Rasmus Dahlin sports his new No. 26 jersey Monday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Excitement over NHL arrival hasn’t waned for Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin

BUFFALO – On Saturday, a day after the Sabres drafted Rasmus Dahlin, the first overall pick was still walking around American Airlines Center proudly wearing his Blue and Gold jersey.

Most first-round selections don’t show up for the later rounds of the NHL Draft. But the day in Dallas provided the slick defenseman another opportunity to experience what he said “was my best time in my life.”

“To be able to be a part of ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin (left) and Jason Botterill hold up the Swede's new jersey today. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin will wear No. 26

BUFFALO – In the Sabres’ 48-year existence, players of all talents wore No. 26 before the team awarded the digits to defenseman Rasmus Dahlin today.

Two-time 40-goal scorer Thomas Vanek sported it. So did Randy Wyrozub, one of the franchise’s first players. The Sabres issued the number 20 times before Dahlin, according to hockey-reference.com.... Read the full article

Alex Tuch battles Buffalo's Josh Gorges on Saturday afternoon. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres fan Alex Tuch enjoys Buffalo ‘homecoming’

BUFFALO – When Alex Tuch mentioned the number of fans who would be watching him play Saturday afternoon, no one was sure if the Syracuse native was joking.

“Maybe a little bit more than 400,” the Vegas Golden Knights rookie winger said Friday.

Cheering sections for local players and even some from further locales are common at KeyBank Center. Following games, family and friends often congregate around the Zamboni entrance and wait for their hero ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has 11 goals this season after scoring three Friday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres waste Jack Eichel’s first hat trick, fall to Hurricanes in OT

BUFFALO – The first hat trick of Jack Eichel’s short career and the first witnessed by Sabres fans here since 2011 deserved to be celebrated wildly.

The slick center dominated Friday’s tilt late, scoring twice in a 10-second span to erase the Carolina Hurricanes’ brief third-period lead and secure the first three-goal outing of his 175-game career.

A night after registering zero shots on goal, Sabres coach Phil Housley said “something must’ve been triggered” in ... Read the full article

Chris Taylor knows the Amerks and Sabres well. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Friendship with Sabres GM Jason Botterill led Chris Taylor back to Amerks

ROCHESTER – Barely a year ago, after 14 seasons with the Americans as an AHL player and assistant coach, Chris Taylor was let go, the victim of new head coach Dan Lambert’s desire to field his own staff.

On Thursday, the Amerks, the Buffalo Sabres’ top affiliate, introduced Taylor as the 32nd head coach in franchise history.

A fired coach, of course, rarely returns to his old team, let alone in a larger role so ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander is the Sabres' top prospect in Rochester. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill plans to make Rochester a priority

BUFFALO – Very quietly, general manager Jason Botterill played a key role in the development of the talent that once made the Sabres a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

Botterill played three seasons with the Rochester Americans, piling up goals while helping prospects like Paul Gaustad, Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek acclimate to the AHL and eventually graduate to the Sabres.... 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

Thomas Vanek began this season in Detroit. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres star Thomas Vanek still moving around NHL

BUFFALO – If you’re counting, former Sabres star Thomas Vanek just joined his fifth team – yes, the number’s really that high – since leaving town early in 2013-14.

The Panthers acquired Vanek, 33, as a rental from the Detroit Red Wings prior to the trade deadline, making Florida the latest stop in what has become a crazy four seasons.

After nine seasons here, the Austrian has morphed into the NHL’s most well-traveled star, also ... Read the full article

Marcus Foligno (left) and Josh Gorges celebrate Foligno's empty-net goal Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres shake off threat, beat Coyotes

BUFFALO – Following Thursday’s 6-3 win, a contest tighter than the score might indicate, winger Evander Kane bluntly assessed the current edition of the Arizona Coyotes, a hapless outfit the Sabres lost to earlier this week.

“They’re not a very good hockey team,” said Kane, who scored the winning goal 14:24 into the third period. “Let’s be real here.”

Well, they were good enough to beat the Sabres five days ago.

Despite ranking 29th overall, ... Read the full article

Evander Kane has enjoyed a terrific three-month stretch. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Slumping Sabres have assets to trade

BUFFALO – So what should the Sabres sell off before Wednesday’s trade deadline? After their most wrenching weekend in years, they can’t possibly be buyers, right?

Brutal road losses to the hapless Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes kicked them down the standings, effectively eliminating them from contention with 20 games left.

Desperate for wins, the Sabres couldn’t handle the NHL’s two worst teams. Think about that. Against the Coyotes, they frittered away a 2-0 third-period ... Read the full article