Jake Guentzel was bloodied and concussed Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen to have hearing with NHL Player Safety for hit

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen will have a hearing with NHL Player Safety on Thursday afternoon for knocking Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel out of Tuesday’s 3-1 loss with a concussion.

Ristolainen, who has never been suspended, could receive a short ban for the hit.

The Finn was given a five-minute major penalty for interference and ejected 8:46 into the contest when he leveled Guentzel as the rookie waited for a pass that was intercepted just ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner makes a save Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rasmus Ristolainen ejected in Sabres’ loss to Penguins

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had a split-second decision to make as Pittsburgh superstar Sidney Crosby dished the puck up to Jake Guentzel near their blue line early in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Penguins.

Ristolainen could lay back and play it safe, or he could assume the short pass would be completed and step up and throttle Guentzel.

The Finn went for the hit, but the pass was intercepted by teammate Zemgus Girgensons. ... Read the full article

Brady Austin spent three seasons in the AHL before his first NHL game. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Brady Austin impressive in first NHL action

BUFFALO – Brady Austin knew his first recall could be imminent. Most minors leaguers, whether they admit it or not, pay attention to the parent club. The defenseman heard about the injuries to the Sabres’ injury-ravaged blue line.

Still, Austin didn’t want to become too excited.

“You don’t want to get your hopes up in case you don’t get the call,” Austin said Tuesday prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins inside ... Read the full article

Chad Ruhwedel might've found a home in Pittsburgh. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabre Chad Ruhwedel fitting in with Penguins

BUFFALO – By last season, when Chad Ruhwedel earned just a one-game recall, it was obvious the Sabres would move on from the talented AHL defenseman.

Of course, a lack of injuries – Buffalo’s blue line stayed remarkably healthy in 2015-16 – limited his action. But even the year before, as a 10-goal, 36-point campaign helped Ruhwedel receive Rochester Americans MVP honors, he managed only four NHL appearances.

“It was kind of a rough season ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel wants the Sabres to play more aggresively. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres blow lead, lose late to Penguins

PITTSBURGH – For one period Sunday, everything went right for the Buffalo Sabres.

They jumped out to a seemingly commanding lead, scoring three times by the 18:07 mark. The Penguins, meanwhile, couldn’t beat Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson, who stopped all 13 first-period shots. One Penguins goal was called back following a review. They also hit a post.

Still, a 3-0 advantage hardly felt commanding.

The reeling Sabres have a penchant for blowing late leads. The ... Read the full article

Justin Falk has provided depth. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Justin Falk replaces injured Dmitry Kulikov

PITTSBURGH – For more than two weeks, as Buffalo Sabres defenseman Justin Falk sat out seven straight games as a healthy scratch, the 28-year-old still felt some rare comfort.

Falk, of course, wanted to play badly. But the one-year contract extension the journeyman signed Feb. 6 softened the blow of leaving the lineup following more than three months of near-regular duty.

“It does definitely makes things a little bit easier when your out of the ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov (77) battles Tampa Bay's J.T. Brown on Saturday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Justin Falk in for injured Dmitry Kulikov

PITTSBURGH – A month ago, the Buffalo Sabres awarded defenseman Justin Falk a one-year contract extension because the 28-year-old, a quiet offseason addition, provided some strong depth as the injuries ravaged the blue line.

Then the defense corps got healthy, leaving Falk the odd man out again for seven games.

But with defenseman Dmitry Kulikov out with an upper-body injury for this afternoon’s tilt against the Penguins, Falk will play his first game since Feb. ... Read the full article

Sidney Crosby has 34 goals this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Dan Bylsma believes Sidney Crosby still NHL’s best

PITTSBURGH – For years, as Sidney Crosby kept producing Hall of Fame numbers despite battling a concussion that threatened to derail his career, Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma heard the same questions about the Penguins superstar.

“I got the question, ‘Is he playing as good as he ever has? Is he not playing as good as he ever has? Is he better now than he was two years ago?’” said Bylsma, who coached Crosby six ... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson makes a save in the second period on Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson stars in shootout win over Penguins

BUFFALO – In just five games with the Sabres, goalie Anders Nilsson has already earned the kind of confidence from his coach that often takes years to develop.

Instead of using No. 1 goalie Robin Lehner against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Dan Bylsma tabbed Nilsson, his backup, to play against the defending Stanley Cup champions on Saturday inside KeyBank Center, a tilt the Sabres won 2-1 in a shootout.

The Swede has impressed this season, ... Read the full article

Anders Nilsson has looked impressive this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson to start against Penguins

BUFFALO – Toward the end of the morning skate, backup goalie Anders Nilsson, not Robin Lehner, started skating to the Sabres bench.

Would Sabres coach Dan Bylsma really start his backup against the Pittsburgh Penguins over Lehner, his starter who has played 13 of the first 17 games?

After fiddling with his sticks at the bench for a few moments – it almost seemed like Nilsson was teasing everyone trying to see if he ... Read the full article