Jack Eichel spoke like a leader last week. ©2018, Hickling Images

Youngster Jack Eichel could be Sabres’ captain next season

BUFFALO – When the Sabres chose to rotate four alternates this season instead of awarding the prestigious ‘C’ to a single player, they likely started center Jack Eichel’s ascension to the captaincy.

The Sabres, of course, couldn’t name Eichel their captain last October. He was entering just his third NHL season and still prone to bouts of immaturity. He had never worn a letter, either.

So they let him sport an ‘A’ with veterans Zach ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville (29) has experienced raucous crowds in Buffalo. ©2018, Hickling Images

Winning will help Sabres generate more excitement at home

BUFFALO – KeyBank Center hasn’t always been the NHL’s quietest venue. When the Sabres roared out of the 2005 lockout and briefly contended for the Stanley Cup during winger Jason Pominville’s first tenure here, the rink was often raucous and among the league’s noisiest.

Of course, 10 or 12 years ago, the Sabres regularly won games and ranked among the league’s highest-scoring teams. If you attended a game, chances are you’d witness something special ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo started piling up points during the winter. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo plans hit gym hard to revamp game

BUFFALO – Considering everything Kyle Okposo has endured over the past year, the Sabres winger said he’s “pretty happy” looking back on his season.

Exactly one year ago, Okposo was hospitalized in intensive care after suffering a scary concussion. Hockey was an afterthought.

But Okposo recovered, and in 2017-18, his second season with the Sabres, the former NHL All-Star played 76 games.... Read the full article

Jason Pominville expected a better season for the Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres lose to Senators in home finale, clinch 31st place

BUFFALO – Jason Pominville looked stunned. Mercifully, the Sabres closed out their home schedule Wednesday, and the finality of the most disappointing season in franchise history hit the veteran winger hard.

“I don’t think anyone really coming in envisioned this,” Pominville said after a 4-2 loss to the hapless Ottawa Senators secured the Sabres 31st place. “Certainly not myself, being on the outside coming in and hoping we’d be headed in the right direction.

“And ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander played his fifth NHL game Thursday. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Productive stretch earns Alexander Nylander recall to Sabres

BUFFALO – Four or five months ago, it appeared slick Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander’s second pro season would be a dud.

In rookie camp, Nylander suffered a lower-body injury, costing him more than two months. The former eighth overall pick struggled following his season debut in mid-November, mustering only one goal and four points in his first 12 AHL outings.

But Nylander, 20, started turning a miserable campaign around early in the winter. The winger ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander has turned around his season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Physicality helped Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander earn recall

BUFFALO – Four or five months ago, it appeared slick Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander’s second pro season would be a dud.

In rookie camp, Nylander suffered a lower-body injury, costing him more than two months. The former eighth overall pick struggled following his season debut in mid-November, mustering only one goal and four points in his first 12 AHL outings.

But Nylander, 20, started turning a miserable campaign around early in the winter. The winger ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo played other sports growing up. ©2018, Hickling Images

Basketball, football helped pave path to NHL for Sabres’ Kyle Okposo

TORONTO – Kyle Okposo nearly ended his hockey career as a rambunctious child when he knocked over his family’s Christmas tree. Years later, the Buffalo Sabres winger briefly gave up the sport, choosing instead to focus on basketball and football.

Tonight’s tilt against the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre will be Okposo’s 667th NHL game. In his 10-year, career, he has been an NHL All-Star and scored 171 goals and 456 points. Two ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly takes a faceoff Thursday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Phil Housley expects ‘electric’ atmosphere in Nashville

BUFFALO – By the end of Phil Housley’s run with the Nashville Predators, Bridgestone Arena had morphed into perhaps the NHL’s noisiest rink.

A thrilling run to the Stanley Cup final can do that.

So in addition to facing the league’s best team in Housley’s return to Nashville tonight, the last-place Sabres must also deal with a raucous crowd.

“Saturday night in Nashville – any night – but mostly Saturday night, it’s really a tough ... Read the full article

Adam Wilcox has sported a Sabres mask all season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Goalie Adam Wilcox grew up rooting for Dominik Hasek, Sabres

BUFFALO – Early in goalie Adam Wilcox’s childhood, the NHL hadn’t returned to Minnesota yet. So the South St. Paul resident began cheering for legendary goalie Dominik Hasek and, ironically, his newest team.

“Minnesota didn’t have a team, so I always rooted for Hasek and the Sabres,” the loquacious Wilcox said today after the Sabres recalled him from the AHL.

Wilcox, 25, spent time in the NHL last season, dressing as a backup five times ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly takes a faceoff against Detroit's Frans Nielsen on Thursday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly roaring toward NHL faceoff record

BUFFALO – Ryan O’Reilly’s faceoff skills are so dynamic he takes and wins more than any NHL player. Yet the Sabres center thinks draws are, well, overrated.

Overrated?

Sabres coach Phil Housley constantly relies on O’Reilly’s faceoff prowess, utilizing him an average of 26 times a game. Through 75 appearances entering Thursday’s tilt 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings inside KeyBank Center, O’Reilly had won 1,181 of the 1,949 draws he had taken, a ... Read the full article