Ryan O'Reilly has just one assist this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres implode against Devils, still looking for first win

BUFFALO – Phil Housley played eight seasons here, so the rookie coach understands Sabres fans, win or lose, appreciate a strong effort.

To Housley, the surly crowd “had a right” to boo the winless Sabres throughout Monday afternoon’s wretched 6-2 defeat to the New Jersey Devils.

“If I was sitting in their shoes, I would’ve had maybe the same reaction,” said Housley, who called his team’s effort “unacceptable.”... Read the full article

Nathan Beaulieu has committed some costly turnovers. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres newcomer Nathan Beaulieu struggling early

BUFFALO – By the 12-minute mark of the second period, with the New Jersey Devils throttling the Sabres and a huge gaffe fresh in his mind, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu figured he better do something notable.

So the struggling newcomer, whose turnover minutes earlier created New Jersey’s fourth goal, fought Miles Wood, winning a quick and easy decision.

“I was obviously frustrated with the way it was going and just trying to find a spark,” Beaulieu ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson relieved Robin Lehner on Saturday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson to start against Devils

BUFFALO – Backup goalie Chad Johnson, who relieved Robin Lehner for the final 31 minutes of Saturday’s 6-3 road loss to the New York Islanders, will start this afternoon’s tilt against the New Jersey Devils.

“We looked at the schedule, we wanted to get him a game early, right away,” Housley said. “The plan was not to have Robin pulled so early in the second period. We felt Chad had a good outing.”

Johnson ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has zero points this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Struggling Sabres want details in game

BUFFALO – Fresh off a dreadful road loss, the 0-2 Sabres started Sunday’s practice, well, pretty poorly. About 10 minutes into the session, associate coach Davis Payne finally had enough of their shoddy execution.

Payne yelled, “Let’s get (expletive) sharp!” A few seconds later, Payne let loose again on the KeyBank Center ice, saying, “Let’s get it (expletive) going!”

“It’s getting back to the little details,” Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly said of Sunday’s theme. “That’s ... Read the full article

Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly skates away from Montreal's Tomas Plekanec on Thursday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres try to sharpen up after tough loss

BUFFALO – At 0-2, fresh off Saturday’s dreadful 6-3 road loss to the New York Islanders, the Sabres coaching staff hammered home some strong messages during this afternoon’s uptempo practice.

At one point inside KeyBank Center, associate coach Davis Payne yelled, “Let’s get (expletive) sharp!” A few seconds later, Payne let loose again, saying “Let’s get it (expletive) going!”... Read the full article

Jason Pominville played his first game with the Sabres since April 2, 2013 on Thursday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jason Pominville still producing offense at 34

BUFFALO – At first glance, it appears Sabres winger Jason Pominville has been declining since hitting the prestigious 30-goal mark four years ago.

Statistical drops are usually inevitable as players progress into their 30s, and Pominville, 34, has experienced one, failing to reach 20 goals or 60 points the last three seasons.

In his first eight NHL seasons of 70 or more games, Pominville averaged 26 goals and 64 points. In the last two campaigns, ... Read the full article

Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella skates away from Montreal's Tomas Plekanec on Thursday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres must build upon fast start

BUFFALO – For months, the talk surrounding the Sabres has been the fast, exciting brand of hockey they want to showcase under new coach Phil Housley.

Sure enough, after a slow start in Thursday’s season opener, they started blitzing the Canadiens, pumping 45 shots on goal in their exciting 3-2 shootout loss.

Yes, it’s just one game. Still, it was opening night. Not even a period into Housley era, his impact was noticeable.... Read the full article

Jason Pominvill scores his first-period goal against Montreal goalie Cary Price on Thursday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Jason Pominville stars in Sabres’ loss to Canadiens

BUFFALO – It was shaping up to be one of those special nights in Sabreland that would be remembered for years.

In Phil Housley’s coaching debut Thursday, the Sabres showcased the fast, exciting style the Hall of Fame defenseman has been implementing, pumping shot after shot on goal. Veteran winger Jason Pominville, the former fan favorite the Sabres recently brought back, scored a power-play goal early on, igniting the capacity crowd of 19,070 fans.... Read the full article

The Sabres named Jack Eichel an alternate captain Thursday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres want to spread leadership around

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill wasn’t kidding when he said he believes leadership is a collaborative effort.

Thursday morning, hours before their season opener, the Sabres named four alternate captains: defenseman Zach Bogosian and forwards Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly and Kyle Okposo.

Botterill said Wednesday the Sabres wouldn’t begin the season with a captain.... Read the full article

Josh Gorges (4) battles the New York Rangers' Jesper Fast last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Scratching Josh Gorges difficult for Sabres coach Phil Housley

BUFFALO – Scratching defenseman Josh Gorges, Sabres coach Phil Housley said, is “very difficult.” The veteran is a heart-and-soul player.

Gorges, 33, isn’t a slick puck-mover. He has carved out a strong 13-year career as a stay-at-home defender by showcasing grit and tenacity.

Housley, of course, wants his defense to drive possession and aggressively move up the ice. So Gorges will sit out tonight’s opener against the Montreal Canadiens, his old team. Gorges was ... Read the full article