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

Evan Rodrigues has 11 points this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Jack Eichel’s injury gives Evan Rodrigues chance on Sabres’ top line

BUFFALO – Thanks to center Jack Eichel’s upper-body injury, Sabres coach Phil Housley leaned on Evan Rodrigues heavily throughout Monday’s 3-1 loss, skating him a career-high 22 minutes, seven seconds.

Rodrigues, 25, had never even cracked the 20-minute mark in his previous 113 NHL outings.

Expect Rodrigues to see plenty of action again Thursday against the Florida Panthers.

Eichel, who skated only four shifts before leaving Monday’s tilt against the New York Islanders, did ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played two NHL games late in 2016-17. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: C.J. Smith earns recall from Amerks

BUFFALO – Late in the 2016-17 season, the Sabres rewarded C.J. Smith with two NHL games after the forward left UMass Lowell following his junior year.

Then Smith, 24, quietly began the next season in the AHL, where he morphed into a top scorer and an intriguing prospect with the Rochester Americans.

Still, the Sabres kept Smith in the AHL nearly a year and a half before finally summoning him prior to Monday’s 3-1 ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith was piling up points in Rochester. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres look to C.J. Smith for spark

BUFFALO – Late in the 2016-17 season, the Sabres rewarded C.J. Smith with two NHL games after the forward left UMass Lowell following his junior year to sign an entry-level contract.

And then, Smith, 24, quietly went to the Rochester Americans, where he morphed into a top scorer and an intriguing prospect.

Still, the Sabres kept Smith in the AHL nearly a season and a half before finally summoning him this morning.... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 13. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo enduring career-worst slump

BUFFALO – Kyle Okposo’s offensive slump has become startling.

The Sabres winger has a career-long 21-game goal drought entering tonight’s home tilt against the New York Islanders, his old team. The former NHL All-Star hasn’t even mustered an assist in the last 14 contests, the longest pointless stretch of his 12-year career.

Following a strong start, Okposo stopped producing around mid-November.

Incredibly, Okposo, who usually skates on the second line and power-play unit, is ... Read the full article

Scott Wilson broke his ankle late in training camp. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Scott Wilson nearing return from broken ankle

BUFFALO – Scott Wilson couldn’t even walk yet. Still, after breaking his right ankle, the Sabres winger wanted to enjoy some hockey-related activities.

So instead of staying idle, at about the four-week mark of his recovery, Wilson, 26, started going on the ice and shooting pucks … from a chair.

“As basic as you could think of it, that’s pretty much what it was,” Wilson said prior to Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Boston ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons (28) battles Calgary's Mark Giordano last season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Zemgus Girgensons week-to-week; Lawrence Pilut to be scratched

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Zemgus Girgensons, a steady presence on the fourth line this season, is sidelined week-to-week with an upper-body injury, coach Phil Housley said.

Girgensons, 24, has formed a strong duo beside center Johan Larsson, giving the Sabres some valuable minutes.

“Zemgus has done a terrific job,” Housley said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I think with Larsson and him together, they have a unique chemistry, and whoever we put down there ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues (71) skates between Anaheim's Kiefer Sherwood (left) and Ryan Kelser (right) on Saturday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Randy Carlyle remembers Phil Housley’s talents

BUFFALO – Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle still remembers a skinny rookie named Phil Housley entering the NHL fresh out of high school in 1982.

“I can remember Phil coming here as an 18-year-old defenseman and looking and saying, ‘Holy crow, how’s this kid going to last?’”

Well, Housley lasted a long time, playing 21 seasons, including eight with the Sabres, in what would be a Hall of Fame career.

But 36 years ago, ... Read the full article

Phil Housley was a skinny rookie in 1982. ©2018, Hickling Images

Randy Carlyle: Sabres’ Phil Housley far ahead of his time as player

BUFFALO – Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle still remembers a skinny rookie named Phil Housley entering the NHL fresh out of high school in 1982.

“I can remember Phil coming here as an 18-year-old defenseman and looking and saying, ‘Holy crow, how’s this kid going to last?’”

Well, Housley lasted a long time, playing 21 seasons, including eight with the Sabres, in what would be a Hall of Fame career.

But 36 years ago, Housley, ... Read the full article