Ryan O'Reilly rarely receives a penalty. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly named finalist for Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

In 1,686 minutes, 10 seconds of ice time over Ryan O’Reilly’s 81 appearances this season – that’s a hefty 20:49 each game – officials whistled the Buffalo Sabres center for just one penalty.

No wonder the NHL on Friday named O’Reilly one of three finalists for the 2018 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian played only 18 games last season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Zach Bogosian on injuries: ‘I’ve had a tough go’

BUFFALO – Since Zach Bogosian joined the Sabres on Feb. 11, 2015, the defenseman has missed a whopping 114 games – 42 percent of his team’s outings – to injuries.

This season, Bogosian’s 10th in the NHL, was supposed to be his breakout campaign. If anyone could unlock his potential, it would be new Sabres coach Phil Housley, right?

Well, Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman, never really had an opportunity. Bogosian played only ... Read the full article

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

Phil Housley won 25 games as a rookie coach. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: GM Jason Botterill supports coach Phil Housley

BUFFALO – It’s unlikely legendary coaches Toe Blake or Scotty Bowman could’ve done much with the Sabres this season. A dearth of talent helped them finish 31st overall.

Still, following such a miserable campaign, the question had to be asked: will Phil Housley be general manager Jason Botterill’s coach again next season?

“One-hundred percent Phil Housley will be our coach next year,” Botterill said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center. “I have certainly enjoyed working with Phil ... Read the full article

Jason Botterill isn't used to losing. ©2018, Hickling Images

Awful season leaves Sabres GM Jason Botterill seething

BUFFALO – Jason Botterill is usually measured in his comments, keeping his emotions in check. But discussing the Sabres’ wretched 31st-place finish made the rookie general manager seethe.

The Sabres hired Botterill from Pittsburgh, where he won three Stanley Cups in 10 seasons and never missed the playoffs.

So a lost season in which the Sabres won 25 games and earned a meager 62 points is humbling for Botterill.... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly wants to improve his mental toughness. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ constant losing sapped Ryan O’Reilly’s love for hockey

BUFFALO – Constant losing over three seasons has taken such a large toll on Ryan O’Reilly the center said he lost his love for hockey at times as the Sabres trudged to the NHL’s worst record this season.

Yes, you read that correctly. O’Reilly made the stunning comment Monday morning as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and held exit interviews following their wretched 31st-place finish.

To O’Reilly, the Sabres are “stuck in this mindset ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel handled the Sabres' struggles better this year. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jack Eichel talking like leader

BUFFALO – A year ago, frustration overwhelmed Jack Eichel as he talked about the Sabres’ awful season. The center looked restless, staring off into the distance while offering mostly terse answers.

Basically, Eichel came off as immature.

On Monday morning, however, Eichel, 21, acted like a leader discussing the Sabres’ 31st-place finish, a season much worse than a year ago. He answered every question thoughtfully, even passionately. He looked every questioner in the eye.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel knows the Sabres must change. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Jack Eichel illustrates maturity discussing Sabres’ awful season

BUFFALO – A year ago, frustration overwhelmed Jack Eichel as he talked about the Sabres’ awful season. The center looked restless, staring off into the distance while offering mostly terse answers.

Basically, Eichel came off as immature.

This morning, however, Eichel, 21, acted like a leader discussing the Sabres’ 31st-place finish, a season much worse than a year ago. He answered every question thoughtfully, even passionately. He looked every questioner in the eye.... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly will represent Team Canada soon. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly: ‘I’ve lost the love of the game multiple times’

BUFFALO – Years of losing has beaten down Ryan O’Reilly so much the center said he lost his love for hockey at times as the Sabres trudged to a 31st-place finish this season.

“We’re stuck in this mindset of just being OK with losing,” O’Reilly said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I feel too it’s really crept into myself. Over the course of the year I lost myself a lot, where it was just kind ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons has experienced plenty of losing with the Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Last-place Sabres never got on track during lost season

BUFFALO – Way back on opening night, Oct. 5, the Sabres caused KeyBank Center to buzz with excitement for one of the few times in recent memory.

The Sabres’ new regime of coach Phil Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman and Buffalo legend, and general manager Jason Botterill, who helped construct three Stanley Cup winners in Pittsburgh, had energized the fan base and offered hope.

Perhaps the Sabres wouldn’t make the playoffs in 2017-18, but ... Read the full article