Phil Housley won 25 games as a rookie coach. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: GM Jason Botterill supports coach Phil Housley

BUFFALO – It’s unlikely legendary coaches Toe Blake or Scotty Bowman could’ve done much with the Sabres this season. A dearth of talent helped them finish 31st overall.

Still, following such a miserable campaign, the question had to be asked: will Phil Housley be general manager Jason Botterill’s coach again next season?

“One-hundred percent Phil Housley will be our coach next year,” Botterill said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center. “I have certainly enjoyed working with Phil ... Read the full article

Jason Botterill isn't used to losing. ©2018, Hickling Images

Awful season leaves Sabres GM Jason Botterill seething

BUFFALO – Jason Botterill is usually measured in his comments, keeping his emotions in check. But discussing the Sabres’ wretched 31st-place finish made the rookie general manager seethe.

The Sabres hired Botterill from Pittsburgh, where he won three Stanley Cups in 10 seasons and never missed the playoffs.

So a lost season in which the Sabres won 25 games and earned a meager 62 points is humbling for Botterill.... Read the full article

Despite a hot stretch during the winter, Chad Johnson ended this season with some weak statistics. ©2018, Hickling Images

Goalie Chad Johnson’s second stint with Sabres went poorly

BUFFALO – If Chad Johnson had known the Sabres would struggle so much this season, the goalie likely would’ve looked for work elsewhere.

“I wouldn’t have put my career in a situation like that after having a lot of success and doing well,” Johnson said Monday as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and held exit interviews inside KeyBank Center.

Thanks to two strong seasons, Johnson, 31, enjoyed some options during free agency last summer. ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly wants to improve his mental toughness. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ constant losing sapped Ryan O’Reilly’s love for hockey

BUFFALO – Constant losing over three seasons has taken such a large toll on Ryan O’Reilly the center said he lost his love for hockey at times as the Sabres trudged to the NHL’s worst record this season.

Yes, you read that correctly. O’Reilly made the stunning comment Monday morning as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and held exit interviews following their wretched 31st-place finish.

To O’Reilly, the Sabres are “stuck in this mindset ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel knows the Sabres must change. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Jack Eichel illustrates maturity discussing Sabres’ awful season

BUFFALO – A year ago, frustration overwhelmed Jack Eichel as he talked about the Sabres’ awful season. The center looked restless, staring off into the distance while offering mostly terse answers.

Basically, Eichel came off as immature.

This morning, however, Eichel, 21, acted like a leader discussing the Sabres’ 31st-place finish, a season much worse than a year ago. He answered every question thoughtfully, even passionately. He looked every questioner in the eye.... Read the full article

Robin Lehner played 53 games this season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Goalie Robin Lehner won’t make Sabres’ final road trip

BUFFALO – Injured goalie Robin Lehner won’t accompany the Sabres on their season-ending two-game trip to Florida, according to the team.

Lehner has an expiring contract and was acquired by the team’s old regime, meaning his Sabres career could be over. A lower-body injury has sidelined him the last three contests.

In 53 games this season, Lehner went 14-26-9 with a 3.01 goal-against average and a .908 save percentage.... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander played his fifth NHL game Thursday. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Productive stretch earns Alexander Nylander recall to Sabres

BUFFALO – Four or five months ago, it appeared slick Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander’s second pro season would be a dud.

In rookie camp, Nylander suffered a lower-body injury, costing him more than two months. The former eighth overall pick struggled following his season debut in mid-November, mustering only one goal and four points in his first 12 AHL outings.

But Nylander, 20, started turning a miserable campaign around early in the winter. The winger ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander has turned around his season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Physicality helped Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander earn recall

BUFFALO – Four or five months ago, it appeared slick Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander’s second pro season would be a dud.

In rookie camp, Nylander suffered a lower-body injury, costing him more than two months. The former eighth overall pick struggled following his season debut in mid-November, mustering only one goal and four points in his first 12 AHL outings.

But Nylander, 20, started turning a miserable campaign around early in the winter. The winger ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) battles Montreal's Nick Deslauriers on March 23. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Sam Reinhart never doubted talents in tough times

TORONTO – In the toughest days of his season, as Sam Reinhart endured goal droughts of 10 and 15 games, the Buffalo Sabres winger said he never changed a thing.

Reinhart, 22, kept preparing the same way each day. Thirty-eight games into his third NHL season, he had mustered only five goals and 11 points.

But Reinhart trusted his approach would pay dividends.... Read the full article

This is Adam Wilcox's third trip to the NHL. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Recall to Sabres special for goalie Adam Wilcox: ‘It’s just really cool’

BUFFALO – Early in goalie Adam Wilcox’s childhood, the NHL hadn’t returned to Minnesota yet. So the South St. Paul resident began cheering for legendary goalie Dominik Hasek and, ironically, the Sabres.

“Minnesota didn’t have a team, so I always rooted for Hasek and the Sabres,” the loquacious Wilcox said Friday after the Sabres recalled him from the AHL.

Wilcox, 25, couldn’t stop smiling during his short chat with the media. He said his third ... Read the full article