BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen never expected he would be suspended for hitting Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel in the head Tuesday. Coach Dan Bylsma never expected the ban would be so long.
But in the end, the Sabres will be without their No. 1 defenseman and arguably best player for the next three games, starting with Saturday’s home tilt against Toronto.
“I didn’t expect anything,” Ristolainen said this afternoon following practice inside KeyBank Center.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – William Carrier couldn’t resist. So before answering a question Thursday, the excited Sabres rookie greeted a crowd of reporters with a short opening statement.
“I’m back, everyone,” a smiling Carrier said inside HarborCenter.
Carrier, sidelined 24 games by a bone bruise in his knee, wasn’t the only injured player back Thursday. Sabres winger Kyle Okposo and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov also returned to practice.
All three are on track to play Saturday at home ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Brady Austin knew his first recall could be imminent. Most minors leaguers, whether they admit it or not, pay attention to the parent club. The defenseman heard about the injuries to the Sabres’ injury-ravaged blue line.
Still, Austin didn’t want to become too excited.
“You don’t want to get your hopes up in case you don’t get the call,” Austin said Tuesday prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins inside ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Ideally, the Sabres won’t have to keep utilizing versatile center Ryan O’Reilly for more than 25 minutes a game like they did in Sunday’s 4-3 loss in Pittsburgh.
O’Reilly, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said, has a “sweet spot” for his ice time. While he didn’t give a specific number, it’s probably in the 21- or 22-minute range.
Bylsma said during training camp he wanted to give O’Reilly, who led all NHL forwards in ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Despite a loss in their final outing before last week’s bye, the Sabres entered the short break playing perhaps their best hockey all season. For the first time in years, the playoffs, while still a long shot, felt like a possibility.
Then the schedule resumed with road games against Colorado and Arizona, the NHL’s two worst teams.
“We go out west and we just can’t play, and that’s to me squarely on ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Some trade deadline practice notes from KeyBank Center, where the media is gathered in the press room with a television tuned, of course, to TSN:
– Sporting some new lines, the Sabres practiced around 45 minutes today. Naturally, the looming deadline was felt a bit.
“A little of that lingers with an impending 3 o’clock deadline,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. “But treat the situations and the players like they’re going to be ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – A positive trend has developed in the last few months for the Sabres. Each time they recall one of their forward prospects from the Rochester Americans, the youngsters make a strong case to stick around.
Rookies Justin Bailey, William Carrier and Evan Rodrigues have all seized their opportunities and started earning regular NHL duty.
After speedy winger Nick Baptiste’s impressive performance in Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 win against the St. Louis Blues – ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Some quick updates from HarborCenter, where the Sabres practiced briefly today following Thursday’s 2-0 win over Colorado:
– Defenseman Cody Franson, out the last four games with a bruised left foot, pronounced himself ready to play after practicing again today, his third straight day on the ice.
“It was supposed to be a two- to three-week thing, and I think we made it almost seven days,” Franson said. “I feel good and ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – No teammate, Sabres goalie Robin Lehner said, was singled out during his passionate postgame chat following Sunday’s disappointing 4-2 loss to Vancouver.
“We all, starting with myself, got to take more responsibility,” Lehner said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “It’s not certain lines, it’s not certain people.”
Still, some of Lehner’s words Sunday – “Let’s do another deke, let’s do another play … let’s do the fancy thing,” he said – seemed to ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres coach Dan Bylsma believes given Justin Bailey’s recent history, the talented rookie winger will start scoring at the NHL level.
Over the past year, the Williamsville native has morphed into a lethal AHL scorer, compiling 39 goals with the Rochester Americans, including 19 in 39 games this season.
Sooner or later, Bylsma thinks that scoring prowess will translate to the NHL. Bailey has one goal and two points in 14 games ... Read the full article