Phil Housley wants the Sabres to get after it tonight. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Phil Housley excited, nervous for coaching debut

BUFFALO – Come about 7 p.m., just before the Sabres’ preseason opener against the Carolina Hurricanes, rookie coach Phil Housley will start feeling some butterflies.

“I’d be lying to you if I say when the game comes I’m (not) going to be nervous,” Housley said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “Being a head coach for the first time behind the bench, it’s quite exciting for me.”... Read the full article

Brendan Guhle earned a small taste of the NHL last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Brendan Guhle aiming to crack Sabres out of training camp

BUFFALO – In his three recent outings, Sabres defenseman Brendan Guhle wowed the crowd, consistently showcasing the slick talents that make him an elite prospect.

At just 20 years old, Guhle often looks like a veteran, swiftly moving the puck up the ice and getting to the net.

In Saturday’s 7-4 win against the Boston Bruins, Guhle zoomed up and dished across the zone to C.J. Smith before connecting on the return pass at the ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played two games with the Sabres last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie C.J. Smith enjoying Buffalo

BUFFALO – In late March, after C.J. Smith quickly left UMass Lowell to join the Sabres, the NCAA free agent hardly found a moment to enjoy his brief taste of the NHL.

Smith signed an entry-level contract just days after his junior season ended. He stayed enrolled in school, so classwork was still a part of his daily routine. Following his first NHL practice, the finance major left to take a test online.... Read the full article

The Sabres invited Colin Blackwell to rookie camp. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Harvard graduate Colin Blackwell impressing Sabres

BUFFALO – As a Harvard graduate, Sabres prospect Colin Blackwell hears it all the time.

“Especially when you don’t have a job come Sept. 1,” the center said Saturday prior to registering an assist in the Sabres’ entertaining 7-4 win against the Boston Bruins in the Prospects Challenge.

Blackwell, 24, is often encouraged to look for work outside of hockey. He studied government and physiology at the prestigious university.... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly (90) believes everyone needs to be better. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly sick of losing: ‘It’s getting exhausting’

BUFFALO – At this point, as the Sabres stumble at the end of another disappointing season, frustration has started overwhelming Ryan O’Reilly.

O’Reilly, 26, has experienced enough losing. The popular center passionately called out himself and his teammates to be better during a brutally honest chat with the media prior to Wednesday’s home finale against the Montreal Canadiens, a 2-1 win.

“I’m sick of losing,” O’Reilly said inside KeyBank Center. “It’s getting exhausting and ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe has been a strong performer most of the season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres to scratch Jake McCabe against Canadiens

BUFFALO – For almost six months, defenseman Jake McCabe was one of the Sabres’ steadiest players, showcasing consistency the team’s blue line sorely needed. But the Wisconsin native has morphed into a gaffe machine in the last week, committing a string of costly turnovers.

So McCabe, 23, will be a healthy scratch for the first time all season in tonight’s home finale against the Montreal Canadiens at KeyBank Center.

“He’s made a few gaffes with ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander has spent the entire season in the AHL. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall prospect Alexander Nylander from Amerks

BUFFALO – Top Sabres forward prospect Alexander Nylander, the eighth overall pick in 2016, could be recalled from the Rochester Americans and make his NHL debut in tonight’s tilt against his brother, William, and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Update: Nylander has been recalled.

Nylander, 19, was held out Sunday afternoon’s 2-1 road win against the Albany Devils. The Buffalo News reported the Sabres will summon the Swede from the AHL club.... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played his final NCAA game last week. ©2017, UMass Lowell

Rookie C.J. Smith contributes in Sabres’ loss to Islanders

BUFFALO – The play will be seared in Sabres rookie C.J. Smith’s memory the rest of his life.

Halfway through Smith’s NHL debut, Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders, the speedy winger grabbed Evander Kane’s pass just outside the blue line and zoomed into the zone on a two-on-one.

Smith then dished a backhand saucer pass to Kane, who beat goalie Jaroslav Halak for his team-leading 27th goal. Just 10:08 into his ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith, shown here with the USHL's Chicago Steel, will make his NHL debut this afternoon. ©2017, MJB Images, Chicago Steel

Sabres rookie C.J. Smith ready for NHL debut

BUFFALO – Thursday, Sabres newcomer C.J. Smith’s first day in the NHL, was “extremely overwhelming,” the rookie winger said.

“I didn’t get to soak it in as much as I wanted to,” Smith said Saturday inside HarborCenter.

Smith signed his entry-level contract in the morning, practiced with his new teammates shortly after and had to take a test online – the finance major is still enrolled at UMass Lowell, where he spent three seasons – ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith enjoyed a big junior season. ©2017, UMass Lowell

Commitment to defense helped C.J. Smith reach Sabres

BUFFALO – After C.J. Smith led UMass Lowell in goal scoring for the third consecutive season, River Hawks coach Norm Bazin knew his star forward would have opportunities to turn pro.

Smith, who signed a two-year contract with the Sabres on Thursday, enjoyed a huge 2016-17 campaign, scoring 23 goals and 51 points in only 41 games.

But something besides Smith’s scoring prowess helped him morph from an undrafted youngster into an NHL prospect ... Read the full article