Mark Pysyk’s calm style has earned praise from his coach and teammates. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rookie Mark Pysyk quickly developing into one of Sabres’ top defensemen

BUFFALO – First, as Mark Pysyk was sitting in his stall talking to a reporter Tuesday, Zemgus Girgensons approached the defenseman, extended his hand and smacked his roommate across the cheek.

“What’s that about?” Pysyk said as Girgensons scurried off.

Girgensons, the likable Pysyk said, was “going to get it bad.”

“He might get a tape ball,” he said.

Moments later, a laughing Nikita Zadorov approached Pysyk and slapped him again.

Three Sabres rookies. Two ... Read the full article

The Sabres’ Mike Weber (6) fights Steve Downie on Saturday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Awful first period dooms Sabres in loss to Avalanche

BUFFALO – The buzz began building as Drew Stafford wound up at the left point. A second later, as the winger pumped a slap shot on Colorado goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere 14:09 into the game, the 18,422 fans inside the First Niagara Center roared, almost like the Sabres had scored.

It was, of course, a Bronx cheer – perhaps the loudest you’ll ever hear. The hapless Sabres finally had their first shot.

“That’s a low moment,” ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons was hit in the face Tuesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ lineup against Avalanche unclear; Nikita Zadorov could debut

BUFFALO – Since the Sabres had an optional skate this morning, you’ll have to wait until tonight to see their lineup against the upstart Colorado Avalanche.

This much is known: Cody McCormick, who blocked a shot in Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Vancouver, is out. The forward is day-to-day, Sabres coach Ron Rolston said.

Winger Zemgus Girgensons, who took a shot off his face Tuesday, will return after a one-game absence. The rookie has ditched ... Read the full article

Nikita Zadorov, who danced Friday, will play an NHL game soon. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Struggling Sabres make rookies dance; Nikita Zadorov to make NHL debut soon

BUFFALO – One by one they danced, each Sabres rookie taking a turn at center ice as teammates laughed and cheered following Friday’s practice inside the First Niagara Center.

Johan Larsson showcased, well, all sorts of crazy moves, including some breakdancing. Zemgus Girgensons twerked like Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards.

“Twerking on skates, that’ll be the first time,” Sabres winger Tyler Ennis said.

When you’re 1-7-1 and hours removed from a shutout ... Read the full article

Nikita Zadorov hurt his thumb during the preseason finale. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nikita Zadorov to make NHL debut soon; Rookies partake in ‘dance-off’ at end of practice

BUFFALO – Get ready to see the sixth rookie skate for the Sabres this season.

Russian defenseman Nikita Zadorov, the 16th overall pick in June, will make his NHL debut soon, Sabres coach Ron Rolston said.

The 18-year-old Zadorov, out since hurting his finger during the preseason finale, has been practicing with the Sabres.

“He’s getting there,” Rolston said about Zadorov’s recovery following practice today inside the First Niagara Center.

When will Zadorov, ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons practices this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Cody Hodgson doesn’t want to revisit past; Zemgus Girgensons out

BUFFALO – About 16 media members, most of them from Vancouver, surrounded Sabres center Cody Hodgson this morning.

The Canucks, of course, traded Hodgson on Feb. 27, 2012 amid speculation his relationship with the team had soured, he wanted more playing time and his father had become too involved in his hockey affairs.

Naturally, Hodgson didn’t want to talk about any of that.

“I’m happy to be here for the next six years,” Hodgson, who ... Read the full article

The Sabres’ Mikhail Grigorenko (blue) fights his ex-teammate, Minnesota’s Jason Pominville, for the puck Monday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Wild’s Jason Pominville burns old teammates, helps keep Sabres winless

BUFFALO – In their seventh consecutive loss to open the season, a 2-1 setback to the Minnesota Wild on Monday, the hapless Sabres showcased some improvement before the 18,111 fans inside the First Niagara Center.

Yes, the defeat tied the franchise mark for worst-ever start. Yes, their feeble offense mustered only one goal again, raising their NHL-low total to seven.

But, hey, the Sabres, who began the night allowing a stunning 37 shots a ... Read the full article

Cody McCormick (8) blocks David Savard’s shot Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Johan Larsson replaces struggling Mikhail Grigorenko; Henrik Tallinder hopeful of weekend return

BUFFALO – As expected, the Sabres scratched struggling center Mikhail Grigorenko for Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets inside the First Niagara Center.

Rookie Johan Larsson, a scratch Tuesday, pivoted Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Flynn in Grigorenko’s place.

The 19-year-old Grigorenko hasn’t showcased the competitiveness Sabres coach Ron Rolston wants to see.

“He’s got to continue consistency of his compete and his details away from the puck and then, offensively, some confidence there,” ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson has played two games this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Mikhail Grigorenko to sit tonight for Johan Larsson

BUFFALO – As expected, the Sabres will scratch 19-year-old center Mikhail Grigorenko tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Rookie Johan Larsson, a scratch Tuesday, will pivot Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Flynn inside the First Niagara Center.

Grigorenko, one of 17 pointless Sabres, hasn’t showcased the competitiveness coach Ron Rolston wants to see.

“He’s got to continue consistency of his compete and his details away from the puck and then, offensively, some confidence there,” said Rolston, ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko’s ice time dropped Tuesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko could become healthy scratch again

BUFFALO – History is repeating itself. Just like last season, Sabres center Mikhail Grigorenko’s ice time dropped dramatically in his fourth appearance.

On Tuesday, the 19-year-old Russian played only 8:07, down from the 12:30 he had been averaging. The prospect even skated several shifts on the fourth line during the 3-2 overtime loss to Tampa Bay.

Why?

“Just putting the people in the right situations,” Sabres coach Ron Rolston said this afternoon following practice inside ... Read the full article