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

Phil Housley's team has generated much momentum all season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres need better efforts if they hope to be competitive

BUFFALO – It was a simple execution drill – “Attacking with wide speed and a middle lane drive,” Phil Housley explained – that forced the coach to lay into the Sabres.

Just hours after an embarrassing 4-1 home loss, the Sabres looked sluggish early during Thursday’s practice. At one point, associate coach Davis Payne barked at the players to stop coasting.

Housley finally had enough after watching them execute the drill incorrectly, yelling, “Get ... Read the full article

Justin Bailey skates away from Arizona's Derek Stepan (48) on Wednesday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres respond to coach Phil Housley’s practice message

BUFFALO – It was a simple execution drill – “Attacking with wide speed and a middle lane drive,” Phil Housley explained – that forced the coach to lay into the Sabres.

Fresh off Wednesday’s embarrassing 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes, the Sabres looked sluggish early during this morning’s practice. At one point, associate coach Davis Payne yelled at the players to stop coasting.

Housley finally had enough after watching his players execute the drill ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) battles Vancouver's Thomas Vanek on Oct. 20. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres trying to ignite struggling power play

BUFFALO – In an otherwise glum season, the Sabres’ power play emerged as the NHL’s best a year ago, converting 24.5 percent of its opportunities.

Considering the Sabres kept their key personnel and hired coach Phil Housley, it wasn’t crazy to think they could become even more potent this year.

After all, few players in NHL history have performed better. Housley amassed 609 of his 1,232 points on the power play during his 21-year career ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has zero points this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Struggling Sabres want details in game

BUFFALO – Fresh off a dreadful road loss, the 0-2 Sabres started Sunday’s practice, well, pretty poorly. About 10 minutes into the session, associate coach Davis Payne finally had enough of their shoddy execution.

Payne yelled, “Let’s get (expletive) sharp!” A few seconds later, Payne let loose again on the KeyBank Center ice, saying, “Let’s get it (expletive) going!”

“It’s getting back to the little details,” Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly said of Sunday’s theme. “That’s ... Read the full article

Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly skates away from Montreal's Tomas Plekanec on Thursday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres try to sharpen up after tough loss

BUFFALO – At 0-2, fresh off Saturday’s dreadful 6-3 road loss to the New York Islanders, the Sabres coaching staff hammered home some strong messages during this afternoon’s uptempo practice.

At one point inside KeyBank Center, associate coach Davis Payne yelled, “Let’s get (expletive) sharp!” A few seconds later, Payne let loose again, saying “Let’s get it (expletive) going!”... Read the full article

Jordan Nolan knows Buffalo well. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Buffalo memories special for Sabres newcomer Jordan Nolan

BUFFALO – As the son of a former Sabres coach, winger Jordan Nolan’s memories of his new team and this area are special.

As a child in the 1990s, Nolan sometimes tagged along with his father, Ted Nolan, to the rink. In 2013, when the Sabres brought the elder Nolan back for a second run, Jordan proudly watched the news conference inside KeyBank Center.

Buffalo, Jordan Nolan said, has “kind of shaped our ... Read the full article

Seth Griffith has been a dynamic AHL player. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

AHL star Seth Griffith focused on sticking with Sabres

BUFFALO – A season ago, as Seth Griffith bounced around the Atlantic Division, getting waived and claimed three times in a three-month span, the Sabres winger lived a nomadic life out of a suitcase.

Griffith, a stud AHL scorer with 58 games of NHL experience, never settled down, spending time in Boston, Toronto (twice) and Florida.

So after a long day at the rink or a road trip, Griffith couldn’t simply go home and unwind.... Read the full article

Phil Housley likes Marco Scandella's talents. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Phil Housley likes defense, plans to lean on Marco Scandella

BUFFALO – In a two-week span last month, general manager Jason Botterill addressed the Sabres’ most glaring weakness by acquiring defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Marco Scandella.

Is either player elite? Hardly. Still, as puck-moving defenders, Beaulieu and Scandella offer talents the Sabres sorely lacked last season and add some much-needed depth.... Read the full article

Davis Payne most recently spent time with Los Angeles. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hire Davis Payne as associate coach

BUFFALO – The Sabres have hired Davis Payne as the associate coach on new head coach Phil Housley’s staff, the team announced today.

In Payne, Housley, who has never been an NHL head coach, has a top assistant with NHL head coaching experience. Payne led the St. Louis Blues over three seasons from 2009 to 2011.

The 46-year-old most recently served as an assistant with the Los Angeles Kings for five seasons, winning a Stanley ... Read the full article