Jake McCabe (left) muscles past Boston's Noel Acciari on Dec. 19. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Thumb surgery to sideline Sabres’ Jake McCabe weeks

BUFFALO – With Jake McCabe out three to four weeks after undergoing thumb surgery today and Rasmus Ristolainen struggling, the Sabres’ defense corps will look much different tonight against the New York Islanders.

Casey Nelson, a recent recall quickly earning coach Phil Housley’s trust, will play with Marco Scandella, Ristolainen’s partner much of the season on the No. 1 pair. Ristolainen, meanwhile, will move back and skate with Nathan Beaulieu.... Read the full article

Jason Pominville has scored nine goals this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jason Pominville struggling to produce offense

BUFFALO – For a few weeks earlier this season, Sabres winger Jason Pominville seemed to be defying age. The likable veteran, 35, roared out of the gate, scoring two goals opening night. He followed up with another two-score outing days later.

By the 12-game mark, Pominville had compiled six goals and 12 points. The production increase made sense.

On a loaded Minnesota Wild team a year ago, Pominville scored all 13 of his goals ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner has often played well for a bad team. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Goalie Robin Lehner frustrated by Sabres’ struggles

BUFFALO – After getting yanked for the third time in five starts, Sabres goalie Robin Lehner skated to the bench, sat down and … left his mask on.

It looked, well, a bit odd.

Lehner kept wearing the protection until the second period ended Saturday afternoon. When he sat down again for the final 20 minutes of an ugly 7-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, he had finally removed it.... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart scored his sixth goal this season Monday afternoon. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Sabres Winter Classic notes: Sam Reinhart scores huge goal

NEW YORK – In his NHL and major junior career, winger Sam Reinhart has scored 166 goals, including 46 with the Buffalo Sabres.

Reinhart’s power-play goal in Monday afternoon’s Winter Classic, his first score in 17 games dating back to Nov. 22, might’ve been the biggest of his career.

Fifty-three seconds into the second period, Reinhart potted a loose puck beside New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist as he fell down, capitalizing after Kyle Okposo ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville skates during the first Winter Classic 10 years ago. ©2018, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Winter Classic brings players back to childhood

NEW YORK – Four years ago, Buffalo Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues was injured when Boston University participated in “Frozen Fenway,” an outdoor game at the historic ballpark.

At first, Rodrigues held out some hope he would return in time. Then the college junior realized he would miss the special tilt.

“At the time, (it was) heartbreaking, because you always want to play in something like this,” Rodrigues said Sunday after the Sabres prepared for this ... Read the full article

Josh Gorges represented Team Canada in 2004. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

World Junior memories special for Sabres’ Josh Gorges

BUFFALO – By 2003-04, Josh Gorges’ last junior season, the Sabres defenseman started developing into an interesting NHL prospect.

After going undrafted in 2002, the San Jose Sharks quickly awarded Gorges an entry-level contract. Buoyed by that confidence, Gorges went on a two-year tear with the Kelowna Rockets, becoming one of the Western Hockey League’s best players.

Still, Gorges, then 19, was hardly a lock to crack Team Canada’s entry at the 2004 World Junior ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues had a two-goal game Dec. 10. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Evan Rodrigues likely out against Flyers

BUFFALO – Technically, according to Sabres coach Phil Housley, forward Evan Rodrigues is a game-time decision for tonight’s tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers.

But expect the speedy Rodrigues to skate in the warm-up … and then get scratched for the first time this season.

Based on Housley’s lines the last two days, newcomer Scott Wilson will return tonight after sitting out Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Boston as a healthy scratch.... Read the full article

Scott Wilson joined the Sabres, his third team in 44 days, on Dec. 4. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Scott Wilson comfortable with Sabres

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Scott Wilson spent three full seasons in the Pittsburgh organization, morphing from a seventh-round pick into a regular on the Penguins’ 2017 Stanley Cup championship team.

Wilson made 98 total appearances last season, including 20 in the playoffs. On June 11, the winger skated more than 13 minutes in Pittsburgh’s Cup-clinching victory.

But by October, Wilson’s days with the Penguins were numbered. They needed centers and had too many wingers. Wilson ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 22. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Sam Reinhart promoted to top line with Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – In Tuesday’s 3-0 loss, Sam Reinhart’s 12th straight goalless game, the struggling Sabres winger barely skated 11 minutes.

With the Sabres down one goal, Reinhart, who was demoted to the fourth line against the Boston Bruins, played just over two minutes in the third period.

Reinhart has been struggling all month, compiling just one assist during his goal drought.

So is the next next step moving Reinhart, 22, to the press box? Nope.... Read the full article

Chad Johnson has poor numbers this season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson positive through rough stretch

BUFFALO – To Chad Johnson, his weak numbers are deceiving. Other than a poor 20-minute outing, the Sabres goalie believes he has played well this season.

Naturally, Johnson is frustrated. In 12 games, he is 1-5-3 with a ghastly 3.76 goals-against average and an .880 save percentage, his lone win coming Oct. 15.

Among goalies with 10 or more appearances this season, only Vegas Golden Knights rookie Maxime Lagace has a higher goals-against average and ... Read the full article