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

Jake Guentzel was bloodied and concussed Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen to have hearing with NHL Player Safety for hit

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen will have a hearing with NHL Player Safety on Thursday afternoon for knocking Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel out of Tuesday’s 3-1 loss with a concussion.

Ristolainen, who has never been suspended, could receive a short ban for the hit.

The Finn was given a five-minute major penalty for interference and ejected 8:46 into the contest when he leveled Guentzel as the rookie waited for a pass that was intercepted just ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner makes a save Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rasmus Ristolainen ejected in Sabres’ loss to Penguins

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had a split-second decision to make as Pittsburgh superstar Sidney Crosby dished the puck up to Jake Guentzel near their blue line early in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Penguins.

Ristolainen could lay back and play it safe, or he could assume the short pass would be completed and step up and throttle Guentzel.

The Finn went for the hit, but the pass was intercepted by teammate Zemgus Girgensons. ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen scored his first shootout goal on his first attempt Friday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres workhorse Rasmus Ristolainen willing to carry load

BUFFALO – Back in August, a crew in Rasmus Ristolainen’s native Finland filmed the Sabres defenseman utilizing some slick shootout moves – in the video, he dekes right before deftly backhanding the puck in with just his left hand – during a practice session.

At the end of the clip posted on Youtube.com, Ristolainen says in Finnish he would showcase the same moves if he received an opportunity in an NHL shootout.

This season, the ... Read the full article

Justin Bailey has played 19 straight games. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Justin Bailey has opportunity to stay

BUFFALO – Right now, thanks to his torrid goal-scoring run in the AHL and some injuries with the big club, Sabres winger Justin Bailey has the best opportunity of his young career to stick in the NHL for good.

For the last five weeks, the speedy Bailey, 21, has enjoyed regular duty, playing 19 straight games. Some contests the Williamsville native has skated on a top line.

“It’s a really big one,” Sabres coach Dan ... 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

Kyle Okposo (21) hurt his ribs Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo week-to-week; Nick Deslauriers moves into lineup

BUFFALO – With leading scorer Kyle Okposo week-to-week after hurting his ribs, instead of recalling a forward, the Sabres will dress Nick Deslauriers for tonight’s tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Deslauriers, a healthy scratch the last four games, has zero points this season. Okposo has 19 goals and 43 points.

The Sabres can’t exactly fill Okposo’s void.

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said Okposo has the same injury winger Evander Kane suffered opening night, meaning ... 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

Dan Bylsma talks during Wednesday's practice. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Tim Murray: Awful road trip players’ fault

BUFFALO – Despite a loss in their final outing before last week’s bye, the Sabres entered the short break playing perhaps their best hockey all season. For the first time in years, the playoffs, while still a long shot, felt like a possibility.

Then the schedule resumed with road games against Colorado and Arizona, the NHL’s two worst teams.

“We go out west and we just can’t play, and that’s to me squarely on ... Read the full article

Evander Kane skates today. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Trade deadline looms for Sabres

BUFFALO – Some trade deadline practice notes from KeyBank Center, where the media is gathered in the press room with a television tuned, of course, to TSN:

– Sporting some new lines, the Sabres practiced around 45 minutes today. Naturally, the looming deadline was felt a bit.

“A little of that lingers with an impending 3 o’clock deadline,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. “But treat the situations and the players like they’re going to be ... Read the full article