Mikhail Grigorenko (left) and Tyler Myers entered the NHL as teenagers. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres waiting to make decision on Grigorenko’s future

BUFFALO – The fun part, slick Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko said, comes when he touches the puck and makes a play on NHL ice.

“You realize you’re in (the) NHL and you did something good,” the 18-year-old said Monday after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs inside the First Niagara Center.

Grigorenko set his sights on the NHL as a child growing up in Khabarovsk, Russia, a city just 19 ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller dazzled Monday while making 34 saves. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres showcase more toughness in gritty win over Leafs

TORONTO – Remember this one. The Buffalo Sabres’ gritty 2-1 triumph over the Maple Leafs on Monday could be their blueprint for success in this lockout-shortened season.

Against a team fresh off a big opening-night win and playing its first home tilt, the Sabres showcased unyielding muscle, capitalized on their few chances early and received splendid goaltending from Ryan Miller before a capacity crowd of 19,475 fans inside the Air Canada Centre.

“We came in ... Read the full article

Mike Kostka played two seasons with the Sabres’ old affiliate in Portland. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres prospect Kostka finally living NHL dream with Leafs

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

Steve Ott and the Sabres enjoyed a nice opening-day win Sunday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres looking to break 5-game skid against Leafs at ACC

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

Wild scramble helps Sabres rally past Leafs, stay in playoff chase

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

Nathan Gerbe has one goal in his last 19 games. ©2012, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald

Sabres expect more goals from Gerbe

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

Jordan Leopold remains optimistic the Sabres will make the playoffs. ©2012, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald

Bad weekend might doom Sabres’ playoff hopes

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

Loss to hapless Leafs hurts Sabres’ postseason hopes

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

Clarke MacArthur thinks Toronto fans have a right to voice their displeasure. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Leafs’ season crumbled quickly

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