Jack Hughes is the presumptive first overall pick. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres will have strong options early at NHL Draft

VANCOUVER – The first two picks of tonight’s NHL Draft have been set for months. Unless something wild transpires inside Rogers Arena, the New Jersey Devils will select Jack Hughes first overall and the New York Rangers will grab Kaapo Kakko second.

The 2019 draft really begins with the third pick, when the Chicago Blackhawks go on the clock.

Drafts, of course, are always unpredictable. Youngsters pegged as surefire high picks inevitably fall.

But the ... Read the full article

Casey Nelson has played 26 games this season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres notes: Casey Nelson returns after one-game benching

BUFFALO – The night after Nikita Zadorov drilled Sabres captain Jack Eichel high after the whistle, Casey Nelson said he couldn’t sleep.

The defenseman said he was looking through three players Saturday afternoon in Colorado and didn’t see Zadorov hit Eichel into the boards and rip off his helmet.

That’s why Nelson glided up to Zadorov and never went after the Avalanche defenseman.

On Thursday morning, Nelson’s tepid reaction was still bothering him.... Read the full article

Casey Nelson will return tonight. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres’ Casey Nelson bothered by response to hit on Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – The night after Nikita Zadorov drilled Sabres captain Jack Eichel high after the whistle, Casey Nelson said he couldn’t sleep.

The defenseman said he was looking through three players Saturday afternoon in Colorado and didn’t see Zadorov hit Eichel into the boards and rip off his helmet.

That’s why Nelson glided up to Zadorov and never went after the Avalanche defenseman.

If Nelson had seen what happened to Eichel, he would’ve offered a ... Read the full article

Taylor Fedun was sitting out games in Rochester earlier this season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres notes: Taylor Fedun finds home with Stars

BUFFALO – For years and years, the cycle repeated itself. Taylor Fedun would earn a recall to the NHL as an injury replacement and eventually return to the AHL.

“Normally every opportunity I’ve had at this level, once guys get healthy, it’s just kind of the way it’s gone,” said Fedun, a Dallas Stars defenseman who played two full seasons in the Sabres organization. “I’m the guy that got sent back down.”

Despite compiling some ... Read the full article

Casey Nelson recently returned to the lineup. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres’ Casey Nelson to be scratched against Stars

BUFFALO – After playing three straight games, Sabres defenseman Casey Nelson will sit out tonight’s contest against the Dallas Stars as a healthy scratch.

Why? Well, Sabres coach Phil Housley said Nelson will be scratched mainly because his play “has dipped the last couple games.”

“We’ve got some other guys there available and we haven’t had a lot of success, so we’ve made some changes,” Housley said this morning inside KeyBank Center.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (9) battles Edmonton's Connor McDavid on March 4. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres’ Jack Eichel frustrated by suspension: ‘I don’t agree with it’

BUFFALO – Phil Housley wouldn’t go there. The Sabres coach simply said he disagreed with the two-game suspension the NHL slapped on center Jack Eichel, his captain and leading scorer, and left it at that.

But an aggravated Eichel offered a detailed description of the illegal check to the head he laid on Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg in Saturday afternoon’s 3-0 loss in Colorado.

The hit, Eichel said Monday, was legal and he shouldn’t ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel had never been suspended. ©2019, Hickling Images

NHL suspends Sabres’ Jack Eichel two games for illegal check to head

BUFFALO – The NHL has suspended Sabres captain Jack Eichel two games for an illegal check to Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg’s head in Saturday afternoon’s 3-0 loss in Colorado.

Eichel, the Sabres’ leading scorer with 72 points in 65 appearances, will miss two home games: Tuesday’s against the Dallas Stars and Thursday’s versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In announcing the suspension Sunday night, the NHL Department of Player Safety said Eichel could’ve avoided head contact with ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has never been suspended. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jack Eichel to have hearing with NHL following hit

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety today for his illegal check to forward Carl Soderberg’s head Saturday afternoon.

Update: Eichel has been suspended two games.

Eichel, 22, was penalized two minutes for the hit 14:48 into the second period of the Sabres’ 3-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

The NHL All-Star has no history of suspensions.... Read the full article

Nikita Zadorov has endured a rough season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Avalanche NHL’s worst

BUFFALO – The ineptitude of some of the worst NHL teams this century – the 1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers and the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Sabres, for example – can easily be explained.

Yes, the Thrashers were terrible even by low expansion standards, earning only 39 points. But it was their first year. What can you expect?

The Sabres mustered 52 and 54 points because they fielded weak teams and sold off their best assets to secure ... Read the full article

Patrick Kaleta is keeping the door open to playing again. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Patrick Kaleta excited for off-ice job with Sabres, not retired yet

BUFFALO – For the last “crazy” little while, Patrick Kaleta said, when fans spot him around town, they greet the former Sabres agitator with the same questions.

“People see me, they say, ‘What are you doing here? Your team is practicing. Your team is playing,’” Kaleta told the Times Herald on Monday.

The affable Kaleta, who played 348 games with the Sabres, said he smiles and tells them he has a new job with ... Read the full article