Mike Sullivan worked in player development and coached in the AHL before being promoted to Pittsburgh. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill wants coach with Mike Sullivan’s traits

BUFFALO – When Sabres general manager Jason Botterill interviewed Mike Sullivan for Pittsburgh’s AHL coaching vacancy two years ago, thoughts of the candidate’s unsuccessful run as an assistant in Vancouver were fresh in his mind.

“I had an impression,” Botterill said Thursday of Sullivan, who spent a tumultuous season with the Canucks in 2013-14 beside embattled coach John Tortorella.

But Sullivan changed that impression. The former Boston Bruins coach had just spent a year as ... Read the full article

Tim Murray was fired Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres need to find new GM soon

BUFFALO – Given the speed at which the offseason moves, the Sabres must find a new general manager soon, perhaps in the next month, to replace Tim Murray, who was fired with coach Dan Bylsma on Thursday.

Of course, given owner Terry Pegula’s track record, would the Sabres even hire a GM first?

Remember, Pegula hired Pat LaFontaine as the team’s president of hockey operations in November 2013. LaFontaine lasted less than four months ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis had a goal and three points Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Tyler Ennis’ memories of NHL debut strong 5 years later

BUFFALO – Tyler Ennis still remembers every little detail of Nov. 14, 2009, the day the slick Sabres winger made his NHL debut.

When Portland Pirates coach Kevin Dineen told Ennis the Sabres could recall him for a game in Philadelphia that night, the youngster left the rink – “It was like a 30-minute drive,” he said – and went home.

He needed to eat, so he “picked up a quick Subway sandwich.”

Ennis then ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis played one season in Portland. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Tyler Ennis grateful for 5-year NHL career

BUFFALO – Tyler Ennis still remembers every little detail of Nov. 14, 2009, the day the slick Sabres winger made his NHL debut.

When Portland Pirates coach Kevin Dineen told Ennis the Sabres could recall him for a game in Philadelphia that night, the youngster left the rink – “It was like a 30-minute drive,” he said – and went home.

He needed to eat, so he “picked up a quick Subway sandwich.”

Ennis then ... Read the full article

Joel Armia hasn't played in a regular-season NHL game yet. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ recent drafts have yielded some strong talents and notable misses

Since most NHL Entry Drafts don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at the Buffalo Sabres’ first-round picks from 2006-11 and some notable hits and misses. Fourteen of Buffalo’s 43 draft choices over that time have made the NHL.

The Sabres have eight picks this weekend in Philadelphia, including the No. 2 selection.

2011

First-round pick: center Joel Armia, 16th overall

Armia endured a rough season in 2013-14, his ... Read the full article

The Sabres grabbed Mark Pysyk 23rd overall in 2010. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres have draft hits and misses in recent years

NEWARK, N.J. – Since most NHL Entry Drafts don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at the Buffalo Sabres’ first-round picks from 2005-10 and some notable hits and misses.

2010

First-round pick: defenseman Mark Pysyk, 23rd overall

After some early struggles in Rochester last season, Pysyk began developing rapidly during his rookie campaign, earning a March recall and a regular spot down the stretch. The smooth 21-year-old could someday be ... Read the full article

Cody McCormick just finished his first AHL stint since 2009-10. ©2013, Rochester Americans

McCormick hopeful of return to Sabres following strong Amerks stint

ROCHESTER – In an instant, Cody McCormick vanished from the NHL.

On Feb. 20, the struggling Buffalo Sabres waived the gritty forward mid-practice, then immediately yanked him from the ice, a demeaning exit for a popular veteran who fought 26 times during his 139-game tenure.

McCormick then showered, left the First Niagara Center and went home. He reported to the Americans after clearing waivers the next day, his first AHL stint since 2009-10.... Read the full article

T.J. Brennan played 21 games with the Sabres. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres prospect Brennan feeling comfortable with Panthers

BUFFALO – Ron Rolston’s Feb. 20 promotion to the Sabres as interim coach meant more comfort for T.J. Brennan, who was playing sparingly under Lindy Ruff. The 23-year-old had just spent almost two seasons thriving under Rolston in Rochester, developing into one of the AHL’s slickest defenseman.

“(Rolston) knew my style and knew my type of play,” Brennan said by phone Wednesday. “I think that was a good change for me. But, I guess, at ... Read the full article

Ville Leino played his first game since April 7 on Saturday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Leino impresses in return from hip injury

BUFFALO – Ron Rolston wasted no time, throwing Ville Leino right into the fire Saturday afternoon, the winger’s first game since April 7.

The Sabres’ interim coach put Leino, sidelined by a hip injury the first 27 games this season, out for the opening faceoff inside the First Niagara Center.

“It was good for me,” Leino said about starting the game after the Sabres’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators. “It made me ... Read the full article

T.J. Brennan played sparingly this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rolston believes Brennan’s offense will materialize with Panthers

BUFFALO – Under coach Ron Rolston in Rochester, T.J. Brennan thrived, developing into an AHL star and arguably the league’s most dynamic offensive defenseman.

But that scoring prowess hasn’t translated to the NHL. Brennan played sparingly in the big leagues this season, sitting 17 of the Sabres’ 27 games as a healthy scratch.

Even when Rolston took over on an interim basis Feb. 20, the 23-year-old kept sitting, playing only four games under his old ... Read the full article