Casey Nelson played 37 NHL games this season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres re-sign Casey Nelson to contract extension

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed defenseman Casey Nelson, arguably their biggest surprise during a dreary 2017-18 season, to a two-year, $1.625 million contact extension, the team announced today.

He would’ve become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Nelson, 25, exceeded expectations after beginning the season buried on the depth chart. When the Sabres summoned him from the AHL in mid-January, he became the 13th defender to dress for them this season.

But Nelson ... Read the full article

Phil Housley won 25 games as a rookie coach. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: GM Jason Botterill supports coach Phil Housley

BUFFALO – It’s unlikely legendary coaches Toe Blake or Scotty Bowman could’ve done much with the Sabres this season. A dearth of talent helped them finish 31st overall.

Still, following such a miserable campaign, the question had to be asked: will Phil Housley be general manager Jason Botterill’s coach again next season?

“One-hundred percent Phil Housley will be our coach next year,” Botterill said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center. “I have certainly enjoyed working with Phil ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons has experienced plenty of losing with the Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Last-place Sabres never got on track during lost season

BUFFALO – Way back on opening night, Oct. 5, the Sabres caused KeyBank Center to buzz with excitement for one of the few times in recent memory.

The Sabres’ new regime of coach Phil Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman and Buffalo legend, and general manager Jason Botterill, who helped construct three Stanley Cup winners in Pittsburgh, had energized the fan base and offered hope.

Perhaps the Sabres wouldn’t make the playoffs in 2017-18, but ... Read the full article

Nick Baptiste has earned regular duty part of this season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres will soon replenish Amerks for AHL playoff run

BUFFALO – Casey Nelson believes the opportunity offers a “second chance.” In a few days, after the Sabres complete their disastrous season, about eight players will return to the AHL and begin the Rochester Americans’ first playoff series in four years.

“We all want nothing more than to win a championship,” the defenseman said Thursday inside KeyBank Center after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the start of a two-game, ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel hadn't scored a goal since Feb. 8. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel scores twice as Sabres end Maple Leafs’ home winning streak

TORONTO – By Jack Eichel’s standards, he hadn’t scored in an eternity.

Thanks to the Buffalo Sabres center’s short slump and a high ankle sprain that cost him 15 games, he went 46 days and six games without scoring before his nifty two-goal effort in Monday’s 3-2 come-from-behind victory.

“I hadn’t scored in a month and a half, it’s not a little bit,” Eichel said after the Sabres ended the Maple Leafs’ 13-game home winning ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt starred for Team USA at the World Junior Championship. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Casey Mittelstadt’s arrival gives Sabres one of hockey’s best youngsters

TORONTO – Even among the established NHL talent on the ice during those morning skates last summer in Minnesota, Buffalo Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt’s skills stood out, even turned heads.

“We skated Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at different rinks, five-on-five,” Sabres winger Kyle Okposo said this afternoon, shortly after the center signed a three-year, entry-level contract. “That pace, that’s the highest pace that I’ve played in the summer and he was really impressive there. I ... Read the full article

Ryan Ellis considred Phil Housley more of a friend than a coach. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Predators’ Ryan Ellis grew close to Phil Housley

BUFFALO – In good times or bad, on or off the ice, Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis could always turn to Sabres coach Phil Housley.

“He was always kind of there,” Ellis said prior to Monday’s 4-0 win against the Sabres, Housley’s first meeting against his old team. “He was like the calming influence.”

Ellis, 27, morphed into one of the NHL’s highest-scoring defensemen over Housley’s four years as an assistant coach in Nashville. ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark has started one game this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark to start against scorching Predators

BUFFALO – When Sabres coach Phil Housley said last week he planned to give goalie Linus Ullmark some starts, you figured he might ease the prospect in early.

Remember, while Ullmark has played 22 NHL contests, 20 of his appearances came as a rookie in 2015-16. The Swede has spent most of the last two seasons in the AHL.

But Housley will throw Ullmark, 24, into the fray against the scorching Nashville Predators tonight ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has missed three games. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo ready to return from concussion

BUFFALO – All signs point to Sabres winger Kyle Okposo returning from a concussion for Monday’s home tilt against the Nashville Predators.

“I would think so,” a smiling Okposo said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I practiced with a line, practiced on the power play.”

Still, Okposo, who said he has been cleared to play, wouldn’t officially say he’s back.... Read the full article

Nathan Beaulieu has four fights this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Nathan Beaulieu ‘big believer in fighting’

BUFFALO – In his NHL career, Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu has fought 12 times, or an average of once every 23 games.

Speed and other skills, of course, helped Beaulieu reach the big leagues. Still, he believes fighting is a vital part of his repertoire.

“I’m a big believer in fighting in hockey,” Beaulieu said prior to recording an assist in Saturday afternoon’s 5-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. “I feel like there’s a place ... Read the full article