Jack Eichel (left) with Chris Masters, his Jr. Bruins coach. ©2015, Chris Masters

Dedication helped Jack Eichel become elite talent

SUNRISE, Fla. – In the beginning, Jack Eichel’s development was slow. The greatest hockey prospect the United States has produced in perhaps a quarter century was simply a very talented child, one of the best around New England at 8 or 9 years old.

But he wasn’t a phenom.

“Since he was little, it’s been a slow progression from a very good player to an elite in his area, in New England and the USA ... Read the full article

Dan Bylsma's team has 10 afternoon home games. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ 2015-16 schedule features early home games, new strategy

SUNRISE, Fla. – If slick center Jack Eichel joins the NHL next season, Buffalo fans will get a long look at the second overall pick October. The Sabres open the season with three straight home games for the first time in 40 years.

That’s just one highlight of the 2015-16 schedule the NHL released Thursday.

Six of the opening eight games are at the First Niagara Center, so Eichel, the phenom the Sabres will select ... Read the full article

The Sabres will select Jack Eichel second overall Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel close to deciding future

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Jack Eichel’s close to deciding whether to turn pro and join the Buffalo Sabres or return to Boston University. In fact, don’t be surprised if the 18-year-old center announces his decision Friday night at the podium after he’s selected second overall at the NHL Draft inside the BB&T Center.

Heck, Eichel sounded ready to share his decision tonight during a pre-draft news conference. He’s clearly tired of the speculation and wants ... Read the full article

Dan Bylsma returns to Pittsburgh on Oct. 29. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

2015-16 Sabres schedule has interesting dates, new wrinkles

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Before I run to catch a cab to switch hotels, here are some highlights from the 2015-16 Buffalo Sabres schedule the NHL released this morning.

– The Sabres, and perhaps the Jack Eichel era, open Oct. 8 at home against the Ottawa Senators at the First Niagara Center. They open with a season-high three-game home stand, one of seven on the schedule. The Sabres also don’t have a road trip more ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons could have a long career with the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ recent drafts have yielded mixed results

SUNRISE, Fla. – How good have the Buffalo Sabres drafted in recent years? Judge for yourself below.

Since most drafts don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at the Sabres’ selections from 2007-12 and some notable hits and misses. Sixteen of Buffalo’s 45 draft choices over that time – 36 percent – have made the NHL.

The Sabres have eight picks at this weekend’s NHL Draft, including the No. 2 selection, ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (right) played nine NHL games last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

History shows No. 2 pick will become special player for Sabres

SUNRISE, Fla. – Recent history says Jack Eichel, the mega-prospect the Buffalo Sabres will select second overall Friday at the NHL Draft, could become a franchise talent.

Just take a look at the list below.

It can be argued 15 of the last 16 No. 2 picks have been strong hits. The list includes 50-goal scorers, perennial NHL All-Stars and even future Hall of Famers. Only Sam Reinhart, a center the Sabres selected second a ... Read the full article

Picking Jack Eichel will be the easy part for Tim Murray. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

GM Tim Murray has plan after Sabres draft Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – Tim Murray has joked he’ll make the easiest decision of his career before he walks to the NHL Draft podium Friday night inside the BB&T Center and, in his typical straightforward delivery, utters six words into the microphone: “The Buffalo Sabres select Jack Eichel.”

But after securing a potentially franchise-changing talent, the general manager might have an arduous two days ahead of him in Sunrise, Fla.

The Sabres have eight picks – 2, ... Read the full article

Sabres general manager Tim Murray is offering Mikhail Grigorenko a two-way contract. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres want Mikhail Grigorenko to spend more time in minors

BUFFALO – General manager Tim Murray knows 21-year-old center Mikhail Grigorenko is frustrated the Sabres are offering a two-way contract. The restricted free agent dislikes the deal so much he’s reportedly fielding offers from the KHL, a league in his native Russia.

“I hear rumors,” Murray said Thursday during a news conference inside the First Niagara Center to discuss next week’s NHL Draft.

Clearly, the Sabres and Grigorenko’s camp have vastly different opinions of the ... Read the full article

The Sabres will draft Jack Eichel next week. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres to hold development camp July 6-12

BUFFALO – The first glimpse of Jack Eichel on the First Niagara Center ice with the Sabres should come July 6-12, when the team hosts its annual development camp.

The year’s session, which the team announced today, will undoubtedly have extra buzz since Eichel, the Boston University center the Sabres will draft second overall next week, will likely participate.

On-ice sessions during the week will be open to the public. An intra-squad “Blue and Gold ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel could see a lot of preseason action if he turns pro. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres release 2015 preseason schedule

BUFFALO – The seven-game 2015 preseason schedule the Sabres released this afternoon features three home games and, oddly enough, two road contests in Minnesota, including the Sept. 21 opener.

Assuming he turns pro, would the Sabres play Jack Eichel, the phenom they’ll draft second overall next week, against the Wild, or hold the center out until their Sept. 23 home game against the Ottawa Senators?

The complete schedule is below. The Sabres played six ... Read the full article