Rasmus Ristolainen (left) fights Toronto's James van Riemsdyk on Feb. 11. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rasmus Ristolainen’s suspension surprises Sabres

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen never expected he would be suspended for hitting Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel in the head Tuesday. Coach Dan Bylsma never expected the ban would be so long.

But in the end, the Sabres will be without their No. 1 defenseman and arguably best player for the next three games, starting with tonight’s home tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I didn’t expect anything,” Ristolainen said Friday following practice ... Read the full article

William Carrier practiced with his teammates again Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ William Carrier, Kyle Okposo healed, ready to contribute

BUFFALO – William Carrier couldn’t resist. So before answering a question Thursday, the excited Sabres rookie greeted a crowd of reporters with a short opening statement.

“I’m back, everyone,” a smiling Carrier said inside HarborCenter.

Carrier, sidelined 24 games by a bone bruise in his knee, wasn’t the only injured player back Thursday. Sabres winger Kyle Okposo and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov also returned to practice.

All three are on track to play Saturday at home ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel wants the Sabres to play more aggresively. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres blow lead, lose late to Penguins

PITTSBURGH – For one period Sunday, everything went right for the Buffalo Sabres.

They jumped out to a seemingly commanding lead, scoring three times by the 18:07 mark. The Penguins, meanwhile, couldn’t beat Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson, who stopped all 13 first-period shots. One Penguins goal was called back following a review. They also hit a post.

Still, a 3-0 advantage hardly felt commanding.

The reeling Sabres have a penchant for blowing late leads. The ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues has played 15 NHL games. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Evan Rodrigues earning keep

BUFFALO – On a team featuring 11 veterans earning more than $3 million, Evan Rodrigues, a rookie 15 games into his NHL career, was arguably the Sabres’ best player during two wretched road losses last weekend.

Let that sink in.

“It’s a little disappointing Rodrigues is one of our best players,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said Wednesday. “It’s great for him. But I’m not sure that’s what should’ve happened in those two games.”... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has been piling up points lately. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel enjoying career-best stretch

BUFFALO – Sabres center Jack Eichel understands his history of scoring and penchant for shooting the puck has helped label him a goal scorer.

After all, the talented American has scored 39 times in his short career. In only 43 games this season, he has pumped a whopping 173 shots on goal, the NHL’s highest total since his season debut.

Still, Eichel, 20, said when he gets the puck on his stick, his first ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has a team-high 43 points. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo out Saturday

BUFFALO – Leading Sabres scorer Kyle Okposo will miss Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a rib injury, coach Dan Bylsma said this afternoon.

Bylsma didn’t have a full update on Okposo, who left Thursday’s 6-3 win against the Arizona Coyotes after Kevin Connauton hit him into the boards.

“He’s our leading scorer and absolutely a big part of our team and how we play, how we want to play,” Bylsma said following ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov has played only 38 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov still struggling

BUFFALO – In his first and probably only season here, defenseman Dmitry Kulikov has performed so poorly – the Russian has one goal, two points and a wretched minus-17 rating – the Sabres couldn’t even get a late-round pick for him before Wednesday’s trade deadline.

So the Sabres have Kulikov for 18 more games. Of course, that doesn’t mean coach Dan Bylsma will play him.

Kulikov, 26, could become a healthy scratch if he doesn’t ... Read the full article

Dmity Kulikov has struggled all season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov close to getting scratched

BUFFALO – In his first and probably only season here, defenseman Dmitry Kulikov has performed so poorly – the Russian has one goal, two points and a wretched minus-15 rating – the Sabres couldn’t even get a late-round pick for him before Wednesday’s trade deadline.

So for 19 more games, starting with tonight’s tilt against the Arizona Coyotes, the Sabres have Kulikov. Of course, that doesn’t mean coach Dan Bylsma will play him.

Kulikov, 26, ... Read the full article

Tim Murray wanted to pull off a trade Wednesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres can’t find trade partners before deadline

BUFFALO – Tim Murray’s history as Sabres general manager shows he usually takes anything for a player who can leave for nothing following the season.

But as Wednesday’s trade deadline dragged on and some deals started materializing around the NHL, the Sabres curiously stayed quiet.

When the 3 p.m. deadline hit, word quickly spread the Sabres, who have four unrestricted free agents, hadn’t made any moves.

Murray couldn’t, say, get a late-round pick for defenseman ... Read the full article

Tim Murray speaks this afternoon. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres stay quiet before trade deadline

BUFFALO – Tim Murray’s track record as Sabres general manager shows he usually takes anything for a player who can leave for nothing following the season.

So why did the Sabres, who have five unrestricted free agents, make zero trades before today’s 3 p.m. deadline? Murray couldn’t, say, get a late-round pick for defenseman Dmitry Kulikov?

“I just go with what’s put in front of me,” Murray said this afternoon inside KeyBank Center. “I ... Read the full article