BUFFALO – Before Zach Werenski joined the upstart Columbus Blue Jackets, before the slick teenager began one of the greatest campaigns by a rookie defenseman in NHL history, he spent the second half of his last season at the University of Michigan playing beside Youngstown’s Joe Cecconi.
“I loved it,” Werenski said Saturday prior to the Blue Jackets’ 5-3 loss to the Sabres inside KeyBank Center.
Werenski, 19, has quickly morphed into a star, ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The significance of defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen’s recent exploits shouldn’t be overshadowed by the Sabres’ disappointing season.
In the near future, if Ristolainen becomes an NHL All-Star or garners serious Norris Trophy consideration, remember the torrid run he is enjoying entering tonight’s tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes at KeyBank Center.
Ristolainen has three goals, two overtime winners and 14 points while averaging a whopping 27 minutes, 41 seconds of ice time over the last ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – As Sabres rookies Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart put the finishing touches on two outstanding, high-scoring seasons, one name from the team’s past keeps popping up: Ray Sheppard.
Each week, it seems, the young forwards become the team’s first rookies to reach or approach milestones since Sheppard, who scored 38 goals and 65 points in 74 games in 1987-88 before fizzling out and re-emerging as one of the NHL’s most dangerous scorers.
Sheppard’s ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Drew Stafford called it a “healthy separation.” The Winnipeg Jets winger said he has no ill will toward anyone here. He enjoyed his nine-year Sabres career.
As a struggling veteran months away from free agency last year, Stafford knew the rebuilding Sabres would trade him. Sure enough, Stafford, 30, was dealt with defenseman Tyler Myers on Feb. 11, 2015 in the blockbuster that brought defenseman Zach Bogosian and winger Evander Kane to the ... Read the full article
TORONTO – As a third- or fourth-liner known more for his fists than his soft hands, gritty Buffalo Sabres winger Nick Deslauriers has endured some long goal droughts.
While the likable Deslauriers scored his career-high sixth goal in Friday’s 3-1 home win against the Ottawa Senators, he has only 12 in his 160-game career. After scoring three times in the first 11 games this season, the former defenseman went 41 appearances before finally scoring again ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – The biggest early-season surprise on the farm hasn’t been Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste or Evan Rodrigues – three talented AHL rookie forwards many believe will play for the Buffalo Sabres someday.
While the prospects have contributed to the Americans at times, another first-year pro has outplayed them all. Remember this name: Jean Dupuy.
Who? Just 23 games into his career, Dupuy, an undrafted center from the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie ... Read the full article
As I wrote a week ago, before he scored the first hat trick by a Buffalo Sabres defenseman in almost 28 years, Rasmus Ristolainen is quickly becoming a star.
Ristolainen, 21, might be the Sabres’ best player. With three third-period goals Thursday in Calgary in the Sabres’ 4-3 loss to the Flames, he already has 21 points in 29 games, one more point than he compiled last season in 49 fewer games.
“He ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – It was September 1982, and before the Sabres headed to Montreal for their first exhibition game, the team bus stopped at a hotel to pick up some players.
Phil Housley, an 18-year-old just months removed from high school, thought the bus was going to another hotel. So the green rookie, who was with his girlfriend, Karin, decided to bring his future wife on the bus, a big no-no.
“Everybody was on the ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When Dan Bylsma and Tyler Ennis discuss the speedy Sabres winger’s play, the coach rarely has to give the young veteran his opinion.
That’s because Ennis, who can often be critical of his own game, usually beats Bylsma to the punch.
“He tells me the same thing he’s told you,” Bylsma said Monday following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “I know (he’s) probably been a little hard on himself a handful of ... Read the full article
Doubt crept into Phil Housley’s head as the Hockey Hall of Fame passed him over year after year. Since 2006, three years after he ended an often spectacular 21-year career, the former Buffalo Sabres star defenseman patiently waited for a life-changing phone call.
Housley, who amassed 1,232 points in 1,495 games, was starting to think the call might never come.
Then on Monday, as Housley was about to eat lunch at a restaurant in Arizona, ... Read the full article