William Carrier was one of the Sabres' biggest surprises last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres leave big salaries unprotected for expansion draft

BUFFALO – As expected, the Sabres have left underachieving, high-priced veterans Zach Bogosian and Matt Moulson unprotected for Wednesday’s NHL Expansion Draft.

But they also left winger William Carrier, perhaps the Sabres’ biggest surprise as a rookie last season, unprotected for the Vegas Golden Knights, according to a list the league released this morning. Could that move be a side deal general manager Jason Botterill worked out with counterpart George McPhee to lay off ... Read the full article

Craig Button believes the Sabres have plenty of assets. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Analyst: Sabres’ next GM entering ‘promising’ gig

BUFFALO – Despite inheriting a last-place club, the Sabres’ next general manager will also be entering a “promising” job, said former NHL GM Craig Button.

Why? The Sabres already possess two cornerstones at critical positions.

“When you start with (center) Jack Eichel and you’ve got a (defenseman like) Rasmus Ristolainen, you’ve got the framework for something to really move significantly ahead with,” said Button, the Calgary Flames’ GM for three years in the early ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe has been one of the Sabres' best defensemen all season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jake McCabe on benching: ‘I’m not going to lose sleep over it’

BUFFALO – On Wednesday, the same night the Sabres honored Jake McCabe as their Unsung Hero, coach Dan Bylsma scratched the defenseman because of some recent gaffes.

McCabe has morphed into a top contributor this season, skating almost 21 minutes a night, sometimes on the first pair. So getting benched, even after a poor stretch, was a bit surprising.

“I’m not going to lose sleep over it,” a curt McCabe said this morning inside HarborCenter. ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly (90) believes everyone needs to be better. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly sick of losing: ‘It’s getting exhausting’

BUFFALO – At this point, as the Sabres stumble at the end of another disappointing season, frustration has started overwhelming Ryan O’Reilly.

O’Reilly, 26, has experienced enough losing. The popular center passionately called out himself and his teammates to be better during a brutally honest chat with the media prior to Wednesday’s home finale against the Montreal Canadiens, a 2-1 win.

“I’m sick of losing,” O’Reilly said inside KeyBank Center. “It’s getting exhausting and ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe has been a strong performer most of the season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres to scratch Jake McCabe against Canadiens

BUFFALO – For almost six months, defenseman Jake McCabe was one of the Sabres’ steadiest players, showcasing consistency the team’s blue line sorely needed. But the Wisconsin native has morphed into a gaffe machine in the last week, committing a string of costly turnovers.

So McCabe, 23, will be a healthy scratch for the first time all season in tonight’s home finale against the Montreal Canadiens at KeyBank Center.

“He’s made a few gaffes with ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner believes Buffalo deserves a winner. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres grateful for fans’ rabid support

BUFFALO – Instead of securing that long-awaited playoff spot, the Sabres have stumbled, even regressed this season, again cementing their status as one of the NHL’s bottom-feeders.

This was, of course, supposed to be the year the drought ended. The Sabres would earn their first postseason berth since 2011. The tank, the years of suffering would finally pay dividends, right?

Well, it hasn’t worked out for the Sabres, who have three games left this season, ... 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

Sam Reinhart sat out all of Tuesday's loss. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Sam Reinhart says misread text led to benching

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Sam Reinhart said a “mistake” – he misread a text and missed a team stretch – caused him to get benched for Tuesday’s 3-1 loss in Columbus.

“It was 10:30, I thought it was 11,” Reinhart said this afternoon following practice inside KeyBank Center. “I was just sitting in my bed waiting to go down for breakfast.”

Reinhart, 21, said Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe eventually called him and he was five ... Read the full article

Brady Austin spent three seasons in the AHL before his first NHL game. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Brady Austin impressive in first NHL action

BUFFALO – Brady Austin knew his first recall could be imminent. Most minors leaguers, whether they admit it or not, pay attention to the parent club. The defenseman heard about the injuries to the Sabres’ injury-ravaged blue line.

Still, Austin didn’t want to become too excited.

“You don’t want to get your hopes up in case you don’t get the call,” Austin said Tuesday prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins inside ... 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