Jack Eichel will be with the Sabres at least nine more years. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres, Jack Eichel complete massive contract extension

BUFFALO – The Sabres and center Jack Eichel finalized the largest contract in franchise history Tuesday night, an eight-year extension worth a whopping $80 million.

The average annual value of $10 million puts Eichel, 20, in line with some of the NHL’s other dynamic young stars.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, the youngster picked first overall in 2015, one spot ahead of Eichel, signed an eight-year extension worth $12.5 million a season earlier this ... Read the full article

Dave Andreychuk started his Sabres career in 1982. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres great Dave Andreychuk honored by Hall of Fame election

Dave Andreychuk, of course, knew it was the day. Even though the Hockey Hall of Fame had passed him over in his first nine years of eligibility, the Buffalo Sabres legend still paid attention to the annual vote.

So Monday, as Andreychuk was driving to the Tampa Bay airport to pick up his wife, Susan, who was returning from Buffalo, he noticed someone from 416, Toronto’s area code, was calling him.

“My heart started to ... Read the full article

Brian Gionta (left) receives a silver stick from Sabres general manager Tim Murray on Monday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres captain Brian Gionta honored for 1,000th game

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Tyler Ennis said undersized NHL players – a “brotherhood,” he called them – share “an unspoken bond.”

Small players, of course, have the odds stacked against them. Only they can truly understand what they endured to make the league.

Fifteen or 20 years ago, it was even tougher for them to crack the NHL. That’s why Ennis, who’s listed at 5-foot-9, grew up idolizing diminutive stars, including 5-foot-7 Sabres captain Brian ... Read the full article

Brian Gionta (12) isn't afraid to go to the net. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres captain Brian Gionta ready for 1,000th game

BUFFALO – As another trying season winds down, the Sabres finally have something special to celebrate. Captain Brian Gionta will play his 1,000th NHL game tonight, and his teammates couldn’t be more excited.

“That’s a huge, huge honor in this league, a huge milestone and accomplishment,” Sabres winger Marcus Foligno said. “A thousand games in the NHL is rare.”

Tonight is all about Gionta, the 38-year-old Greece native who has enjoyed a long and unlikely ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo leads the Sabres in goals and points. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo named NHL All-Star

BUFFALO – So far, just 38 games into his career here, Kyle Okposo has lived up to his billing as one of the NHL’s most underrated scorers. The winger has quietly been the Sabres’ most consistent forward, compiling 12 goals and 27 points, both team highs.

Okposo’s strong season was rewarded this afternoon with a spot in the NHL All-Star Game for the first time in his 10-year career. The Minnesota native will represent the ... Read the full article

Ray Sheppard scored 38 goals as a rookie in 1987-88. ©2016, Rochester Americans

Ray Sheppard’s rookie season still one of Sabres’ best

BUFFALO – As Sabres rookies Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart put the finishing touches on two outstanding, high-scoring seasons, one name from the team’s past keeps popping up: Ray Sheppard.

Each week, it seems, the young forwards become the team’s first rookies to reach or approach milestones since Sheppard, who scored 38 goals and 65 points in 74 games in 1987-88 before fizzling out and re-emerging as one of the NHL’s most dangerous scorers.

Sheppard’s ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel zooms in on Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk on March 5. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie Jack Eichel in Calder hunt

BUFFALO – Thanks to a scheduling quirk three months ago, the Sabres enjoyed a six-day Christmas break, a rare opportunity to recharge during the rigorous six-month, 82-game season.

At that point, 33 games into his career, Sabres center Jack Eichel had nine goals and 16 points, terrific numbers for a 19-year-old. Still, those statistics ranked nowhere near the NHL’s elite.

Eichel used the time to go home to Boston and relax. Having played only ... Read the full article

Phil Housley played eight seasons with the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Hall of Famer Phil Housley grateful for early days with Sabres

BUFFALO – It was September 1982, and before the Sabres headed to Montreal for their first exhibition game, the team bus stopped at a hotel to pick up some players.

Phil Housley, an 18-year-old just months removed from high school, thought the bus was going to another hotel. So the green rookie, who was with his girlfriend, Karin, decided to bring his future wife on the bus, a big no-no.

“Everybody was on the ... Read the full article

Phil Housley electrified Buffalo fans in the 1980s. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres star Phil Housley emotional over Hall of Fame election

Doubt crept into Phil Housley’s head as the Hockey Hall of Fame passed him over year after year. Since 2006, three years after he ended an often spectacular 21-year career, the former Buffalo Sabres star defenseman patiently waited for a life-changing phone call.

Housley, who amassed 1,232 points in 1,495 games, was starting to think the call might never come.

Then on Monday, as Housley was about to eat lunch at a restaurant in Arizona, ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly spent six seasons in Colorado. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ryan O’Reilly excited to join Sabres; Update: Phil Housley elected to Hall of Fame

BUFFALO – Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly’s ready to tackle a new challenge. During his first six NHL seasons, the 24-year-old wasn’t viewed as one of the Avalanche’s leaders. Colorado stars Matt Duchesne, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon often overshadowed him.

But O’Reilly, acquired in a blockbuster deal Friday at the NHL Draft, will have a new role next season. The Sabres want him to be one of the guys to shepherd a team filled with ... Read the full article