Phil Varone only played sparingly Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Phil Varone running out of time to impress Sabres

BUFFALO – In a deep rebuild, with losses and injuries piling up, plenty of jobs on the Sabres are still available.

Heck, the Sabres have had openings throughout the lineup for two years. Sooner or later, someone – a top prospect, an unknown youngster, a waiver acquisition or a depth veteran – has to step up and grab one, right?

Sabres coach Ted Nolan wants the newcomers do something different, stand out and make a ... Read the full article

Nick Deslauriers was a defenseman until last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Deslauriers trying to build on breakout season

BUFFALO – The whole season, Sabres winger Nick Deslauriers said, “was pretty crazy.”

Barely a year ago, Deslauriers was a defenseman in Los Angeles’ organization. Three years into his career, he hadn’t played an NHL game. Then a forward shortage forced the Kings to make him a winger.

Suddenly, Deslauriers became a goal scorer up front, compiling 16 in 60 games for AHL Manchester.

That scoring prowess, coupled with his usual nasty edge, caught the ... Read the full article

Connor Knapp made 22 saves Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Connor Knapp on first NHL start: ‘Quite a moment in my life’

BUFFALO – On March 15, more than 4,000 miles from Buffalo, Sabres goalie Connor Knapp stopped 24 shots in the Alaska Aces’ 4-2 win against the Colorado Eagles in Anchorage.

Twenty-nine days later, Knapp, the sixth goalie on the organization’s depth chart, made his first NHL start in the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

Knapp grew up in York, a small town about 30 miles from Rochester.

“It’s crazy,” the 23-year-old ... Read the full article

John Scott and his teammates have endured a lot this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Season filled with turmoil about to end for reeling Sabres

Mercifully, 193 days after it started, the most tumultuous season in Buffalo Sabres history will end around 7:30 p.m. Sunday inside the First Niagara Center.

The finale can’t come quickly enough for the reeling Sabres, losers of six straight games and 17 of their last 19.

In a season filled with turmoil, the Sabres endured arguably their roughest game this afternoon in Boston, losing five more players to injury, including goalie Matt Hackett, in ... Read the full article

Matt Hackett made 29 saves Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Matt Hackett still confident he can grab top job

BUFFALO – Nothing has changed, Matt Hackett said. Forget that he was enduring a terrible season in Rochester before injuries forced his recall. Forget that general manager Tim Murray recently said the Sabres’ goalie of the future likely wasn’t in the organization.

Hackett, a key piece of April’s Jason Pominville trade with the Wild, hasn’t lost much confidence. The 24-year-old still believes he can become the team’s No. 1 netminder, a coveted spot that’s up ... Read the full article

Cory Conacher was waived today. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Don’t be shocked if Sabres pass on Canisius product Cory Conacher (update: OK, maybe they won’t)

Hey, winger Cory Conacher might fit in pretty well in Buffalo. The 24-year-old Canisius product has four goals and 20 points in 59 games this season. Only five Sabres have more points.

The Ottawa Senators waived Conacher today, immediately igniting speculation the Sabres, who have the first claim thanks to their 30th overall ranking, would grab him.

On the surface, it seems like a natural fit. Conacher’s the most decorated local NCAA product ever. ... Read the full article

Chris Stewart tries to score on Jaroslav Halak during their first Sabres practice Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Leaving Blues for lowly Sabres wasn’t easy for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart

BUFFALO – They’re only human, you know. Leaving the St. Louis Blues, a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, for the rebuilding Sabres wasn’t easy at first for goalie Jaroslav Halak and winger Chris Stewart.

But the veterans, part of Friday’s blockbuster Ryan Miller-Steve Ott deal, have accepted they’re now playing for the NHL’s worst team, at least temporarily.

Rumors are swirling the Sabres will flip them before Wednesday’s trade deadline. Halak, an unrestricted free agent ... Read the full article

Matt D’Agostini zooms in on Boston goalie Chad Johnson for the overtime winner Wednesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Late-game heroics help Sabres down Bruins, earn Jhonas Enroth rare win

BUFFALO – Having just won an Olympic silver medal, Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth could finally find some comfort in an otherwise miserable season. Sure, the struggling backup had just one win all year, but he had been Sweden’s No. 2 netminder behind Henrik Lundqvist, his idol.

Perhaps Enroth’s two weeks at the Sochi Games generated some much-needed confidence. The 25-year-old dazzled at times Wednesday, making some brilliant saves against the Boston Bruins before a capacity ... Read the full article

The Sabres waived Corey Tropp in November. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Corey Tropp happy with Blue Jackets, wanted to keep playing with Sabres

BUFFALO – Corey Tropp figured he could’ve stayed in the Sabres’ immediate plans. The rebuilding club kept several youngsters on the roster after the new regime jettisoned a few prospects.

The Sabres wanted to keep Tropp, but they figured the 24-year-old winger was better off playing regularly in Rochester. So they waived him prior to claiming winger Matt D’Agostini on Nov. 27.

Tropp, who played 34 NHL games two years ago, was claimed by ... Read the full article

Linus Omark has one assist in nine games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Linus Omark to be scratched again tonight versus Blue Jackets

BUFFALO – The Sabres will only make one lineup change tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets, inserting Marcus Foligno for injured winger Matt D’Agostini.

That means winger Linus Omark, a healthy scratch for the first time in Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout loss in Toronto, will sit again. The slick Swede has one assist in nine games since being acquired from Edmonton.

What can Omark do to get back in?

“Not much else he ... Read the full article