BUFFALO – When the NHL scheduled the only four tilts between the Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs over a 28-day late-season stretch, the league likely envisioned the fierce rivals would be battling for playoff spots or positioning.
Sixty-six games into another lost season, the last-place Sabres finally play the Leafs tonight at KeyBank Center, their first meeting since April 3, 2017.
The Sabres, of course, are playing for pride. The Leafs, meanwhile, are firmly ... Read the full article
TORONTO – Growing up in Etobicoke, about a 20-minute drive from the Air Canada Centre, Alexander Mogilny’s talents mesmerized Buffalo Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues.
By the early 2000s, long after his dynamic 76-goal season with the Sabres in 1992-93, Mogilny was still an electrifying presence for some strong Maple Leafs teams.
“He was always trying something new,” Rodrigues said Saturday prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 win against the Leafs. “He always made some real ... Read the full article
TORONTO – The Maple Leafs, like the Buffalo Sabres of a year ago, had to improve this season because 30th place was no longer their target.
After bottoming out on purpose, the Leafs added first overall pick Auston Matthews to their large stable of young talent. They also have Mike Babcock, arguably the NHL’s best coach.
Few, however, expected the upstart Leafs would be this good this soon. Right now, having won eight of the ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – This city, Jhonas Enroth said, will always “have a soft spot in my heart.” The Swede grew up with the Sabres, often performing like the team’s goalie of the future during his 118-game run here.
But almost two years after his last appearance with the Sabres, “the feeling is starting to cool down a little bit,” Enroth said Thursday prior to the Sabres’ 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs are ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Mike Babcock, admittedly, is “not a huge baseball fan.” Still, the Toronto Maple Leafs coach couldn’t help but watch Game 7 of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians late Thursday night and early this morning.
The actual game, a classic that Chicago won 8-7 in 10 innings, didn’t wow Babcock as much as the emotions and scenes in and around the ballpark.
“What a spectacular thing for a city,” ... Read the full article
TORONTO – Call it whatever you want – a tank, a deep rebuild – the Maple Leafs gutted their roster recently, leaving coach Mike Babcock a team filled with unknown neophytes to mold into NHL talent.
The Buffalo Sabres, meanwhile, have already endured what the Leafs are just beginning: a total overhaul. The Sabres are, theoretically, two years ahead of Toronto.
At this stage, they should exploit a reeling club dressing six rookies. The Sabres ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – At times throughout his uncertain summer, former Sabres forward Brad Boyes said he wondered, “Why is this happening?”
For the second time in three years, Boyes, a former 43-goal scorer, couldn’t find work.
In 2013, after a strong season with the New York Islanders, Boyes, 33, had to earn a spot in Florida on a tryout. He parlayed that into a two-year extension and figured after scoring 35 goals over two seasons, he ... Read the full article
SUNRISE, Fla. – If slick center Jack Eichel joins the NHL next season, Buffalo fans will get a long look at the second overall pick October. The Sabres open the season with three straight home games for the first time in 40 years.
That’s just one highlight of the 2015-16 schedule the NHL released Thursday.
Six of the opening eight games are at the First Niagara Center, so Eichel, the phenom the Sabres will select ... Read the full article
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Before I run to catch a cab to switch hotels, here are some highlights from the 2015-16 Buffalo Sabres schedule the NHL released this morning.
– The Sabres, and perhaps the Jack Eichel era, open Oct. 8 at home against the Ottawa Senators at the First Niagara Center. They open with a season-high three-game home stand, one of seven on the schedule. The Sabres also don’t have a road trip more ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The Sabres finally have a new coach. The rebuilding team today named Dan Bylsma, a 2009 Stanley Cup winner, the 17th coach in franchise history.
The 44-year-old Bylsma, who spent Wednesday visiting with the Sabres, will be formally introduced at a 4 p.m. news conference at the First Niagara Center.
Update: Bylsma has a five-year contract, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula went big again, bringing in ... Read the full article