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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
TORONTO – With only a 20 percent chance of winning, Tim Murray expected the Sabres would lose the NHL Draft Lottery tonight. The general manager was right. Sorry, Buffalo, Connor McDavid is going to the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers, with only an 11.5 percent chance, snagged hockey’s most coveted prospect.
The Sabres, of course, received a pretty nice consolation prize, slick Boston University center Jack Eichel. The 18-year-old Boston native would likely be the No. ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Patrick Kaleta’s face was mangled.
“Broke a bunch of things in there,” the oft-injured Sabres winger said Thursday following practice inside the First Niagara Center.
Kaleta said doctors inserted three plates and 14 screws after a shot hit him in the face during a Sept. 28 preseason game in Toronto. The 28-year-old has experienced blurred vision and migraines.
Still, less than three weeks after the scary incident, the Angola native is on the ... Read the full article