Jeff Skinner compiled 10 shots and a minus-3 rating Friday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Struggling Sabres trying to create better habits through practice

BUFFALO – On Saturday, hours after a dreadful 7-3 home loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, coach Phil Housley refused to show the Sabres video of the debacle.

“I don’t think it was the right time,” Housley said inside KeyBank Center.

Following a day off, Housley said he plans to review the footage with his players Monday. So, no, Housley hasn’t trashed the footage of the loose defensive effort.

“I really wanted to get back to ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton got yanked after 40 minutes. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres play loose defensively in ugly loss to Blackhawks

BUFFALO – An agitated Phil Housley mentioned it four times during his three-and-a-half minute news conference following Friday’s ugly 7-3 loss to the last-place Chicago Blackhawks.

The Sabres don’t respect the defensive side of the game.

In their sixth loss in eight games, the Sabres, like so many other recent outings, played a one-dimensional contest, simply focusing on their offense. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, exploited seemingly every miscue, scoring five goals off turnovers.

The ugly, disjointed ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has scored seven goals this season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres notes: Kyle Okposo showcasing more physicality

BUFFALO – Over the last week or two, Sabres winger Kyle Okposo has finally started showcasing signs of his old self, playing a heavier, straight-line game.

“He’s going to the net a lot better,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said prior to Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning inside KeyBank Center. “I think he’s attacking off the wing and he’s shooting a lot more.”

Not surprisingly, Okposo has started scoring a bit. After enduring ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues will should sub for Jack Eichel on the top line. ©2019, Hickling Images

Other Sabres must step up with Jack Eichel injured

BUFFALO – Thanks to center Jack Eichel’s upper-body injury, Sabres coach Phil Housley leaned on Evan Rodrigues heavily throughout Monday’s 3-1 loss, skating him a career-high 22 minutes, seven seconds.

Rodrigues, 25, had never even cracked the 20-minute mark in his previous 113 NHL outings.

Expect Rodrigues to see plenty of action again tonight against the Florida Panthers inside KeyBank Center.

Eichel, who skated only four shifts before leaving Monday’s tilt against the New York ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues has 11 points this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Jack Eichel’s injury gives Evan Rodrigues chance on Sabres’ top line

BUFFALO – Thanks to center Jack Eichel’s upper-body injury, Sabres coach Phil Housley leaned on Evan Rodrigues heavily throughout Monday’s 3-1 loss, skating him a career-high 22 minutes, seven seconds.

Rodrigues, 25, had never even cracked the 20-minute mark in his previous 113 NHL outings.

Expect Rodrigues to see plenty of action again Thursday against the Florida Panthers.

Eichel, who skated only four shifts before leaving Monday’s tilt against the New York Islanders, did ... Read the full article

Jake MccCabe (15) battles the New York Islanders' Cal Clutterbuck on Monday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres lose game to Islanders, Jack Eichel to injury

BUFFALO – Three straight losses. A rough stretch in which they’ve dropped 11 of 15 games. An anemic offense that has produced just five goals in the last eight contests.

The Sabres closed 2018 like the opened it, struggling to win games and score goals.

Did we mention captain Jack Eichel, the Sabres’ leading scorer, left Monday’s 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders nursing an upper-body injury after playing just 2:42?... Read the full article

C.J. Smith was piling up points in Rochester. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres look to C.J. Smith for spark

BUFFALO – Late in the 2016-17 season, the Sabres rewarded C.J. Smith with two NHL games after the forward left UMass Lowell following his junior year to sign an entry-level contract.

And then, Smith, 24, quietly went to the Rochester Americans, where he morphed into a top scorer and an intriguing prospect.

Still, the Sabres kept Smith in the AHL nearly a season and a half before finally summoning him this morning.... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 13. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo enduring career-worst slump

BUFFALO – Kyle Okposo’s offensive slump has become startling.

The Sabres winger has a career-long 21-game goal drought entering tonight’s home tilt against the New York Islanders, his old team. The former NHL All-Star hasn’t even mustered an assist in the last 14 contests, the longest pointless stretch of his 12-year career.

Following a strong start, Okposo stopped producing around mid-November.

Incredibly, Okposo, who usually skates on the second line and power-play unit, is ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (9) battles Boston's Charlie McAvoy on Oct. 4. ©2018, Hickling Images

Teams will be gunning for upstart Sabres rest of season

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ playoff hopes are usually long gone by now. Incredibly, they haven’t held a postseason spot on this date since 2009.

So dealing with the expectations that accompany their hot start – right now, they have 47 points and rank third in the Atlantic Division, three points ahead of tonight’s opponent, the Boston Bruins – could be a difficult experience for their young roster.

Only one player, winger Jason Pominville, has ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe has missed eight games. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jake McCabe close to returning; Phil Housley mixes up centers

BUFFALO – After skating with his teammates for the first time this morning since suffering an upper-body injury Nov. 29, Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe figures he can return by the weekend.

McCabe, who will miss his ninth game tonight, has skated eight of the last nine days, only taking Monday off.

While McCabe only has one team session under his belt – a light morning skate as the Sabres prepared for the Florida Panthers – ... Read the full article