Jack Eichel spoke like a leader last week. ©2018, Hickling Images

Youngster Jack Eichel could be Sabres’ captain next season

BUFFALO – When the Sabres chose to rotate four alternates this season instead of awarding the prestigious ‘C’ to a single player, they likely started center Jack Eichel’s ascension to the captaincy.

The Sabres, of course, couldn’t name Eichel their captain last October. He was entering just his third NHL season and still prone to bouts of immaturity. He had never worn a letter, either.

So they let him sport an ‘A’ with veterans Zach ... Read the full article

Jason Botterill has a long list of things the Sabres must change. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres GM Jason Botterill ticked off over poor season

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill spoke like a man embarrassed by what he had just experienced and hellbent on never letting it happening again.

Botterill is usually measured in his comments, keeping his emotions in check. But discussing the Sabres’ wretched 31st-place finish this season made him seethe.

The Sabres hired Botterill last year from Pittsburgh, where he won three Stanley Cups in 10 seasons with the Penguins and never missed the playoffs.... 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

Jack Eichel handled the Sabres' struggles better this year. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jack Eichel talking like leader

BUFFALO – A year ago, frustration overwhelmed Jack Eichel as he talked about the Sabres’ awful season. The center looked restless, staring off into the distance while offering mostly terse answers.

Basically, Eichel came off as immature.

On Monday morning, however, Eichel, 21, acted like a leader discussing the Sabres’ 31st-place finish, a season much worse than a year ago. He answered every question thoughtfully, even passionately. He looked every questioner in the eye.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel knows the Sabres must change. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Jack Eichel illustrates maturity discussing Sabres’ awful season

BUFFALO – A year ago, frustration overwhelmed Jack Eichel as he talked about the Sabres’ awful season. The center looked restless, staring off into the distance while offering mostly terse answers.

Basically, Eichel came off as immature.

This morning, however, Eichel, 21, acted like a leader discussing the Sabres’ 31st-place finish, a season much worse than a year ago. He answered every question thoughtfully, even passionately. He looked every questioner in the eye.... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons has experienced plenty of losing with the Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Last-place Sabres never got on track during lost season

BUFFALO – Way back on opening night, Oct. 5, the Sabres caused KeyBank Center to buzz with excitement for one of the few times in recent memory.

The Sabres’ new regime of coach Phil Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman and Buffalo legend, and general manager Jason Botterill, who helped construct three Stanley Cup winners in Pittsburgh, had energized the fan base and offered hope.

Perhaps the Sabres wouldn’t make the playoffs in 2017-18, but ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander played his fifth NHL game Thursday. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Productive stretch earns Alexander Nylander recall to Sabres

BUFFALO – Four or five months ago, it appeared slick Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander’s second pro season would be a dud.

In rookie camp, Nylander suffered a lower-body injury, costing him more than two months. The former eighth overall pick struggled following his season debut in mid-November, mustering only one goal and four points in his first 12 AHL outings.

But Nylander, 20, started turning a miserable campaign around early in the winter. The winger ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) battles Montreal's Nick Deslauriers on March 23. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Sam Reinhart never doubted talents in tough times

TORONTO – In the toughest days of his season, as Sam Reinhart endured goal droughts of 10 and 15 games, the Buffalo Sabres winger said he never changed a thing.

Reinhart, 22, kept preparing the same way each day. Thirty-eight games into his third NHL season, he had mustered only five goals and 11 points.

But Reinhart trusted his approach would pay dividends.... Read the full article

Victor Antipin's rookie season is over. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres upset NHL didn’t suspend Scott Hartnell for hit

TORONTO – A seething Phil Housley paused before answering the question. The Buffalo Sabres coach clearly wanted to choose his words carefully while still expressing his anger over the NHL’s decision not to suspended Scott Hartnell.

In Saturday’s 7-4 win in Nashville, the Predators forward hit Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin from behind, knocking his head into the glass. The rookie was probably out cold before his body hit the ice.

Antipin will miss the ... Read the full article

Victor Antipin went to the hospital Saturday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Victor Antipin out indefinitely with concussion, other injuries

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion, broken nose, facial lacerations and dental injuries when Scott Hartnell hit him into the glass in Saturday’s 7-4 win in Nashville, the team announced today.

Antipin, 25, was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center following the hit and released later Saturday night. The Russian traveled from Nashville with the Sabres today.

Since the Sabres have four games left the season, starting ... Read the full article