Linus Ullmark makes a save Wednesday. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks goalie Linus Ullmark emotional after season-ending loss

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

Casey Mittelstadt played in Buffalo at the World Junior Championship. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Slick prospect Casey Mittelstadt excited to join Sabres

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

Nick Deslauriers has scored a career-high eight goals. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Nick Deslauriers thriving with Canadiens

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

Nathan Beaulieu (82) shadows Toronto's Zach Hyman on March 15. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nathan Beaulieu to sit out against Canadiens

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

Scott Wilson has been skating on a scoring line. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Scott Wilson wants to showcase offense

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

Nashville's P.K. Subban (76) hounds Justin Bailey on Monday. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres to move Justin Bailey beside Jack Eichel against Coyotes

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

Evan Rodriges (71) has looked strong beside friend and teammate Nick Baptiste. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres could utilize speedy line of youngsters in future

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

Ryan Ellis considred Phil Housley more of a friend than a coach. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Predators’ Ryan Ellis grew close to Phil Housley

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

Linus Ullmark has started one game this season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark to start against scorching Predators

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

Kyle Okposo has missed three games. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo ready to return from concussion

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