Tage Thompson experienced a big growth spurt in 2015. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Tage Thompson learning to utilize big body

BUFFALO – Not long before Sabres winger Tage Thompson began his freshman year at UConn, he was 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds.

Then Thompson experienced a growth spurt over the summer of 2015. By the time he got to campus, he was a lanky 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds.

“So three inches and 20 pounds over the course of a summer,” Thompson said Friday inside KeyBank Center. “Then that following year, (I) grew another inch, put on ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner scored twice Thursday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres beat Panthers, hit halfway mark on high note

BUFFALO – The cushion the Sabres created during their 10-game winning streak is long gone. In losing 11 out of 15 contests before Thursday’s tight 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers, they dropped from first or second place in the Atlantic Division to the Eastern Conference’s top wild card spot.

So Thursday’s victory, the Sabres’ first game without captain Jack Eichel, who’s nursing an upper-body injury and will miss at least one more game, ... 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

Jake MccCabe (15) battles the New York Islanders' Cal Clutterbuck on Monday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres lose game to Islanders, Jack Eichel to injury

BUFFALO – Three straight losses. A rough stretch in which they’ve dropped 11 of 15 games. An anemic offense that has produced just five goals in the last eight contests.

The Sabres closed 2018 like the opened it, struggling to win games and score goals.

Did we mention captain Jack Eichel, the Sabres’ leading scorer, left Monday’s 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders nursing an upper-body injury after playing just 2:42?... 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

C.J. Smith was piling up points in Rochester. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres look to C.J. Smith for spark

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 to sign an entry-level contract.

And then, Smith, 24, quietly went to the Rochester Americans, where he morphed into a top scorer and an intriguing prospect.

Still, the Sabres kept Smith in the AHL nearly a season and a half before finally summoning him this morning.... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 13. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo enduring career-worst slump

BUFFALO – Kyle Okposo’s offensive slump has become startling.

The Sabres winger has a career-long 21-game goal drought entering tonight’s home tilt against the New York Islanders, his old team. The former NHL All-Star hasn’t even mustered an assist in the last 14 contests, the longest pointless stretch of his 12-year career.

Following a strong start, Okposo stopped producing around mid-November.

Incredibly, Okposo, who usually skates on the second line and power-play unit, is ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville has missed three games. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jason Pominville close to playing after hitting ‘Finnish wall’

BUFFALO – Of all the guys Sabres winger Jason Pominville could’ve collided with two weeks ago, it had to be 6-foot-4, 215-pound defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.

“(I) end up hitting pretty much a Finnish wall over there,” the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Pominville said following this afternoon’s practice inside HarborCenter. “So it’s a tough guy to hit if you’re going to pick one.”

Pominville has missed three straight games since his teammate accidentally steamrolled him during a line ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly spent three seasons in Buffalo. ©2018, Hickling Images

Former Sabre Ryan O’Reilly producing for Blues amid losing season

Not much has changed for ex-Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly in St. Louis. The Blues utilize him constantly, relying on him to play big minutes. Just like in Buffalo, the versatile center quickly seized his opportunities, morphing into perhaps his new team’s best player.

And just like in Buffalo, O’Reilly has endured a lot of losing.

The Blues, one of the NHL’s heavyweights for years, just missed the playoffs last season, earning 94 points. When they ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark made 40 saves on Saturday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Linus Ullmark blanks Ducks, Sabres head into break on high note

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark could’ve been forgiven if it took him a little time to acclimate to his new role as a backup, perhaps the NHL’s toughest job.

No. 2 netminders often go a week or more without playing. When they finally start, they often receive the second of back-to-back games.

But Ullmark, 25, has transitioned nicely into his new gig, winning eight of his first 13 appearances subbing for No. 1 goalie ... Read the full article