Mike Sullivan worked in player development and coached in the AHL before being promoted to Pittsburgh. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill wants coach with Mike Sullivan’s traits

BUFFALO – When Sabres general manager Jason Botterill interviewed Mike Sullivan for Pittsburgh’s AHL coaching vacancy two years ago, thoughts of the candidate’s unsuccessful run as an assistant in Vancouver were fresh in his mind.

“I had an impression,” Botterill said Thursday of Sullivan, who spent a tumultuous season with the Canucks in 2013-14 beside embattled coach John Tortorella.

But Sullivan changed that impression. The former Boston Bruins coach had just spent a year as ... Read the full article

Tim Murray was fired Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres need to find new GM soon

BUFFALO – Given the speed at which the offseason moves, the Sabres must find a new general manager soon, perhaps in the next month, to replace Tim Murray, who was fired with coach Dan Bylsma on Thursday.

Of course, given owner Terry Pegula’s track record, would the Sabres even hire a GM first?

Remember, Pegula hired Pat LaFontaine as the team’s president of hockey operations in November 2013. LaFontaine lasted less than four months ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson played 36 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Johan Larsson’s absence hurt Sabres

BUFFALO – When center Johan Larsson suffered two season-ending dislocations New Year’s Eve, the Sabres quietly experienced a critical blow to their playoff hopes.

While the absences of some higher-profile forwards – Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo, for example – garnered more attention, the Sabres struggled to replace Larsson’s tenacious two-way game.

Without Larsson, who dislocated his elbow and wrist, the Sabres became a “different team,” said Marcus Foligno, the Swede’s regular winger on ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe has been one of the Sabres' best defensemen all season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jake McCabe on benching: ‘I’m not going to lose sleep over it’

BUFFALO – On Wednesday, the same night the Sabres honored Jake McCabe as their Unsung Hero, coach Dan Bylsma scratched the defenseman because of some recent gaffes.

McCabe has morphed into a top contributor this season, skating almost 21 minutes a night, sometimes on the first pair. So getting benched, even after a poor stretch, was a bit surprising.

“I’m not going to lose sleep over it,” a curt McCabe said this morning inside HarborCenter. ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo is a popular teammate. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Reports: Kyle Okposo hospitalized in intensive care; Sabres beat Canadiens

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Kyle Okposo is hospitalized and in intensive care at Buffalo General Hospital, according to two reports.

Okposo, 28, is in the Neuro Surgical ICU, according to WGR. The Buffalo News also confirmed the report.

Prior to Wednesday’s 2-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said he was “very concerned” about Okposo, who has undergone testing and been out of the lineup since last week.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (15) wasn't as good as Toronto's Auston Matthews on Monday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres implode early, lose to Maple Leafs

BUFFALO – For the opening 20 minutes of Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Sabres were downright awful in their worst display of hockey all season. The embarrassing period, punctuated by a disastrous 43-second stretch, could have dramatic repercussions.

There have been a lot of bad periods over the Sabres’ six-season playoff drought. It can be argued Monday’s was the worst.

The upstart Maple Leafs outclassed the sloppy Sabres early before the ... Read the full article

The Sabres want to give Alexander Nylander a look. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander debuts against Maple Leafs, brother

BUFFALO – Why now? Why did the Sabres recall top forward prospect Alexander Nylander on Monday of all days, with the Toronto Maple Leafs and his brother, slick rookie William Nylander, in town?

On one hand, the night was unforgettable. NHL debuts are always special, but could you imagine doing it against your brother? On the other hand, the pressure on Alexander Nylander, 19, only increased with his high-scoring sibling in town with the scorching ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander was recalled this morning. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Debut against brother will be special for Sabres’ Alexander Nylander

BUFFALO – Why now? Why did the Sabres recall top forward prospect Alexander Nylander today of all days, with the Toronto Maple Leafs and his brother, slick rookie William Nylander, in town?

On one hand, the night will be unforgettable. NHL debuts are always special, but could you imagine doing it against your brother? On the other hand, the pressure on Alexander Nylander, 19, will only increase.... Read the full article

Brian Gionta scored his 289th NHL goal Monday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres reward captain Brian Gionta with win over Panthers

BUFFALO – In the days leading to Brian Gionta’s 1,000th NHL game, the Sabres were a little nervous, even “walking on eggshells,” coach Dan Bylsma said.

No one wanted to talk about their captain’s milestone.

“Didn’t want to jinx it, so to speak,” Bylsma said after Gionta fittingly scored the winning goal in Monday’s 4-2 win against the Florida Panthers.

But the Sabres loosened up, and following an emotional pregame ceremony honoring Gionta’s achievement, ... Read the full article

Brian Gionta (left) receives a silver stick from Sabres general manager Tim Murray on Monday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres captain Brian Gionta honored for 1,000th game

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Tyler Ennis said undersized NHL players – a “brotherhood,” he called them – share “an unspoken bond.”

Small players, of course, have the odds stacked against them. Only they can truly understand what they endured to make the league.

Fifteen or 20 years ago, it was even tougher for them to crack the NHL. That’s why Ennis, who’s listed at 5-foot-9, grew up idolizing diminutive stars, including 5-foot-7 Sabres captain Brian ... Read the full article