Alexander Nylander has looked good so far in training camp. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Top Sabres pick Alexander Nylander to debut in preseason opener

BUFFALO – Some quick updates this morning from KeyBank Center, where the Sabres prepared for tonight’s preseason opener against the Minnesota Wild before flying to Penn State University:

– The Sabres will use a mix of veterans, youngsters and AHL players for the tilt at Pegula Ice Arena.

Eighth overall pick Alexander Nylander, whose early training camp play has impressed coach Dan Bylsma, will debut on the left wing beside center Cal O’Reilly and ... Read the full article

William Carrier skates Thursday with a parachute a development camp. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect William Carrier close to making NHL

BUFFALO – By around mid-March, it looked imminent. William Carrier, the often overshadowed Sabres prospect, was about to earn his first NHL recall from the Rochester Americans.

In a 21-game stretch, Carrier scored nine goals and 20 points. Before his torrid run, Carrier had compiled only 11 goals and 31 points in his first 94 AHL contests.

“One good game, two good games – it just starts rolling out,” Carrier said Thursday following a development ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo knew he had to change his approach to hockey. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo revamped approach after poor season

BUFFALO – Three years ago, after his production plummeted to four goals and 24 points in the lockout-shortened 48-game season, Kyle Okposo started fretting.

Okposo knew he had accomplished some good things in his four seasons with the New York Islanders. Still, after following up a 24-goal campaign with an awful season, he learned he lacked consistency.

So he seriously examined his career.

“I just felt that I was kind of being pushed into a ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe (left) battles St. Louis’ David Backes last season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres re-sign Jake McCabe to 3-year contract

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed defenseman Jake McCabe to a three-year, $4.8 million contract extension, according to multiple reports.

McCabe, 22, would have become a restricted free agent Friday.

The Wisconsin native played his first full NHL season in 2015-16, compiling four goals, 14 points, 51 penalty minutes and a plus-6 rating in 77 games.

The Sabres drafted McCabe 44th overall in 2012.

Update: The Sabres have also re-signed Williamsville native Cole Schneider... Read the full article

Matt Ellis will have options if he retires. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Popular Amerks veteran Matt Ellis pondering future

ROCHESTER – Physically, Matt Ellis said, he hasn’t felt this good in four or five years. At 34 years old, having just finished his 14th pro season, the popular former Buffalo Sabres forward believes he could keep playing.

“I definitely feel like I got lots left in the tank,” Ellis said Thursday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial.

Still, Ellis understands he could be nearing retirement. This season, his first out of the NHL ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner recently underwent ankle surgery. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner ready to carry load next season

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Robin Lehner knew his pain threshold would be tested when he returned in mid-January from the high right ankle sprain he suffered opening night.

“Since that day it’s been pain, it’s been swelling after every practice, every game,” Lehner said Sunday as the Sabres held their end-of-season meetings inside the First Niagara Center.

After missing more than three months, Lehner started 20 times, often performing like the No. 1 goalie the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel wants to rest a bit this offseason. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Strong second half gives Sabres hope

BUFFALO – When center Ryan O’Reilly joined his new teammates seven months ago, the stench leftover from consecutive 30th-place finishes – the culture of losing, you might call it – still surrounded the Sabres.

“I think you could sense it a bit, for sure,” O’Reilly said this morning as the Sabres held their end-of-season meetings inside the First Niagara Center. “I think there’s a lot of habits, when you look at winning teams, ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Jason Kasdorf makes a first-period save in his NHL debut Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres fall in home finale to Blue Jackets, won’t hit .500

BUFFALO – In the big picture, failing to hit a .500 points percentage, a notable mark the Sabres sorely wanted, shouldn’t matter much.

The Sabres’ 4-1 loss in Friday’s home finale to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets secured their third straight losing season (34-36-11), and like so many other home games recently, they let a weak opponent exploit them.

Still, the Sabres’ recent 7-2-2 run thrust them up the standings, giving them a real goal ... Read the full article

Ryan O’Reilly was named team MVP Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma feels fans’ passion everywhere

BUFFALO – In his first season as coach, Dan Bylsma has experienced so much excitement surrounding the Sabres he wonders how crazy it would feel if his team becomes a contender again.

The Sabres, of course, will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Still, to a rabid fan base yearning for postseason hockey, the progress the Sabres have made this season – they’ve improved 25 points with newcomers Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly and ... Read the full article

Jason Kasdorf turned pro last month. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Jason Kasdorf ready for NHL debut

BUFFALO – To Sabres goalie Jason Kasdorf, who will make his NHL debut in tonight’s home finale against the Columbus Blue Jackets, experiencing some nerves before games feels good.

“I’m just kind of naturally that way,” an excited Kasdorf said this morning. “Even for college games, I’d get nervous for them. It’s just who I am.”

Kasdorf, who said he slept well last night, will likely feel some extra nerves tonight, when he becomes ... Read the full article