BUFFALO – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen displayed it often last season, especially toward the end. The Sabres goalie prospect would become locked in and perform so well he developed some swagger.
Luukkonen, 22, wasn’t boisterous, mind you. The Finn simply possessed what Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert called an “incredible presence.”
“It’s just like something you feel during the games,” Luukkonen said of his swagger. “But I think it’s more you build up that confidence. And once ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Jack Quinn acclimated to center right away as a rookie, recording two assists in his debut. Had the Sabres prospect not undergone season-ending hernia surgery in April, he would’ve closed the AHL campaign pivoting a line.
“He … was very, very good at it,” Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert said of Quinn’s two-game stint at center.
So Quinn, the eighth overall pick last year as a right wing, will be playing center during ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Finally, after 10 months of waiting, Sabres prospect J-J Peterka was set to leave Germany and travel here to prepare for his first NHL training camp.
In normal times, of course, Peterka, 19, probably would’ve visited Buffalo two or three times over the last year. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced the winger to stay home.
“I was so curious about it, so excited the whole last year,” a smiling Peterka said following Wednesday’s ... Read the full article
When former Buffalo Sabres captain Michael Peca retired following the 2008-09 season, he said an offer to become an assistant coach quickly materialized.
But having bounced around and played for four teams in five years, Peca knew it was time to step away after 14 seasons and dedicate more time to his family. He couldn’t accept the coaching job.
“The family makes sacrifices and has to do a lot for your career to succeed,” said ... Read the full article
The Rochester Americans have named popular ex-Buffalo Sabres captain Michael Peca, a centerpiece during the team’s 1999 run to the Stanley Cup final, an assistant coach, the AHL affiliate announced today.
Peca, 47, joins ex-Sabres defenseman Mike Weber on Amerks coach Seth Appert’s staff. The 14-year NHL veteran replaces Adam Mair, who was named the Sabres’ director of player development last week.
“I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity in Rochester, being a part ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – Coach Seth Appert felt his goalie, Michael Houser, deserved to take over the Americans’ net in the final days of the season.
For years, Houser, who played four late-season games for the Buffalo Sabres, toiled in the ECHL. While he just completed his third season in the organization, he hadn’t played a game for the Amerks until a week ago.
Before earning his first NHL action earlier this month, Houser, 28, spent ... Read the full article
When Mattias Samuelsson returned to Rochester last week following a three-week stint with the Buffalo Sabres, the Americans’ coaching staff challenged the rookie defenseman.
The coaches wanted Samuelsson, fresh off first NHL recall, to use the remaining games on the Amerks’ truncated schedule as a springboard back to Buffalo next season.
“OK, you did a good job in those 12 games, you got a taste,” Amerks coach Seth Appert said the coaches told Samuelsson. “Now ... Read the full article
Despite having interim status, Don Granato took a broad approach as Buffalo Sabres coach, opting for building and development over simply trying to win some games.
“I hate being a desperate team,” Granato said on an end-of-season Zoom call Wednesday. “Everybody can look and say, ‘My God, you’re in a desperate situation.’ Well, that’s fine if that’s your perception. But we’re not going to be a desperate team. We’re going to get better every day, ... Read the full article
Buffalo Sabres rookie Brett Murray experienced an unconventional path to the NHL, moving backwards before taking small steps forward.
Three years ago, Murray, who made his NHL debut in Thursday’s 8-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, left Penn State and returned to junior. Before last season, after making a stronger commitment to his conditioning, he received an AHL contract.
Murray, a fourth-round pick in 2016, 99th overall, parlayed a solid rookie campaign with the ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – On April 10 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, goalie Stefanos Lekkas played his last game for the Komets, an ECHL team, allowing five goals in a loss to the Indy Fuel.
Twenty-three days later, Lekkas was in the NHL, serving as Sabres rookie Michael Houser’s backup for Monday’s 4-2 win over the New York Islanders at KeyBank Center.
The memories of the night will forever be seared in Lekkas’ head.
“Just to go through ... Read the full article