Benoit Pouliot scores his first-period goal aganst Boston goalie Anton Khudobin on Sunday afternoon. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres beat up Bruins with trade deadline looming

BUFFALO – Kyle Okposo is a self-proclaimed “hockey nerd,” so the Sabres winger plans to follow today’s trade activity closely until the 3 p.m. deadline.

“I’ll be probably looking at stuff most of the day,” Okposo said following Sunday afternoon’s 4-1 win against the Boston Bruins before 18,522 fans inside KeyBank Center. “It’s an exciting day for the league.”

While deadline day is always highly anticipated by fans, most players dread it. The hours leading ... Read the full article

Evander Kane also sat out Saturday's game. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres to sit Evander Kane again; Chad Johnson to start against Bruins

BUFFALO – As expected, Sabres winger Evander Kane, who will almost certainly be traded before Monday’s 3 pm deadline, will sit out this afternoon’s tilt against the Boston Bruins.

The Sabres, of course, don’t want to risk injury to their most valuable trade asset. Kane also was scratched for Saturday’s 5-1 loss in Washington.

Goalie Chad Johnson will start, so does that mean the Sabres have something brewing with starting netminder Robin Lehner, ... Read the full article

Evander Kane will almost certainly be traded. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Anything could be on table for Sabres at trade deadline

BUFFALO – Jason Botterill has never experienced a trade deadline like this one. Prior to joining the Sabres, the rookie general manager spent 10 seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ front office, winning three Stanley Cups.

The Penguins contended for the Cup every season of Botterill’s tenure, meaning they loaded up for a long playoff run, dealing prospects and draft picks for talent that could help them immediately.... Read the full article

Evander Kane (9) tries to squeeze through Washington's Alex Ovechkin (8) and Matt Niskanen on Monday afternoon. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres fall to Capitals after late surge

BUFFALO – With 26 seconds left in Monday afternoon’s 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals and the Sabres readying for one last rush with goalie Chad Johnson pulled, Rasmus Ristolainen tried leaving a drop pass for Evan Rodrigues.

Ristolainen, however, fanned and Rodrigues overskated the puck, allowing Evgeny Kuznetsov to score an easy empty-net goal.

With the Sabres’ third straight loss cemented, Ristolainen lost his cool, swinging his stick into the corner boards – it ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo (21) skates away from Calgary's Troy Brouwer last season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo piling up points

BUFFALO – Late in Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss, Sabres defenseman Casey Nelson stymied a rush and quickly dished the puck up to winger Kyle Okposo.

Okposo then zoomed through the neutral zone and into the high slot when he noticed center Evan Rodrigues streaking down the right wing.

“I saw that their D was kind of shading over toward (Evander Kane), so I just tried to take the middle,” Okposo explained Friday. “I was ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson has zero home wins this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson to start against Lightning

BUFFALO – Against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the NHL’s top team, you figure the Sabres would start No. 1 goalie Robin Lehner, who has played 42 times this season.

But Lehner, fresh off Sunday’s 5-4 home loss to Colorado, will sit tonight for backup Chad Johnson.

Why start Johnson, who has just three wins and zero at home?... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly stepped up in Jack Eichel's absence. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres struggle in first game without Jack Eichel, lose to Avalache

BUFFALO – The Sabres can soften Jack Eichel’s loss, of course, if some of their other top players – think Ryan O’Reilly and Rasmus Ristolainen – step up and seize additional opportunities in his absence.

If they don’t, what could happen without Eichel, their most dynamic presence and leading scorer? They won only 16 of their first 55 games with Eichel, who’s sidelined indefinitely after suffering a high right ankle sprain Saturday.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has been the Sabres' MVP this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel’s absence will hurt Sabres

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel’s high right ankle sprain, an injury that will sideline the Sabres center indefinitely, hit the young star in the midst of a career-best stretch.

Eichel went on a tear beginning Dec. 1, morphing into one of the NHL’s most lethal scoring threats. His 15 goals and 34 points in 30 games since then both rank ninth overall.

The Sabres stand 30th in a 31-team league and have scored the second-fewest goals. ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe (left) muscles past Boston's Noel Acciari on Dec. 19. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Thumb surgery to sideline Sabres’ Jake McCabe weeks

BUFFALO – With Jake McCabe out three to four weeks after undergoing thumb surgery today and Rasmus Ristolainen struggling, the Sabres’ defense corps will look much different tonight against the New York Islanders.

Casey Nelson, a recent recall quickly earning coach Phil Housley’s trust, will play with Marco Scandella, Ristolainen’s partner much of the season on the No. 1 pair. Ristolainen, meanwhile, will move back and skate with Nathan Beaulieu.... Read the full article

Robin Lehner watches the puck through snow Jan. 30. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner could be attractive option for contender

BUFFALO – Forget about struggling winger Evander Kane, the asset that could fetch the Sabres the greatest return before the upcoming trade deadline is goalie Robin Lehner.

Kane has been struggling for months, producing just four goals over a 32-game span, including zero in the past 13 contests. His value has dropped dramatically.

Lehner, meanwhile, has been tending some strong goal for the hapless Sabres, who have lost four straight home games. In ... Read the full article