ROCHESTER – Linus Ullmark struggled to answer the question. The goalie paused for a moment and fought back tears following what could be his last AHL appearance.
Talk to any member of the upstart Americans, and they’ll likely tell you how a great group of guys helped buoy them to their first playoff appearance since 2014.
So when Ullmark, 24, tried talking about what made the team so special following Wednesday’s season-ending 6-3 loss, he ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In barely a year, Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt has lived all three of his hockey dreams.
Right now, having just signed his three-year, entry-level contract, Mittelstadt is beginning his NHL career. The slick center will likely make his debut Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Earlier this month, the eighth overall pick in 2017 finished his freshman season at the University of Minnesota. A year ago, he played at Eden Prairie High School, ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Six months ago, Nick Deslauriers’ future in the NHL looked iffy. Following a career-worst season in which he scored zero goals for the Sabres, it became apparent the popular winger wasn’t part of the new regime’s plans.
On Sept. 30, the Sabres waived Deslauriers. Four days later, they traded him to the Montreal Canadiens, who promptly assigned him to the Laval Rocket.
Deslauriers, 27, hadn’t played in the AHL since 2013-14.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is a “little sore” and will miss tonight’s tilt against his old team, the Montreal Canadiens, coach Phil Housley said.
But if Beaulieu, 25, hadn’t taken a puck to his upper body last game, he would still be scratched.
“He was not playing in this game tonight,” Housley said this morning.
Defenseman Josh Gorges, a Canadiens regular for eight seasons, will return tonight. Gorges, 33, has sat out ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – A year ago, Sabres winger Scott Wilson compiled eight goals and 26 points in 78 games often skating short minutes on one of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ bottom lines.
The numbers, of course, don’t exactly wow you. But in a low-scoring era, most fourth-liners don’t push 10 goals or 30 points.
So what could the speedy Wilson do if, say, he earned more ice time on a scoring line?
In recent weeks, Sabres coach ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – These final weeks of another forgettable Sabres season are about playing for pride and experimenting. So even when things go well, coach Phil Housley might try something new.
For example, over the last two games, the line of Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste and Evan Rodrigues showcased its chemistry and speed. But tonight against the Arizona Coyotes, Bailey will skate at left wing beside top center Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In parts of three AHL seasons together, Sabres forwards Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste and Evan Rodrigues never skated together as linemates.
Bailey and Baptiste both played right wing with the Rochester Americans. Meanwhile, Rodrigues, a center these days, mostly skated as a winger.
So while the three prospects became close friends, they never showcased their talents together on the ice until Saturday afternoon.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In good times or bad, on or off the ice, Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis could always turn to Sabres coach Phil Housley.
“He was always kind of there,” Ellis said prior to Monday’s 4-0 win against the Sabres, Housley’s first meeting against his old team. “He was like the calming influence.”
Ellis, 27, morphed into one of the NHL’s highest-scoring defensemen over Housley’s four years as an assistant coach in Nashville. ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When Sabres coach Phil Housley said last week he planned to give goalie Linus Ullmark some starts, you figured he might ease the prospect in early.
Remember, while Ullmark has played 22 NHL contests, 20 of his appearances came as a rookie in 2015-16. The Swede has spent most of the last two seasons in the AHL.
But Housley will throw Ullmark, 24, into the fray against the scorching Nashville Predators tonight ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – All signs point to Sabres winger Kyle Okposo returning from a concussion for Monday’s home tilt against the Nashville Predators.
“I would think so,” a smiling Okposo said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I practiced with a line, practiced on the power play.”
Still, Okposo, who said he has been cleared to play, wouldn’t officially say he’s back.... Read the full article