Jeff Skinner will be 34 when his contract ends. ©2019, Hickling Images

Rewards of Jeff Skinner’s long-term contract outweigh risks for Sabres

Jason Botterill sensed he would be asked a question about 40-goal scorer Jeff Skinner’s new long-term contract, so the Buffalo Sabres general manager decided to answer it himself.

“Probably one of the next questions is going to be about giving an eight-year contract to a 27-year-old,” Botterill said of Skinner’s $72 million deal on a conference call Saturday, a day after awarding the hefty contract. “But there’s always going to be risk sometimes in doing ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel pins the Sabres' woes on the players. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ inability to find coaching stability has contributed to demise

BUFFALO – In less than five seasons with the Sabres, defenseman Zach Bogosian has already played for three coaches.

“Three coaches in this amount of years, you’ve got to really take a long, hard look (at yourself),” Bogosian said Monday, a day after the Sabres fired Phil Housley following an awful second half.

Not long ago, the Sabres were a model of coaching stability. Lindy Ruff lasted through three ownership regimes over 16 years. When ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel blamed the players, not Phil Houlsey. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres surprised by Phil Housley’s firing, believe players at fault

BUFFALO – Just days before Phil Housley’s dismissal, captain Jack Eichel was adamant the Sabres’ woes should be pinned on the players, not the coach.

Eichel’s words, which he repeated this morning, couldn’t save Housley, who was fired Sunday after the Sabres’ sorry finish.

“It’s on us in the room,” Eichel said as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and held end-of-season-meetings inside KeyBank Center. “We’re the product on the ice. It’s unfortunate that ... Read the full article

The Sabres have been in a four-month slump. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres’ Jack Eichel tries to accentuate positives of rough season

BUFFALO – After suffering eight straight losses, the Sabres enjoyed a rare opportunity to celebrate a little following Thursday’s 5-2 win, just their second victory in 17 outings.

Not only did they thump an opponent, winger Jason Pominville received a rousing ovation after scoring in what could’ve been his final home game with the Sabres, who close their miserable season tonight against the Red Wings in Detroit.

The salute to one of the franchise’s all-time ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville scored his 16th goal this season Thursday. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Fans, teammates celebrate Jason Pominville in rare Sabres win

BUFFALO – The crowd kept roaring. For more than a minute late in Thursday’s 5-2 win, the fans saluted one of their favorites, winger Jason Pominville, after he capped off an emotional day by scoring perhaps his last goal for the Sabres.

The noise wouldn’t stop after Pominville, 36, was announced as the scorer, so after receiving a signal from his teammates, one of the greatest players in franchise history skated to center ice ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville has played 10 seasons with the Sabres. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jason Pominville breaks down discussing future

BUFFALO – All season long, Jason Pominville has insisted he hasn’t thought much about his future. But this morning, as he drove to KeyBank Center, the Sabres winger couldn’t help but wonder what it holds.

It dawned on him after 10 seasons with the Sabres, tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators could be his final appearance here wearing Blue and Gold.

The thought of his Sabres career ending caused Pominville, 36, to break down.... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen missed four games. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Rasmus Ristolainen returns after battling flu

BUFFALO – Despite being confined to his bed by the flu last week unable to eat or drink, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had no problem getting up for Tuesday’s meaningless late-season game.

“I mentally feel really fresh,” Ristolainen said prior to the Sabres’ 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators inside KeyBank Center. “It’s kind of fun to play hockey. Just sort of bring some fresh energy to the room and on the ice.”

The reeling ... Read the full article

Marco Scandella blocked a shot Saturday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Marco Scandella out for season; Rasmus Ristolainen set to return

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella’s season is over.

Scandella, out since blocking a shot with his foot Saturday, will miss the final three games, coach Phil Housley said.

The Sabres, however, will have minute-munching defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen back tonight against the Nashville Predators following a four-game absence.

Ristolainen, 24, said he lost “a lot” of weight battling the flu.

“Actually, I felt really, really good today,” Ristolainen said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “A ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe hadn't played since March 2. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Jake McCabe returns to lineup as Marco Scandella leaves

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ beleaguered blue line received a much-needed addition Sunday, as Jake McCabe returned after missing 13 games.

Did it help? Well, no. The Columbus Jackets throttled the Sabres 4-0 inside KeyBank Center.

McCabe hadn’t played since suffering an upper-body injury March 2.

Defenseman Marco Scandella, who blocked a shot in Saturday’s ugly 5-1 road loss to the New York Islanders, missed Sunday’s contest. Housley said the Sabres will know more about Scandella’s ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe has missed 13 games. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jake McCabe to return against Blue Jackets

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ beleaguered blue line will receive a much-needed addition tonight.

Sabres coach Phil Housley said defenseman Jake McCabe, sidelined the last 13 games with an upper-body injury, will return against the Columbus Blue Jackets inside KeyBank Center.

Defenseman Marco Scandella, who blocked a shot in Saturday’s ugly 5-1 road loss to the New York Islanders, will sit out tonight. Housley said the Sabres will know more on Scandella on Monday.... Read the full article