C.J. Smith (left) celebrates his first NHL goal beside Kyle Okposo. ©2019, Hickling Images

C.J. Smith, Lawrence Pilut score first NHL goals, help Sabres beat Devils

BUFFALO – Early in Tuesday’s 5-1 victory, Sabres rookie C.J. Smith utilized his speed and cranked a shot off the post, a sign the speedy winger’s first NHL goal could be imminent.

Smith, 24, kept buzzing around the New Jersey Devils zone, creating more scoring chances.

“Got a little more confident tonight,” Smith said after scoring 4:14 into the second period in his sixth NHL game, a goal that put the Sabres ahead for good.... Read the full article

Drew Stafford often skates on the fourth line. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Drew Stafford reunited with Mike Grier; Scott Wilson waived

BUFFALO – Former Sabres winger Drew Stafford still remembers the first time he saw Mike Grier.

It was the mid-1990s, more than a decade before they became teammates with the Sabres for two seasons. Stafford would sometimes help his uncle, Barry, the Edmonton Oilers’ equipment manager, as a stick boy. Grier, meanwhile, was just beginning his 14-year NHL career as a winger.

“I was like, ‘This is the largest human being I’ve even seen ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford has received limited action this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Former Sabres Drew Stafford, Mike Grier meet up again with Devils

BUFFALO – Former Sabres winger Drew Stafford still remembers the first time he saw Mike Grier.

It was the mid-1990s, more than a decade before they became teammates with the Sabres for two seasons. Stafford would sometimes help his uncle, Barry, the Edmonton Oilers’ equipment manager, as a stick boy. Grier, meanwhile, was just beginning his 14-year NHL career as a winger.

“I was like, ‘This is the largest human being I’ve even seen ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart skated this morning. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Sam Reinhart game-time decision; Scott Wilson on waivers

BUFFALO – Tonight’s tilt will be lacking some star power and its two main attractions.

An upper-body injury will sideline Sabres captain Jack Eichel, who skated with his teammates again this morning, a third straight game.

“We’re just being cautious with that,” coach Phil Housley said after the Sabres prepared for the New Jersey Devils inside KeyBank Center.

Meanwhile, a lower-body ailment will shelve New Jersey winger Taylor Hall, the reigning Hart Trophy winner, ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville smiles during Sunday's Sabres Skills Challenge. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jason Pominville remaining confident as ice time dips

BUFFALO – Barely two months ago, Jason Pominville was enjoying a renaissance. As his 1,000th NHL game and 36th birthday approached, the affable Sabres winger kept piling up goals and points.

On Nov. 17, Pominville scored his ninth goal and 17th point in the Sabres’ 20th game. But since then, he has mustered just one assist.

Pominville, the Sabres’ biggest early-season surprise, has a 17-game goal drought entering tonight’s tilt against the New Jersey Devils ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo eyes a puck in front of New Jersey goalie Keith Kinkaid on Tuesday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Devils snap Sabres’ winning streak

BUFFALO – Now back to reality.

Fresh off three straight road wins in which they outscored their opponents 11-1, the Sabres, looked like, well, a 30th-place team at home again Tuesday, losing a 3-1 clunker to the New Jersey Devils.

Instead of showcasing what made them successful during their best road trip in years – the Sabres allowed zero even-strength goals – they reverted to their old form, dropping their 16th home game in 22 ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford signed with New Jersey in August. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Drew Stafford adapting with age

BUFFALO – Evolve and adapt, Drew Stafford said. That’s why at 32, an age that often signals the end of an NHL career, the former Sabres winger is enjoying his 12th season.

“You have to or else, the way the game goes, guys are out of jobs or teams move on,” Stafford said Tuesday prior to the New Jersey Devils’ 3-1 win inside KeyBank Center. “There’s always a bunch of changing pieces.”

... Read the full article

Nick Baptiste scored his fourth NHL goal Thursday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Ability to roll four lines buoying Sabres’ recent success

BUFFALO – A commitment to a 200-foot game, not his scoring prowess, helped winger Nick Baptiste earn another recall to the Sabres last week.

Baptiste, a third-year pro, has learned offense starts with strong defense. That was evident when Baptiste scored his fourth NHL goal in Thursday’s 4-0 win in Vancouver.

“It was a play where we made them turn the puck over,” Baptiste said this morning after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s tilt against ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville (29) knows Buffalo is a special place when the Sabres are winning. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Hot Sabres want to reward fans with home wins

BUFFALO – Jason Pominville sounded a little nostalgic recalling some special memories from his first stint here. Occasionally, when the Sabres winger watches a memorable goal on Youtube.com, the passion he sees from fans in the clips wows him.

“It’s pretty amazing how they respond,” Pominville said Monday inside KeyBank Center after the Sabres reconvened following the NHL All-Star break.

Right now, the Sabres are enjoying their first three-game winning streak this season entering tonight’s ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly has just one assist this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres implode against Devils, still looking for first win

BUFFALO – Phil Housley played eight seasons here, so the rookie coach understands Sabres fans, win or lose, appreciate a strong effort.

To Housley, the surly crowd “had a right” to boo the winless Sabres throughout Monday afternoon’s wretched 6-2 defeat to the New Jersey Devils.

“If I was sitting in their shoes, I would’ve had maybe the same reaction,” said Housley, who called his team’s effort “unacceptable.”... Read the full article