Chris Taylor played and coached with Rochester. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres’ decision to fire Amerks coach Chris Taylor looks foolish

In 2017, former general manager Jason Botterill and his assistant, Randy Sexton, took an unusual first step in rebuilding the Buffalo Sabres’ struggling AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans.

Barely a year after the Sabres’ previous regime had let Chris Taylor go as an assistant coach from the Amerks, Botterill and Sexton, who also served as Rochester’s GM, rehired him as head coach.

The move made sense. Taylor, who was fired again Tuesday, spent his ... Read the full article

Lawrence Pilut was an offensive force for the Rochester Americans. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Lawrence Pilut officially leaves Sabres, contract with KHL team announced

Defenseman Lawrence Pilut’s two-year contract with Traktor Chelyabins, a Russian team in the Kontinental Hockey League, was officially announced today.

Pilut, who signed a two-year, entry-level NHL contract with the Buffalo Sabres in 2018, is a pending restricted free agent. The Sabres must give him a qualifying offer to retain his rights.

The Buffalo News reported last month Pilut would be leaving the Sabres for the KHL. It’s unclear if he can return to the ... Read the full article

Jimm Vesey was scratched Saturday. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Struggling Sabres haven’t quit on rough season

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ season certainly turned quickly. Two weeks ago today, they stood six points out of a playoff spot and acquired forwards Dominik Kahun and Wayne Simmonds before the trade deadline.

Today, having lost six straight games in regulation, they’re 13 points out.

How bad is it getting? The Sabres haven’t dropped seven straight contests in regulation since their marathon 14-game losing streak halfway through the 2014-15 season. That, of course, was the ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark has played 33 games this season. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Linus Ullmark Sabres’ best option this season and likely next one

BUFFALO – Expect Linus Ullmark to morph into a workhorse again over the final four weeks this season. If the goalie can stay healthy, he might start 12 or 13 of the reeling Sabres’ 14 remaining games.

Ullmark, who hasn’t played since suffering a lower-body injury Jan. 28, will likely start tonight against the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center.

Before Ullmark missed 17 games – he backed up Carter Hutton on Saturday – he seized ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has started scoring goals again. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger finally puts Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner back together

BUFFALO – For 67 games this season, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger refused to play center Jack Eichel and winger Jeff Skinner together for any notable stretch.

Other than some occasional shifts, Krueger kept the lethal duo separated before reuniting them for Friday’s practice inside Harborcenter.

Krueger has often explained he likes balancing the lines by placing a defensive presence on each one. So Skinner, who scored a career-high 40 goals playing beside Eichel last season, ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe scores a short-handed breakaway goal against Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray on Thursday. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ inability to score goals again dooms them in loss to Penguins

BUFFALO – Having dropped all four games of their recent road trip, the Sabres sealed their fate long before Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

While the Sabres haven’t officially been eliminated from the playoffs, they will earn their eighth straight DNQ in the coming weeks.

Barely two weeks ago, the Sabres’ slick offense helped them roar back into the playoff race. They scored 23 goals over a six-game stretch, winning five times.

They ... Read the full article

Conor Sheary returned to Pittsburgh last week. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Former Sabres Conor Sheary, Evan Rodrigues fitting in with Penguins

BUFFALO – In a little less than two seasons with the Sabres, Conor Sheary rarely played beside top center Jack Eichel. Instead, the winger often shuffled between the second and third lines as he struggled to score goals.

But in the four games since the Sabres traded him back to the Pittsburgh Penguins with forward Evan Rodrigues on Feb. 24, Sheary has received a plum assignment, skating beside superstar Sidney Crosby.

Sheary has gone from ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner hadn't scored a goal since Dec. 2. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Jeff Skinner scores goal against Penguins, ends long slump

PITTSBURGH – After ending his career-long 23-game goal drought, Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner said he did not really feel a sense of relief.

“I felt pretty good,” Skinner said after scoring 5:39 into the third period of Saturday afternoon’s 5-2 win over the Penguins. “I don’t know. I feel like I scored a few times and usually it feels pretty good. I don’t know.

“You can use ‘relief,’ I guess, if that sort of ... Read the full article

Marcus Johansson has played wing most of his career. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Marcus Johansson looks good following position switch

BUFFALO – Prior to this season, Sabres forward Marcus Johansson hadn’t played center regularly since 2010-11, his rookie year.

Sure, Johansson briefly moved back to the middle a few years ago when the Washington Capitals needed help. But the Swede has spent the majority of his 637-game NHL career playing wing.

“I’m used to (wing), I think,” said Johansson, who returned for Sunday’s 5-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at KeyBank Center following a ... Read the full article

Brandon Montour (62) tries to help goalie Carter Hutton on Tuesday. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Carter Hutton difference-maker in Sabres’ win over Red Wings

BUFFALO – Suddenly, goalie Carter Hutton has morphed into a difference-maker again, helping the Sabres secure tight games by making clutch stops in the waning minutes.

Hutton struggled for months, losing the No. 1 job and 13 straight starts. Before Linus Ullmark suffered a lower-body injury, he had become a spare part, only playing when the Sabres had back-to-back games.

But in the last week, Hutton, 34, has began showcasing the early-season form that helped ... Read the full article