Kyle Okposo is excited for his home debut. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres know they must improve at home

BUFFALO – It’s simple, really. If the Sabres have any hope of making the playoffs, they must become a strong home team, something they haven’t been in years.

The Sabres, who host the Minnesota Wild tonight at KeyBank Center, are 0-1 at home this season. They went 16-19-6 last season, when only two teams earned fewer home wins.

“It’s something we didn’t do last year and something we talked about doing this year, making this ... Read the full article

Josh Gorges said the Sabres got too fancy Tuesday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres already need to make up ground in standings

BUFFALO – To locate the Sabres’ current standing, look in a familiar place. Find the Atlantic Division and scan down, all the way to the bottom. There, in eighth place, you’ll spot the 1-2-2 club.

The Sabres are one of four NHL teams with just a single win and four points. Only one team, the Arizona Coyotes, has fewer points.

Yes, it’s early. The Sabres have 77 games left, starting with tonight’s home tilt against ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander has looked good so far in training camp. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Top Sabres pick Alexander Nylander to debut in preseason opener

BUFFALO – Some quick updates this morning from KeyBank Center, where the Sabres prepared for tonight’s preseason opener against the Minnesota Wild before flying to Penn State University:

– The Sabres will use a mix of veterans, youngsters and AHL players for the tilt at Pegula Ice Arena.

Eighth overall pick Alexander Nylander, whose early training camp play has impressed coach Dan Bylsma, will debut on the left wing beside center Cal O’Reilly and ... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson will likely be the Sabres' backup goalie this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson used Russian job to jumpstart NHL career

BUFFALO – Two years ago, frustrated by his limited opportunities, Sabres newcomer Anders Nilsson bolted North America for a gig tending goal for Ak Bars Kazan, a Russian team in the KHL.

The decision, of course, made Nilsson’s NHL future iffy. But after 23 appearances with the New York Islanders, the Swede said he felt “ready for the next step.” He wanted to develop at a high level, something a fourth straight season in the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (15) fends off Minnesota's Marco Scandella on Saturday afternoon. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres blow late lead, lose to Wild in shootout

BUFFALO – Finally, thanks to rookie Jack Eichel’s score, it appeared the Sabres’ first shootout goal in months would help them eke out a win after blowing a late lead against the Minnesota Wild.

Eichel, just 66 games into his career, already has a commanding on-ice presence. His exploits create excitement and momentum, and his first NHL shootout goal in four tries had the capacity crowd of 19,070 fans inside the First Niagara Center buzzing ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek has 18 goals this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres star Thomas Vanek excited about World Cup

BUFFALO – The upcoming World Cup of Hockey will be a much different international experience for veteran Thomas Vanek, a two-time 40-goal scorer with the Sabres.

Instead of hoping Austria can simply win a game to stay in the ‘A’ pool, the Minnesota Wild winger has a roster spot on Team Europe, a collection of top talent from seven countries.

“For me, it’s cool because actually I can go into one of those tournaments ... Read the full article

Nick Deslauriers loves to make teammates laugh. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Fun-loving Nick Deslauriers popular with Sabres teammates

BUFFALO – It’s only playful fighting, of course. Sometimes Nick Deslauriers and Marcus Foligno scrap on the ice after practice. Other times the Sabres wingers tussle for positioning on the bus.

“That’s normal,” a smiling Foligno said Friday. “We do that quite a bit. He annoys me quite a bit. I annoy him quite a bit. We go hand-in-hand.”

Their constant jousting earned them the nickname “Bash Brothers” from their teammates, Foligno said.

“We’re always ... Read the full article

Phil Varone has been a healthy scratch this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Phil Varone one of Amerks caught in veteran crunch

ROCHESTER – One of the oddest situations in the minors is unfolding with the AHL Americans, the Buffalo Sabres’ high-priced affiliate. The club has too many veterans, meaning some notable talent earning six figures has been forced to sit out to comply with league development rules.

The Amerks scratched Jerry D’Amigo and Patrick Kaleta, two forwards with 379 games of NHL experience, Friday. Forward Matt Ellis, an alternate captain less than a year removed ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson still hasn't played a regular-season game for the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson confident after tough season

BUFFALO – A season in which he morphed from arguably the NHL’s best backup goalie into one of its least reliable hasn’t shaken Sabres newcomer Chad Johnson’s confidence.

After all, Johnson, 29, landed another good gig prior to the March 2 trade deadline, getting dealt from the upstart New York Islanders to the rebuilding Sabres, who planned to play him regularly.

That was, of course, before Johnson suffered a season-ending ankle injury the morning of ... Read the full article

Chris Stewart joined Minnesota on Monday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres trade assets at deadline, weaken NHL’s worst roster

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ deals before Monday’s trade deadline stripped the NHL’s worst team of four assets. Gone are starting goalie Michal Neuvirth, first-line winger Chris Stewart and centers Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell, two checkers thrust into bigger roles thanks to the rebuilding team’s shortage of talent.

In return, the Sabres received, well, nothing very notable or of immediate help. Only one NHL player, backup goalie Chad Johnson, came back. They also added four ... Read the full article