Victor Antipin has been scratched two straight games. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie Victor Antipin learning NHL game

BUFFALO – Five years ago during the NHL lockout, Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly spent 12 games overseas with Magnitogorsk Metallurg, a Russian team in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Thanks to the work stoppage, the team featured a slew of notable NHL talents. In addition to O’Reilly, Metallurg also boasted Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and Mats Zuccarello.

They also had a 20-year-old rookie defenseman who caught O’Reilly’s eye.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel will face Sidney Crosby tonight in Pittsburgh. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres to face loaded Penguins lineup

BUFFALO – It’s no secret NHL teams field stronger preseason lineups at home, especially toward the end. So Sabres coach Phil Housley knew the Pittsburgh Penguins would dress better players tonight than the first time the teams met eight days ago.

“It’s getting toward the end, right?” Housley said this morning after the Sabres skated inside HarborCenter. “They’re trying to get their guys geared up. But at the same time, it puts us in a ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel could have a new deal soon. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill optimistic about Jack Eichel’s contract extension

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill spoke optimistically this morning about young star Jack Eichel signing a contract extension in the near future.

“Our conversations with Jack and the group have gone extremely well,” Botterill said inside HarborCenter following the close of development camp. “We’ll continue those throughout the summer here and stuff to see if we can find a common ground. From our standpoint, we certainly want to get something done, and from ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander is the Sabres' top prospect in Rochester. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill plans to make Rochester a priority

BUFFALO – Very quietly, general manager Jason Botterill played a key role in the development of the talent that once made the Sabres a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

Botterill played three seasons with the Rochester Americans, piling up goals while helping prospects like Paul Gaustad, Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek acclimate to the AHL and eventually graduate to the Sabres.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel wants the Sabres to play more aggresively. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres blow lead, lose late to Penguins

PITTSBURGH – For one period Sunday, everything went right for the Buffalo Sabres.

They jumped out to a seemingly commanding lead, scoring three times by the 18:07 mark. The Penguins, meanwhile, couldn’t beat Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson, who stopped all 13 first-period shots. One Penguins goal was called back following a review. They also hit a post.

Still, a 3-0 advantage hardly felt commanding.

The reeling Sabres have a penchant for blowing late leads. The ... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson has looked impressive this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson to start against Penguins

BUFFALO – Toward the end of the morning skate, backup goalie Anders Nilsson, not Robin Lehner, started skating to the Sabres bench.

Would Sabres coach Dan Bylsma really start his backup against the Pittsburgh Penguins over Lehner, his starter who has played 13 of the first 17 games?

After fiddling with his sticks at the bench for a few moments – it almost seemed like Nilsson was teasing everyone trying to see if he ... Read the full article

Pascal Dupuis (9) celebrates Ben Lovejoy's goal againt Sabres goalie Chad Johnson on Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres can’t complete comeback against Penguins

PITTSBURGH – A year or two ago, as the Buffalo Sabres rebuilt their lineup from the ground up, a game like their exciting 4-3 loss to the Penguins on Thursday would’ve turned into an utter annihilation.

But against a team that usually destroys them, the Sabres roared back from an early 2-0 deficit inside the Consol Energy Center, their personal house of horrors, tying it before the first period ended.

When the Penguins went up ... Read the full article

Dan Bylsma took over the Sabres on May 28. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Dan Bylsma knows return to Pittsburgh will be emotional

PITTSBURGH – There are no hard feelings, Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. For five and a half seasons, he enjoyed a heck of a ride leading the Penguins, winning a Stanley Cup just months after taking over the job in 2009.

That they let him twist in the wind at the end of another disappointing season, refusing to fire him for three weeks after letting general manager Ray Shero go, doesn’t matter.

“I don’t ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (right) played nine NHL games last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

History shows No. 2 pick will become special player for Sabres

SUNRISE, Fla. – Recent history says Jack Eichel, the mega-prospect the Buffalo Sabres will select second overall Friday at the NHL Draft, could become a franchise talent.

Just take a look at the list below.

It can be argued 15 of the last 16 No. 2 picks have been strong hits. The list includes 50-goal scorers, perennial NHL All-Stars and even future Hall of Famers. Only Sam Reinhart, a center the Sabres selected second a ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel had a lot of media interest Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Future Sabres pick Jack Eichel won’t apologize for possessing confidence

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel, of course, never expected his words would leak out. The superstar was simply expressing some confidence in his special abilities during pre-draft interviews this week.

Eichel told teams, including the Sabres, who will select the 18-year-old second overall on June 26, he plans on being a better player than Connor McDavid, arguably the biggest prospect in decade.

Was it cocky? Sure. But the slick Boston University center wasn’t taking a dig ... Read the full article