Jeff Skinner was the Sabres' first 40-goal scorer in 10 years. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jeff Skinner needs time to think about future

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Jeff Skinner needs time to decompress following a grueling 82-game season before he starts thinking about his next contract.

Sure, the 40-goal scorer said he loves playing in Buffalo. Despite the Sabres’ sorry season – coach Phil Housley was fired Sunday – he believes they’re heading in the right direction.

But Skinner, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, made sure his contract took a backseat during the season.... 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

Kyle Okposo has scored twice in the last four games. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo responds to challenge from coach Phil Housley

BUFFALO – Late in the winter, in the midst of perhaps his worst season ever, Sabres winger Kyle Okposo and coach Phil Housley had what the veteran called a “good conversation” about his play.

Okposo, of course, didn’t want to share details of his chat with Housley, someone he has known since he was a teenager.

But during their talk, Okposo said Housley, who wasn’t made available to the media Wednesday, “challenged me.”

“I just ... 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

Kyle Okposo said he "grew up" at Nassau Coliseum. ©2019, Hickling Images

Visit to Nassau Coliseum will be special for Sabres’ Kyle Okposo

BUFFALO – When Sabres winger Kyle Okposo played on Long Island, the New York Islanders had a saying about their antiquated home rink in Uniondale, Nassau Coliseum.

“It’s an old barn,” a smiling Okposo said. “We’d always say, ‘It was a dump, but it was our dump and we loved it.’ It was home.”

Well, it was the Islanders’ regular home until 2015, when they left for the sparkling, ultra-modern Barclays Center 24 miles away ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson was a seventh-round pick in 2014. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Victor Olofsson earns spot beside Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – By late October, as Sabres prospect Victor Olofsson closed a stellar month in which he scored five goals and 15 points, a recall to the NHL felt inevitable.

But instead of summoning Olofsson, 23, from the Rochester Americans right away, the Sabres left the slick Swedish winger in the AHL for almost six months.

The 5-foot-11, 181-pound Olofsson, meanwhile, kept scoring and acclimating to North American hockey, cementing his spot among the Sabres’ ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson has enjoyed a terrific season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Victor Olofsson thrilled to join Sabres: ‘I’m good enough to play up here’

BUFFALO – Rasmus Dahlin has never seen a shot as lethal as the one Sabres newcomer Victor Olofsson possesses.

“He’s probably got the best shot I’ve ever seen in my whole life,” the defenseman said of Olofsson, who will make his NHL debut tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. “It’s unbelievable.”

Dahlin, of course, knows Olofsson well. The rookies spent last season together starring at home in Sweden for Frolunda HC. Their time as teammates ... Read the full article