Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played his first four NHL games last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen developed ‘swagger’ on way up to Sabres

BUFFALO – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen displayed it often last season, especially toward the end. The Sabres goalie prospect would become locked in and perform so well he developed some swagger.

Luukkonen, 22, wasn’t boisterous, mind you. The Finn simply possessed what Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert called an “incredible presence.”

“It’s just like something you feel during the games,” Luukkonen said of his swagger. “But I think it’s more you build up that confidence. And once ... Read the full article

Jack Quinn played 15 games as a rookie with Rochester. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres excited to watch prospect Jack Quinn play center: ‘Very good at it’

BUFFALO – Jack Quinn acclimated to center right away as a rookie, recording two assists in his debut. Had the Sabres prospect not undergone season-ending hernia surgery in April, he would’ve closed the AHL campaign pivoting a line.

“He … was very, very good at it,” Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert said of Quinn’s two-game stint at center.

So Quinn, the eighth overall pick last year as a right wing, will be playing center during ... Read the full article

J-J Peterka arrived in Buffalo on Saturday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect J-J Peterka thrilled to finally be in Buffalo: ‘He’s buzzing’

BUFFALO – Finally, after 10 months of waiting, Sabres prospect J-J Peterka was set to leave Germany and travel here to prepare for his first NHL training camp.

In normal times, of course, Peterka, 19, probably would’ve visited Buffalo two or three times over the last year. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced the winger to stay home.

“I was so curious about it, so excited the whole last year,” a smiling Peterka said following Wednesday’s ... Read the full article

Michael Houser player four games for the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres make moves, send five players to Amerks

Goalie Michael Houser, who started four games for the Buffalo Sabres last week, was among five players the team sent to the Rochester Americans this morning.

The Sabres also assigned defenseman Mattias Samuelsson and forwards Steven Fogarty, Brett Murray and C.J. Smith to their AHL affiliate.

The Amerks have four games left this season, starting with Wednesday’s road contest against the Utica Comets.... Read the full article

Buffalo drafted Brett Murray in 2016. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Brett Murray thrilled to make NHL debut: ‘At a loss for words’

Buffalo Sabres rookie Brett Murray experienced an unconventional path to the NHL, moving backwards before taking small steps forward.

Three years ago, Murray, who made his NHL debut in Thursday’s 8-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, left Penn State and returned to junior. Before last season, after making a stronger commitment to his conditioning, he received an AHL contract.

Murray, a fourth-round pick in 2016, 99th overall, parlayed a solid rookie campaign with the ... Read the full article

Stefanos Lekkas recently joined Rochester. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Ex-Vermont goalie Stefanos Lekkas grateful for time with Sabres

BUFFALO – On April 10 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, goalie Stefanos Lekkas played his last game for the Komets, an ECHL team, allowing five goals in a loss to the Indy Fuel.

Twenty-three days later, Lekkas was in the NHL, serving as Sabres rookie Michael Houser’s backup for Monday’s 4-2 win over the New York Islanders at KeyBank Center.

The memories of the night will forever be seared in Lekkas’ head.

“Just to go through ... Read the full article

Brandon Montour tries to escape Philadelphia’s Michael Raffl in Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Don Granato overworks players; Buffalo plans to add prospects

BUFFALO – Instead of letting the Sabres rest and recover in the midst of their grueling schedule, interim coach Don Granato said he has “overworked” his players.

“We’re trying to push them harder to develop harder,” Granato said on a Zoom call prior to Wednesday’s 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at KeyBank Center. “We know we have to get better. The focus has to be on that. And we have to trust that wins ... Read the full article

Eric Staal spent less than one season in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Eric Staal doesn’t want to revisit past with Sabres: ‘Put that behind me’

Eric Staal was hardly interested in revisiting his rough 32-game tenure in Buffalo and explaining the hapless Sabres’ struggles.

Staal, 36, left the NHL’s laughingstock on Friday in the midst of a stunning 17-game winless skid and a personal 23-game goal drought.

So can you blame the veteran center, one of the league’s most decorated players, for wanting to forget about a tumultuous two months and concentrate on his new opportunity with the Montreal Canadiens?... Read the full article

Don Granato has coached the Sabres three games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Everything has gone wrong for Sabres in chaotic season

Ninety minutes before his NHL head coaching debut, Kevyn Adams was more focused on stepping behind the bench than trying to process the chaos that has transpired in his first season as Buffalo Sabres general manager.

“I can’t even really get into all that,” Adams said on a Zoom call prior to the Sabres’ 16th consecutive loss, a 4-0 setback to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Can you blame Adams? The season from hell refuses to let ... Read the full article

Don Granato took over the Sabres last week. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Don Granato, Matt Ellis enter COVID-19 protocol; Kevyn Adams to coach Sabres

Interim Buffalo Sabres coach Don Granato and assistant Matt Ellis have entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol and will be unavailable for tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team announced late this afternoon. General manager Kevyn Adams will coach the team.

Granato and Ellis are self-isolating, according to the team. Adams said they’re asymptomatic. Entering COVID-19 protocol doesn’t mean the person has tested positive.

The coaches, of course, were in close contact with the players, ... Read the full article