Kyle Okposo (21) battles Columbus' Ryan Murray (27) and Sergei Bobrovsky last Tuesday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Reeling Sabres hope new lines, defense pairs can help ignite them

BUFFALO – Sooner or later, coach Phil Housley needed to make some significant changes, right? The Sabres have fallen from first overall to three points out of a playoff spot.

Having compiled an awful 8-14-4 mark in their last 26 games, their marathon slump has surpassed the two-month mark. In their last 10 outings, they’re a dreadful 3-7.

In recent games, the Sabres have often shown little interest in playing defense and struggled to score ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith has compiled 41 points in 41 AHL games this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Reeling Sabres showcase new lines, defense pairs

BUFFALO – Sooner or later, coach Phil Housley had to make some significant changes, right? The Sabres have fallen from first overall to three points out of a playoff spot.

Having compiled an awful 8-14-4 mark in their last 26 games, their marathon slump has surpassed the two-month mark. In their last 10 outings, they’re 3-7.

In recent games, the Sabres have shown little interest in playing defense and struggled to score goals. Their power ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton got yanked after 40 minutes. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres play loose defensively in ugly loss to Blackhawks

BUFFALO – An agitated Phil Housley mentioned it four times during his three-and-a-half minute news conference following Friday’s ugly 7-3 loss to the last-place Chicago Blackhawks.

The Sabres don’t respect the defensive side of the game.

In their sixth loss in eight games, the Sabres, like so many other recent outings, played a one-dimensional contest, simply focusing on their offense. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, exploited seemingly every miscue, scoring five goals off turnovers.

The ugly, disjointed ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has strong chemistry with his linemates. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Casey Mittelstadt brimming with confidence

BUFFALO – One of the best stretches of Casey Mittelstadt’s 57-game NHL career – two goals and four points over seven recent contests – hasn’t boosted the Sabres rookie’s confidence.

“I don’t think I’m more confident or anything,” Mittelstadt said prior to Friday’s 7-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks inside KeyBank Center. “I don’t struggle in that department.”

Mittelstadt, 20, doesn’t lack confidence.

“I know what I’m capable of doing,” the slick center said.... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt know he possesses talent. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres rookie Casey Mittelstadt full of confidence

BUFFALO – One of the best stretches of Casey Mittelstadt’s 56-game NHL career – two goals and four points over seven contests – hasn’t boosted the Sabres rookie’s confidence.

“I don’t think I’m more confident or anything,” Mittelstadt said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I don’t struggle in that department.”

If you can’t tell, Mittelstadt, 20, doesn’t lack confidence.

“I know what I’m capable of doing,” the slick center said.... Read the full article

Goalie Carter Hutton could see plenty of action during the Sabres' home stand. ©2019, Hickling Images

Long home stand could make or break Sabres’ season

BUFFALO – For a struggling team that must rattle off wins if it hopes to snag a playoff spot for the first time since 2011, this is a gift. Starting tonight, the Sabres play their next seven games at home.

How rare is a seven-game home stand? It’s the longest in franchise history, tying a stretch from Jan. 20 to Feb. 2, 1997.

The Sabres’ season hinges on this 15-day stretch. Realistically, they need to ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel joined his teammates again this morning. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jack Eichel snags memorabilia; Phil Housley unsure about defense

BUFFALO – Before Sabres captain Jack Eichel left the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose, he snagged some special memorabilia for his house.

In addition to having his game jersey signed by the entire Eastern Conference squad and a stick autographed by everyone in the game, the high-scoring center received an item he has coveted.

“I grabbed one of (Sidney) Crosby’s sticks,” Eichel said this afternoon inside KeyBank Center. “That was cool. I had been ... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian spent his break in the Cayman Islands. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres feel recharged after long break

BUFFALO – During the Sabres’ eight-day break, coach Phil Housley traveled home to Minnesota, where he visited his family and watched his son, Wilson, a rookie junior coach.

In the midst of a grueling 82-game season, getting away from the rink – the bye week went right into the NHL All-Star break – provided the struggling Sabres an opportunity to reset.

So Housley went up to Thief River Falls, about a five-hour drive from his ... Read the full article

Phil Housley watched his son coach over the eight-day break. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres use bye week, NHL All-Star break as opportunity to ‘reboot’

BUFFALO – During the Sabres’ eight-day break, coach Phil Housley traveled home to Minnesota, where he visited his family and watched his son, Wilson, a rookie junior coach.

In the midst of a grueling 82-game season, getting away from the rink – the bye week went right into the NHL All-Star break – provided the Sabres “a great time to get a break, to reboot,” Housley said.

So Housley went up to Thief River Falls, ... Read the full article

Tampa Bay goalie Louis Domingue makes a save last season with the Sabres' Sam Reinhart close by. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres lose to Lightning, fall out of playoff spot

BUFFALO – Twenty games ago, the upstart Sabres grabbed the top spot in the NHL after winning their 10th straight contest.

At that point, 25 games into the season, the Sabres appeared ahead of schedule. While many observers believed they could possibly contend for a playoff spot, few thought they would be the league’s best team more than a quarter into the campaign.

Fast forward to today, and the Sabres have fallen hard. Yes, they’re ... Read the full article