Mark Pysyk (53) battled Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk on Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie Mark Pysyk quickly earning keep on blue line

MONTREAL – Earlier this season, rookie Mark Pysyk, the same defense prospect now playing almost 16 minutes a game for the Buffalo Sabres, sat as a healthy scratch in the AHL three times.

“I just needed a little wake-up call,” Pysyk said Saturday inside the Bell Centre prior to the Sabres’ 2-1 win, his fourth NHL game.

When interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston benched Pysyk with the Rochester Americans in December, the odds of ... Read the full article

Pavel Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings will now be visiting Buffalo regularly. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

NHLPA consents to realignment; Sabres in new division with Red Wings

BUFFALO – The NHL Players’ Association consented to the NHL’s realignment plan this afternoon, meaning the league will use a four-division format next season.

The Sabres will play in a new Eastern Conference division featuring four Northeast Division holdovers – the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs – and three newcomers – the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Western Conference transfer Detroit Red Wings – pending the approval of the ... Read the full article

Ron Rolston won his first NHL game Tuesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rolston’s first Sabres win creates some optimism

Buffalo Sabres fans are understandably a pessimistic bunch these days. No one can blame them, either. Coach Lindy Ruff was just fired. Their $65 million team is parked in 15th place, a wretched 7-12-1 this season.

So here’s some good news.

Tuesday’s big 2-1 win in Tampa Bay over the Lightning, Ron Rolston’s first as the Sabres’ interim coach, moved the club to within four points of a playoff spot. They stymied the ... Read the full article

Cory Conacher played for the Syracuse Crunch earlier this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rolston impressed by Canisius product Conacher

BUFFALO – Count interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston among those impressed by slick Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Cory Conacher, a Canisius College product.

Rolston watched the 5-foot-8 forward play for the Syracuse Crunch several times earlier this season while coaching the Rochester Americans. Conacher, in Rolston’s mind, showcases a style similar to diminutive Lightning star Martin St. Louis, one of the most prolific scorers in recent history.

“He’s very dynamic, much like St. Louis,” ... Read the full article

Ron Rolston took over for Lindy Ruff on Wednesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rolston: ‘It’s going to be a process’ improving

BUFFALO – Rebuilding the bottom-feeding, 15th-place Sabres back into a strong hockey club could be a long and arduous process following Lindy Ruff’s dismissal as coach last week.

The team’s in shambles, having lost four straight games and six of the last seven. There’s little to like about the Sabres and no quick fix.

They possess no identity.

“I know patience isn’t big with anybody,” interim coach Ron Rolston said Monday inside ... Read the full article

Adam Pardy played for the Sabres on Feb. 5. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres summon Pardy from Rochester with Sulzer sidelined

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ injury and on-ice woes could help defenseman Adam Pardy, an NHL regular before numbers kicked him back to the minors this season, carve out a spot on the blue line.

With Jordan Leopold (hand) and Alexander Sulzer (lower body) sidelined, the Sabres on Monday summoned Pardy from Rochester for the second time this season.

He should play tonight in Tampa Bay against the Lightning, the start of a two-game Florida ... Read the full article