Nikita Zadorov has endured a rough season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Avalanche NHL’s worst

BUFFALO – The ineptitude of some of the worst NHL teams this century – the 1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers and the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Sabres, for example – can easily be explained.

Yes, the Thrashers were terrible even by low expansion standards, earning only 39 points. But it was their first year. What can you expect?

The Sabres mustered 52 and 54 points because they fielded weak teams and sold off their best assets to secure ... Read the full article

Nick Deslauriers (44) battles Florida's Jason Demers on Oct. 29. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Deslauriers to play center against Rangers

BUFFALO – Nick Deslauriers, center? Believe it. For tonight at least, the defenseman-turned-winger will pivot the Sabres’ fourth line against the New York Rangers.

To make room for Deslauriers, a healthy scratch the last two games, center Cal O’Reilly will sit.

Update: O’Reilly is on waivers, according to reports.

Deslauriers, Bylsma said, has never played center before. Still, he’s “comfortable down low, comfortable going back for pucks,” Bylsma said this morning inside KeyBank Center.... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has produced offense this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo thrilled with NHL All-Star selection

BUFFALO – So far, just 39 games into his career here, Kyle Okposo has lived up to his billing as one of the NHL’s most underrated scorers. The winger has quietly been the Sabres’ most consistent forward, compiling 12 goals and 27 points, both team highs.

Okposo’s strong season was rewarded Tuesday with a spot in the NHL All-Star Game for the first time in his 10-year career. The Minnesota native will represent the Atlantic ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo leads the Sabres in goals and points. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo named NHL All-Star

BUFFALO – So far, just 38 games into his career here, Kyle Okposo has lived up to his billing as one of the NHL’s most underrated scorers. The winger has quietly been the Sabres’ most consistent forward, compiling 12 goals and 27 points, both team highs.

Okposo’s strong season was rewarded this afternoon with a spot in the NHL All-Star Game for the first time in his 10-year career. The Minnesota native will represent the ... Read the full article

Tim Kennedy played in Sweden earlier this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

South Buffalo’s Tim Kennedy back in Sabres organization with Amerks

South Buffalo’s Tim Kennedy is back with the Sabres organization.

Kennedy’s AHL rights have been transferred to the Rochester Americans, Buffalo’s top affiliate, from the Charlotte Checkers, Sabres general manager Tim Murray announced today.

After leaving Lulea HF of the Swedish Hockey League, the Amerks signed Kennedy to an AHL contract over the weekend. The contract, Murray said, triggered the AHL waiver process, and Kennedy was claimed by the Checkers, the Carolina Hurricanes’ affiliate.

“Charlotte ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel was hurt Wednesday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel knows he can’t rush back from ankle injury

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel emerged through a curtain and wheeled his scooter to his normal spot in the dressing room. The Sabres center’s sprained left ankle was encased in a boot. His skates and equipment, meanwhile, were hanging in his locker, where they could remain for weeks or even – gasp – months.

Then Eichel, 19, began answering questions for the first time since sustaining a dreaded high ankle sprain late in practice Wednesday, ... 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

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

Rasmus Ristolainen received a contract similar defensemen have signed. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen signs 6-year, $32.4 million contract

BUFFALO – Just hours before he had to set his roster Tuesday afternoon, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma called the 23-man squad a “little bit of a moving puzzle.”

In addition to a slew of injuries, Bylsma had one missing piece – the biggest, perhaps – No. 1 defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, a holdout two days before the season opener against Montreal.

Bylsma was tight-lipped about the restricted free agent then, only saying he was “hopeful” ... Read the full article