Conor Sheary endured a long slump. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Conor Sheary scores, keeps building confidence

BUFFALO – Barely a minute into Saturday afternoon’s second period, Sabres winger Conor Sheary intercepted Justin Abdelkader’s weak backhand pass outside the opposing blue line and zoomed into the slot before beating goalie Jimmy Howard.

The slick goal, just Sheary’s third in the last 34 outings, served as another reminder the diminutive UMass product ranks among the Sabres’ most talented forwards.

“Once I got the turnover, I think I just tried to attack quick,” Sheary ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner received a one-year contract before last season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres in market for goalie after letting loose Robin Lehner

DALLAS – In cutting loose Robin Lehner, the Buffalo Sabres turned over some of their goaltending duties to a youngster with only 26 games of NHL experience.

But the Sabres believe Linus Ullmark deserves a chance to showcase his abilities after a three-year AHL apprenticeship with the Rochester Americans.... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues tries to pry the puck from Washington goalie Philipp Grubauer last season. The Capitals visit Buffalo once next season. ©2018, Hickling Images

2018-19 Sabres schedule features early home stand, long January break

DALLAS – A season-opening four-game home stand, a 10-day January break and a Feb. 23 visit from superstar Alex Ovechkin and the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals are among the highlights of the 2018-19 Buffalo Sabres schedule the NHL released Thursday.

The Sabres open Oct. 4 against the Boston Bruins and stay at KeyBank Center until Oct. 11. Then they begin a season-long five-game road trip Oct. 13 in Arizona, also visiting Vegas, San Jose, ... Read the full article

Josh Gorges played only 34 games this season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Josh Gorges will think about future after decompressing

BUFFALO – Right now, Josh Gorges isn’t thinking about hockey. Following the roughest season of his 13-year career, the Sabres defenseman is decompressing by spending time with his family.

Gorges, 33, needs to get away for a bit. At the right time, the graying veteran, who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, plans to evaluate his uncertain future.

“Kind of see what’s in store,” he said Monday as the Sabres cleaned out their ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly wants to improve his mental toughness. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ constant losing sapped Ryan O’Reilly’s love for hockey

BUFFALO – Constant losing over three seasons has taken such a large toll on Ryan O’Reilly the center said he lost his love for hockey at times as the Sabres trudged to the NHL’s worst record this season.

Yes, you read that correctly. O’Reilly made the stunning comment Monday morning as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and held exit interviews following their wretched 31st-place finish.

To O’Reilly, the Sabres are “stuck in this mindset ... Read the full article

Josh Gorges joined the Sabres in 2014. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Josh Gorges wondering about uncertain future

BUFFALO – Josh Gorges said he wonders if this is it, if he has just about reached the end of his NHL career. Right now, the graying 13-year veteran can’t even keep a regular spot on the Sabres’ weak defense corps.

Gorges, 33, has become a spare part on the league’s second-worst team, sitting out 10 of the last 13 games as a healthy scratch entering this afternoon’s tilt against the Washington Capitals.... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues moved up to the top line Thursday. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Evan Rodrigues back beside college linemate Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – Three years ago, Jack Eichel and Evan Rodrigues formed perhaps college hockey’s best duo, piling up points during Boston University’s run to the national championship game.

Eichel won the Hobey Baker Award as a freshman. Meanwhile, Rodrigues enjoyed a monster senior season, compiling 61 points in 41 games.

“We kind of knew where each other were all over the ice,” Rodrigues said Thursday prior to scoring his first goal in 22 games. “We ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen played a season-high 32 minutes, 39 seconds on Tuesday. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Sabres want Rasmus Ristolainen to play fewer minutes

BUFFALO – For years, Sabres coaches have said they want to trim Rasmus Ristolainen’s ice time. For years, the workhorse Finnish defenseman has kept skating big minutes.

Of course, those coaches – first Dan Bylsma and now Phil Housley – haven’t had many options beyond Ristolainen. Bad teams usually don’t possess much defense depth.

An injury or a struggling defenseman means the Sabres must lean on Ristolainen, 23, even more.

Thanks to Jake McCabe’s ... Read the full article

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