Benoit Pouliot scores his first-period goal aganst Boston goalie Anton Khudobin on Sunday afternoon. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres beat up Bruins with trade deadline looming

BUFFALO – Kyle Okposo is a self-proclaimed “hockey nerd,” so the Sabres winger plans to follow today’s trade activity closely until the 3 p.m. deadline.

“I’ll be probably looking at stuff most of the day,” Okposo said following Sunday afternoon’s 4-1 win against the Boston Bruins before 18,522 fans inside KeyBank Center. “It’s an exciting day for the league.”

While deadline day is always highly anticipated by fans, most players dread it. The hours leading ... Read the full article

Rick Nash skates in his Bruins debut Sunday afternoon. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Bruins land Rick Nash, Brian Gionta before trade deadline

BUFFALO – Shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday, Rick Nash walked into KeyBank Center to meet his new teammates. Several minutes later, the veteran winger emerged from the dressing room clad in Boston Bruins apparel to chat with the media.

“I’ve only been here for five minutes and I can kind of sense that buzz, sense that excitement, the energy that a winning team has,” an excited Nash said prior to Sunday afternoon’s 4-1 loss to ... Read the full article

Casey Nelson has improved his defense this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Casey Nelson earning regular duty on blue line

BUFFALO – Earlier this season, if you had asked Casey Nelson if he could play 20 minutes a night in the NHL, often against the opposition’s top line, the Sabres defenseman would’ve given you a straightforward answer.

“I’d say there’s no chance, there’s no way,” Nelson said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center.

But in tonight’s tilt in Detroit, Nelson, 25, will likely play big minutes on the second defense pair, meaning he’ll face some of the ... Read the full article

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