Sam Reinhart (23) battles Vancouver's Thomas Vanek on Oct. 20. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres trying to ignite struggling power play

BUFFALO – In an otherwise glum season, the Sabres’ power play emerged as the NHL’s best a year ago, converting 24.5 percent of its opportunities.

Considering the Sabres kept their key personnel and hired coach Phil Housley, it wasn’t crazy to think they could become even more potent this year.

After all, few players in NHL history have performed better. Housley amassed 609 of his 1,232 points on the power play during his 21-year career ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen has zero goals and four assists this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres still leaning heavily on Rasmus Ristolainen

BUFFALO – Rasmus Ristolainen celebrated another birthday Friday, and if you thought the Sabres defenseman was a bit older than his 23 years, you’re probably not alone.

Having cracked the NHL at 18, Ristolainen is already in his fifth season. This afternoon’s tilt against the San Jose Sharks will be his 285th appearance with the Sabres.

It feels like the Finn has been around forever.... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson earned a two-year contract from Vancouver. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Season with Sabres ignited goalie Anders Nilsson’s NHL career

BUFFALO – Goalie Anders Nilsson figured after a breakout season in which he emerged as one of the NHL’s top backups, the Sabres would be interested in re-signing him.

In his first start-to-finish NHL campaign, Nilsson performed strongly, going 10-10-4 with a 2.67 goals-against average and a sparkling .923 save percentage.

Nilsson, 27, morphed into a terrific option for the Sabres, pushing starter Robin Lehner while showcasing consistency throughout his 26 appearances.... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson spent one season with the Sabres. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Canucks goalie Anders Nilsson grateful for season with Sabres

BUFFALO – Goalie Anders Nilsson figured after a breakout season in which he emerged as one of the NHL’s top backups, the Sabres would be interested in re-signing him.

In his first start-to-finish NHL campaign, Nilsson performed strongly, going 10-10-4 with a 2.67 goals-against average and a sparkling .923 save percentage.

Nilsson, 27, morphed into a terrific option for the Sabres, pushing starter Robin Lehner while showcasing consistency throughout his 26 appearances.... Read the full article

Josh Gorges sat out the first three games. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres veteran Josh Gorges adjusting to new role, expectations

BUFFALO – The skill set that has buoyed Josh Gorges’ unlikely 13-year NHL career is pretty straightforward. The Sabres defenseman showcases grit and tenacity.

Gorges, 33, is a stay-at-home, defensive defenseman. He plays full throttle, rarely letting up.

His talents, of course, would be welcomed by any team. But the NHL has evolved in recent seasons, transforming into a speedy league.... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly has just one assist this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres implode against Devils, still looking for first win

BUFFALO – Phil Housley played eight seasons here, so the rookie coach understands Sabres fans, win or lose, appreciate a strong effort.

To Housley, the surly crowd “had a right” to boo the winless Sabres throughout Monday afternoon’s wretched 6-2 defeat to the New Jersey Devils.

“If I was sitting in their shoes, I would’ve had maybe the same reaction,” said Housley, who called his team’s effort “unacceptable.”... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart played his first two seasons as a winger. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Moving Sam Reinhart to center inevitable for Sabres

BUFFALO – Sam Reinhart’s gig at right wing never felt permanent. Sure, the youngster often thrived during his two seasons playing the position, scoring 40 goals and 90 points while developing into one of the Sabres’ top threats.

But the Sabres drafted Reinhart, 21, second overall in 2014 as a center, a glamour position. Centers are a precious commodity.... Read the full article

Evander Kane has impressed his new coach. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Evander Kane making positive impression on Phil Housley

BUFFALO – Phil Housley’s approach with the Sabres throughout his first training camp has been straightforward: the past doesn’t matter to the rookie coach.

“It’s simple for me,” Housley said Monday inside KeyBank Center. “We want to come in with a clean slate and a fresh start.”

That explains why Sabres winger Evander Kane, a slick scorer dogged by off-ice incidents two years ago, sported an ‘A’ as an alternate captain for some preseason ... Read the full article

Taylor Fedun earned his most NHL duty last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Depth defensemen fighting to stay with Sabres out of training camp

BUFFALO – Shortly after enjoying the longest stint of his NHL career, defenseman Taylor Fedun re-signed with the Sabres early in the summer, inking a two-year deal.

What made the contract significant wasn’t just the length – many depth players don’t earn multi-year deals – but the fact a new regime offered it.

Fedun, 29, provided valuable depth last season, playing 27 NHL games, 12 more than the previous three seasons combined. In the AHL, ... Read the full article

Matt Moulson scored 14 goals last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Matt Moulson upbeat about Sabres’ future, new regime

BUFFALO – In his 11 NHL seasons, winger Matt Moulson has played for nine coaches, including four with the Sabres.

There have been Stanley Cup winners (Marc Crawford and Dan Bylsma), rookies (Scott Gordon, Ron Rolston and others) and old school veterans (Terry Murray and Ted Nolan).

Moulson, 33, has experienced the NHL coaching gamut. So when the three-time 30-goal scorer says new Sabres coach Phil Housley’s sessions “are some of the best practices I’ve ... Read the full article