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
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
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
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
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
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
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
BUFFALO – In his NHL career, Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu has fought 12 times, or an average of once every 23 games.
Speed and other skills, of course, helped Beaulieu reach the big leagues. Still, he believes fighting is a vital part of his repertoire.
“I’m a big believer in fighting in hockey,” Beaulieu said prior to recording an assist in Saturday afternoon’s 5-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. “I feel like there’s a place ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When Sabres winger Kyle Okposo suffered his second concussion in less than a year, his mind raced back to his frightening experience last season.
Last March, a concussion forced Okposo, 29, to be hospitalized in intensive care. So following his collision with Senators winger Bobby Ryan last week in Ottawa, he thought the worst.
“That kind of runs through your mind, ‘Oh no, I hope it doesn’t happen again,’ and, ‘Here we ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Before Evan Rodrigues suffered an upper-body injury Feb. 28, the Sabres forward was playing perhaps the best hockey of his three-year career.
Less than a month after sitting out as a healthy scratch, he seemed to be putting everything together, showcasing speed, tenacity and the shot mentality Sabres coach Phil Housley constantly stresses.
In his last appearance prior to returning for Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Rodrigues scored and pumped ... Read the full article