Matt Ellis skates in his final NHL game April 11, 2015. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabre Matt Ellis happy in retirement, excited for future

BUFFALO – As last season unfolded, popular former Sabres forward Matt Ellis sensed the inevitable end to his long and unlikely career.

At times, Ellis, 35, said he felt like a spare part with the Rochester Americans, a victim of age and a changing game. AHL veteran rules often forced him to sit out as a healthy scratch. The adversity, he believes, tested his character and how badly he wanted to keep playing.

“There ... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson will likely be the Sabres' backup goalie this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson used Russian job to jumpstart NHL career

BUFFALO – Two years ago, frustrated by his limited opportunities, Sabres newcomer Anders Nilsson bolted North America for a gig tending goal for Ak Bars Kazan, a Russian team in the KHL.

The decision, of course, made Nilsson’s NHL future iffy. But after 23 appearances with the New York Islanders, the Swede said he felt “ready for the next step.” He wanted to develop at a high level, something a fourth straight season in the ... Read the full article

Giorgio Estephan scored 30 goals last season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Giorgio Estephan quietly one of Sabres’ best prospects

BUFFALO – The most prolific goal scorer among Sabres prospects last season wasn’t top pick Alexander Nylander, 83-point man Eric Cornel or even Justin Bailey, whose fine play earned him his first NHL action.

Try Giorgio Estephan, a 2015 sixth-round selection, 152nd overall, who scored 30 goals and 74 points in only 59 games for the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2015-16.

If you haven’t heard much about Estephan, that ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo cashed in early in free agency. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Kyle Okposo to 7-year contract

BUFFALO – Winger Kyle Okposo, arguably the best free agent available, signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Sabres shortly after the market opened this afternoon, according to multiple reports.

The signing is significant. Just 15 months removed from their second consecutive 30th-place finish, the Sabres, who improved 27 points last season, secured a strong talent to play beside centers Jack Eichel or Ryan O’Reilly.

Okposo is coming off a 22-goal, 64-point ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons and the Sabres open the preseason schedule Sept. 26 against Minnesota. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres announce 2016 preseason schedule

BUFFALO – Five of the Sabres’ seven preseason games this year are away from the First Niagara Center, including four neutral-site contests, the team announced this morning.

The Sabres start the exhibition slate Sept. 26 against the Minnesota Wild at Penn State University, the first pro game at the arena funded by a $102 million donation by Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula.

The game was moved from Rochester because the Sabres believe the Blue ... Read the full article

Jakob Chychrun rides the bike during NHL Combine testing Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Top defense prospect Jakob Chychrun would be happy with Sabres

BUFFALO – Growing up in Boca Raton, Fla., Jakob Chychrun’s classmates and friends had little interest in hockey. The 90,000 residents of the Palm Beach County city, like most of the state, mostly focus their attention on football and other outdoor sports.

There was, however, one person Chychrun, a defenseman expected to be selected in the top 10 at the NHL Draft on June 24 in Buffalo, could share his love of hockey with: Kelly ... Read the full article

Evander Kane said his mistake won't happen again. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Evander Kane apologizes for missing practice

Calling his actions “irresponsible,” Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane said Tuesday he had apologized to his teammates for oversleeping and missing practice a day earlier after partying at the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto.

The Sabres benched Kane for Tuesday’s road contest against the Ottawa Senators, the only game the 24-year-old will sit out, coach Dan Bylsma said Monday.

“First and foremost, I want to apologize, obviously, to my teammates for letting them down,” Kane ... Read the full article

Sabres rookie Jack Eichel played in the world junior championship last year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

World juniors coming back to Buffalo

BUFFALO – USA Hockey announced this morning it will make a “major announcement” – that means the 2018 world junior championship – at 3 p.m. Friday on the 18-yard line at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Sabres owner Terry Pegula and president Russ Brandon will attend the news conference.

The Sabres hosted the 2011 world juniors. Buffalo competed with Pittsburgh and St. Louis for the 2018 tournament.

Stay tuned for more details. Based on the venue for ... Read the full article

Matt Moulson scored a career-low 13 goals last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Matt Moulson knows he must score goals

BUFFALO – After his family, the most important thing in his life, Sabres winger Matt Moulson has two other loves.

“Scoring is my second love after winning,” Moulson said Sunday inside the First Niagara Center.

Moulson, 31, did little of either throughout a brutal 2014-15 season in which the Sabres won only 23 times and he scored a career-low 13 goals.

He struggled from the get-go beside some pedestrian centers, only occasionally showcasing the talents ... Read the full article

Joe Battista joined the Sabres in November 2013. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres VP Joe Battista leaving organization

BUFFALO – Joe Battista, the Sabres’ vice president for hockey-related business, will be leaving the organization in the coming weeks.

The move had been in the works “for a long period of time,” a team spokesman said. Battista will be returning to his family in State College, Pa.

Battista is the second high-profile front office member to leave the team in the last week. The Sabres hired Buffalo Bills president Russ Brandon last Monday when ... Read the full article