Casey Mittelstadt (37) drives past Detroit's Justin Abdelkader on Thursday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Casey Mittelstadt records assist in debut, Sabres lose to Red Wings

BUFFALO – Sabres rookie Casey Mittelstadt’s first NHL point wasn’t created by his dynamic speed, adroit passing or supreme hockey sense.

No, 4:51 in the third period of Thursday’s 6-3 loss to the hapless Detroit Red Wings, Mittelstadt, 19, simply won a draw cleanly back to linemate Evan Rodrigues, who beat goalie Jimmy Howard to get the Sabres within one goal.

One game, one assist for the eighth overall pick in 2017.... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly takes a faceoff against Detroit's Frans Nielsen on Thursday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly roaring toward NHL faceoff record

BUFFALO – Ryan O’Reilly’s faceoff skills are so dynamic he takes and wins more than any NHL player. Yet the Sabres center thinks draws are, well, overrated.

Overrated?

Sabres coach Phil Housley constantly relies on O’Reilly’s faceoff prowess, utilizing him an average of 26 times a game. Through 75 appearances entering Thursday’s tilt 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings inside KeyBank Center, O’Reilly had won 1,181 of the 1,949 draws he had taken, a ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt signed his entry-level contract earlier this week. ©2018, University of Minnesota Athletics

Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt ready for NHL debut

BUFFALO – As puck drop approaches, Sabres rookie Casey Mittelstadt said he might experience some nerves.

“It might be a bit of a long day,” the speedy center said this morning after preparing for his NHL debut, tonight’s tilt against the Detroit Red Wings.

Still, hours before the game, the Sabres’ top prospect seemed unfazed by the life-changing day and all the attention being paid to him.... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt hasn't played a game in weeks. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Warm welcome helps Sabres rookie Casey Mittelstadt

BUFFALO – Right away, center Casey Mittelstadt’s new teammates reached out and welcomed the slick prospect to the Sabres.

So shortly after Mittelstadt signed his entry-level contract Tuesday, center Jack Eichel took him to lunch. Hours later, winger Sam Reinhart had dinner with Mittelstadt, his new linemate.

Mittelstadt, 19, will make his NHL debut tonight against the Detroit Red Wings inside KeyBank Center. In a miserable season widely regarded as the franchise’s worst ever, ... Read the full article

Casey Nelson has improved his defense this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Casey Nelson earning regular duty on blue line

BUFFALO – Earlier this season, if you had asked Casey Nelson if he could play 20 minutes a night in the NHL, often against the opposition’s top line, the Sabres defenseman would’ve given you a straightforward answer.

“I’d say there’s no chance, there’s no way,” Nelson said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center.

But in tonight’s tilt in Detroit, Nelson, 25, will likely play big minutes on the second defense pair, meaning he’ll face some of the ... Read the full article

Josh Gorges (4) checks Scott Wilson, then with Pittsburgh, two seasons ago. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Scott Wilson has winning background

BUFFALO – On paper, the Sabres acquired a third- or fourth-line forward with 13 goals and 32 points in 123 career NHL games. But in Scott Wilson, they have a player who developed in a winning culture and raised the Stanley Cup six months ago.

For a team currently dead last in the NHL, that means something.

Shortly after the Sabres waived Matt Moulson on Monday, general manager Jason Botterill sent the Detroit Red ... Read the full article

Scott Wilson won the Stanley Cup last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres acquire Scott Wilson from Red Wings for pick

BUFFALO – The Sabres weren’t done making moves after waiving Matt Moulson earlier today. The NHL’s worst team also acquired forward Scott Wilson from the Detroit Red Wings for a 2019 fifth-round pick.

Sabres general manager Jason Botterill knows Wilson from their days together with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where Wilson won a Stanley Cup last season.

The Penguins traded Wilson, 25, to the Red Wings on Oct. 21. The 5-foot-11, 183-pound Wilson has zero points ... Read the full article

Kyle Criscuolo signed a two-year contract July 1. ©2017, Michline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres look to Kyle Criscuolo for spark

BUFFALO – Center Kyle Criscuolo left a pretty good gig to join the Sabres.

The undrafted Harvard product enjoyed a terrific rookie season in 2016-17, scoring 17 goals in the AHL and winning a Calder Cup with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Leaving the Detroit Red Wings organization to sign a two-year, two-way contract with the Sabres on July 1 “was really tough,” he said.... Read the full article

Robin Lehner made 32 saves Tuesday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres, goalie Robin Lehner shut out Red Wings for first home win

BUFFALO – For once, Robin Lehner enjoyed a pretty quiet night. In fact, of the 32 saves the Sabres goalie made in Tuesday’s 1-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings, only a few would be considered difficult.

“When we needed a save, Robin delivered it for us,” coach Phil Housley said following the Sabres’ second straight win and first victory at home this season.

For almost three weeks, as the Sabres stumbled out of the ... Read the full article

Jordan Nolan was a seventh-round pick. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jordan Nolan beat odds to reach 300 NHL games

BUFFALO – Almost six years later, Sabres winger Jordan Nolan remembers nearly every detail of his first day in the NHL, from the early-morning knock on his door informing him the Los Angeles Kings needed him in Long Island, to his linemates that night.

However, one important part of Nolan’s NHL debut Feb. 11, 2012 has escaped his mind.

“I don’t remember if we won or lost, to tell you the truth,” Nolan said Tuesday ... Read the full article