Jack Eichel had a lot of media interest Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Future Sabres pick Jack Eichel won’t apologize for possessing confidence

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel, of course, never expected his words would leak out. The superstar was simply expressing some confidence in his special abilities during pre-draft interviews this week.

Eichel told teams, including the Sabres, who will select the 18-year-old second overall on June 26, he plans on being a better player than Connor McDavid, arguably the biggest prospect in decade.

Was it cocky? Sure. But the slick Boston University center wasn’t taking a dig ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel talks with reporters this afternoon. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel still unsure if he’ll join Sabres or return to college

BUFFALO – All week, Jack Eichel, the mega-prospect the Sabres will select second overall in three weeks, has been getting a feel for his future home.

The 18-year-old Boston University superstar, in town for the NHL Scouting Combine, has enjoyed being welcomed by locals eager to greet their new hero and exploring the city.

“Everyone talks about Buffalo’s chicken wings, I got a chance to try those,” Eichel told a throng of reporters and cameras ... Read the full article

Ted Black speaks Thursday inside HarborCenter. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres believe NHL Scouting Combine visitors will have positive impression of Buffalo

BUFFALO – As Sabres president Ted Black chatted with the media Thursday inside HarborCenter, the buildings and streets outside the team’s new $170 million multi-rink facility bustled with activity on a sunny spring day.

Team officials and prospects in the city for the NHL Scouting Combine were all over, walking from a new hotel, restaurants and the Canalside developments to the First Niagara Center and HarborCenter.

“I’ve only been here four years,” Black said. “When ... Read the full article

From left, Sabres general manager Tim Murray, coach Dan Bylsma and owner Terry Pegula hold up a No. 15 Bylsma jersey Thursday. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Dan Bylsma had eye on Sabres job

BUFFALO – There was a time before the Sabres hired Dan Bylsma on Thursday that the coach and general manager Tim Murray both represented the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Back in the early 2000s, as Bylsma finished up his journeyman playing career, Murray was the team’s director of player personnel.

“I complained about him a lot,” Murray cracked Thursday during a news conference to introduce Bylsma as the Sabres’ 17th coach in franchise history. “That’s ... Read the full article

Dan Bylsma is the 17th coach in Sabres history. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Updated with quotes: Sabres name Dan Bylsma coach

BUFFALO – The Sabres finally have a new coach. The rebuilding team today named Dan Bylsma, a 2009 Stanley Cup winner, the 17th coach in franchise history.

The 44-year-old Bylsma, who spent Wednesday visiting with the Sabres, will be formally introduced at a 4 p.m. news conference at the First Niagara Center.

Update: Bylsma has a five-year contract, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula went big again, bringing in ... Read the full article

Dan Bylsma coached Pittsburgh from 2009 until 2014. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jay McKee believes Dan Bylsma would be good fit to coach Sabres

One day in 2009-10, Dan Bylsma, then in his first full season as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ coach, had an odd request for Jay McKee, one of the NHL’s top shot blockers for years.

“He actually asked me not to block as many shots,” McKee, a popular former Buffalo Sabres defenseman, said by phone Tuesday.

One of McKee’s recent blocks had deflected into the net, so Bylsma, who will reportedly interview with the Sabres this week, ... Read the full article

Mike Babcock has an eight-year contract from Toronto. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Mike Babcock picks Leafs over Sabres, lands massive contract

BUFFALO – As decision day approached, it appeared Mike Babcock, the prized free agent coach, had whittled his choices down to two teams: Detroit, where he had spent 10 seasons guiding the Red Wings, or the rebuilding Sabres, a team stocked with young talent and willing to break to the bank.

By most accounts, the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of about five teams Babcock had spoken to, had fallen out of the picture.

But the ... Read the full article

Mike Babcock has coached Detroit since 2005. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Reports: Sabres negotiating with Mike Babcock, decision expected by morning

BUFFALO – The Mike Babcock sweepstakes is almost over, and the coveted coach could join the Sabres as soon as Wednesday.

According to the Associated Press, the Sabres and Babcock negotiated by phone today.

When reached by the Detroit Free Press and asked if he was leaving the Red Wings, the team he has coached since 2005, Babcock replied, “Not sure, know by morning.” He gave no further comment.

It’s believed the Sabres have offered ... Read the full article

Mike Babcock hasn't missed the playoffs since 2004. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock visits Sabres

So Mike Babcock, hockey’s most coveted “free agent,” visited Buffalo on Sunday. The Detroit Red Wings coach toured HarborCenter with Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula and general manager Tim Murray, according to an employee’s tweet. Channel 7 later had footage of Babcock leaving the First Niagara Center.

Of course, it’s hardly surprising the Sabres are interested in Babcock, who was given permission by Detroit on Friday to shop his services before his contract expires ... Read the full article

The Sabres plan to select Jack Eichel in June. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Future Sabres pick Jack Eichel scoreless in Team USA’s opener

Slick 18-year-old Jack Eichel briefly showcased some of his skills during Team USA’s 5-1 win over Finland in its world championship opener today, generating two strong chances in about a minute.

First, the future Buffalo Sabres center fired high on goalie Pekka Rinne after smoothly moving from the point area to the left circle with about seven minutes left in the second period. Later, Rinne stoned the Boston University superstar’s quick wrist shot from the ... Read the full article