C.J. Smith has played four NHL games earlier this season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres reward C.J. Smith with promotion from Amerks

BUFFALO – Following a recent four-game look with the Sabres, winger C.J. Smith returned to the AHL and promptly went on a tear, scoring a hat trick in his first outing.

Smith, 24, performed splendidly, recording five goals and 12 points in eight games after the Sabres sent him to the Rochester Americans.

“He got the right message,” coach Phil Housley said Monday after the Sabres recalled Smith again.

Smith, who has compiled 18 goals ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith has compiled 41 points in 41 AHL games this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Reeling Sabres showcase new lines, defense pairs

BUFFALO – Sooner or later, coach Phil Housley had to make some significant changes, right? The Sabres have fallen from first overall to three points out of a playoff spot.

Having compiled an awful 8-14-4 mark in their last 26 games, their marathon slump has surpassed the two-month mark. In their last 10 outings, they’re 3-7.

In recent games, the Sabres have shown little interest in playing defense and struggled to score goals. Their power ... Read the full article

Relie Elie (81) hasn't played in the AHL since last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres assign Remi Elie to Amerks

The Buffalo Sabres assigned winger Remi Elie to the Rochester Americans today after he cleared waivers.

Elie, 23, compiled one assist in 16 games after the Sabres claimed him off waivers from the Dallas Stars in October.

The former second-round pick hasn’t played in the AHL since last season, when he compiled three goals and 10 points in 25 total games with the Texas Stars. He has scored 16 goals and 46 points in 121 ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has scored seven goals this season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres notes: Kyle Okposo showcasing more physicality

BUFFALO – Over the last week or two, Sabres winger Kyle Okposo has finally started showcasing signs of his old self, playing a heavier, straight-line game.

“He’s going to the net a lot better,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said prior to Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning inside KeyBank Center. “I think he’s attacking off the wing and he’s shooting a lot more.”

Not surprisingly, Okposo has started scoring a bit. After enduring ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has scored 29 goals this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres sniper Jeff Skinner elected to NHL All-Star Game

Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner will be playing for the Atlantic Division in the upcoming NHL All-Star Game.

Skinner, the NHL’s second-leading goal scorer with 29, earned a spot today as part of the “Last Men In” online voting the NHL conducted for the last week.

More than 11.5 million votes were cast, including more than 2 million Thursday, the final day of voting, according to the league.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has missed three games. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jack Eichel close to playing

BUFFALO – Sabres center Jack Eichel practiced this morning in his regular spot beside winger Jeff Skinner, a sign the NHL All-Star is ready to return from his upper-body injury.

“He did quite well, a pretty high-tempo, bump-and-grind practice,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “It’s good to see him out there.”

So, will the captain return for Friday’s road tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes following a three-game absence?... Read the full article

C.J. Smith (left) celebrates his first NHL goal beside Kyle Okposo. ©2019, Hickling Images

C.J. Smith, Lawrence Pilut score first NHL goals, help Sabres beat Devils

BUFFALO – Early in Tuesday’s 5-1 victory, Sabres rookie C.J. Smith utilized his speed and cranked a shot off the post, a sign the speedy winger’s first NHL goal could be imminent.

Smith, 24, kept buzzing around the New Jersey Devils zone, creating more scoring chances.

“Got a little more confident tonight,” Smith said after scoring 4:14 into the second period in his sixth NHL game, a goal that put the Sabres ahead for good.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has missed two games. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jack Eichel practices, has no return date yet

BUFFALO – About halfway through this morning’s practice, Sabres captain Jack Eichel stepped out on the ice and joined his teammates.

While Eichel, who has missed two games with an upper-body injury, did not take any line rushes inside KeyBank Center, his presence is a good sign.

The Sabres’ No. 1 center and leading scorer skated a bit as an extra defenseman and also took some reps on the power play.

Coach Phil Housley said ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues has 11 points this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Jack Eichel’s injury gives Evan Rodrigues chance on Sabres’ top line

BUFFALO – Thanks to center Jack Eichel’s upper-body injury, Sabres coach Phil Housley leaned on Evan Rodrigues heavily throughout Monday’s 3-1 loss, skating him a career-high 22 minutes, seven seconds.

Rodrigues, 25, had never even cracked the 20-minute mark in his previous 113 NHL outings.

Expect Rodrigues to see plenty of action again Thursday against the Florida Panthers.

Eichel, who skated only four shifts before leaving Monday’s tilt against the New York Islanders, did ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played two NHL games late in 2016-17. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: C.J. Smith earns recall from Amerks

BUFFALO – Late in the 2016-17 season, the Sabres rewarded C.J. Smith with two NHL games after the forward left UMass Lowell following his junior year.

Then Smith, 24, quietly began the next season in the AHL, where he morphed into a top scorer and an intriguing prospect with the Rochester Americans.

Still, the Sabres kept Smith in the AHL nearly a year and a half before finally summoning him prior to Monday’s 3-1 ... Read the full article