Jason Botterill thinks Rasmus Ristolainen can keep developing. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres GM Jason Botterill knows teams will ask about Rasmus Ristolainen

VANCOUVER – Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill knows plenty of teams would like to pry away a 6-foot-4 defenseman capable of gobbling up minutes and producing points like Rasmus Ristolainen.

“We understand there’s going to be inquiries about him,” Botterill said Friday morning, hours before the NHL Draft inside Rogers Arena. “We’re open as an organization to continuing to try to find ways to improve our team. But we realize and we’re very ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson had zero points in the short series. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Promising season over for Amerks after sweep by Marlies

TORONTO – Fresh off a 99-point regular season, the Rochester Americans looked poised to start a long playoff run deep into the spring.

The Buffalo Sabres’ top affiliate possessed a strong mix of prospects and veterans, terrific scoring balance and perhaps the AHL’s best depth.

It was hard to find a weakness on the Amerks, a team constructed to win the Calder Cup.

For an organization that hasn’t won anything on any level in a ... Read the full article

Toronto's Chris Mueller, a West Seneca native, tries to convert a chance in front of Rochester goalie Scott Wedgewood on Friday. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks can’t convert early chances, fall to Marlies in playoff opener

ROCHESTER – For the opening 25 minutes of Friday’s first-round playoff opener, the Americans blitzed the Toronto Marlies, beating goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo four times.

Of course, the puck never actually went in the net. The Amerks rattled it off the post or crossbar four times. They missed empty nets, a breakaway and pumped 15 shots on goal in the first period.

So instead of seizing a commanding lead, the Amerks let the Marlies hang around ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner was the Sabres' first 40-goal scorer in 10 years. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jeff Skinner needs time to think about future

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Jeff Skinner needs time to decompress following a grueling 82-game season before he starts thinking about his next contract.

Sure, the 40-goal scorer said he loves playing in Buffalo. Despite the Sabres’ sorry season – coach Phil Housley was fired Sunday – he believes they’re heading in the right direction.

But Skinner, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, made sure his contract took a backseat during the season.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel blamed the players, not Phil Houlsey. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres surprised by Phil Housley’s firing, believe players at fault

BUFFALO – Just days before Phil Housley’s dismissal, captain Jack Eichel was adamant the Sabres’ woes should be pinned on the players, not the coach.

Eichel’s words, which he repeated this morning, couldn’t save Housley, who was fired Sunday after the Sabres’ sorry finish.

“It’s on us in the room,” Eichel said as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and held end-of-season-meetings inside KeyBank Center. “We’re the product on the ice. It’s unfortunate that ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville scored his 16th goal this season Thursday. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Fans, teammates celebrate Jason Pominville in rare Sabres win

BUFFALO – The crowd kept roaring. For more than a minute late in Thursday’s 5-2 win, the fans saluted one of their favorites, winger Jason Pominville, after he capped off an emotional day by scoring perhaps his last goal for the Sabres.

The noise wouldn’t stop after Pominville, 36, was announced as the scorer, so after receiving a signal from his teammates, one of the greatest players in franchise history skated to center ice ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville has played 10 seasons with the Sabres. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jason Pominville breaks down discussing future

BUFFALO – All season long, Jason Pominville has insisted he hasn’t thought much about his future. But this morning, as he drove to KeyBank Center, the Sabres winger couldn’t help but wonder what it holds.

It dawned on him after 10 seasons with the Sabres, tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators could be his final appearance here wearing Blue and Gold.

The thought of his Sabres career ending caused Pominville, 36, to break down.... Read the full article

Jake McCabe hadn't played since March 2. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Jake McCabe returns to lineup as Marco Scandella leaves

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ beleaguered blue line received a much-needed addition Sunday, as Jake McCabe returned after missing 13 games.

Did it help? Well, no. The Columbus Jackets throttled the Sabres 4-0 inside KeyBank Center.

McCabe hadn’t played since suffering an upper-body injury March 2.

Defenseman Marco Scandella, who blocked a shot in Saturday’s ugly 5-1 road loss to the New York Islanders, missed Sunday’s contest. Housley said the Sabres will know more about Scandella’s ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) battles in front of Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard on Thursday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ youngsters stand out in overtime loss to Red Wings

BUFFALO – Rookie Victor Olofsson heard Jack Eichel calling for the puck, so he quickly spun around along the right boards and adroitly fed the Sabres captain as a zoomed down the slot.

A second later, an uncovered Eichel beat Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, tying the game 15:42 into the third period Thursday.

“I was just trying to get it in there in the middle,” Olofsson said following his NHL debut, a 5-4 ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson was a seventh-round pick in 2014. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Victor Olofsson earns spot beside Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – By late October, as Sabres prospect Victor Olofsson closed a stellar month in which he scored five goals and 15 points, a recall to the NHL felt inevitable.

But instead of summoning Olofsson, 23, from the Rochester Americans right away, the Sabres left the slick Swedish winger in the AHL for almost six months.

The 5-foot-11, 181-pound Olofsson, meanwhile, kept scoring and acclimating to North American hockey, cementing his spot among the Sabres’ ... Read the full article