BUFFALO – Of all the coaches the Sabres’ Matt Ellis could’ve faced in his first game filling in for Don Granato, it turned out to be the one he knows best, Lindy Ruff.
These days, Ruff, 61, coaches the New Jersey Devils, the Sabres’ opponent Wednesday at KeyBank Center.
Ellis, 40, played under Ruff for parts of five seasons, growing from a forward the Sabres plucked off waivers into an NHL regular. ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In Sunday afternoon’s pregame warm-up, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger showcased the same lines he had utilized the previous day against the New Jersey Devils, with one exception.
Casey Mittelstadt, who was replacing Tage Thompson, skated at left wing beside top center Jack Eichel and Victor Olofsson.
Then when Sunday’s contest started, Krueger changed three of four Sabres’ lines. Only one trio from warm-ups – center Cody Eakin, left wing ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Like most elite prospects, Casey Mittelstadt was a dynamic scorer in junior and college. So struggling for weeks sometimes in the NHL has been a new experience for the Sabres winger.
“It’s not easy, I’m not going to lie,” Mittelstadt said after scoring in Friday afternoon’s 6-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs inside KeyBank Center, his first goal in 17 games. “But at the same time, I’ve scored pretty much my whole ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In the second period Wednesday, Sabres rookie Rasmus Asplund grabbed a loose puck in the right corner, spun off a defender in the circle and quickly cut to the net.
Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson hectored the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Asplund in the slot, but he fended him off before creating a prime scoring chance goalie David Rittich stymied.
Asplund’s seventh NHL game, a 3-2 overtime loss, was perhaps his best performance since the ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Six years ago, Ralph Krueger’s job as a consultant for Team Canada’s Olympic entry at the Sochi Games offered the Sabres coach a chance to discuss hockey with some the game’s greatest minds.
Mike Babcock, Ken Hitchcock, Claude Julien and former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff all served on Canada’s coaching staff.
“It was the best hockey coaching symposium you could go through with that group because of the way everybody exchanged everything,” Krueger ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Instead of being relied upon to produce offense, ex-Sabres winger Tyler Ennis is now a fourth-liner.
Sure, Ennis, 29, skates on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ second power-play unit. The former first-round pick even started the season on the No. 1 line beside center Auston Matthews and Patrick Marleau.
But Ennis is no longer the ultra-slick presence from his early days. The concussions he suffered in his final seasons with the Sabres helped stymie ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Suddenly, the Sabres have a three-game losing streak. Sure, they lost three road contests by one goal. It should also be noted the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators, the NHL’s top two clubs points-wise, beat them.
So the Sabres’ 0-2-1 run – they earned a point in Friday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers – isn’t a normal losing skid.
Still, the Sabres, who have another stiff test tonight against the ... Read the full article
TORONTO – Following a three-year AHL apprenticeship, the Sabres expect goalie Linus Ullmark to play around 30 games this season as their new backup.
So watching the Maple Leafs score on their first two shots and three of their first eight in the opening 3:42 of Friday’s preseason tilt had to be concerning.
Then Ullmark, 25, settled down nicely after the Sabres, who opened the scoring 30 seconds in, fell behind 3-1. Over the final ... Read the full article
TORONTO – A seething Phil Housley paused before answering the question. The Buffalo Sabres coach clearly wanted to choose his words carefully while still expressing his anger over the NHL’s decision not to suspended Scott Hartnell.
In Saturday’s 7-4 win in Nashville, the Predators forward hit Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin from behind, knocking his head into the glass. The rookie was probably out cold before his body hit the ice.
Antipin will miss the ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When the NHL scheduled the only four tilts between the Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs over a 28-day late-season stretch, the league likely envisioned the fierce rivals would be battling for playoff spots or positioning.
Sixty-six games into another lost season, the last-place Sabres finally play the Leafs tonight at KeyBank Center, their first meeting since April 3, 2017.
The Sabres, of course, are playing for pride. The Leafs, meanwhile, are firmly ... Read the full article