Phil Housley wants his team to play fast. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres begin Phil Housley era optimistic

BUFFALO – Having spent the first eight seasons of his Hall of Fame playing career here, Phil Housley has a special appreciation for the city and the Sabres, the team he now coaches.

So this morning, as a smiling Housley stood at a podium wearing a blue Sabres jacket talking about his team, the moment wasn’t lost on the rookie head coach.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has never played in a playoff game. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel on first two seasons: ‘I’ve proven nothing’

BUFFALO – In his first two seasons, Sabres center Jack Eichel has quickly morphed into one of the NHL’s most dynamic talents, compiling 48 goals and 113 points in 142 outings.

At just 20 years old, he is the face of the franchise, often an electrifying presence and a potential superstar. In the near future, the former second overall pick should sign a long-term contract worth perhaps $10 million a season.... Read the full article

Brendan Guhle earned a small taste of the NHL last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Brendan Guhle aiming to crack Sabres out of training camp

BUFFALO – In his three recent outings, Sabres defenseman Brendan Guhle wowed the crowd, consistently showcasing the slick talents that make him an elite prospect.

At just 20 years old, Guhle often looks like a veteran, swiftly moving the puck up the ice and getting to the net.

In Saturday’s 7-4 win against the Boston Bruins, Guhle zoomed up and dished across the zone to C.J. Smith before connecting on the return pass at the ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played two games with the Sabres last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie C.J. Smith enjoying Buffalo

BUFFALO – In late March, after C.J. Smith quickly left UMass Lowell to join the Sabres, the NCAA free agent hardly found a moment to enjoy his brief taste of the NHL.

Smith signed an entry-level contract just days after his junior season ended. He stayed enrolled in school, so classwork was still a part of his daily routine. Following his first NHL practice, the finance major left to take a test online.... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo was hospitalized in the spring. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

After scary concussion, Sabres’ Kyle Okposo healed, excited for new season

BUFFALO – It wasn’t Kyle Okposo’s first time on the ice. That milestone came months ago, after the Sabres winger recovered from the scary concussion that left him hospitalized in intensive care. It wasn’t his first scrimmage, either. The affable veteran played pickup hockey at home this summer in Minnesota.

Still, Okposo’s skate Tuesday inside HarborCenter, a normal early-September session with some scrimmaging at the end, was significant.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel is set to earn $925,000 in 2017-18. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel ‘adamant’ on staying with Sabres, willing to wait for extension

BUFFALO – Sabres center Jack Eichel called it the NHL’s “new game.” Thanks to their dynamic talents, young stars barely out of their teens can earn huge long-term contracts these days.

Eichel, of course, is part of that elite group and will cash in. The Sabres and Eichel’s camp have talked this summer about a lucrative new contract.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel is entering the final season of his entry-level contract. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel wants to stay with Sabres, willing to play out contract

BUFFALO – If the Sabres and Jack Eichel can’t reach an extension, the center said he has “no problem” playing out the final season of his entry-level contract.

“If that happens, that happens,” Eichel said this afternoon following a late-summer skate. “I’m pretty adamant on staying a Sabre and staying in Buffalo. It’s not something I can really control here. I can just control my play.... Read the full article

Robin Lehner signed a one-year contract in July. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner not out to prove himself

BUFFALO – Robin Lehner’s agents kept telling him to take a one-year contract. After all, the Sabres goalie could parlay another strong season into a lucrative long-term deal.

But fresh off a campaign in which Lehner established himself as the Sabres’ starter and posted the NHL’s 10th-highest save percentage, he wanted a long contract right away.... Read the full article

Phil Housley knows the Hajt family well. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hire Chris Hajt as assistant coach

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ newest assistant coach has a familiar name. Chris Hajt has been named to coach Phil Housley’s staff, the team announced today.

The Buffalo-raised Hajt is the son of Sabres Hall of Famer Bill Hajt, one of greatest defensemen in franchise history.

The younger Hajt, 39, spent the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliates, the Ontario Reign and Manchester Monarchs, winning a Calder Cup in 2015 Hajt ... Read the full article

Phil Housley likes Marco Scandella's talents. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Phil Housley likes defense, plans to lean on Marco Scandella

BUFFALO – In a two-week span last month, general manager Jason Botterill addressed the Sabres’ most glaring weakness by acquiring defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Marco Scandella.

Is either player elite? Hardly. Still, as puck-moving defenders, Beaulieu and Scandella offer talents the Sabres sorely lacked last season and add some much-needed depth.... Read the full article