Jake McCabe (29) and Mark Pysyk (3) are good friends. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jake McCabe, Mark Pysyk forming strong defense pair for Sabres

BUFFALO – Their competitions are a bit one-sided. Any game Sabres defense partners Jake McCabe and Mark Pysyk play against each other, Pysyk inevitably loses.

“Yeah, I always beat him,” McCabe said proudly Thursday. “Any game.”

There’s the Rory McIlroy golf video game for Xbox.

“He’s unbelievable at it,” Pysyk said. “He must not have any friends in the summer.”

Then there was the little one-timer contest they had following practice Thursday.

“That’s why he’s ... Read the full article

Cody Franson (46) was given a maintenance day today. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rest up for weekend

BUFFALO – Some quick updates from HarborCenter, where the Sabres held about six players out of practice today, including rookie center Jack Eichel, who played 19 minutes, 42 seconds in his sixth NHL game Wednesday, a 2-1 shootout win against Toronto.

– “The number of minutes that we played and playing three in four, yes, it was coach’s decision to keep them off the ice,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said.

The Sabres host Montreal on ... Read the full article

Brad Boyes attended training camp on a tryout. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabre Brad Boyes happy with Leafs after tough summer

BUFFALO – At times throughout his uncertain summer, former Sabres forward Brad Boyes said he wondered, “Why is this happening?”

For the second time in three years, Boyes, a former 43-goal scorer, couldn’t find work.

In 2013, after a strong season with the New York Islanders, Boyes, 33, had to earn a spot in Florida on a tryout. He parlayed that into a two-year extension and figured after scoring 35 goals over two seasons, he ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson will play tonight after sitting out last game. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Dan Bylsma expects ‘electric’ atmosphere for Sabres-Leafs tilt

BUFFALO – Dan Bylsma said he has heard some, shall we say, interesting stories about being inside the rowdy First Niagara Center for a game between the Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I’m nervous for some of the fans, from what I hear,” Bylsma said this morning prior to his first regular-season game against the Leafs as Sabres coach.

Tilts between the fierce rivals rarely disappoint, especially here, where blue-collar Toronto fans who can’t attend ... Read the full article

Cody Franson (46) sat out today. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Chad Johnson giving Sabres chance to win; Cody Franson day-to-day

BUFFALO – The numbers lie. In five games this season, Sabres goalie Chad Johnson has accumulated some below-average statistics – 1-4 with a 2.70 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage – subbing for injured starter Robin Lehner.

Still, Johnson, 29, has given the 1-4 Sabres “a chance to win every game he’s played,” coach Dan Bylsma said this afternoon.

“I don’t know if you can ask for much more from him,” Bylsma said following ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel zooms by Toronto’s Connor Brown on Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel stars in Sabres’ preseason win over Leafs

BUFFALO – In three NHL exhibition appearances, Sabres center Jack Eichel has generated two goals, five points and more excitement than any NHL rookie, even Connor McDavid, his counterpart in Edmonton.

To wit: Eichel, in his home preseason debut Tuesday, scored again in Sabres’ 4-0 shellacking of the Toronto Maple Leafs, his second short-handed breakaway goal.

The 18-year-old Eichel hit full speed in two strides leaving the Buffalo zone and quickly roared by Connor Brown ... Read the full article

Brendan Guhle will play his fourth preseason game tonight. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Brendan Guhle could crack lineup

BUFFALO – Brendan Guhle is no longer the impressive rookie getting a long look before going back to junior. Suddenly, the Sabres defense prospect, the 51st overall pick in June, has a real chance to be on the opening-night roster in nine days.

“Definitely there’s an opportunity,” said Guhle, who will play his fourth preseason game tonight. “There’s some injuries now, whatnot. I’m not looking too far ahead of myself.”

Four notable defensemen – ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel counts as a veteran for preseason games since he was a first-round pick. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel to make preseason debut Monday

BUFFALO – The expectations for rookie Jack Eichel’s preseason debut Monday are, well, pretty low.

“He’s going to get a chance with the scoreboard running and different colored jerseys in the National Hockey League to play a game,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center.

Still, Eichel’s presence is notable. Bylsma said the center will play at least some of the road tilt against the Minnesota Wild between Matt Moulson ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons could switch positions again this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Even with roster mostly set, Sabres training camp has intriguing storylines

BUFFALO – For a team that just endured a brutal 54-point season and might have nine new faces in the lineup opening night, the Sabres should enjoy a remarkably quiet training camp, their first under new coach Dan Bylsma.

There are, of course, still some intriguing storylines to follow. Second overall pick Jack Eichel’s first days in the NHL promise to be exciting. Sam Reinhart, the franchise’s other top prospect, will be fighting for a ... Read the full article

Carlo Colaiacovo didn’t sign a contract until October last year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Carlo Colaiacovo excited for opportunity with Sabres

BUFFALO – Two days after signing a one-year contract with the Sabres, Carlo Colaiacovo hadn’t stopped smiling yet, the defenseman said Sunday.

A year ago, Colaiacovo couldn’t find work. As the summer dragged on, the free agent became uneasy. The stress wore on him.

Colaiacovo eventually decided to bolt to a Russian club in the KHL. But the contract took so long to consummate a one-year-deal with Philadelphia materialized in October before he could leave.... Read the full article