Dan Bylmsa could have an ultimatum next season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Dan Bylsma, players take blame for Sabres’ poor season

BUFFALO – Two seasons removed from a deep rebuild, the Sabres never expected to be a Stanley Cup contender, coach Dan Bylsma said.

Still, they never thought they would rank among the NHL’s bottom-feeders again.

Instead of building off their 27-point improvement in 2015-16, they imploded down the stretch this season, finishing last in the Atlantic Division and missing the playoffs – their big goal – by a whopping 17 points.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel was the Sabres' leading scorer this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Disappointing season leaves Sabres’ Jack Eichel seething

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel looked like he would’ve rather been anywhere else. The Sabres center was restless throughout his six-minute chat with the media Monday, mostly giving terse statements and looking around as he stood at a podium.

Eichel, 20, isn’t handling the Sabres’ last-place finish in the Atlantic Division – they also ended 2016-17 an embarrassing 15th in the 16-team Eastern Conference – very well.

“It’s tough,” a seething Eichel said inside KeyBank Center ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (15) wasn't as good as Toronto's Auston Matthews on Monday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres implode early, lose to Maple Leafs

BUFFALO – For the opening 20 minutes of Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Sabres were downright awful in their worst display of hockey all season. The embarrassing period, punctuated by a disastrous 43-second stretch, could have dramatic repercussions.

There have been a lot of bad periods over the Sabres’ six-season playoff drought. It can be argued Monday’s was the worst.

The upstart Maple Leafs outclassed the sloppy Sabres early before the ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander has spent the entire season in the AHL. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall prospect Alexander Nylander from Amerks

BUFFALO – Top Sabres forward prospect Alexander Nylander, the eighth overall pick in 2016, could be recalled from the Rochester Americans and make his NHL debut in tonight’s tilt against his brother, William, and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Update: Nylander has been recalled.

Nylander, 19, was held out Sunday afternoon’s 2-1 road win against the Albany Devils. The Buffalo News reported the Sabres will summon the Swede from the AHL club.... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played his final NCAA game last week. ©2017, UMass Lowell

Rookie C.J. Smith contributes in Sabres’ loss to Islanders

BUFFALO – The play will be seared in Sabres rookie C.J. Smith’s memory the rest of his life.

Halfway through Smith’s NHL debut, Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders, the speedy winger grabbed Evander Kane’s pass just outside the blue line and zoomed into the zone on a two-on-one.

Smith then dished a backhand saucer pass to Kane, who beat goalie Jaroslav Halak for his team-leading 27th goal. Just 10:08 into his ... Read the full article

Evander Kane celebrates his first-period goal Saturday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres silence Toronto fans, beat Maple Leafs

BUFFALO – The 11,000 or so Toronto Maple Leafs fans who invaded a packed KeyBank Center on Saturday – they greatly outnumbered the home portion – started making their presence known about 20 minutes before the opening faceoff of the Sabres’ entertaining 5-2 win.

This visit from the upstart Leafs was different than recent ones throughout their sorry run of futility. For the first time in a long time, Toronto is good, filled with prime ... Read the full article

Nick Deslauriers has a two-game point streak. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Deslauriers finally playing, contributing

BUFFALO – When Sabres coach Dan Bylsma charged Nick Deslauriers with creating some energy, the gritty winger’s first instinct, of course, was to fight.

But these days, those opportunities are scarce. Deslauriers has only fought four times this season. He certainly wasn’t going to find one enjoying a rare shift on the first line with the listless Sabres down three goals Saturday.

“I would’ve loved to get a fight there, but I don’t think ... Read the full article

Evander Kane (9) tries to stuff the puck past Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo on Saturday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres roar back from early deficit, beat Blue Jackets

BUFFALO – As if the season-killing streak the Sabres have recently endured wasn’t bad enough, it looked like they might hit rock bottom again Saturday.

Early on, the upstart Columbus Blue Jackets simply outclassed the Sabres, opening a 3-0 first-period lead.

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson, so good at home this season, performed terribly for 20 minutes. Defenseman Jake McCabe, one of the steadiest Sabres all season, struggled through perhaps the worst period of ... Read the full article

Justin Bailey has played 19 straight games. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Justin Bailey has opportunity to stay

BUFFALO – Right now, thanks to his torrid goal-scoring run in the AHL and some injuries with the big club, Sabres winger Justin Bailey has the best opportunity of his young career to stick in the NHL for good.

For the last five weeks, the speedy Bailey, 21, has enjoyed regular duty, playing 19 straight games. Some contests the Williamsville native has skated on a top line.

“It’s a really big one,” Sabres coach Dan ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (center), Jake McCabe and Evander Kane didn't celebrate much after Eichel's second goal. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Flyers throttle Sabres: ‘We weren’t ready to play’

BUFFALO – It’s happening. Less than two years into his career, center Jack Eichel, the ultra-talented youngster the Sabres gave up an entire season to draft, is morphing into an offensive superstar.

Eichel, 20, is on fire. Since Feb. 1, Eichel leads the NHL with 24 points. With two goals and three more points Tuesday, he extended his career-long point streak to 11 games. The youngster now has 101 NHL points in just 127 ... Read the full article