Phil Housley knows the Hajt family well. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hire Chris Hajt as assistant coach

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ newest assistant coach has a familiar name. Chris Hajt has been named to coach Phil Housley’s staff, the team announced today.

The Buffalo-raised Hajt is the son of Sabres Hall of Famer Bill Hajt, one of greatest defensemen in franchise history.

The younger Hajt, 39, spent the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliates, the Ontario Reign and Manchester Monarchs, winning a Calder Cup in 2015 Hajt ... Read the full article

Phil Housley likes Marco Scandella's talents. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Phil Housley likes defense, plans to lean on Marco Scandella

BUFFALO – In a two-week span last month, general manager Jason Botterill addressed the Sabres’ most glaring weakness by acquiring defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Marco Scandella.

Is either player elite? Hardly. Still, as puck-moving defenders, Beaulieu and Scandella offer talents the Sabres sorely lacked last season and add some much-needed depth.... Read the full article

Sean Malone played one NHL game last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Sean Malone healthy, ready for pro hockey

BUFFALO – Before Sabres prospect Sean Malone knew it, his short taste of the NHL, the finishing touch on his whirlwind season, was over.

On April 6, the West Seneca native played his 115th and final game with Harvard, a 2-1 loss to Minnesota Duluth in the semifinal of the NCAA Tournament. Two days later, Malone debuted with the Sabres, skating 12 minutes, 12 seconds in their 3-0 road loss to the Florida Panthers.... Read the full article

Brendan Guhle is the Sabres' top defense prospect. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Brendan Guhle, other Sabres prospects must prove themselves

BUFFALO – As Brendan Guhle watched the Nashville Predators’ recent run to the Stanley Cup final, the Sabres prospect developed an appreciation for their dynamic defense corps, a group coached by Phil Housley.

So when the Sabres named Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman, head coach June 15, Guhle said he was “pretty excited.”... Read the full article

Davis Payne most recently spent time with Los Angeles. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hire Davis Payne as associate coach

BUFFALO – The Sabres have hired Davis Payne as the associate coach on new head coach Phil Housley’s staff, the team announced today.

In Payne, Housley, who has never been an NHL head coach, has a top assistant with NHL head coaching experience. Payne led the St. Louis Blues over three seasons from 2009 to 2011.

The 46-year-old most recently served as an assistant with the Los Angeles Kings for five seasons, winning a Stanley ... Read the full article

Benoit Pouliot was a low-risk, high-reward option. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres offer Benoit Pouliot fresh chance

BUFFALO – Benoit Pouliot’s 11th NHL season quickly became his worst. On an upstart Edmonton Oilers team featuring superstar Connor McDavid and loads of other young talent, the veteran winger morphed into a weak link.

The struggles started early in 2016-17 for Pouliot, who signed a one-year, $1.15 million contract with the Sabres on Saturday. On Oct. 16, following one too many penalties, coach Todd McLellan benched him for the final 40 minutes of Edmonton’s ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson (31) played 45 games with the Sabres in 2015-16. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson has ‘unfinished business’ in Buffalo

BUFFALO – Some of the faces familiar to Sabres goalie Chad Johnson are gone. Tim Murray, the general manager who originally acquired him, has been fired. So has Dan Bylsma, the coach who played him regularly two seasons ago.

Still, Johnson, who signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract to return after free agency opened today, feels a certain comfort in Buffalo and believes he has “unfinished business” to make the Sabres a playoff team.... Read the full article

Marco Scandella can move the puck. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres add missing defense piece in Marco Scandella

BUFFALO – NHL general managers, the Sabres’ Jason Botterill said, are “very greedy.”

“You always want to have more defense out there,” Botterill said Friday after after acquiring defenseman Marco Scandella and bringing back former captain Jason Pominville from the Minnesota Wild for wingers Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno.... Read the full article

Dave Andreychuk started his Sabres career in 1982. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres great Dave Andreychuk honored by Hall of Fame election

Dave Andreychuk, of course, knew it was the day. Even though the Hockey Hall of Fame had passed him over in his first nine years of eligibility, the Buffalo Sabres legend still paid attention to the annual vote.

So Monday, as Andreychuk was driving to the Tampa Bay airport to pick up his wife, Susan, who was returning from Buffalo, he noticed someone from 416, Toronto’s area code, was calling him.

“My heart started to ... Read the full article

Jason Botterill had to run a draft with scouts he barely knows. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill comfortable with scouts for NHL Draft

CHICAGO – When Jason Botterill was named Buffalo Sabres general manager May 11, he entered what he called a “different situation.”

The Sabres also fired amateur scouting director Greg Royce with GM Tim Murray on April 20. Botterill inherited Jeff Crisp, the team’s head amateur scout, and Murray’s old scouts.

So Botterill only had six weeks to prepare for the NHL Draft with Crisp and his new staff, not exactly ideal.... Read the full article