Sam Reinhart (23) battles Dallas' Jiri Hudler on Jan. 16. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres emerge from break focused on playoffs

In eight years in the NHL, Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane said he has never seen the standings so crunched barely halfway through the season.

Following the three-day NHL All-Star break, the Sabres start the stretch run tonight at the Montreal Canadiens in seventh place, tied with the Detroit Red Wings for the fewest points in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

Still, with 49 points through 48 games, the Sabres, who have three contests ... Read the full article

Evander Kane zooms in on a first-period breakaway. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres lose opener to Canadiens, Evander Kane to injury

BUFFALO – If Thursday’s dispirited 4-1 opening-night loss to the Montreal Canadiens turns out to be a harbinger for the 2016-17 season, well, the Sabres could be in for a long six months.

In addition to an ugly setback to their Atlantic Division rival, first-line winger Evander Kane was taken to the hospital after he slid on his back and crashed his left side hard into the end boards following contact from Alexei Emelin late ... Read the full article

Tim Murray smiles Thursday after signing a contract extension. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel could miss 6-8 weeks; GM Tim Murray signs contract extension

BUFFALO – In Ottawa, top pick Auston Matthews compiled the greatest debut in modern NHL history, scoring an eye-popping four goals for Toronto. In Edmonton, the slick Connor McDavid enjoyed a dynamic season opener, scoring two goals and three points.

Hours before Jack Eichel’s contemporaries began the 2016-17 season in grand fashion Wednesday, the young Sabres star sustained a high left ankle sprain late in practice.

Eichel, 19, watched Thursday’s 4-1 season-opening loss to the ... Read the full article

Hudson Fasching played seven NHL games last season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Attention to details helped Hudson Fasching make Sabres

BUFFALO – Seven months removed from college, Sabres rookie Hudson Fasching has already grasped the complexities of the NHL that often overwhelm neophytes.

Fasching, 21, pays attention to the details of hockey.

That’s why Fasching, a strong prospect many had ticketed for the AHL early on, earned a spot in the Sabres’ opening-night lineup tonight against the Montreal Canadiens.

“That would be a big factor in it,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said this morning. “Every ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel will miss "weeks." ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel has ‘moderate’ ankle sprain; Ryan O’Reilly ready for opener

BUFFALO – The scary high ankle sprain center Jack Eichel suffered when his left leg buckled Wednesday is “moderate,” coach Dan Bylsma said this morning.

Still, Bylsma said Eichel, 19, will be sidelined “more weeks than days at this point.” He didn’t give a firmer timeline.

Clearly, Eichel’s injury late in the final practice before tonight’s season opener against the Montreal Canadiens shocked the team. The young star, a popular teammate, is supposed to have ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel could miss a significant chunk of the season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel’s ankle injury rocks Sabres before season opener

BUFFALO – The loud thud center Jack Eichel made crashing to the ice broke through the din that accompanied the Sabres’ final preseason practice.

It was approaching 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, the eve of the season opener, and coach Dan Bylsma wanted another 10 minutes, maybe less, from his players before they showered and headed to the team’s annual kickoff luncheon.

Then, suddenly, Eichel’s left leg buckled after he lifted Zemgus Girgensons’ stick during a power ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen is the Sabres' top defenseman. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Rasmus Ristolainen happy to have contract done

BUFFALO – Rasmus Ristolainen said he trusted a new contract would be finished. Still, the Sabres defenseman wasn’t sure if his deal would be completed before tonight’s season opener.

“Thursday was coming pretty quick,” said Ristolainen, who signed a six-year, $32.4 million contract Tuesday, ending a brief holdout.

The Finn, 21, practiced Wednesday beside new partner Dmitry Kulikov as the Sabres prepared for the Montreal Canadiens inside KeyBank Center.

Ristolainen briefly left the Sabres earlier ... Read the full article

Captain Brian Gionta's Sabres open against Montreal. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ home opener set for Oct. 13

BUFFALO – The Sabres will open their 2016-17 home schedule Oct. 13 against the Montreal Canadiens, the NHL announced this afternoon.

What about the rest of the slate? Well, you have to wait for it. It’s coming at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Stay tuned for more details.... Read the full article

Robin Lehner hits Montreal's Michael McCarron on Wednesday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres lose cool in overtime loss to Canadiens

BUFFALO – Thirty minutes before the Sabres’ feisty 3-2 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, goalies Robin Lehner and Ben Scrivens chatted amicably at center ice during pregame warm-ups.

But by about 9 p.m., as chaos enveloped his crease at the end of a penalty-filled second period, the fiery Sabres goalie wanted to see Scrivens, someone he called “a good guy off the ice,” again.

Seconds after Montreal’s Michael McCarron punched Lehner after ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner believes smaller equipment might help goalies. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Robin Lehner likes idea of smaller goalie equipment

BUFFALO – At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Robin Lehner’s the NHL’s biggest goalie.

Sure, a few are taller than the Sabres’ new starter. Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, for example, is 6-foot-7 but weighs 31 fewer pounds than his former AHL teammate.

Lehner, of course, looks huge in his net. But so do a lot of other goalies much smaller than the Swede.

“There’s guys out there that weigh 160 pounds (who are) not that tall ... Read the full article