BUFFALO – Goalie Chad Johnson’s shaky 19-save outing Friday in an ugly 7-2 loss to Montreal didn’t force the Sabres to turn to rookie Linus Ullmark, coach Dan Bylsma said.
“We called him up so that he could get an opportunity to play, whether that was tonight, last night or later on next week,” Bylsma said this morning. “He was going to get a chance to play. Tonight’s it.”
The 6-foot-4, 212-pound Ullmark, who ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – During a 17-game run with the Sabres late in 2007-08, Steve Bernier mustered only three goals, two of which he scored in his first game. The winger mostly disappeared after that, and he was quietly traded to Vancouver months later.
Mention Bernier’s name around some Sabres fans, and inevitably someone will bring up his rollicking debut.
Now, after Bernier’s two-goal performance Friday in the New Jersey Devils’ 3-1 win against the Sabres, the ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In Europe, handling the puck is “not a big thing for the goalies,” Sabres newcomer Anders Lindback said.
The bigger rink allows them to sling it and almost act as a third defenseman. European ice surfaces don’t have those pesky trapezoids designed to keep goalies in their net, either.
Handling the puck on the smaller North American ice surface with restrictions is difficult for NHL goalies. Very few do it well.
The 6-foot-6 ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The Sabres recalled center Mikhail Grigorenko from Rochester this afternoon and sent center Tim Schaller and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel down.
Grigorenko’s sixth recall this season is another opportunity for the 20-year-old to prove he belongs in the NHL. So far, the Russian, the No. 12 pick in 2012, has compiled only one goal and two points in 13 outings this season.
The Sabres host the New Jersey Devils tonight at the First Niagara ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Anders Lindback likes to take a big-picture approach, so the Sabres goalie will examine his entire season when it ends. The Swede’s six-game hot streak means little to him right now.
The 26-year-old, a spare part before the March 2 trade deadline, has quickly morphed into a stud in net, posting a 2.41 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage in seven appearances (six starts) with his new club.
Lindback dazzled in his ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – If Patrick Kaleta keeps progressing, the Sabres winger will likely miss three more games and return from his knee injury next Thursday against Arizona.
“It’s just how it reacts to battle drills and divots and all that sort of stuff,” Kaleta said Thursday after his first full practice. “I have more mobility in my knee now, so it’s building up the strength and getting the movements down. Once you start doing things that ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Matt Ellis considers himself a realist. At 33 years old, the center understands the Sabres have younger and more talented players they need to examine.
That’s why the veteran of 330 NHL games spent four months this season mentoring the organization’s AHL prospects in Rochester.
“To be perfectly honest, I enjoyed the role that I played in Rochester,” Ellis said Monday inside the First Niagara Center.
The role was fulfilling. Ellis felt proud ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Nine rounds into Tuesday’s shootout, Sabres coach Ted Nolan turned to John Scott on the bench.
“Watch the crowd go crazy on this one,” Nolan told the winger after sending out Ville Leino, the fans’ No. 1 whipping boy, with a chance to win the game.
Sure enough, instead of booing Leino, who has zero goals in 53 games this season, the capacity crowd of 19,070 fans inside the First Niagara Center ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Ted Nolan doesn’t want to project his lineup too far into the future. But the Sabres coach said he must evaluate his top six forwards these last two weeks so they receive enough ice time next season.
If Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons are his top centers, where does that leave Cody Hodgson?
For the time being, on the left wing, a position Hodgson had played once in his career before ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – To Ted Nolan, Nathan Lieuwen has the technical aspect of goaltending down. The Sabres coach just wants the 22-year-old rookie, who will start tonight against the New Jersey Devils, to be a little bit more aggressive in net.
“The one thing we always say with forwards, we want to see how competitive you are. And same thing with goaltenders,” Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “You have to come out. ... Read the full article