Tim Murray smiles Thursday after signing a contract extension. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel could miss 6-8 weeks; GM Tim Murray signs contract extension

BUFFALO – In Ottawa, top pick Auston Matthews compiled the greatest debut in modern NHL history, scoring an eye-popping four goals for Toronto. In Edmonton, the slick Connor McDavid enjoyed a dynamic season opener, scoring two goals and three points.

Hours before Jack Eichel’s contemporaries began the 2016-17 season in grand fashion Wednesday, the young Sabres star sustained a high left ankle sprain late in practice.

Eichel, 19, watched Thursday’s 4-1 season-opening loss to the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel will miss "weeks." ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel has ‘moderate’ ankle sprain; Ryan O’Reilly ready for opener

BUFFALO – The scary high ankle sprain center Jack Eichel suffered when his left leg buckled Wednesday is “moderate,” coach Dan Bylsma said this morning.

Still, Bylsma said Eichel, 19, will be sidelined “more weeks than days at this point.” He didn’t give a firmer timeline.

Clearly, Eichel’s injury late in the final practice before tonight’s season opener against the Montreal Canadiens shocked the team. The young star, a popular teammate, is supposed to have ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen is the Sabres' top defenseman. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Rasmus Ristolainen happy to have contract done

BUFFALO – Rasmus Ristolainen said he trusted a new contract would be finished. Still, the Sabres defenseman wasn’t sure if his deal would be completed before tonight’s season opener.

“Thursday was coming pretty quick,” said Ristolainen, who signed a six-year, $32.4 million contract Tuesday, ending a brief holdout.

The Finn, 21, practiced Wednesday beside new partner Dmitry Kulikov as the Sabres prepared for the Montreal Canadiens inside KeyBank Center.

Ristolainen briefly left the Sabres earlier ... Read the full article

Teammates help Jack Eichel off the ice today. ©2016, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel injures ankle, status uncertain

BUFFALO – Just a day before the season opener, Sabres center Jack Eichel injured his left ankle in a scary scene late during today’s practice, leaving the young star’s status uncertain.

“Not a lot to tell after that,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. “He’s going to get evaluated this afternoon.”

Update: The Sabres have announced Eichel has a high ankle sprain. No timetable has been set for his return. TSN’s Bob McKenzie, however, tweeted the ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen received a contract similar defensemen have signed. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen signs 6-year, $32.4 million contract

BUFFALO – Just hours before he had to set his roster Tuesday afternoon, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma called the 23-man squad a “little bit of a moving puzzle.”

In addition to a slew of injuries, Bylsma had one missing piece – the biggest, perhaps – No. 1 defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, a holdout two days before the season opener against Montreal.

Bylsma was tight-lipped about the restricted free agent then, only saying he was “hopeful” ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen still doesn't have a contract. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres roster still not set; Brendan Guhle likely to stick

BUFFALO – Just hours before his roster must be finalized, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma called it a “moving puzzle.”

Four regulars are either injured or just returning from ailments. His best defenseman, Rasmus Ristolainen, has left the team because he doesn’t have a contract. He was practicing as what his agent called a “goodwill” gesture.

Update: Ristolainen has signed a six-year, $32.4 million contract.

Bylsma must make some decisions before 5 p.m., when he ... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian has been nursing a groin injury. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo ‘uncertain’ for opener; Zach Bogosian ready to practice

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Kyle Okposo, who bruised his knee in practice Monday, is “uncertain” for Thursday’s season opener against Montreal, coach Dan Bylsma said.

“Long term, there’s not a concern, just the progression back to the ice … hasn’t happened quickly,” Bylsma said this afternoon following practice inside KeyBank Center.

Bylsma said Okposo has improved “exponentially” in recent days.

Meanwhile, defenseman Zach Bogosian (groin) is set to practice Tuesday, Bylsma said. The Sabres ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo struggled when the NHL lockout ended in 2013. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo has reaped benefits from changing approach

BUFFALO – It was about halfway through the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, and Kyle Okposo, fresh off his first 20-goal season with the New York Islanders, suddenly couldn’t score or do much of anything.

“I was lost,” the Sabres newcomer recalled earlier in training camp inside KeyBank Center.

Like some other players who stayed home instead of jetting overseas for a temporary gig during the work stoppage, Okposo tried to prepare and be ready for ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly played just part of one preseason game. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly day-to-day

BUFFALO – Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly is day-to-day after leaving Wednesday’s 3-2 preseason loss early as a precaution because of a spasm in his back and midsection, coach Dan Bylsma said.

O’Reilly, who was playing his first preseason game following the World Cup of Hockey, didn’t practice this afternoon inside KeyBank Center. He’s out of Friday’s exhibition finale in Ottawa, Bylsma said.

The Sabres, of course, are dealing with a slew of injuries exactly one ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly plays big minutes for the Sabres. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres want to rely on star Ryan O’Reilly less this season

BUFFALO – Dan Bylsma has a problem. It’s a good one, mind you. Most coaches would love to have it.

In Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly, he possesses one of the NHL’s most talented and versatile forwards, one he can throw on the ice in every conceivable situation.

A season ago, O’Reilly’s first with the Sabres, he skated 21 minutes, 44 seconds a game, most among NHL forwards. He deserved every second, quickly becoming the ... Read the full article