Jack Hughes could go first overall June 21. ©2019, Hickling Images

Devils thrilled to win NHL Draft Lottery; Sabres to pick seventh

TORONTO – After winning Tuesday’s NHL Draft Lottery, Ray Shero wouldn’t confirm the New Jersey Devils plan to select center Jack Hughes first overall.

Like most NHL general managers, he probably wants to respect the work his scouts have put in and leave a little suspense.

But the Devils, who own the first pick for the second time in three years, will almost certainly draft Hughes come June 21 in Vancouver.

Hughes, who has spent ... Read the full article

Jack Highes talks before tonight's NHL Draft Lottery. ©2019, Olean Times Herald

Devils win NHL Draft Lottery; Sabres get seventh pick

TORONTO – The New Jersey Devils won tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery and the right to select American center Jack Hughes first overall June 21 in Vancouver.

The Devils had the third-highest odds, 11.5 percent, for the top pick.

The Buffalo Sabres, who had the fifth-highest odds for the top selection, 8.5 percent, will pick seventh. The Sabres, of course, won last year’s lottery and drafted defenseman Rasmus Dahlin first overall.

Hughes, who has spent the ... Read the full article

Casey Nelson played five games with the Amerks. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres recall Casey Nelson from AHL conditioning assignment

The Buffalo Sabres recalled defenseman Casey Nelson today from his AHL conditioning assignment with the Rochester Americans.

Nelson, 26, played five games with the Amerks, compiling one assist and four penalty minutes. He hasn’t played with the Sabres since suffering an upper-body injury Dec. 4.

He could play in tonight’s road tilt against the Devils. Defenseman Marco Scandella suffered an undisclosed injury in Friday’s 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers and didn’t accompany the ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons roars past the New York Rangers' Marc Staal on a breakaway Fridsay. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres regroup for road trip after taking step back

BUFFALO – When the Sabres enjoy some success, their identity is pretty straightforward, really. They come at you in waves and showcase a rigid defense.

Nothing fancy, right?

“It’s our work, our reloads and our checking detail,” coach Phil Housley said of the Sabres’ identity. “It’s pretty simple. When we do those three things well and on top of that manage the game, we’re a tough team to play against.”... Read the full article

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