Curtis Lazar relishes his physical role. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Curtis Lazar transformed body for gritty fourth-line role

BUFFALO – Curtis Lazar relishes playing a heavy style as the Sabres’ fourth-line center and utilizing his 6-foot frame to disrupt the opposition.

“I take a lot of pride in providing that sandpaper for our team up front and trying to create room for some of our skill guys, knowing that if guys are going to go out there, then you have to deal with me,” Lazar said on a Zoom call Wednesday.

But after ... Read the full article

Ralph Krueger took over the Sabres last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Coach Ralph Krueger more comfortable with Sabres’ start this season

Last season, as the Buffalo Sabres roared out of the gate, starting 9-2-1, coach Ralph Krueger said he felt everything was coming too easy for his team.

“I was never extremely comfortable as a coach,” Krueger said on a Zoom call this morning of his first weeks leading the Sabres.

The Sabres, of course, would plummet down the standings, missing the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season. They finished 30-31-8, meaning they won just 35.6% ... Read the full article

Henri Jokiharju missed Tuesday’s game. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Henri Jokiharju misses practice; Matt Irwin impresses Ralph Krueger

BUFFALO – An upper-body injury kept Sabres defenseman Henri Jokiharju from practicing today for the second straight day.

Jokiharju, 21, missed Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.

“It’s truly a monitoring of day to day of when the right moment is to bring him back him in,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said on a Zoom call. “We’ll see how he is in the morning, but we thought it was better to have another ... Read the full article

Matt Irwin played a career-low 36 games last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Matt Irwin ready for opportunity on blue line

BUFFALO – Over the last few years, Sabres newcomer Matt Irwin has morphed from a regular into his team’s seventh defenseman.

After playing a career-high 70 times in 2016-17, Irwin cracked the 50-game mark just once in the next three years. Last season, which he spent with the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks, he played a career-low 36 contests.

But Irwin, 33, has learned to embrace the role of an extra defender and the challenges ... Read the full article

Curtis Lazar scored twice Monday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Curtis Lazar, fourth line help Sabres annihilate Flyers, earn first win

Late in the first period Monday, Buffalo Sabres center Curtis Lazar grabbed the puck at the blue line, skated into the left circle and backhanded a shot underneath the crossbar.

Then after the Sabres grabbed a commanding 3-0 lead over the Philadelphia Flyers, Lazar sealed the Sabres’ first win in the second period, connecting on a nifty pass from linemate Riley Sheahan in front of the net.

When the Sabres, NHL lightweights for nearly a ... Read the full article

Colin Miller was often the odd man out last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Colin Miller rebounds to earn spot among top-six defensemen

BUFFALO – Last year, his first with the Sabres, defenseman Colin Miller sat out 18 times – more than one-quarter of the season – as a healthy scratch.

The Sabres, who possessed a surfeit of defensemen, often dressed an extra one. Still, Miller regularly ranked eighth on the depth chart and was the odd man out.

This year, however, Miller, 28, has quickly earned a spot among the top-six defensemen. He skated beside Henri Jokiharju... Read the full article

Carter Hutton enjoyed a terrific training camp. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Carter Hutton earns opening night start

BUFFALO – Sabres coach Ralph Krueger’s decision to award goalie Carter Hutton the opening night start against the Washington Capitals wasn’t surprising.

Yes, Hutton, 35, struggled most of last season, losing 12 straight decisions at one point. But his turnaround started at the end of 2019-20, when enjoyed a 6-2-0 run in February.

Hutton performed strongly throughout training camp this year, quickly morphing into one of the Sabres’ standouts. Meanwhile, goalie Linus Ullmark missed the ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens could make his NHL debut later this week. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ roster almost set; Dylan Cozens, Jack Quinn to remain in Buffalo

BUFFALO – The 27 players who participated in Tuesday’s practice will start the season on the Sabres’ roster or taxi squad, coach Ralph Krueger said.

That means 19-year-old forward prospects Dylan Cozens and Jack Quinn, Buffalo’s last two first-round picks, will remain in the NHL for now.

Of course, the Sabres must sort some things out before Thursday’s opener against the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center.

Krueger said center Curtis Lazar (lower-body injury) and ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons left Monday’s scrimmage. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Zemgus Girgensons suffers ‘very questionable lower-body injury’

In the second period of Monday’s Buffalo Sabres scrimmage, Zemgus Girgensons eyed up Steven Fogarty as he carried the puck and tried to hit him inside the blue line.

But Fogarty skated around Girgensons, forcing the Latvian to make a last-second adjustment. Girgensons’ legs split awkwardly as he attempted to find Fogarty and he fell to the KeyBank Center ice. Girgensons left the scrimmage and did not return.

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said Girgensons, who ... Read the full article

Arttu Ruotsalainen got off to a torrid start in Finland this season. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres release training camp roster, schedule; 37 players to participate

On Friday, the Buffalo Sabres will touch the KeyBank Center ice for the first time in 296 days and begin preparing for the most unusual of seasons.

The NHL will be attempting to play during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will likely experience problems – positive tests, postponements or even cancellations – as the schedule unfolds.

But those potential roadblocks can be examined another day. The Sabres’ 10-month break is nearly over. Training camp officially ... Read the full article