Tage Thompson also sat out earlier in the season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres notes: Tage Thompson’s benching could be short

BUFFALO – This is probably only a temporary benching. Sabres coach Phil Housley plans to give winger Tage Thompson another opportunity soon.

But for the first time since Nov. 8 and the eighth time this season, Thompson, 21, sat out as a healthy scratch Thursday.

Center Johan Larsson replaced him for the Sabres’6-5 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Thompson, a big piece of the Ryan O’Reilly trade with the St. Louis Blues, had played ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo (21) battles Columbus' Ryan Murray (27) and Sergei Bobrovsky last Tuesday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Reeling Sabres hope new lines, defense pairs can help ignite them

BUFFALO – Sooner or later, coach Phil Housley needed to make some significant changes, right? The Sabres have fallen from first overall to three points out of a playoff spot.

Having compiled an awful 8-14-4 mark in their last 26 games, their marathon slump has surpassed the two-month mark. In their last 10 outings, they’re a dreadful 3-7.

In recent games, the Sabres have often shown little interest in playing defense and struggled to score ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith has compiled 41 points in 41 AHL games this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Reeling Sabres showcase new lines, defense pairs

BUFFALO – Sooner or later, coach Phil Housley had to make some significant changes, right? The Sabres have fallen from first overall to three points out of a playoff spot.

Having compiled an awful 8-14-4 mark in their last 26 games, their marathon slump has surpassed the two-month mark. In their last 10 outings, they’re 3-7.

In recent games, the Sabres have shown little interest in playing defense and struggled to score goals. Their power ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has strong chemistry with his linemates. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Casey Mittelstadt brimming with confidence

BUFFALO – One of the best stretches of Casey Mittelstadt’s 57-game NHL career – two goals and four points over seven recent contests – hasn’t boosted the Sabres rookie’s confidence.

“I don’t think I’m more confident or anything,” Mittelstadt said prior to Friday’s 7-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks inside KeyBank Center. “I don’t struggle in that department.”

Mittelstadt, 20, doesn’t lack confidence.

“I know what I’m capable of doing,” the slick center said.... Read the full article

Lawrence Pilut hasn't played since Jan. 18. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres rookie Lawrence Pilut to return against Blackhawks

BUFFALO – Rejoice, Sabres fans. Rookie defenseman Lawrence Pilut will return tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks after sitting out two straight games as a healthy scratch.

Sabres coach Phil Housley changed his blue line the last two contests, inserting Matt Hunwick and Nathan Beaulieu while Pilut, 23, watched.

While Housley said he liked what the veterans showcased, Pilut, a slick youngster fans have been clamoring to see, will play his first game since Jan. 18.... Read the full article

Matt Hunwick hasn't played since Dec. 18. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Nathan Beaulieu, Matt Hunwick patiently waiting to play

BUFFALO – Doing extra work on and off the ice to stay sharp for your next opportunity is the easy part for healthy scratches.

“It’s not so much my body, my hands, my legs,” said Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, who has been scratched 12 out of the last 15 games. “It’s more the mental part of it. The game’s really fast. You step in the position you’re in, a lot is on the line, ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel joined his teammates again this morning. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jack Eichel snags memorabilia; Phil Housley unsure about defense

BUFFALO – Before Sabres captain Jack Eichel left the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose, he snagged some special memorabilia for his house.

In addition to having his game jersey signed by the entire Eastern Conference squad and a stick autographed by everyone in the game, the high-scoring center received an item he has coveted.

“I grabbed one of (Sidney) Crosby’s sticks,” Eichel said this afternoon inside KeyBank Center. “That was cool. I had been ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith (left) celebrates his first NHL goal beside Kyle Okposo. ©2019, Hickling Images

C.J. Smith, Lawrence Pilut score first NHL goals, help Sabres beat Devils

BUFFALO – Early in Tuesday’s 5-1 victory, Sabres rookie C.J. Smith utilized his speed and cranked a shot off the post, a sign the speedy winger’s first NHL goal could be imminent.

Smith, 24, kept buzzing around the New Jersey Devils zone, creating more scoring chances.

“Got a little more confident tonight,” Smith said after scoring 4:14 into the second period in his sixth NHL game, a goal that put the Sabres ahead for good.... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has scored 28 goals this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Jack Eichel out against Panthers; Jeff Skinner needs votes

BUFFALO – Sabres captain Jack Eichel’s upper-body injury doesn’t appear to be serious.

Eichel, 22, missed Thursday’s 4-3 win against the Florida Panthers inside KeyBank Center and will also sit out Saturday’s road tilt against the Boston Bruins, Sabres coach Phil Housley said.

The slick center, who earned a spot in the NHL All-Star Game on Wednesday, will be reevaluated early next week, Housley said.

“It’s very encouraging,” Housley said of the news. “Obviously, Jack’s ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel left Monday's game early. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jack Eichel out next two games, will be reevaluated next week

BUFFALO – An upper-body injury will sideline Sabres captain Jack Eichel at least two games, coach Phil Housley said this morning.

The Sabres’ leading scoring will miss tonight’s contest against the Florida Panthers at KeyBank Center and Saturday’s road tilt versus the Boston Bruins.

Eichel, who earned a spot in the NHL All-Star Game on Wednesday, will be reevaluated early next week, Housley said.

“It’s very encouraging,” Housley said of the news. “Obviously, Jack’s been ... Read the full article