Evan Rodrigues tries to pry the puck from Washington goalie Philipp Grubauer last season. The Capitals visit Buffalo once next season. ©2018, Hickling Images

2018-19 Sabres schedule features early home stand, long January break

DALLAS – A season-opening four-game home stand, a 10-day January break and a Feb. 23 visit from superstar Alex Ovechkin and the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals are among the highlights of the 2018-19 Buffalo Sabres schedule the NHL released Thursday.

The Sabres open Oct. 4 against the Boston Bruins and stay at KeyBank Center until Oct. 11. Then they begin a season-long five-game road trip Oct. 13 in Arizona, also visiting Vegas, San Jose, ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark was a sixth-round pick in 2012. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ inability to find steals in NHL Draft contributed to demise

BUFFALO – Nine years ago, the Sabres, whose knack for unearthing mid- and late-round draft gems helped them morph into a Stanley Cup contender earlier in the decade, found another undervalued youngster.

When the Sabres selected Marcus Foligno in the fourth round, 104th overall, he was simply a talented kid with a familiar name.

But the son of former Sabres captain Mike Foligno would quickly develop into one of junior hockey’s top forward prospects.... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen always plays big minutes. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen only knows losing at NHL level

BUFFALO – Rasmus Ristolainen normally offers little insight. Whether the defenseman’s talking about himself or the Sabres, his answers are short and, well, pretty bland.

But after the Sabres completed another miserable season earlier this month, Ristolainen, 23, opened up a bit and talked about how the constant losing he has experienced has taken its toll on him.... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander played his fifth NHL game Thursday. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Productive stretch earns Alexander Nylander recall to Sabres

BUFFALO – Four or five months ago, it appeared slick Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander’s second pro season would be a dud.

In rookie camp, Nylander suffered a lower-body injury, costing him more than two months. The former eighth overall pick struggled following his season debut in mid-November, mustering only one goal and four points in his first 12 AHL outings.

But Nylander, 20, started turning a miserable campaign around early in the winter. The winger ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel hadn't scored a goal since Feb. 8. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel scores twice as Sabres end Maple Leafs’ home winning streak

TORONTO – By Jack Eichel’s standards, he hadn’t scored in an eternity.

Thanks to the Buffalo Sabres center’s short slump and a high ankle sprain that cost him 15 games, he went 46 days and six games without scoring before his nifty two-goal effort in Monday’s 3-2 come-from-behind victory.

“I hadn’t scored in a month and a half, it’s not a little bit,” Eichel said after the Sabres ended the Maple Leafs’ 13-game home winning ... Read the full article

Nathan Beaulieu (82) shadows Toronto's Zach Hyman on March 15. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nathan Beaulieu to sit out against Canadiens

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is a “little sore” and will miss tonight’s tilt against his old team, the Montreal Canadiens, coach Phil Housley said.

But if Beaulieu, 25, hadn’t taken a puck to his upper body last game, he would still be scratched.

“He was not playing in this game tonight,” Housley said this morning.

Defenseman Josh Gorges, a Canadiens regular for eight seasons, will return tonight. Gorges, 33, has sat out ... Read the full article

Scott Wilson has been skating on a scoring line. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Scott Wilson wants to showcase offense

BUFFALO – A year ago, Sabres winger Scott Wilson compiled eight goals and 26 points in 78 games often skating short minutes on one of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ bottom lines.

The numbers, of course, don’t exactly wow you. But in a low-scoring era, most fourth-liners don’t push 10 goals or 30 points.

So what could the speedy Wilson do if, say, he earned more ice time on a scoring line?

In recent weeks, Sabres coach ... Read the full article

Nashville's P.K. Subban (76) hounds Justin Bailey on Monday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres to move Justin Bailey beside Jack Eichel against Coyotes

BUFFALO – These final weeks of another forgettable Sabres season are about playing for pride and experimenting. So even when things go well, coach Phil Housley might try something new.

For example, over the last two games, the line of Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste and Evan Rodrigues showcased its chemistry and speed. But tonight against the Arizona Coyotes, Bailey will skate at left wing beside top center Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo.... Read the full article

Ryan Ellis considred Phil Housley more of a friend than a coach. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Predators’ Ryan Ellis grew close to Phil Housley

BUFFALO – In good times or bad, on or off the ice, Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis could always turn to Sabres coach Phil Housley.

“He was always kind of there,” Ellis said prior to Monday’s 4-0 win against the Sabres, Housley’s first meeting against his old team. “He was like the calming influence.”

Ellis, 27, morphed into one of the NHL’s highest-scoring defensemen over Housley’s four years as an assistant coach in Nashville. ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has missed three games. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo ready to return from concussion

BUFFALO – All signs point to Sabres winger Kyle Okposo returning from a concussion for Monday’s home tilt against the Nashville Predators.

“I would think so,” a smiling Okposo said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I practiced with a line, practiced on the power play.”

Still, Okposo, who said he has been cleared to play, wouldn’t officially say he’s back.... Read the full article