left, the building, which was filled with red Blackhawks jerseys, erupted.

Some hometown fans who had remained quiet as the Sabres erased an early 2-0 deficit ... Read the full article

Bryan Trottier is one of the New York Islanders’ all-time greats. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres assistant coach Bryan Trottier has special memories of Nassau Coliseum

BUFFALO – New York Islanders legend Bryan Trottier remembers the noise. The roar inside Nassau Coliseum would become deafening, funneling down from the stands to the ice.

“To the point where you’re reading lips,” Trottier, a Sabres assistant coach, said Friday. “Until you actually experience it, it’s just fantastic.”

The Isles are moving to bigger and better digs 24 miles away next season, the shiny Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Trottier, a Hall of Famer who ... Read the full article

Brian Gionta was named captain in October. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Brian Gionta captaining Sabres through rough season

BUFFALO – Sabres captain Brian Gionta has finally started scoring again. With two more assists Wednesday, the winger has four goals and 11 points in the last nine contests, his hottest stretch in more than a year.

Gionta, after months of offensive struggles, looks like the slick veteran who has averaged 26 goals in his full NHL seasons. The production has helped buoy the Sabres’ late-season goal surge and a two-game winning streak entering tonight’s ... Read the full article

Patrick Kaleta had tears in his eyes when he was presented a jersey with an ‘A’ sewn on. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Patrick Kaleta honored to wear letter: ‘I was at a loss for words’

BUFFALO – It was Wednesday morning, and before the Sabres hit the ice, Ted Nolan had some business to take care of in a team meeting. The coach handed Mike Weber a jersey, which the defenseman then tossed to winger Patrick Kaleta.

The jersey was Kaleta’s No. 36 with an ‘A’ stitched on it, meaning Weber wanted the heart-and-soul player to take over his alternate captaincy.

Emotion overwhelmed Kaleta. The 28-year-old Angola native had ... Read the full article

Cody Hodgson switched positions late last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Cody Hodgson feeling comfortable at left wing

BUFFALO – A year ago, the thought of Cody Hodgson playing anywhere but center would have seemed absurd.

The Sabres had few viable options down the middle. Tyler Ennis was still bouncing between two forward spots. Zemgus Girgensons was just beginning his NHL career as a winger.

Besides, Hodgson had just signed a six-year, $25.5 million contract extension to be the No. 1 pivot.

But late in the season, following an evaluation period, the team’s ... Read the full article

Nicolas Deslauriers played his second NHL game Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Move from defense to wing helped Sabres’ Nicolas Deslauriers earn notice, first NHL recall

BUFFALO – Nicolas Deslauriers started off as a fill-in. The Manchester Monarchs only had two forwards lines early in training camp, so the 23-year-old, one of 10 defensemen on the AHL club, moved up to the wing.

“They put me up front just to basically fill out the spots because there was nobody,” Deslauriers said Sunday prior to the Sabres’ 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks inside the First Niagara Center, his second NHL game. ... Read the full article

Cory Conacher speaks to reporters this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres newcomer Cory Conacher OK’d No. 88 number with Patrick Kane

BUFFALO – Sabres newcomer Cory Conacher said he spoke to a couple of people about choosing a number. The winger wouldn’t wear No. 89 again out of respect for Alexander Mogilny, who scored 76 goals in 1992-93.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to get 76 goals in a year, that’s going to be pretty tough,” Conacher said this morning inside the First Niagara Center prior to his Sabres debut.

Conacher then settled on No. ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk impressed during a 42-game run with the Sabres earlier this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Mark Pysyk still developing with Amerks

ROCHESTER – By most standards, Mark Pysyk is ready for regular NHL duty. His efficient, steady play during 42 appearances earlier this season earned the rookie praise as the Buffalo Sabres’ best defenseman.

But the 22-year-old is back with the Americans, riding buses again in the AHL.

At first, it appeared his Jan. 24 assignment would only be temporary. The Sabres wanted Pysyk to keep playing during the Olympic break, they said. Six weeks ... Read the full article

Patrick Kaleta (middle) battles Columbus’ Jack Johnson (7) and Sergei Bobrovsky (72) for the puck Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Patrick Kaleta suspended for illegal hit, has in-person hearing scheduled

BUFFALO – Sabres agitator Patrick Kaleta has been suspended pending an in-person hearing Tuesday for an illegal check to Jack Johnson’s head, the NHL announced late Friday.

The Sabres play twice – tonight in Chicago and Monday at home against Minnesota – before Kaleta meets with the NHL Department of Player Safety. In-person hearings carry a minimum five-game suspension.

The 27-year-old Kaleta wasn’t penalized after zooming into the Buffalo zone and hitting Johnson high ... Read the full article