BUFFALO – Some top prospects carry what Sabres captain Kyle Okposo called “a naivety” into pro hockey. They’ve grown up as the best player on their team, so graduating to the sport’s highest levels doesn’t intimidate them.
“There’s no learning curve of the (AHL) where it’s like, ‘This is pro hockey,’” Okposo said following Monday’s practice in KeyBank Center. “It’s like, ‘No, I’ve always been the best player and this is what I do.’ And ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – A 2-0 deficit early in the first period. Just nine shots on goal more than halfway through the game.
At times, Thursday’s highly anticipated season opener felt like a throwback to the Sabres’ dreary days of the not-so-distant past.
They got going a bit as the game progressed, scoring late in the second period and making things interesting against the New York Rangers. Still, it was too little, too late, and they fell ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When captain Kyle Okposo was contemplating returning for another season, he thought about what it would be like trying to lead the Sabres without Zemgus Girgensons, a popular heart-and-soul veteran.
“I didn’t even want to consider that,” Okposo said following Monday’s practice in KeyBank Center. “That’s how important he is.”
Girgensons’ influence has been a huge factor in the Sabres’ recent transformation into a legitimate playoff contender. The winger’s actions and professionalism ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Barely a week ago, it felt like Zach Benson might receive a long look during training camp before the Sabres returned him to junior hockey. But four games, two goals and four points later, the prospect is fighting to earn an NHL roster spot.
Benson, 18, enjoyed another terrific outing in Saturday afternoon’s entertaining 4-3 preseason victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in KeyBank Center, scoring the late power-play winner after the Sabres ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – During the summer, captain Kyle Okposo told the Sabres a special opportunity had materialized for him to speak at the Global Africa Business Initiative’s “Unstoppable Africa” conference in New York.
The event organized by the United Nations Global Compact was being held Friday, so Okposo needed to be excused from the second day of training camp. The Sabres, of course, had no problem letting him go.
“Everybody recognized the opportunity,” Okposo said following ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Connor Clifton heard his new teammate, Rasmus Dahlin, feared him during his days with the Boston Bruins, and couldn’t believe it.
“He said that?” Clifton asked a reporter following Thursday’s opening session of training camp in KeyBank Center.
Dahlin sure did. He detested playing against Clifton, who relishes showcasing an aggressive, physical style that riles opponents.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Erik Johnson knows his time here could be short. The defenseman joined the Sabres on a one-year contract. At 35, he has entered perhaps the final phase of his terrific career.
Right now, the 17-year veteran might be more coveted for his experience and leadership than his skill.
Johnson’s still an asset on the ice, mind you. He averaged more than 17 minutes on it each game last season. In the first two ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – It took nearly 12 years for the Sabres to reach this point. They endured failed rebuilds, regime changes and what felt like constant turmoil.
On Thursday, for the first time since 2011, the Sabres opened training camp feeling like they’re a legitimate contender for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“Now it’s time,” Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said prior to the first session of camp in KeyBank Center. “Look, I think ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – After defenseman Erik Johnson learned the Colorado Avalanche wouldn’t be re-signing him, he said five or six teams emerged as suitors in free agency.
The Sabres, a team he said reminds him of the Avalanche not long ago, quickly moved to the top of his list.
Johnson, 35, called some old teammates and bounced the interested clubs off them.
“All of them really said Buffalo’s a team on the rise,” said Johnson, who ... Read the full article
Forward Zemgus Girgensons, the Buffalo Sabres’ longest-tenured player, will be returning for an 11th season.
The Sabres on Tuesday signed Girgensons to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. He could’ve become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Girgensons, 29, is the last remaining player from the Sabres’ “tank” teams of 2013-14 and 2014-15.
The Latvian has endured some rough seasons in Buffalo. The Sabres have finished dead last four times during his tenure and never ... Read the full article