In 1,686 minutes, 10 seconds of ice time over Ryan O’Reilly’s 81 appearances this season – that’s a hefty 20:49 each game – officials whistled the Buffalo Sabres center for just one penalty.
No wonder the NHL on Friday named O’Reilly one of three finalists for the 2018 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Owner Terry Pegula understands the unhappiness of fans following a wretched season in which the Sabres finished dead last in the NHL.
So the team won’t be raising season-ticket prices for the 2018-19 season.
Pegula explained the decision and his feelings on the Sabres’ sorry state in a letter many season-seat holders received Thursday.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Since Zach Bogosian joined the Sabres on Feb. 11, 2015, the defenseman has missed a whopping 114 games – 42 percent of his team’s outings – to injuries.
This season, Bogosian’s 10th in the NHL, was supposed to be his breakout campaign. If anyone could unlock his potential, it would be new Sabres coach Phil Housley, right?
Well, Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman, never really had an opportunity. Bogosian played only ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When the Sabres chose to rotate four alternates this season instead of awarding the prestigious ‘C’ to a single player, they likely started center Jack Eichel’s ascension to the captaincy.
The Sabres, of course, couldn’t name Eichel their captain last October. He was entering just his third NHL season and still prone to bouts of immaturity. He had never worn a letter, either.
So they let him sport an ‘A’ with veterans Zach ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – KeyBank Center hasn’t always been the NHL’s quietest venue. When the Sabres roared out of the 2005 lockout and briefly contended for the Stanley Cup during winger Jason Pominville’s first tenure here, the rink was often raucous and among the league’s noisiest.
Of course, 10 or 12 years ago, the Sabres regularly won games and ranked among the league’s highest-scoring teams. If you attended a game, chances are you’d witness something special ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Considering everything Kyle Okposo has endured over the past year, the Sabres winger said he’s “pretty happy” looking back on his season.
Exactly one year ago, Okposo was hospitalized in intensive care after suffering a scary concussion. Hockey was an afterthought.
But Okposo recovered, and in 2017-18, his second season with the Sabres, the former NHL All-Star played 76 games.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Right now, Josh Gorges isn’t thinking about hockey. Following the roughest season of his 13-year career, the Sabres defenseman is decompressing by spending time with his family.
Gorges, 33, needs to get away for a bit. At the right time, the graying veteran, who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, plans to evaluate his uncertain future.
“Kind of see what’s in store,” he said Monday as the Sabres cleaned out their ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – With the Americans about to suffer a devastating loss that would drop them into fourth place, coach Chris Taylor tabbed center Colin Blackwell for a crucial offensive zone faceoff.
Blackwell, 25, has been the Amerks’ unsung hero for more than a month, quietly piling up points and morphing into the AHL club’s late-season MVP.
In critical times, Taylor enjoys utilizing Blackwell, a Harvard graduate who had trouble finding work this season.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill spoke like a man embarrassed by what he had just experienced and hellbent on never letting it happening again.
Botterill is usually measured in his comments, keeping his emotions in check. But discussing the Sabres’ wretched 31st-place finish this season made him seethe.
The Sabres hired Botterill last year from Pittsburgh, where he won three Stanley Cups in 10 seasons with the Penguins and never missed the playoffs.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – It’s unlikely legendary coaches Toe Blake or Scotty Bowman could’ve done much with the Sabres this season. A dearth of talent helped them finish 31st overall.
Still, following such a miserable campaign, the question had to be asked: will Phil Housley be general manager Jason Botterill’s coach again next season?
“One-hundred percent Phil Housley will be our coach next year,” Botterill said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center. “I have certainly enjoyed working with Phil ... Read the full article