Rasmus Ristolainen compiled an NHL-worst minus-41 rating last season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres want to put Rasmus Ristolainen in ‘positions to have success’

BUFFALO – General manager Jason Botterill said he wasn’t surprised or disappointed defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen indicated in a Finnish interview last week he has asked the Sabres to be traded.

“There’s always stories coming out when players go back and … there’s stories from other organizations coming out of Finland and stuff, too,” Botterill said during Saturday’s Sabres Fan Fest inside KeyBank Center, an event that celebrated the team’s 50th anniversary season. “So those are ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark had an arbitration hearing Friday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres re-sign goalie Linus Ullmark, go over salary cap

BUFFALO – The Sabres have gone over the NHL’s $81.5 million salary cap, according to capfriendly.com.

It appears re-signing goalie Linus Ullmark to a one-year, $1.325 million contract Saturday put them over. But it had been expected the Sabres would exceed the cap as they inked their restricted free agents.

Earlier Saturday, the Sabres avoided arbitration with Jake McCabe, re-signing the defenseman to a two-year, $5.7 million contract. McCabe’s hearing was scheduled for today.... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner scored a career-high 40 goals in 2018-19. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: GM Jason Botterill knows Jeff Skinner interested to see coach

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill understands 40-goal winger Jeff Skinner needed to know something important before making a huge decision.

“If you’re going to sign a long-term contract with an organization, you kind of want to know who the head coach is,” Botterill said Wednesday after announcing Ralph Krueger as the 19th head coach in franchise history.

Skinner, who turns 27 on Thursday, can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Until ... Read the full article

Lawrence Pilut played 33 games with the Sabres in 2018-19. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Lawrence Pilut undergoes shoulder surgery, out five to six months

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Lawrence Pilut underwent successful shoulder surgery and will be sidelined five to six months, the team announced this morning.

Just five weeks into the offseason, two Sabres defensemen – Zach Bogosian had his hip repaired last month – have had surgery and will likely miss training camp and the start of the regular season. Like Pilut, Bogosian needs five to six months to recover.

The Sabres’ dwindling depth, of course, will ... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian played 65 games this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Zach Bogosian undergoes hip surgery, out five to six months

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian has undergone successful hip surgery and will be sidelined five to six months, the team announced this morning.

That could put the start of Bogosian’s 2019-20 season in jeopardy.

Injuries, of course, have ravaged Bogosian throughout his career. The Massena native underwent season-ending hip surgery during the 2017-18 campaign.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel pins the Sabres' woes on the players. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ inability to find coaching stability has contributed to demise

BUFFALO – In less than five seasons with the Sabres, defenseman Zach Bogosian has already played for three coaches.

“Three coaches in this amount of years, you’ve got to really take a long, hard look (at yourself),” Bogosian said Monday, a day after the Sabres fired Phil Housley following an awful second half.

Not long ago, the Sabres were a model of coaching stability. Lindy Ruff lasted through three ownership regimes over 16 years. When ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner was the Sabres' first 40-goal scorer in 10 years. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jeff Skinner needs time to think about future

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Jeff Skinner needs time to decompress following a grueling 82-game season before he starts thinking about his next contract.

Sure, the 40-goal scorer said he loves playing in Buffalo. Despite the Sabres’ sorry season – coach Phil Housley was fired Sunday – he believes they’re heading in the right direction.

But Skinner, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, made sure his contract took a backseat during the season.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel blamed the players, not Phil Houlsey. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres surprised by Phil Housley’s firing, believe players at fault

BUFFALO – Just days before Phil Housley’s dismissal, captain Jack Eichel was adamant the Sabres’ woes should be pinned on the players, not the coach.

Eichel’s words, which he repeated this morning, couldn’t save Housley, who was fired Sunday after the Sabres’ sorry finish.

“It’s on us in the room,” Eichel said as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and held end-of-season-meetings inside KeyBank Center. “We’re the product on the ice. It’s unfortunate that ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville scored his 16th goal this season Thursday. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Fans, teammates celebrate Jason Pominville in rare Sabres win

BUFFALO – The crowd kept roaring. For more than a minute late in Thursday’s 5-2 win, the fans saluted one of their favorites, winger Jason Pominville, after he capped off an emotional day by scoring perhaps his last goal for the Sabres.

The noise wouldn’t stop after Pominville, 36, was announced as the scorer, so after receiving a signal from his teammates, one of the greatest players in franchise history skated to center ice ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen missed four games. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Rasmus Ristolainen returns after battling flu

BUFFALO – Despite being confined to his bed by the flu last week unable to eat or drink, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had no problem getting up for Tuesday’s meaningless late-season game.

“I mentally feel really fresh,” Ristolainen said prior to the Sabres’ 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators inside KeyBank Center. “It’s kind of fun to play hockey. Just sort of bring some fresh energy to the room and on the ice.”

The reeling ... Read the full article