Gary Bettman speaks to the media Monday. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Gary Bettman hints Sabres could host another outdoor game

BUFFALO – The Sabres officially have the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. They plan to bid on an NHL All-Star game. The team has already secured the league’s scouting combine for the next two years.

Hmmm, what other big event could be in the works?

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said owner Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim, mentioned Monday the Sabres would be interested in hosting another outdoor game.

The Sabres had the first Winter Classic ... Read the full article

Mike Grier instructs his players this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Mike Grier enjoying retirement, understands Sabres’ rebuild

BUFFALO – Retirement has been good for Mike Grier. Since leaving the NHL, the popular former Sabres winger has enjoyed the family life he couldn’t experience during his playing days.

But after almost three years of helping out his wife, “I think now she’s ready for me to get out of the house,” Grier joked this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

Grier’s beginning to get more involved in hockey again. He’s about to ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel talks to the media Wednesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Mega-prospect Jack Eichel focused on college career

BUFFALO – NHL.com recently asked nine scouts which 2015 NHL draft prospect they preferred: Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. McDavid, the more recognizable name, won by the slimmest of margins, 5-4.

The informal poll proved what many hockey observers have been saying for years: 2015 could have two once-in-a-generation, franchise-changing talents at the top of the class.

Eichel, an ultra-slick Boston University freshman, will be the marquee attraction at tonight’s All-American Prospects Game inside the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel could be taken No. 2 next year. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel headlines All-American Prospects roster

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel, a slick center many project to be the No. 2 draft pick next year, headlines the 42-man roster USA Hockey released today for the upcoming All-American Prospects Game.

The Sept. 25 tilt at the First Niagara Center features the top U.S. players eligible for the 2015 draft.

Eichel, a Boston University freshman, could be one of the top American prospects ever. He’s expected to be drafted behind center Connor McDavid, whose ... Read the full article

Connor McDavid visited Buffalo on Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Connor McDavid impressed with Sabres, can see himself playing in Buffalo: ‘It’s a great organization’

BUFFALO – The sight was enough to make any Sabres fan dream and drool: 17-year-old phenom Connor McDavid inside the First Niagara Center, talking about playing here someday.

For good measure, he was even photographed with a Sabres banner behind him.

If you ask the junior superstar, he’ll acknowledge that, yes, he can envision himself wearing blue and gold come 2015.

“It’s a great organization,” the slick center said Thursday after touring the rink, where ... Read the full article

Connor McDavid is coveted by NHL teams. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres could still get prized prospect in 2015 after draft lottery changes

The draft lottery changes the NHL unveiled today might not hurt the Buffalo Sabres, owners of three 2015 first-round picks, next year. The league’s worst team can’t fall below the second pick.

The odds of nabbing that No. 1 pick, however, have fallen from 25 percent to 20, according to the league.

Still, the Sabres, a team many have pegged to finish last, will get Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, the consensus top two prospects, ... Read the full article

Florida selected Aaron Ekblad No. 1. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

GM Tim Murray believes draft lottery changes aren’t targeting Sabres

PHILADELPHIA – The Buffalo Sabres’ chances of winning the Connor McDavid sweepstakes could be taking a small hit.

General manager Tim Murray said Friday the NHL will likely alter its draft lottery next year.

What’s going to happen?

Murray said the odds of the league’s worst team getting the No. 1 pick will drop from 25 percent to about 19 or 20 percent. The tradeoff? The 30th team can’t fall past the No. 2 ... Read the full article