Casey Mittelstadt knows he must evolve. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Casey Mittelstadt focusing on defensive side

BUFFALO – Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt has produced goals and points at every level of hockey. So right now, 10 games into his NHL career, the rookie said he isn’t worried about his offense.

“I’m sure the offense will come, it usually does,” Mittelstadt said prior to Thursday’s 6-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche inside KeyBank Center. “I’m pretty good with that.”

Mittelstadt, 19, has been an offensive stud wherever he plays. Last season, he ... Read the full article

A lower-body injury sidelined Johan Larsson. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Johan Larsson to make season debut, play wing

BUFFALO – In his brief time with the Sabres, center Casey Mittelstadt has never even practiced beside Johan Larsson, who will return from a lower-body injury tonight.

While the Sabres used the same lineup in two straight wins, coach Phil Housley wants to give Larsson, 26, a look. So the Swede, who usually plays center, will skate at left wing beside Mittelstadt and Tage Thompson tonight against the Colorado Avalanche inside KeyBank Center.

Larsson, ... 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

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

Remi Elie was claimed on waivers Tuesday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Remi Elie to make Sabres debut

BUFFALO – In his 90-game NHL career, Remi Elie has compiled seven goals and 21 points. The Dallas Stars utilized him as a checker, a role he will continue tonight 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.

“I just ... 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

Vladimir Sobotka briefly fought Boston's Charlie McAvoy. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres regroup after ugly loss; Vladimir Sobotka day-to-day

BUFFALO – Fresh off Thursday’s ugly 4-0 season-opening loss, coach Phil Housley relayed a straightforward message to the Sabres.

“I walked in this morning to the group and said … ‘The sun came up,’” Housley said following practice inside KeyBank Center.

The setback to the Boston Bruins, of course, was just one of 82 games. But given the Sabres’ sorry history in recent seasons, the loss triggered some anger in fans, who booed the home ... Read the full article

The Sabres acquired Tage Thompson on July 1. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Tage Thompson seizes early opportunity

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Tage Thompson knows everything he just earned – one of 23 coveted roster spots and a place on a scoring line – can vanish in a hurry.

As a rookie a year ago, Thompson cracked St. Louis’ opening-night lineup just months after leaving college. The former first-round pick lasted four games before the Blues demoted him to the San Antonio Rampage.

“You never want to feel comfortable,” Thompson said prior to ... 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

A lot of expectations accompany Rasmus Dahlin's arrival in the NHL. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin on NHL debut: ‘Waiting for this my whole life’

BUFFALO – Long before the Sabres drafted Rasmus Dahlin first overall in June, he possessed more skill than most NHL players.

The Swede, 18, has been called the best defense prospect in decades. If rules allowed it, he probably could’ve thrived in the NHL even a year ago.

So Dahlin, who will make his long-awaited NHL debut tonight against the Boston Bruins in the season opener at KeyBank Center, will likely immediately contribute to the ... Read the full article