Jhonas Enroth signed a one-year contract with Toronto in August. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Leafs goalie Jhonas Enroth waited to find new job

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

Mike Babcock watched the World Series on Thursday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Emotions of World Series wowed Leafs’ Mike Babcock

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

Sam Reinhart scored the shootout winner Monday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Top talent rallies Sabres past Leafs

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

Brad Boyes attended training camp on a tryout. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabre Brad Boyes happy with Leafs after tough summer

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

Dan Bylsma's team has 10 afternoon home games. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ 2015-16 schedule features early home games, new strategy

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

Dan Bylsma returns to Pittsburgh on Oct. 29. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

2015-16 Sabres schedule has interesting dates, new wrinkles

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

From left, Sabres general manager Tim Murray, coach Dan Bylsma and owner Terry Pegula hold up a No. 15 Bylsma jersey Thursday. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Dan Bylsma had eye on Sabres job

BUFFALO – There was a time before the Sabres hired Dan Bylsma on Thursday that the coach and general manager Tim Murray both represented the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Back in the early 2000s, as Bylsma finished up his journeyman playing career, Murray was the team’s director of player personnel.

“I complained about him a lot,” Murray cracked Thursday during a news conference to introduce Bylsma as the Sabres’ 17th coach in franchise history. “That’s ... Read the full article

Dan Bylsma is the 17th coach in Sabres history. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Updated with quotes: Sabres name Dan Bylsma coach

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

Dan Bylsma coached Pittsburgh from 2009 until 2014. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jay McKee believes Dan Bylsma would be good fit to coach Sabres

One day in 2009-10, Dan Bylsma, then in his first full season as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ coach, had an odd request for Jay McKee, one of the NHL’s top shot blockers for years.

“He actually asked me not to block as many shots,” McKee, a popular former Buffalo Sabres defenseman, said by phone Tuesday.

One of McKee’s recent blocks had deflected into the net, so Bylsma, who will reportedly interview with the Sabres this week, ... Read the full article

Tim Murray has been pursuing other coaching candidates.. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Mike Babcock, Tim Murray deny coach had deal to lead Sabres

New Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said today he never agreed to a deal to coach the Buffalo Sabres and didn’t use the team as leverage before signing an eight-year contract worth a reported $50 million with Toronto.

Multiple media outlets have reported the Sabres thought they landed Babcock earlier this week and were livid when he went to Toronto on Wednesday.

“I talked to lots of teams, and when you’re talking to teams, negotiation ... Read the full article