BUFFALO – Shortly before winger Jason Pominville started his milestone 1,000th NHL game Thursday, coach Phil Housley finished addressing the Sabres and briefly left the dressing room.
“Phil did his pregame speech and he’s like, ‘Wait, I forgot something,’” Pominville said Friday inside KeyBank Center.
When Housley returned, he brought Pominville’s wife, Kim, and two children, Jayden and Kaylee Rose, with him.
“When I saw them in the room, I almost had tears in my ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In the not-so-distant past, the Sabres would’ve wilted in a game like Thursday’s wild 4-3 comeback victory against the Montreal Canadiens.
The upstart Sabres fell behind by one goal three times, including just 77 seconds into the tilt and again early in the third period. Each time, however, they rallied, refusing to deviate from their game plan.
“You just stay calm, composed, collected and good things happen,” said winger Kyle Okposo, whose power-play ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – For years, Sabres newcomer Jeff Skinner annoyed defenseman Jake McCabe.
Skinner constantly hounds the puck, forechecking and backchecking ferociously. The shifty winger often escapes defenders who believe they have him stymied.
When the diminutive Skinner grabs the puck, you can be sure he will beeline to the net. And after the whistle, the three-time 30-goal scorer loves talking a little trash.
“He’s just a little pest,” McCabe said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center. “Yeah, ... Read the full article
It should surprise no one Rasmus Dahlin scored his first goal because he zoomed to the net. In his early days in the NHL, the slick Buffalo Sabres rookie already showcases an aggressiveness few defensemen possess.
Dahlin, 18, joins the rush so much he often looks like a forward.
So it was fitting 2:45 into Saturday’s 3-0 road win, Dahlin, who was trailing the play, moved in from the slot and buried winger Jeff Skinner’s ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The tenacity Sabres winger Jeff Skinner has showcased early this season impresses coach Phil Housley.
“I really like the way he’s working, his forechecking,” Housley said this afternoon inside KeyBank Center. “He steals pucks and he strips pucks. (I like) the way he’s coming back into our zone. There’s just nothing evolving from that point.”
Skinner, 26, is pointless in first four outings with the Sabres. So Housley moved the left winger, an ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Depth means coach Phil Housley can utilize his so-called fourth line for critical defensive zone faceoffs. It means the Sabres can replace former center Ryan O’Reilly’s minutes by committee. It means it can often be hard to distinguish between the first and fourth trios.
Right now, for the first time in years, the 2-1 Sabres possess depth up front and the ability to roll four lines.
“We’ve been rolling them pretty good,” center ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Coach Phil Housley’s firm voice cut through the din of Friday’s practice every few minutes.
“He was definitely vocal,” winger Kyle Okposo said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s home tilt against the New York Rangers. “I think we got the message.”
Actually, Housley relayed multiple messages Friday morning, hours after an embarrassing 4-0 loss left him seething. He delivered his first before practice.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The first glimpse of the new-look Sabres comes tonight, 180 days after they ended perhaps the worst season in franchise history.
Seven new faces will dress against the Boston Bruins, including first overall pick Rasmus Dahlin and winger Jeff Skinner, a two-time 30-goal scorer. The optimism surrounding the Sabres is well-deserved.
They’re a much different team than the dreadful one that finished in 31st place six months ago.
“They’re excited,” Sabres coach ... Read the full article
CLINTON – When center Casey Mittelstadt told some of his teammates skating this morning inside tiny Clinton Arena this felt like high school, he said they starting making fun of him.
But Mittelstadt, 19, is less than two years removed from playing high school hockey. Memories of skating in old rinks like the 65-year-old barn where the Sabres will face the Columbus Blue Jackets in tonight are fresh.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Twenty years ago, diminutive players like Brian Gionta – the ones teams list at, say, 5-foot-9 but are clearly much smaller – rarely received a chance in the NHL.
Sure, once in a while an undersized talent would break through. But for the most part, the league coveted size.
Then in the early 2000s, a few small forwards – Gionta, Daniel Briere and Martin St. Louis – started seizing their chances and morphing ... Read the full article