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

Sam Reinhart (23) celebrates his second-period goal with Evan Rodrigues (71) and Ryan O'Reilly (90) on Tuesday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

All-around effort pushes Sabres past Lightning for rare home win

BUFFALO – In the oddest of Sabres seasons, try figuring this one out: since top center Jack Eichel hurt his ankle Saturday, the NHL’s second-worst team has beaten the league’s two best.

In Tuesday’s 5-3 win against the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning, terrific individual efforts, fine special teams play and a balanced attack buoyed the Sabres.... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen played a season-high 32 minutes, 39 seconds on Tuesday. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Sabres want Rasmus Ristolainen to play fewer minutes

BUFFALO – For years, Sabres coaches have said they want to trim Rasmus Ristolainen’s ice time. For years, the workhorse Finnish defenseman has kept skating big minutes.

Of course, those coaches – first Dan Bylsma and now Phil Housley – haven’t had many options beyond Ristolainen. Bad teams usually don’t possess much defense depth.

An injury or a struggling defenseman means the Sabres must lean on Ristolainen, 23, even more.

Thanks to Jake McCabe’s ... 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

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

Evander Kane downplayed today's incident. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Tempers flare between Sabres’ Justin Falk, Evander Kane during practice

BUFFALO – Defenseman Justin Falk’s booming voice suddenly cut through the din of today’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.

Falk then shoved Kane before some coaches intervened.

Clearly, the Sabres’ wretched 10-win season has ignited emotions. About 30 minutes after the incident, Falk, who was battling Kane in front of the net, was still riled up.... Read the full article

Brendan Guhle spent three months in Rochester. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres look to Brendan Guhle for spark

BUFFALO – Earlier this season, as injuries decimated the blue line and the Sabres kept rookie Brendan Guhle in Rochester, the plan for their top defense prospect became evident.

The Sabres wanted Guhle to pay his dues, quietly develop in the AHL and eventually earn a recall.

“We were going through a tough stretch there, where you think about bringing guys up, we had some capable defensemen back there,” coach Phil Housley said Monday after ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner makes a stop Tuesday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres can’t score again, waste another strong Robin Lehner effort

BUFFALO – In Robin Lehner’s 13 appearances at home, the goalie has morphed into the Sabres’ only consistent presence, providing the feeble club a chance to win most nights.

Lehner has performed splendidly at KeyBank Center this season, compiling a 1.94 goals against average (No. 1 at home in the NHL) and a .935 save percentage (tied for first).

But the hapless Sabres own the NHL’s worst offense, averaging 2.1 goals a game. Incredibly, ... Read the full article

Nathan Beaulieu has zero goals and three assists this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nathan Beaulieu struggling

BUFFALO – Nathan Beaulieu never envisioned beginning his Sabres career this poorly. Sixteen games into his season, the defenseman has struggled offensively and often looks weak defensively.

So far, Beaulieu, 24, has compiled zero goals, three assists and a minus-7 rating. An upper-body injury also sidelined him seven games.

Beaulieu has played in just two of the Sabres’ six wins.

“I haven’t been satisfied whatsoever,” Beaulieu said prior to Friday’s 3-1 win against the ... Read the full article

©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno happy with Wild

BUFFALO – In Minnesota, the standard is much different, nothing like popular former Sabres wingers Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno experienced here.

“You’re coming to a team that’s goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and Buffalo’s still in a rebuild,” Ennis said Wednesday prior to scoring his first goal in 10 games early in his return to KeyBank Center.

The reeling Sabres rank last in the Eastern Conference, losers of seven straight games after ... Read the full article