BUFFALO – Instead of talking about Johan Larsson’s rough season, Sabres coach Phil Housley chose to praise the Swedish center for the transformations he has made.
Larsson struggled mightily in 2017-18, enduring his worst NHL campaign. How bad was he? His wretched minus-30 was the fourth-worst rating among NHL forwards. He scored two of his career-low four goals into empty nets.
But Larsson, 26, accepted Housley and general manager Jason Botterill’s challenge to change ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Nathan Beaulieu had never experienced anything as trying as last season, so when it mercifully ended, the Sabres defenseman said he “let it eat me up for a little bit.”
“This is kind of new grounds for me,” Beaulieu said Saturday following another session of training camp inside HarborCenter. “I’ve never really been in this situation. It’s kind of my first year in the NHL that didn’t really go my way at all, ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In his first six seasons, Sabres winger Nick Baptiste has participated in training camps run by four different coaches.
So while Baptiste, having played just 47 games, is an NHL neophyte, the former third-round pick has experienced all sorts of camps.
This year, he said, “has been the most fun camp we’ve had.”
Why?... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In a harrowing first-person essay, former Sabres goalie Robin Lehner details how his drug and alcohol addiction and untreated bipolar disorder led him to contemplate suicide multiple times late last season before seeking help.
“I wanted to kill myself. I was extremely close multiple times,” Lehner wrote in The Athletic New York. “The battle playing hockey was nothing compared to the battle inside my brain. It was at its worst.”... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Even during informal late-summer skates, Sabres winger Kyle Okposo said he kept feeling it.
“I think there’s a different attitude around here,” said Okposo, whose Sabres open training camp and a new season this morning when veterans report for their physicals.
The change started weeks ago, when rookies began preparing for the Prospects Challenge tournament. By the time Okposo and other established players arrived in Buffalo last month, the youngsters had been skating ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Part of the fun of rookie camps can often be watching the variety of youngsters participating.
The Sabres had four first-round picks, including this year’s No. 1 overall selection, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, on their Prospects Challenge roster. They also had seven undrafted players, including center Myles Powell, an R.I.T. product.
That meant prospects from opposite ends of the spectrum could connect to make memorable moments.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Three days before veterans must report for their training camp physicals, the official start of the new season, Sabres winger Sam Reinhart is still unsigned.
But Reinhart, 22, is in town skating informally with his teammates at HarborCenter. To Sabres general manager Jason Botterill, the restricted free agent’s presence is a positive sign.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Matej Pekar said he was “still on the edge,” unsure whether he should join the Barrie Colts when he recently visited the Ontario Hockey League club.
“Still didn’t know what to decide,” Pekar said Saturday morning inside HarborCenter.
When the Sabres drafted Pekar in the fourth round, 94th overall on June 23, he said he planned to play NCAA hockey this season at Miami University in Ohio. Then on June 28, ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Chris Taylor understands the excitement surrounding defenseman Rasmus Dahlin’s first appearance in Blue and Gold. Tonight, more than four months after the Sabres won the right to draft the ultra-talented Swede first overall, he will finally play a game.
“So do you guys want me to play Rasmus for 30 or 40 minutes tomorrow?” Taylor joked Thursday after rookie camp opened inside HarborCenter.
There are, you know, 26 other youngsters on the roster ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Having a no-trade clause attached to his six-year, $34.35 million contract meant Jeff Skinner controlled his future. The Sabres’ newest player could veto a deal and wait until the Carolina Hurricanes and his agent found him a new team he liked.
While Skinner denied he turned down any offers before the Sabres materialized, reports and the timing of his trade – high-profile NHL deals rarely transpire in August – suggest otherwise.... Read the full article