It should surprise no one Rasmus Dahlin scored his first goal because he zoomed to the net. In his early days in the NHL, the slick Buffalo Sabres rookie already showcases an aggressiveness few defensemen possess.
Dahlin, 18, joins the rush so much he often looks like a forward.
So it was fitting 2:45 into Saturday’s 3-0 road win, Dahlin, who was trailing the play, moved in from the slot and buried winger Jeff Skinner’s ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The tenacity Sabres winger Jeff Skinner has showcased early this season impresses coach Phil Housley.
“I really like the way he’s working, his forechecking,” Housley said this afternoon inside KeyBank Center. “He steals pucks and he strips pucks. (I like) the way he’s coming back into our zone. There’s just nothing evolving from that point.”
Skinner, 26, is pointless in first four outings with the Sabres. So Housley moved the left winger, an ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Depth means coach Phil Housley can utilize his so-called fourth line for critical defensive zone faceoffs. It means the Sabres can replace former center Ryan O’Reilly’s minutes by committee. It means it can often be hard to distinguish between the first and fourth trios.
Right now, for the first time in years, the 2-1 Sabres possess depth up front and the ability to roll four lines.
“We’ve been rolling them pretty good,” center ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Coach Phil Housley’s firm voice cut through the din of Friday’s practice every few minutes.
“He was definitely vocal,” winger Kyle Okposo said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s home tilt against the New York Rangers. “I think we got the message.”
Actually, Housley relayed multiple messages Friday morning, hours after an embarrassing 4-0 loss left him seething. He delivered his first before practice.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The first glimpse of the new-look Sabres comes tonight, 180 days after they ended perhaps the worst season in franchise history.
Seven new faces will dress against the Boston Bruins, including first overall pick Rasmus Dahlin and winger Jeff Skinner, a two-time 30-goal scorer. The optimism surrounding the Sabres is well-deserved.
They’re a much different team than the dreadful one that finished in 31st place six months ago.
“They’re excited,” Sabres coach ... Read the full article
CLINTON – When center Casey Mittelstadt told some of his teammates skating this morning inside tiny Clinton Arena this felt like high school, he said they starting making fun of him.
But Mittelstadt, 19, is less than two years removed from playing high school hockey. Memories of skating in old rinks like the 65-year-old barn where the Sabres will face the Columbus Blue Jackets in tonight are fresh.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Twenty years ago, diminutive players like Brian Gionta – the ones teams list at, say, 5-foot-9 but are clearly much smaller – rarely received a chance in the NHL.
Sure, once in a while an undersized talent would break through. But for the most part, the league coveted size.
Then in the early 2000s, a few small forwards – Gionta, Daniel Briere and Martin St. Louis – started seizing their chances and morphing ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Instead of utilizing Sam Reinhart or Kyle Okposo at right wing on the No. 1 line tonight, Sabres coach Phil Housley will give youngster Tage Thompson a look beside center Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner.
Thompson, 20, scored a nifty goal in Friday’s 5-3 loss in Toronto, carrying the puck into the zone before toe-dragging and unleashing a wicked wrist shot from the right circle.
“I really liked what he brought to ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres winger Conor Sheary, a newcomer expected to skate on a top line, is week-to-week after suffering an upper-body injury during Friday’s practice.
“In the first day (of training camp), he took a hit the wrong way, and we’re just making sure we’re on top of that,” said Sabres coach Phil Housley, who is dealing with three notable injuries just five days into camp.
Center Sean Malone will miss six weeks after ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The open communication among the Sabres and the accountability it has generated is new and welcome.
In the recent past, problems often festered and the Sabres usually imploded at the first hint of adversity. Some players clearly felt uncomfortable discussing any issues with each other.
Then following last season’s dreadful 31st-place finish, coach Phil Housley challenged the Sabres. He wanted self-reflection. He wanted them to change before the new season, which kicked off ... Read the full article