Matt Ellis instructs Sabres propsects at development camp. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Playing career prepared Matt Ellis for new development role with Sabres

During his playing days, former Buffalo Sabres forward Matt Ellis embraced what he calls the “art of preparation.”

Ellis, the Sabres’ new director of player development, kept a training notebook he still consults. He constantly searched for ways to evolve and maximize his potential.

“I was always a chronic explorer,” Ellis said by phone Wednesday.

In the 2009 offseason, for example, Ellis, then 27, overhauled his shot, changing it so he could create more ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis captained Rochester during his playing days. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres name Matt Ellis director of player development

General manager Kevyn Adams has turned to an old friend, Matt Ellis, to be the Buffalo Sabres’ new director of player development.

The Sabres today named Ellis, 39, to his first NHL front office post.

Ellis played 356 NHL games over nine seasons, including 286 contests with the Sabres, after going undrafted. Following his retirement in 2016, Adams hired Ellis as a development coach at the Academy of Hockey at Harborcenter.... Read the full article

Jason Pominville wants to spend more time with his children. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Jason Pominville understands long career could be over

BUFFALO – Right now, it is business as usual for Jason Pominville. The popular winger is preparing for the upcoming season like he has a contract with the Sabres or another NHL team. Earlier this month, he and his family returned to Clarence from their summer home in Montreal.

Pominville, 36, said he feels he owes it to himself to stay ready in case an opportunity materializes he and his family can embrace.

“But ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo said the Sabres never got away from their game over the weekend. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Slow start against Sharks set stage for Sabres’ terrific weekend

BUFFALO – If the Sabres eventually morph into a playoff team, remember the significance of the five-game road trip they just completed, especially the back-to-back wins they closed with in Los Angeles and Anaheim.

The Sabres went 3-2-0 on the 10-day trip, starting with a 3-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes before suffering consecutive losses.

While they fell behind 2-0 in Thursday’s 5-1 setback to the San Jose Sharks, they got back in the game, ... Read the full article

Kevyn Adams passed on other opportunities to run the Jr. Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Jr. Sabres growing under Kevyn Adams’ watch at HarborCenter

BUFFALO – When the Sabres dismissed Kevyn Adams in 2013 following a short run as an assistant coach, he said he kept asking himself the same question.

“How do I make the biggest difference over this next chapter of my career?” Adams would say.

Not surprisingly, Adams had options to stay in hockey. Adams, whose playing days ended in 2008, earned loads of respect carving out an 11-year NHL career, mostly as a fourth-liner with ... Read the full article

Alex Tuch battles Buffalo's Josh Gorges on Saturday afternoon. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres fan Alex Tuch enjoys Buffalo ‘homecoming’

BUFFALO – When Alex Tuch mentioned the number of fans who would be watching him play Saturday afternoon, no one was sure if the Syracuse native was joking.

“Maybe a little bit more than 400,” the Vegas Golden Knights rookie winger said Friday.

Cheering sections for local players and even some from further locales are common at KeyBank Center. Following games, family and friends often congregate around the Zamboni entrance and wait for their hero ... Read the full article

Brian Gionta salutes the crowd prior to his 1,000th NHL game March 27. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres captain Brian Gionta excited to represent Team USA

BUFFALO – Before Brian Gionta caught his afternoon flight to Germany to represent Team USA at the Deutschland Cup, the former Sabres captain wanted one last on-ice workout.

Since Gionta couldn’t make it to Rochester, where he has been practicing with the AHL Americans, he called Matt Ellis, his friend and former Sabres teammate.

So for an hour Monday inside HarborCenter, Ellis and Nick Tuzzolino, two coaches at the Academy of Hockey, put Gionta, ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis skates in his final NHL game April 11, 2015. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabre Matt Ellis happy in retirement, excited for future

BUFFALO – As last season unfolded, popular former Sabres forward Matt Ellis sensed the inevitable end to his long and unlikely career.

At times, Ellis, 35, said he felt like a spare part with the Rochester Americans, a victim of age and a changing game. AHL veteran rules often forced him to sit out as a healthy scratch. The adversity, he believes, tested his character and how badly he wanted to keep playing.

“There ... Read the full article

Nick Baptiste scored 13 goals last season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Nick Baptiste building off rookie season

BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Nick Baptiste understands coming off consecutive 40-goal junior seasons, his rookie campaign with the Rochester Americans looks a bit underwhelming.

“Whenever you go from 40 goals to 13, it’s obviously a pretty steep decline,” Baptiste said Friday after rookie camp opened inside HarborCenter. “But it’s a different league. It’s pro hockey. You’re playing against 30-year-old men versus 18-year-old boys. It’s a lot different.”

For two years, Baptiste, 21, was quietly one ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark struggled late in the season in Rochester. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie prospect Linus Ullmark confident after tough stretch

ROCHESTER – In the midst of a nine-game AHL winless stretch in which Buffalo Sabres prospect Linus Ullmark allowed 37 goals, the rookie goalie received a much-needed confidence boost.

When a bruised finger prevented goalie Chad Johnson from playing April 9, the Sabres recalled the struggling Swede from the Americans hours before their season finale against the New York Islanders.

In his first NHL start since Jan. 12, Ullmark helped the Sabres win 4-3 in ... Read the full article