Dennis Gilbert goes through testing Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Williamsville native Dennis Gilbert ready to be drafted

BUFFALO – Right away, Dennis Gilbert understood the offensive style he showcased as a high school star at St. Joe’s and with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres wouldn’t work in the United States Hockey League, the country’s best junior circuit.

So the Williamsville native, the only local prospect invited to the NHL Scouting Combine, quickly revamped his game in 2014-15. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound defenseman embraced the defensive side of the hockey, becoming a more tenacious and ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel smiles this afternoon. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Future Sabres pick Jack Eichel enjoying warm welcome from locals

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel still talks like it’s not a formality the Sabres will draft him. The 18-year-old says things like “if” he comes here.

Eichel, of course, knows the Sabres will take him second overall. He just doesn’t want to get ahead of himself. The draft is still three weeks away. Right now, Eichel’s just trying to enjoy the NHL Scouting Combine and the draft process.

Clearly, Eichel’s comfortable about joining the Sabres.

“Everyone ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel had a lot of media interest Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Future Sabres pick Jack Eichel won’t apologize for possessing confidence

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel, of course, never expected his words would leak out. The superstar was simply expressing some confidence in his special abilities during pre-draft interviews this week.

Eichel told teams, including the Sabres, who will select the 18-year-old second overall on June 26, he plans on being a better player than Connor McDavid, arguably the biggest prospect in decade.

Was it cocky? Sure. But the slick Boston University center wasn’t taking a dig ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel talks with reporters this afternoon. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel still unsure if he’ll join Sabres or return to college

BUFFALO – All week, Jack Eichel, the mega-prospect the Sabres will select second overall in three weeks, has been getting a feel for his future home.

The 18-year-old Boston University superstar, in town for the NHL Scouting Combine, has enjoyed being welcomed by locals eager to greet their new hero and exploring the city.

“Everyone talks about Buffalo’s chicken wings, I got a chance to try those,” Eichel told a throng of reporters and cameras ... Read the full article

Ted Black speaks Thursday inside HarborCenter. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres believe NHL Scouting Combine visitors will have positive impression of Buffalo

BUFFALO – As Sabres president Ted Black chatted with the media Thursday inside HarborCenter, the buildings and streets outside the team’s new $170 million multi-rink facility bustled with activity on a sunny spring day.

Team officials and prospects in the city for the NHL Scouting Combine were all over, walking from a new hotel, restaurants and the Canalside developments to the First Niagara Center and HarborCenter.

“I’ve only been here four years,” Black said. “When ... Read the full article

Ted Black (left) and Colin Campbell talk Monday. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres targeting other big events for Buffalo after landing NHL Scouting Combine

BUFFALO – To Colin Campbell, who’s spent his life in hockey as a player, coach and executive, this city has a special place in the game.

“Buffalo, for a lot of hockey people, is almost like an Original Six team,” Campbell, the senior executive vice president of NHL Hockey Operations, said Monday in announcing the Sabres had landed the NHL Scouting Combine. “It’s been here for a long time, a lot of history here ... Read the full article

Colin Campbell speaks this afternoon. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres want NHL Scouting Combine to be one of many major events in Buffalo

BUFFALO – Before the NHL Scouting Combine could move here, commissioner Gary Bettman told Colin Campbell, one of his top lieutenants, the league had to allow all 30 teams a crack at the event

“We had a lot of interest,” Campbell, the senior executive vice president of NHL Hockey Operations, said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center.

Eventually, the NHL whittled its list down to two cities, Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

“Buffalo was heads and ... Read the full article

Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart attended the NHL Scouting Combine in May. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Reports: Sabres land NHL Scouting Combine

BUFFALO – The Sabres have a “major announcement” planned for Monday afternoon, and multiple outlets are reporting the team has secured an agreement to host the NHL Scouting Combine next year.

The team bid on the combine earlier this year. The new Harbor Center facility, which opens this fall, would be the site.

Colin Campbell, the senior executive vice president of NHL Hockey Operations, will be attending the news conference. So will Sabres president ... Read the full article

Leon Draisaitl could become the highest-drafted German ever. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

NHL Entry Draft profile: Leon Draisaitl wants to become the face of German hockey

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – In Germany, soccer reigns supreme. The sport’s popularity can’t be matched. Hockey, meanwhile, competes for attention with basketball and even handball, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff once said.

Germany didn’t even qualify for Olympic ice hockey this year.

But in center Leon Draisaitl, the country has produced one of the game’s slickest prospects. The 18-year-old will likely become the highest-drafted German ever Friday at the NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia.

With ... Read the full article

Luc Snuggerud will play for the University of Nebraska-Omaha next season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

NHL Entry Draft profile: Luc Snuggerud among small group of high school prospects

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Of the 112 draft prospects invited to the recent NHL Scouting Combine, only seven played high school hockey. Three are from Minnesota, including defenseman Luc Snuggerud, the nephew of former Buffalo Sabres forward Dave Snuggerud.

High school hockey is part of the fabric of Minnesota life. The championship is played before 19,000 fans in the Xcel Energy Center, an NHL rink that prominently displays the jerseys of all the state’s high school ... Read the full article