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The Buffalo Sabres open the 2017-2018 season Thursday evening with a game against the Montreal Canadiens at KeyBank Center and with the new season comes the return of WBFO's Behind The Bench, our weekly conversation with Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe. On the season premiere, Bill talks about Jack Eichel's big new contract extension, what to expect from new head coach Phil Housley, changes to the team's roster, and Bill gives his prediction on whether the Sabres will finally break their six-season postseason drought.


sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres have reached an agreement to sign their franchise player, Jack Eichel, to an eight-year, $80 million contract extension. The contract represents the largest in the organization's history, serving as notice the team is placing its future in the talented hands of a player who won't turn 21 until later this month.

With the Falcons driving in the game's final minutes, fans familiar with recent history may have been bracing for another heartbreaking loss for the Buffalo Bills. While scanning social media during those moments, analyst Matt Sabuda confirmed that many experts shared his impending sense of doom. The Bills, of course, held on for a 23-17 win, putting them atop the AFC East and raising expectations. 

Buffalo Bills

Stephen Hauschka kicked a tiebreaking 56-yard field goal with less than 5 minutes remaining and the Buffalo Bills made a last-minute defensive stand to beat Atlanta 23-17 on Sunday after the Falcons lost wide receiver Julio Jones to a hip injury.

Fan should expect NFL players to kneel again this weekend during the National Anthem. Analyst Matt Sabuda believes the controversy may build as President Trump "continues to stoke the fire." Lost in the stir is Sunday's  game in Atlanta where the Bills, tops in the NFL in scoring defense, face a "monumental" challenge against the undefeated Falcons.


The Buffalo Bills beat the Denver Broncos 26-16 Sunday, improving to 2-1 and a share of the lead in the AFC East. The Bills were three-point underdogs going into the game, but analyst Matt Sabuda called the victory on Friday. He talks about defying the odds, the protests and much more.

Buffalo Bills

Tyrod Taylor threw two touchdowns and the Bills intercepted Trevor Siemian twice in the final 19 minutes of Buffalo's 26-16 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Many believe the Buffalo Bills' three-point performance in last Sunday's loss at Carolina is a sign of a miserable season to come. While similar production would certainly doom the Bills chances Sunday against the undefeated Denver Broncos, analyst Matt Sabuda offers a more hopeful outlook.  He likes the Bills chances, though that prediction relies upon a bounce-back game from LeSean McCoy who is coming off one of the worst efforts of his career.


Buffalo Bills

Forbes magazine has released its annual rankings of the worth of the 32 National Football League franchises and the Buffalo Bills are in last place on the list.

In gathering only 176 yards in a 9-3 loss at Carolina Sunday, analyst Matt Sabuda said the Buffalo Bills turned in "one of the worst offensive performances by the Bills that I've seen in years." Tyrod Taylor, Sabuda said, played like an "average" quarterback throwing to a receiving corps that is "average at best." The poor offense overshadowed a defensive effort that should have been good enough to bring the Bills to victory.


Buffalo Bills

Carolina's defense allowed only three points for the second straight week and Graham Gano converted three field goals as the Panthers held on to defeat the Buffalo Bills 9-3 on Sunday.

Count analyst Matt Sabuda among those who were unimpressed with the Bills season-opening victory over the New York Jets, which, he says,"felt like a fifth preseason game."  The competition intensifies Sunday as the Bills visit the Carolina Panthers, the team that employed Bills head coach Sean McDermott for the previous six years. 


It wasn't impressive, but the Bills won their season opener, 21-12, over the New York Jets. While  Beyond the Playbook analyst Matt Sabuda gave credit to running back LeSean McCoy in leading the Bills, he also provided perspective on the Jets' poor play, calling it a "homecoming win over a jayvee team."


Buffalo Bills

Tyrod Taylor threw two touchdown passes and the new-look Bills beat the New York Jets 21-12 on Sunday in Sean McDermott's debut as Buffalo's coach.

With the off-season departures of several significant contributors,  the Buffalo Bills appear to be tearing away at a faulty foundation while selling the hope of building a better future. But all is not lost heading into Sunday's season opener. Analyst Matt Sabuda says the re-building Bills are stronger at this point than Sunday's opponent, the  New York Jets, a team that has a large lead in their race to the bottom.


Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Adolphus Washington has been acquitted of a weapons charge by an Ohio judge.

Bills trade Watkins, Darby in separate surprise deals

Aug 11, 2017
Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The Buffalo Bills surprised many Friday by announcing two trades involving two prominent players. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams while cornerback Ronald Darby was sent to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Photo from the Buffalo Bills website.

Bills fans learned some stunning news shortly before 1 p.m.  The Buffalo Bills traded one of the team's biggest stars, Sammy Watkins, to the Los Angeles Rams in return for cornerback EJ Gaines.

Despite a new head coach and an organizational overhaul for the Buffalo Bills, analyst Matt Sabuda believes the team is likely to extend its playoff drought in 2017. One of the NFL's toughest schedules certainly works against the Bills.  Sabuda also sees an ill-prepared roster that "is torn between winning now or rebuilding."


Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills Defensive Tackle Adolphus Washington has been arrested in Ohio on a weapons charge.

WBFO News File Photo

Free agency started at noon today and the Sabres are keeping busy.

nhl.com/sabres

The Buffalo Sabres completed a big trade a day before free agency opens acquiring former team captain Jason Pominville from the Minnesota Wild.

WBFO News file photo

Former Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville will be returning to the team.  The Sabres announced Friday they acquired Pominville and Marco Sandella from the Minnesota Wild's in a multi-deal trade.

On a special June edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the hiring of new head coach Phil Housley, which player the team is likely to lose to Vegas in the NHL Expansion Draft, changes to the Sabres' blue line, trade talk surrounding star forward Evander Kane and the upcoming NHL Draft.


Sahlen's

Football fans in Miami Gardens' Hard Rock Stadium may be eating hot dogs from Buffalo next year. Sahlen's has completed a major deal with the Publix supermarket chain to sell their red hots.

WBFO File Photo

The Buffalo Sabres have acquired defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from the Montreal Canadiens for a 2017 3rd round pick.

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Hall of Fame defenseman Phil Housley is returning to Buffalo after being hired by the Sabres to be their next head coach.

The Pittsburgh Penguins shut out the Predators 2-0 Sunday night in Nashville, Tenn., to win their second straight championship.

The Penguins have won five championships — all of them on the road.

NHL.com

The NHL Scouting Combine is in Buffalo this weekend. With it comes the Stanley Cup and more than 100 young players looking to impress teams before the 2017 NHL Draft later this month in Chicago.

courtesy Nashville Predators

There's a Western New York connection to this year's Stanley Cup Finals. Calling play-by-play for the Nashville Predators in the current hockey championship is a former longtime Buffalo broadcaster who previously called local hockey and baseball games.


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