Goalie Carter Hutton could see plenty of action during the Sabres' home stand. ©2019, Hickling Images

Long home stand could make or break Sabres’ season

BUFFALO – For a struggling team that must rattle off wins if it hopes to snag a playoff spot for the first time since 2011, this is a gift. Starting tonight, the Sabres play their next seven games at home.

How rare is a seven-game home stand? It’s the longest in franchise history, tying a stretch from Jan. 20 to Feb. 2, 1997.

The Sabres’ season hinges on this 15-day stretch. Realistically, they need to ... Read the full article

Matt Hunwick hasn't played since Dec. 18. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Nathan Beaulieu, Matt Hunwick patiently waiting to play

BUFFALO – Doing extra work on and off the ice to stay sharp for your next opportunity is the easy part for healthy scratches.

“It’s not so much my body, my hands, my legs,” said Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, who has been scratched 12 out of the last 15 games. “It’s more the mental part of it. The game’s really fast. You step in the position you’re in, a lot is on the line, ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel joined his teammates again this morning. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jack Eichel snags memorabilia; Phil Housley unsure about defense

BUFFALO – Before Sabres captain Jack Eichel left the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose, he snagged some special memorabilia for his house.

In addition to having his game jersey signed by the entire Eastern Conference squad and a stick autographed by everyone in the game, the high-scoring center received an item he has coveted.

“I grabbed one of (Sidney) Crosby’s sticks,” Eichel said this afternoon inside KeyBank Center. “That was cool. I had been ... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian spent his break in the Cayman Islands. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres feel recharged after long break

BUFFALO – During the Sabres’ eight-day break, coach Phil Housley traveled home to Minnesota, where he visited his family and watched his son, Wilson, a rookie junior coach.

In the midst of a grueling 82-game season, getting away from the rink – the bye week went right into the NHL All-Star break – provided the struggling Sabres an opportunity to reset.

So Housley went up to Thief River Falls, about a five-hour drive from his ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has scored seven goals this season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres notes: Kyle Okposo showcasing more physicality

BUFFALO – Over the last week or two, Sabres winger Kyle Okposo has finally started showcasing signs of his old self, playing a heavier, straight-line game.

“He’s going to the net a lot better,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said prior to Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning inside KeyBank Center. “I think he’s attacking off the wing and he’s shooting a lot more.”

Not surprisingly, Okposo has started scoring a bit. After enduring ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has scored 28 goals this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Jack Eichel out against Panthers; Jeff Skinner needs votes

BUFFALO – Sabres captain Jack Eichel’s upper-body injury doesn’t appear to be serious.

Eichel, 22, missed Thursday’s 4-3 win against the Florida Panthers inside KeyBank Center and will also sit out Saturday’s road tilt against the Boston Bruins, Sabres coach Phil Housley said.

The slick center, who earned a spot in the NHL All-Star Game on Wednesday, will be reevaluated early next week, Housley said.

“It’s very encouraging,” Housley said of the news. “Obviously, Jack’s ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played two NHL games late in 2016-17. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: C.J. Smith earns recall from Amerks

BUFFALO – Late in the 2016-17 season, the Sabres rewarded C.J. Smith with two NHL games after the forward left UMass Lowell following his junior year.

Then Smith, 24, quietly began the next season in the AHL, where he morphed into a top scorer and an intriguing prospect with the Rochester Americans.

Still, the Sabres kept Smith in the AHL nearly a year and a half before finally summoning him prior to Monday’s 3-1 ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 13. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo enduring career-worst slump

BUFFALO – Kyle Okposo’s offensive slump has become startling.

The Sabres winger has a career-long 21-game goal drought entering tonight’s home tilt against the New York Islanders, his old team. The former NHL All-Star hasn’t even mustered an assist in the last 14 contests, the longest pointless stretch of his 12-year career.

Following a strong start, Okposo stopped producing around mid-November.

Incredibly, Okposo, who usually skates on the second line and power-play unit, is ... Read the full article

Scott Wilson broke his ankle late in training camp. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Scott Wilson nearing return from broken ankle

BUFFALO – Scott Wilson couldn’t even walk yet. Still, after breaking his right ankle, the Sabres winger wanted to enjoy some hockey-related activities.

So instead of staying idle, at about the four-week mark of his recovery, Wilson, 26, started going on the ice and shooting pucks … from a chair.

“As basic as you could think of it, that’s pretty much what it was,” Wilson said prior to Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Boston ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues (71) skates between Anaheim's Kiefer Sherwood (left) and Ryan Kelser (right) on Saturday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Randy Carlyle remembers Phil Housley’s talents

BUFFALO – Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle still remembers a skinny rookie named Phil Housley entering the NHL fresh out of high school in 1982.

“I can remember Phil coming here as an 18-year-old defenseman and looking and saying, ‘Holy crow, how’s this kid going to last?’”

Well, Housley lasted a long time, playing 21 seasons, including eight with the Sabres, in what would be a Hall of Fame career.

But 36 years ago, ... Read the full article