Sabres center Evan Rodrigues skates between Colorado's J.T. Compher (37) and Semyon Varlamov on Thursday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres implode early, get blown out by Avalanche

BUFFALO – About 32 hours before the Sabres began Thursday’s ugly 6-1 loss, veteran winger Kyle Okposo saw some ominous signs of trouble during practice.

Throughout the short season, the Sabres had been dialed in and ready, according to Okposo. But fresh off two straight wins, he said they looked sloppy during Wednesday’s session.

“It was a lot like how we played the first period,” an agitated Okposo said after the Colorado Avalanche shellacked the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has a stronger supporting cast this season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ depth has buoyed strong start

BUFFALO – Depth means coach Phil Housley can utilize his so-called fourth line for critical defensive zone faceoffs. It means the Sabres can replace former center Ryan O’Reilly’s minutes by committee. It means it can often be hard to distinguish between the first and fourth trios.

Right now, for the first time in years, the 2-1 Sabres possess depth up front and the ability to roll four lines.

“We’ve been rolling them pretty good,” center ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (right) celebrates his first-period goal with Rasmus Ristolainen on Monday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres beat Golden Knights, go over .500 for first time since 2013

BUFFALO – The last time the Sabres were above .500, their captain, center Jack Eichel, was a junior in high school. Phil Housley hadn’t entered the pro coaching ranks yet. Their top draft pick, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, was 12.

You get the idea.

Only one player, winger Jason Pominville, is around from the last time the Sabres sported a winning record. Of course, Pominville spent more than four seasons with the Minnesota Wild before ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville (29) celebrates his second-period goal with Zemgus Girgensons on Monday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Jason Pominville’s goal reward for fourth line’s strong play

BUFFALO – In past seasons, the line comprised of center Evan Rodrigues and wingers Zemgus Girgensons and Jason Pominville would’ve been the Sabres’ third or even second combination.

But for the first time in years, the Sabres have legitimate NHL depth, so the trio is actually their fourth line.

Well, in terms of ice time, it’s the fourth line.... Read the full article

Carter Hutton made 43 saves Saturday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Conor Sheary, Carter Hutton push Sabres past Rangers

BUFFALO – It was hard to tell which moment in Saturday’s 3-1 win against the New York Rangers generated the bigger roar from Sabres fans.

Winger Conor Sheary’s power-play goal 13:15 into the tilt, a perfect shot from the left circle into the far corner, ignited the crowd of 16,824 fans inside KeyBank Center.

So did goalie Carter Hutton’s splendid save on Rangers center Brett Howden, which stymied a three-on-zero shortly after Sheary’s second power-play ... Read the full article

Remi Elie made his Sabres debut Saturday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Remi Elie believes he can produce more offense

BUFFALO – In his 91-game NHL career, Remi Elie has compiled seven goals and 21 points. The Dallas Stars utilized him as a checker, a role he continued Saturday as a fourth-line winger in his Sabres debut.

But in Elie, 23, Phil Housley sees a youngster who possesses the talents to morph into a scorer. Since the Sabres claimed him on waivers Tuesday, the coach has been praising the former second-round pick.

“When he gets ... Read the full article

Phil Housley was miffed after Thursday's loss. ©2018, Hickling Images

Phil Housley to Sabres after loss: ‘The sun came up’

BUFFALO – Coach Phil Housley’s firm voice cut through the din of Friday’s practice every few minutes.

“He was definitely vocal,” winger Kyle Okposo said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s home tilt against the New York Rangers. “I think we got the message.”

Actually, Housley relayed multiple messages Friday morning, hours after an embarrassing 4-0 loss left him seething. He delivered his first before practice.... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin (26) made his NHL debut Thursday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres look awful in season-opening loss to Bruins

BUFFALO – Sabres coach Phil Housley kept talking, growing more agitated as the seconds ticked by following Thursday’s ugly 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins.

How often does a team get booed off the ice on opening night? How often does it happen after 40 minutes?

The Sabres looked dreadful against a Bruins team that had been annihilated 7-0 the previous night. So much for all that optimism.... Read the full article

Phil Housley likes how his team welcomed its new players. ©2018, Hickling Images

New-look Sabres excited to open season: ‘A lot of enthusiasm’

BUFFALO – The first glimpse of the new-look Sabres comes tonight, 180 days after they ended perhaps the worst season in franchise history.

Seven new faces will dress against the Boston Bruins, including first overall pick Rasmus Dahlin and winger Jeff Skinner, a two-time 30-goal scorer. The optimism surrounding the Sabres is well-deserved.

They’re a much different team than the dreadful one that finished in 31st place six months ago.

“They’re excited,” Sabres coach ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel doesn't turn 22 until Oct. 28. ©2018, Hickling Images

Maturity helped earn Jack Eichel Sabres’ captaincy

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel was at home cooking dinner Tuesday night when his coach, Phil Housley, called and said the Sabres’ brass wanted to meet with him.

So Eichel left and drove to KeyBank Center. When he arrived, Housley, general manager Jason Botterill and owner Terry Pegula told the talented center he would be the 19th full-time captain in Sabres history.

“Really humbling moment,” Eichel said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center, where the Sabres open the ... Read the full article