Nick Deslauriers has zero points in 22 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nick Deslauriers seeing less action

BUFFALO – Chat with Nick Deslauriers for a few minutes, and if the subject turns to fighting, the affable Sabres winger usually perks up.

Deslauriers, 25, relishes his job as the Sabres’ chief protector. In his 196-game NHL career, he has 15 fights and 12 goals.

“That’s what I want to bring, just safety for all the guys that are on the ice with me,” Deslauriers said Friday prior to being scratched for the Sabres’ ... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson (31) tries to make a stop Dec. 6. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson to start against Red Wings

BUFFALO – Sabres coach Dan Bylsma has no explanation for goalie Anders Nilsson’s wild home and road splits.

Consider the statistics Nilsson, who will start tonight against the Detroit Red Wings, has accumulated in 17 games: on the road, he’s just 2-5-3 with a 3.11 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage in nine outings. At KeyBank Center, however, he’s 5-1-1 with a 1.84 and a .947 in seven contests.

“They can be misleading and ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel broke out of his short slump Tuesday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel refreshed for second half after short break

BUFFALO – Long after Sabres center Jack Eichel leaves the rink, his struggles still weigh heavy in his mind.

“I take it home,” Eichel said Wednesday after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s tilt against the Boston Bruins at KeyBank Center.

So naturally, Eichel’s frustration was visible as his career-long five-game pointless streak hit as the Sabres lost four straight contests before their Christmas break.

“You could see it in his body language,” Sabres coach Dan ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner (40) watches the puck Wednesday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres lose to Red Wings in shootout, miss chance to reach .500

BUFFALO – Coach Dan Bylsma heard the words – his Sabres had just missed a chance to hit .500 – and banged the podium out of frustration before a reporter could finish his question.

In a season full of close losses, Wednesday’s 2-1 shootout setback to the Detroit Red Wings might’ve hurt the most. The Sabres couldn’t convert several prime scoring chances throughout the night, including a few in overtime.

The 7-8-5 Sabres, a team ... Read the full article

Steve Ott and Thomas Vanek are back together in Detroit. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres Steve Ott, Thomas Vanek happy with Red Wings

BUFFALO – Barely three years ago, Steve Ott and Thomas Vanek co-captained the Sabres through one of the roughest months in franchise history, October 2013, before leaving town.

Vanek, who detested the team’s rebuild, went first, getting dished to the New York Islanders just weeks into the season. The Sabres traded Ott, who wanted to stay, to the St. Louis Blues months later.

These days, they’re two newcomers charged with helping the Detroit ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo was sold on Buffalo early. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Kyle Okposo sees Stanley Cup in Sabres’ future

BUFFALO – The conversation lasted maybe 15 minutes. General manager Tim Murray wanted to gauge Kyle Okposo’s interest, and the free agent wanted to hear what the Sabres could offer him.

When Murray began telling him how underrated the city is, Okposo stopped him and said he knows all about Buffalo and likes it. The nine-year veteran wanted to learn more about the organization.

So after Murray talked about the Sabres and the bright future ... Read the full article

The Sabres drafted Philippe Boucher 13th overall in 1991. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Memories of 1991 NHL Draft in Buffalo special for former Sabres

BUFFALO – As Philippe Boucher approached Buffalo on his eight-hour drive from Quebec City on Wednesday, the 25th anniversary of the 1991 NHL Draft, the former Sabres defenseman sounded nostalgic recalling his life-changing day at Memorial Auditorium.

“To be drafted by Buffalo in Buffalo obviously added to that day,” Boucher said by phone.

Boucher watched the NHL Draft on Friday from the First Niagara Center stands as youngsters experienced the same emotions he felt ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (15) fends off Minnesota's Marco Scandella on Saturday afternoon. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres blow late lead, lose to Wild in shootout

BUFFALO – Finally, thanks to rookie Jack Eichel’s score, it appeared the Sabres’ first shootout goal in months would help them eke out a win after blowing a late lead against the Minnesota Wild.

Eichel, just 66 games into his career, already has a commanding on-ice presence. His exploits create excitement and momentum, and his first NHL shootout goal in four tries had the capacity crowd of 19,070 fans inside the First Niagara Center buzzing ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek has 18 goals this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres star Thomas Vanek excited about World Cup

BUFFALO – The upcoming World Cup of Hockey will be a much different international experience for veteran Thomas Vanek, a two-time 40-goal scorer with the Sabres.

Instead of hoping Austria can simply win a game to stay in the ‘A’ pool, the Minnesota Wild winger has a roster spot on Team Europe, a collection of top talent from seven countries.

“For me, it’s cool because actually I can go into one of those tournaments ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) celebrates his first-period goal Sunday afternoon. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie Sam Reinhart continues hot streak

BUFFALO – Many days, long after most of their Sabres teammates have finished practicing, center Ryan O’Reilly and winger Sam Reinhart stay on the ice and work on tip drills.

O’Reilly, an adroit passer, has probably fed Reinhart thousands of pucks this season, helping the rookie quickly morph into a supreme net-front presence.

The chemistry they’ve quickly developed was on display 17:14 into the Sabres’ 4-1 win Sunday afternoon against the Colorado Avalanche, when Reinhart ... Read the full article