Robin Lehner makes a save on Los Angeles' Nate Thompson Saturday afternoon. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Disinterested Sabres implode early against Kings

BUFFALO – The NHL trade deadline hits in eight days, and based on the feeble effort given in Saturday afternoon’s ugly 4-2 loss, some Sabres are waiting for the phone to ring.

Clearly, some players want to get the heck out of town.

Against a Los Angeles Kings team that had lost three straight games, the Sabres showcased nothing early on, falling behind 1-0 while getting outshot 19-8 in the first period.... Read the full article

Chad Johnson has zero home wins this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson to start against Lightning

BUFFALO – Against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the NHL’s top team, you figure the Sabres would start No. 1 goalie Robin Lehner, who has played 42 times this season.

But Lehner, fresh off Sunday’s 5-4 home loss to Colorado, will sit tonight for backup Chad Johnson.

Why start Johnson, who has just three wins and zero at home?... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly stepped up in Jack Eichel's absence. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres struggle in first game without Jack Eichel, lose to Avalache

BUFFALO – The Sabres can soften Jack Eichel’s loss, of course, if some of their other top players – think Ryan O’Reilly and Rasmus Ristolainen – step up and seize additional opportunities in his absence.

If they don’t, what could happen without Eichel, their most dynamic presence and leading scorer? They won only 16 of their first 55 games with Eichel, who’s sidelined indefinitely after suffering a high right ankle sprain Saturday.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has been the Sabres' MVP this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel’s absence will hurt Sabres

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel’s high right ankle sprain, an injury that will sideline the Sabres center indefinitely, hit the young star in the midst of a career-best stretch.

Eichel went on a tear beginning Dec. 1, morphing into one of the NHL’s most lethal scoring threats. His 15 goals and 34 points in 30 games since then both rank ninth overall.

The Sabres stand 30th in a 31-team league and have scored the second-fewest goals. ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe (left) muscles past Boston's Noel Acciari on Dec. 19. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Thumb surgery to sideline Sabres’ Jake McCabe weeks

BUFFALO – With Jake McCabe out three to four weeks after undergoing thumb surgery today and Rasmus Ristolainen struggling, the Sabres’ defense corps will look much different tonight against the New York Islanders.

Casey Nelson, a recent recall quickly earning coach Phil Housley’s trust, will play with Marco Scandella, Ristolainen’s partner much of the season on the No. 1 pair. Ristolainen, meanwhile, will move back and skate with Nathan Beaulieu.... Read the full article

Jason Pominville has scored nine goals this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jason Pominville struggling to produce offense

BUFFALO – For a few weeks earlier this season, Sabres winger Jason Pominville seemed to be defying age. The likable veteran, 35, roared out of the gate, scoring two goals opening night. He followed up with another two-score outing days later.

By the 12-game mark, Pominville had compiled six goals and 12 points. The production increase made sense.

On a loaded Minnesota Wild team a year ago, Pominville scored all 13 of his goals ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart fights for position in front of St. Louis goalie Carter Hutton and Jay Bouwmeester on Saturday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres must possess shot mentality

BUFFALO – It’s actually one of the few notable categories the Sabres don’t rank last or near the bottom of the NHL. Through 52 games they’re 21st in shots, averaging 30.9.

Of course, that hasn’t translated into much. They’ve won only 14 games and have scored the fewest goals overall (117) and five-on-five (71).

If the Sabres, fresh off Saturday’s 1-0 loss to St. Louis, want to start scoring, they must pump more pucks on ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville (29) knows Buffalo is a special place when the Sabres are winning. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Hot Sabres want to reward fans with home wins

BUFFALO – Jason Pominville sounded a little nostalgic recalling some special memories from his first stint here. Occasionally, when the Sabres winger watches a memorable goal on Youtube.com, the passion he sees from fans in the clips wows him.

“It’s pretty amazing how they respond,” Pominville said Monday inside KeyBank Center after the Sabres reconvened following the NHL All-Star break.

Right now, the Sabres are enjoying their first three-game winning streak this season entering tonight’s ... Read the full article

Evander Kane believes incidents like Wednesday's happen all the time. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Justin Falk yells at, shoves Evander Kane during practice

BUFFALO – Defenseman Justin Falk’s booming voice suddenly cut through the din of Wednesday’s intense Sabres practice.

“Shut the (expletive) up, you selfish (expletive),” Falk yelled as he skated at winger Evander Kane on the KeyBank Center ice.

A livid Falk then shoved Kane before some coaches intervened. The Sabres, who host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, finished the memorable practice shortly after Falk’s outburst.

Clearly, the Sabres’ wretched 10-win season has ignited emotions. ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has scored nine goals in the last 11 games. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Jack Eichel earns first NHL All-Star Game appearance

BUFFALO – With a team-high 17 goals and 39 points through 43 games, center Jack Eichel is on pace for the Sabres’ first 30-goal, 70-point season since winger Jason Pominville in 2011-12.

Eichel, 21, has often dazzled throughout his three-year career, showcasing slick talents few players possess. In the last few weeks, Eichel has shaken off a so-so start and played perhaps his best NHL hockey.

... Read the full article