Washington's Andre Burakovsky is upended by Dmitry Kulikov (77) and Ryan O'Reilly (90) on Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Special teams doom Sabres in loss to Capitals

BUFFALO – After Friday’s disappointing 4-1 loss to Washington Capitals, the Sabres are 3-2-1 with Jack Eichel, their dynamic young star, back in the lineup.

Eichel’s presence, as their record indicates, has boosted Sabres a bit. They’ve played some entertaining games in the last two weeks, scoring goals and showcasing the ability to roar back late.

But even with Eichel and many of their injured regulars back – defensemen Josh Gorges and Dmitry Kulikov returned ... Read the full article

Brendan Guhle (45) sticks his glove in Tim Schaller's face last Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Brendan Guhle’s short stint leaves positive impression on Sabres

BUFFALO – In his first three NHL games, defenseman Brendan Guhle showcased consistency and poise, performing like a veteran, not a 19-year-old rookie the Sabres recalled from junior hockey on an emergency basis.

Guhle, less than a week into his big league career, quickly became one of the team’s top defensemen, helping solidify the injury-ravaged blue line.

But defensemen Josh Gorges and Dmitry Kulikov returned from injuries for Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals, ... Read the full article

Brendan Guhle played three games. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

With defensemen healthy, Sabres rookie Brendan Guhle must leave

BUFFALO – In his first three NHL games, Sabres defenseman Brendan Guhle showcased consistency and poise, performing like a veteran, not a 19-year-old rookie recalled from junior hockey on an emergency basis.

Guhle, less than a week into his big league career, quickly became one of the team’s top defensemen, helping solidify the injury-ravaged blue line.

But defensemen Josh Gorges (foot) and Dmitry Kulikov (back) are set to return tonight against the Washington Capitals, meaning ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe has been playing big minutes. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Versatile Jake McCabe Sabres’ ‘Swiss Army Knife’

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe, like most hockey players, has a pretty straightforward nickname he was given years ago, “Caber.”

But these days, McCabe, 23, is a top-pair defender, skating in every situation for a team whose blue line has been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks.

So the Wisconsin native’s versatility has earned him another moniker.

“We joked around, called him ‘The Swiss Army Knife,’” center Ryan O’Reilly said Thursday after the ... Read the full article

Erik Burgdoerfer signed a two-way contract in July. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Erik Burgdoerfer paid dues to reach NHL

Less than three years ago, Erik Burgdoerfer was an unknown ECHL defenseman playing his fourth season with the Bakersfield Condors.

Tonight against the Washington Capitals, after a stunning 429 minor league games, Burgdoerfer will make his NHL debut with the Buffalo Sabres.

“I’m wondering how the heck, from what I’ve seen so far, (he) played five years in the East Coast Hockey League,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said during training camp. “Somebody somewhere has missed ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov has battled a back injury all season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Dmitry Kulikov nearing return as Josh Gorges leaves lineup

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges has a non-displaced fracture in his foot and will be sidelined “weeks,” coach Dan Bylsma said Sunday.

There is, however, some good news for the Sabres’ injury-ravaged blue line, which is missing three regulars. Dmitry Kulikov, out the last 11 games with a back injury, practiced Sunday inside HarborCenter and is day-to-day, Bylsma said.

Still, the Russian likely won’t play in tonight’s road tilt against the Washington Capitals. ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner (40) has enjoyed a strong season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Goaltending one of Sabres’ few constants at one-quarter mark

BUFFALO – It’s easy to forget now, with Robin Lehner and Anders Nilsson tending some of the NHL’s best goal, but six weeks ago, the Swedes were two of the Sabres’ biggest question marks.

Lehner, 25, was coming off a season in which a high ankle sprain dogged him and limited his action. Meanwhile, Nilsson, 26, had enjoyed little sustained success as a backup goalie for three other teams.

Right now, they’re quietly one of ... Read the full article

Mike Weber hasn't played in the playoffs since 2011. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Trade from Sabres gives Mike Weber special opportunity with Capitals

BUFFALO – At times over a rough two-year stretch, as Mike Weber accumulated the NHL’s worst plus-minus rating, it appeared the ex-Sabres defenseman might never recapture his old form.

The passionate Weber, 28, often became the poster boy for the Sabres’ struggles during their run as the NHL’s laughingstock.

But Weber, not coincidentally, morphed back into his old self on the revamped Sabres this season.

Defensemen, especially reliable depth ones with Weber’s grit and ... Read the full article

Mike Weber was the Sabres' longest-tenured player. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres trade Mike Weber to Capitals

BUFFALO – The Sabres traded gritty defenseman Mike Weber, the club’s longest-tenured player and a heart-and-soul-presence, to the Washington Capitals tonight for a third-round draft pick in 2017.

“It’s difficult to trade someone that has been a part of the organization for 10 years, but I think this is a good opportunity for the player and for our organization,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said in a statement. “I would like to thank Mike ... Read the full article

Tim Schaller scores his first-period short-handed goal Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres throttle Capitals, end home skid

BUFFALO – Count the Sabres’ exciting 4-1 shellacking of the high-powered Washington Capitals on Saturday as perhaps the most impressive victory felt in these parts in years.

The 29th-ranked Sabres ended a five-game home losing streak while manhandling the league-leading Capitals, who roared into the First Niagara Center having won five straight contests and 14 of the last 16.

This one was never in doubt and had a little bit of everything. First-period ... Read the full article