Robin Lehner has often played well for a bad team. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Goalie Robin Lehner frustrated by Sabres’ struggles

BUFFALO – After getting yanked for the third time in five starts, Sabres goalie Robin Lehner skated to the bench, sat down and … left his mask on.

It looked, well, a bit odd.

Lehner kept wearing the protection until the second period ended Saturday afternoon. When he sat down again for the final 20 minutes of an ugly 7-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, he had finally removed it.... Read the full article

Phil Housley was close with Jim Johansson. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres coach Phil Housley emotional over Jim Johannson’s passing

BUFFALO – In 2012, Team USA general manager Jim Johannson made an out-of-the-box choice, hiring a high school coach to lead the country’s entry at the World Junior Championship.

His name? Phil Housley.

Housley, an NHL legend, had served as an assistant twice for Team USA at the tournament. Still, he had no pro, college or major junior coaching experience. He had only been a head coach for Stillwater High School in Minnesota.... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo knows the Sabres don't work hard enough. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Hapless Sabres embarrassed by Stars

BUFFALO – There is no rock bottom with the 2017-18 Sabres, a team quickly becoming the worst in the franchise’s 47-year history.

Just when you think they’ve hit it again, they implode, give another effort more feeble and embarrassing than the last one.

Take, for example, Saturday’s miserable 7-1 loss to the upstart Dallas Stars, who annihilated the Sabres all afternoon. After falling behind early, they showed little interest in competing, getting outworked in ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart has only scored eight goals this season. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Sam Reinhart seeing net results

BUFFALO – Sam Reinhart is no speedster. The Sabres winger is usually at his best around the crease, tipping pucks and creating offense.

So it’s hardly surprising getting to the net has buoyed Reinhart’s offensive burst. He scored a power-play goal in front of goalie Kari Lehtonen 8:54 into the second period of Saturday afternoon’s ugly 7-1 loss to the Dallas Stars inside KeyBank Center.

The former second overall pick also consistently worked his way ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner will play in his 35th game. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner to start against Stars

BUFFALO – Some notes on this afternoon’s Sabres tilt against the Dallas Stars at KeyBank Center:

– The Sabres will use the same lineup from Thursday’s 4-3 road loss to the New York Rangers, meaning goalie Robin Lehner will start, his 35th appearance.

Lehner hasn’t won since Dec. 29 in New Jersey. He got yanked after allowing three goals on seven shots in the opening 10:27 of the Sabres 5-1 loss Nov. 4 in Dallas.... Read the full article

Josh Gorges battles Ottawa's Jean-Gabriel Pageau on Dec. 12. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Slow starts often dooming Sabres

BUFFALO – Barely one minute into Thursday’s 4-3 road loss to the New York Rangers, Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe whiffed on a loose puck in the neutral zone and started chasing speedy winger Rick Nash.

When Nash hit the blue line, McCabe knew he couldn’t catch the 400-goal scorer. Nash roared in alone and beat goalie Robin Lehner just 1:24 into the tilt.

For the 26th time in 45 games this season, the Sabres let ... Read the full article

The Sabres summoned Nick Baptiste once earlier this season. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

‘Developed’ game helps Sabres’ Nick Bapiste earn recall

BUFFALO – On a loaded Rochester Americans team enjoying its best season in more than a decade, winger Nick Baptiste has gotten a little lost in the mix.

Through 34 AHL appearances, Baptiste has compiled eight goals and 17 points, numbers that rank eighth and 10th on the Amerks, respectively. The former third-round pick scored 25 times in 59 contests last season.

So if Baptiste, 22, isn’t scoring at his regular pace – he has ... Read the full article

Nathan Paetsch began his career in Rochester. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabre Nathan Paetsch at home with Amerks

ROCHESTER – The second phase of former Buffalo Sabres defenseman Nathan Paetsch’s career has been rewarding, even a bit unlikely.

Five years ago, Paetsch transitioned into a veteran role helping develop Detroit Red Wings prospects. He won two Calder Cups with the Grand Rapids Griffins, playing a vital role well into his 30s, an advanced age for the AHL.

Now, Paetsch has come full circle. Fourteen years after starting his career in Rochester as a ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo scores on Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky last Thursday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Comeback from concussion tougher than Sabres’ Kyle Okposo expected

BUFFALO – Kyle Okposo said he figured everything would be normal again. When the season started, the Sabres winger felt healthy. Five months had passed since a harrowing concussion hospitalized him.

Okposo thought he could immediately showcase the talents that made him an NHL All-Star last season, his first with the Sabres.

But Okposo, 29, struggled early, looking nothing like his old self.

The veteran mustered two assists in his first 10 games. ... Read the full article

Benoit Pouliot (67) celebrates his goal in Thursday's win with Kyle Okposo (21) and Brendan Guhle (45). ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres emerge from break feeling good; Casey Nelson recalled

BUFFALO – Six days ago, the Sabres began their bye week on a rare high note, earning only their 11th win in 44 tries by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1.

The Sabres, of course, fell out of the playoff race a long time ago. Still, the confidence the rare victory generated carried through the break.

When the Sabres convened for practice this morning, coach Phil Housley noticed his team’s jump.... Read the full article