Curtis Lazar played in the Calgary organization last season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres notes: Curtis Lazar enjoys short trip to Buffalo

BUFFALO – The 70- or so mile drive from Rochester to KeyBank Center sure beats trying to get from Stockton, Calif., to Calgary. Just ask Sabres winger Curtis Lazar.

When the Flames would recall Lazar, 24, from the Heat, their AHL affiliate about 1,300 miles away, he would have to fly out of the San Francisco airport.

Stockton is about 83 miles from that airport.

Lazar enjoyed a much easier trip to Buffalo on ... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian (4) battles Toronto’s Zach Hyman last season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres’ Zach Bogosian emotional after return to practice

BUFFALO – Zach Bogosian wasn’t about to let Henri Jokiharju skate by him today, even during a practice drill. So the Sabres defenseman rammed his teammate into the KeyBank Center glass, a move that looked better suited for a game.

“It was just the way the drill was going,” a smiling Bogosian said after practicing for the first time this season. “It was either that or he was going to go by me. That’s probably ... Read the full article

Colin Miller (33) battles the New York Islanders’ Anders Lee on Saturday. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres bounce back after dreadful effort, still lose to scorching Islanders

BUFFALO – Sooner or later it had to happen. Slumps are inevitable, and the Sabres, the NHL’s biggest early-season surprise, avoided one for nearly a month.

“You’re not going to go through a whole season without facing adversity,” captain Jack Eichel said following Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the scorching New York Islanders, the Sabres’ third straight setback (0-2-1).

After winning nine of their first 12 games, the Sabres, having dropped four of the last five ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark knows the Sabres’ trip to Sweden is about playing two games. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Linus Ullmark wants to show teammates ‘two wins’ in Sweden

BUFFALO – When the Sabres visit Stockholm later this week, Swedish goalie Linus Ullmark would like to show his teammates something special in the historic city.

“Two wins,” said Ullmark, who backed up Carter Hutton for Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the New York Islanders inside KeyBank Center.

Ullmark’s words underscore that while an in-season trip to Europe might be special, the Sabres plan to take it seriously.

The Sabres, who leave for Sweden today, play ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has played one pro game. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Top Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen sent to ECHL

The Rochester Americans assigned Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, the Buffalo Sabres’ top goalie prospect, to the Cincinnati Cyclones today.

Luukkonen, who hasn’t played since undergoing hip surgery in late April, will likely start one game for the Sabres’ ECHL affiliate this weekend.

The Cyclones play the Brampton Beast on the road Saturday and Sunday.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Luukkonen is expected to become the Amerks’ No. 1 goalie. Veteran Andrew Hammond and youngster Jonas Johansson have split ... Read the full article

Jason Botterill brought in four new players who have contributed to the Sabres’ success. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Jason Botterill says coaches, players have contributed to Sabres’ hot start

BUFFALO – Seven wins in their first nine games have positioned the upstart Sabres among the NHL’s early-season elite.

Right now, having already earned 15 points, they’re tied for first overall and rank first in the Eastern Conference entering tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

Few expected the Sabres, who earned just 16 points over their final 33 outings as they imploded last season, would turn things around so quickly.

The offseason additions – ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen had offseason hip surgery. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres send goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to Amerks

The Buffalo Sabres assigned top goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to the Rochester Americans today, another step in his recovery from offseason hip surgery.

Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said last month he hopes Luukkonen can start playing games in early November. The Finn spent the early part of the season rehabbing in Buffalo.

When Luukkonen underwent surgery in April, the Sabres said he would need six months to recover.... Read the full article

Carter Hutton posted a 25-save shutout Monday afternoon. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Ralph Krueger has Sabres looking like playoff contender early in tenure

BUFFALO – Few figured coach Ralph Krueger could transform the Sabres so quickly that – gasp – a playoff berth would feel possible this season.

Players need time to understand new messages and systems. Besides, Krueger inherited a hapless team that won just two games last March.

It would take time – maybe months, even a season – before the Sabres showed real progress, right?

Well, six games into Krueger’s tenure, the Sabres are still ... Read the full article

Vladimir Sobotka endured a rough season in 2018-19. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Vladimir Sobotka shaking off poor season, earning respect

BUFFALO – In the first period Monday afternoon, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger tapped winger Vladimir Sobotka for two defensive-zone draws.

“He went right out there and cleanly won them and took us out of our end,” Krueger said following the Sabres’ 4-0 victory over the Dallas Stars inside KeyBank Center.

Then 4:20 into the third period, Sobotka’s nifty pass past a sliding defender created linemate Jeff Skinner’s goal.

The Czech’s first point this season put ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson has roared out of the gate. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Victor Olofsson has chance to enjoy dynamic rookie season

BUFFALO – Winger Kyle Okposo still remembers the first time he and some other Sabres watched rookie Victor Olofsson shoot the puck.

It was training camp in 2018, and Olofsson had just arrived for his first North American season after leading the Swedish Hockey League in goals.

What Okposo and the others saw wowed them.

“We were just like, ‘Who is this kid who can shoot the puck like this?’” Okposo said Thursday inside KeyBank ... Read the full article