Sam Reinhart (23) battles Vancouver’s Thomas Vanek on Oct. 20. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres trying to ignite struggling power play

BUFFALO – In an otherwise glum season, the Sabres’ power play emerged as the NHL’s best a year ago, converting 24.5 percent of its opportunities.

Considering the Sabres kept their key personnel and hired coach Phil Housley, it wasn’t crazy to think they could become even more potent this year.

After all, few players in NHL history have performed better. Housley amassed 609 of his 1,232 points on the power play during his 21-year career ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart plays against the Penguins on March 21. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

2017-18 Sabres schedule features early date with Golden Knights

CHICAGO – Two games against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights and a home-and-home series with the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in early December are among the highlights of the 82-game 2017-18 Buffalo Sabres schedule the NHL released Thursday.

Some other notable dates, stretches and nuggets:

– The Sabres play the Golden Knights first the first time Oct. 17 in Vegas, the close of a four-game road trip that includes dates with the San Jose ... Read the full article

Timothy Liljegren worked out at the NHL Scouting Combine on June 3. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres could land strong defense prospect at NHL Draft

BUFFALO – Thanks to his famous name and a 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame, NHL Draft prospect Callan Foote has eyes on him whenever he hits the ice.

Foote, 18, usually doesn’t disappoint, either. A defenseman like his father, two-time Stanley Cup winner Adam Foote, he can dominate a game when he utilizes his big body, NHL Central Scouting’s Dave Gregory said. The youngster also possesses a special ability to transition the puck, a key talent in ... Read the full article

Tom Ward has an impressive high school resume. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hire Tom Ward as assistant coach; Dan Catenacci re-signed

BUFFALO – The Sabres have hired Tom Ward, a top prep coach who groomed Sidney Crosby, Kyle Okposo and other future NHL players at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, as the final assistant on Dan Bylsma’s staff, the team announced this afternoon.

Ward, 52, spent the last 18 seasons as the head coach of the boys prep team at the Minnesota high school, winning nine USA Hockey National Championships and finishing as runner-up twice.

Shattuck is known for ... Read the full article

Pierre-Luc Dubois should be picked early tonight. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

NHL Draft could get crazy after Auston Matthews, early picks go

BUFFALO – Once ultra-talented forwards Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi are nabbed early tonight, the NHL Draft might really get interesting.

Sure, after the Toronto Maple Leafs select Matthews, there’s speculation the Winnipeg Jets could pass on Laine, the presumptive No. 2 pick, and go for Puljujarvi, another Finn, leaving Laine for the Columbus Blue Jackets. But those three players will almost certainly go first.

What could happen next on the First ... Read the full article

Bobs Woods coached with Anaheim before going to junior hockey. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hire Bob Woods as assistant coach

BUFFALO – Sabres coach Dan Bylsma filled one of the openings on his staff today, hiring Bob Woods as an assistant.

Woods, 48, just spent two seasons as the coach and general manager of the junior Saskatoon Blades, a Western Hockey League club. Prior to that, he was as an NHL assistant under Bruce Boudreau for six years in Washington and Anaheim.

Before his NHL run, Woods coached with the AHL Hershey Bears for five ... Read the full article