Auston Matthews is one of Toronto's young stars. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres, Maple Leafs could become fierce rivals again

BUFFALO – Ask any Sabres player or fan to name the team’s biggest rival, and they would likely peg the Toronto Maple Leafs, tonight’s opponent at KeyBank Center.

Without any recent playoff series – the Sabres haven’t made the postseason since 2011 – or high-stakes regular-season meetings to ramp up intensity and generate hatred, the Sabres don’t exactly have a lot of opponents they detest these days.

The Leafs, their closest opponent at just 100 ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson has one assist this season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Tage Thompson happy with Sabres’ plan

BUFFALO – Having grown up with a father who played pro hockey, Sabres winger Tage Thompson has a unique understanding of the dues-paying process that accompanies developing into an NHL player.

Before Thompson’s father, Brent, began his coaching career, he played 121 NHL games as a defenseman in the 1990s, mostly with the Los Angeles Kings.

Brent, like his son, shuttled between the big leagues and the minors as a youngster and probably sat out ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart moved to the top line Saturday afternoon. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ line changes create balance

BUFFALO – By now, after 99 games as Sabres coach, Phil Housley knows his group well enough he’s confident making line changes.

Three weeks ago, when Housley put wingers Jeff Skinner and Jason Pominville beside top center Jack Eichel, the Sabres went on a tear. The line quickly morphed into one of the NHL’s best.

“It’s definitely an experience with the group and how they play and … realizing when they are going, to ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville expected a better season for the Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres lose to Senators in home finale, clinch 31st place

BUFFALO – Jason Pominville looked stunned. Mercifully, the Sabres closed out their home schedule Wednesday, and the finality of the most disappointing season in franchise history hit the veteran winger hard.

“I don’t think anyone really coming in envisioned this,” Pominville said after a 4-2 loss to the hapless Ottawa Senators secured the Sabres 31st place. “Certainly not myself, being on the outside coming in and hoping we’d be headed in the right direction.

“And ... Read the full article

This is Adam Wilcox's third trip to the NHL. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Recall to Sabres special for goalie Adam Wilcox: ‘It’s just really cool’

BUFFALO – Early in goalie Adam Wilcox’s childhood, the NHL hadn’t returned to Minnesota yet. So the South St. Paul resident began cheering for legendary goalie Dominik Hasek and, ironically, the Sabres.

“Minnesota didn’t have a team, so I always rooted for Hasek and the Sabres,” the loquacious Wilcox said Friday after the Sabres recalled him from the AHL.

Wilcox, 25, couldn’t stop smiling during his short chat with the media. He said his third ... Read the full article

Adam Wilcox has sported a Sabres mask all season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Goalie Adam Wilcox grew up rooting for Dominik Hasek, Sabres

BUFFALO – Early in goalie Adam Wilcox’s childhood, the NHL hadn’t returned to Minnesota yet. So the South St. Paul resident began cheering for legendary goalie Dominik Hasek and, ironically, his newest team.

“Minnesota didn’t have a team, so I always rooted for Hasek and the Sabres,” the loquacious Wilcox said today after the Sabres recalled him from the AHL.

Wilcox, 25, spent time in the NHL last season, dressing as a backup five times ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner sported an old mask for a few minutes this morning. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner debuts different masks

BUFFALO – For a few moments this morning, Robin Lehner looked, well, a little scary. Instead of sporting his usual head protection at the beginning of practice, the Sabres goalie warmed up wearing a 1970s-style “Jason” mask and a winter hat.

Lehner took a few lights shots from goalie coach Andrew Allen, including one off the primitive mask.

“Old Buffalo mask, tried it on, I have a lot of respect for them,” Lehner said ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson pokes the puck away from Toronto's Nick Spaling on Oct. 21. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson rebounds nicely; Jack Eichel ready for Sidney Crosby

PITTSBURGH – Buffalo Sabres goalie Chad Johnson embraces a simple philosophy following poor outings: Don’t panic, just stick with it.

“I think when you start sitting down and being like, ‘OK, I got to change this, change that, get out here and do this,’ now you’re overthinking instead of saying it was one of those days,” Johnson said Wednesday inside the Consol Energy Center.

Johnson, 29, experienced one of those days Friday, looking shaky in ... Read the full article

Tom McCollum won his first NHL game Sunday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Goalie Tom McCollum’s career back on track with Red Wings

BUFFALO – Tom McCollum’s career was heading down the minor-league journeyman’s path, going nowhere fast.

Three years into professional hockey, the goalie was still shuttling between the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins and the ECHL Toledo Walleye. After his fourth season, the Detroit Red Wings declined to give him a two-way contract.

Instead, Detroit offered McCollum, the 30th pick in 2008, an AHL deal prior to the 2013-14 campaign. The Cambria native wasn’t even eligible ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth makes a stick save Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres lose to Red Wings, hit all-time low

BUFFALO – Not even watching legendary goalie Dominik Hasek, one of hockey’s all-time greats, have his No. 39 raised to the rafters could jumpstart the hapless Sabres, who have now lost a franchise-record eight consecutive games in regulation.

Right now, having dropped 12 of the last 13 contests, the Sabres are mired in perhaps the worst rut in their 44-year history.

The Sabres showcased more ugliness in Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat to Detroit Red Wings, getting ... Read the full article