TORONTO – Mike Kostka was one day away from ditching his NHL dream, all set to take a gig playing overseas.
The 27-year-old Maple Leafs rookie couldn’t find any good work in North America. Despite two solid seasons with the Buffalo Sabres’ top affiliate in Portland, the team hadn’t tendered the defenseman a contract in 2010, making him a free agent.
Then Kostka’s friend, an AHL player named Marco Rosa, stopped over Kostka’s home a ... Read the full article
TORONTO – The Air Canada Centre, once the Buffalo Sabres’ favorite visiting rink, is now a house of horrors.
After winning eight in a row at the ACC, the Sabres have lost five straight games here dating back to March 12, 2011. They haven’t won here Nov. 6, 2010, a 3-2 shootout triumph in which backup goalie Jhonas Enroth earned his first NHL victory.
The Sabres’ 4-3 loss here in their last visit March 30 ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Nine seconds, an eternity for a goal-mouth scramble, elapsed from Sabres rookie Marcus Foligno’s initial run at the net to Jordan Leopold’s final poke past Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ben Scrivens on Tuesday inside a roaring First Niagara Center.
In these parts, if the Sabres win the final two regular-season contests, get some help and secure that unlikely playoff berth, the tying goal with 1:53 left in their wild 6-5 overtime triumph could ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The defensive style winger Nathan Gerbe has embraced and played so well this season isn’t quite a full-fledged checking role. No way. The Sabres still expect Gerbe to score, something he’s done only six times this season in 60 games.
Gerbe, who returned from a muscle pull Tuesday that sidelined him nine games, often shadows and stymies the opposition’s top scorers. But that shouldn’t hinder his offense, said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, who’s ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In less than 24 hours, the Sabres morphed from a postseason frontrunner to a likely bystander. Consecutive regulations losses can do that. An incredible nine-week run up the Eastern Conference possibly fell apart with one bad weekend.
Nonetheless, the ninth-place Sabres haven’t been eliminated yet. They still possess hope.
Three games remain, starting with tonight’s huge home finale against the hapless Maple Leafs, who downed them 4-3 on Saturday in Toronto.
The Sabres ... Read the full article
TORONTO – This embarrassing Buffalo Sabres’ loss feels like a killer, one that could ultimately extinguish the playoffs hopes that seemed so promising less than two days ago.
Against the reeling, 14th-place Maple Leafs – a team that had dropped 11 consecutive games inside the Air Canada Centre and began Saturday on an awful 5-17-3 run – the Sabres fell 4-3 in their arch rival’s first home win since Feb. 6.
Ouch. If ... Read the full article
TORONTO – By the third period of the hapless Maple Leafs’ 11th consecutive home loss Thursday, the remaining fans inside the Air Canada Centre – normally some of the NHL’s quietest and most corporate patrons – finally had enough.
Watching the Philadelphia Flyers throttle their Leafs 7-1 put the self-proclaimed “Center of the Hockey Universe” in a baseball mood.
“Let’s go Blue Jays” fans chanted three times, getting pretty loud by the end.
Yikes!... Read the full article