Conor Sheary scored twice Thursday. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres dominate Penguins early, win Ralph Krueger’s debut as coach

PITTSBURGH – Throughout training camp, coach Ralph Krueger insisted his Sabres had embraced the new ideas he and his coaching staff brought to Buffalo.

Krueger wants the Sabres to play fast, stay connected and utilize their instincts. It might take sacrificing a little offense, but in the end, he believes they can reap rewards from the aggressive new approach.

Based on Thursday’s 3-1, season-opening win against the Penguins, Krueger’s message is getting through to the ... Read the full article

Marcus Johansson has impressed coach Ralph Krueger. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Marcus Johansson honored by earning letter

PITTSBURGH – Marcus Johansson rarely displays much emotion. In good times and bad, the Buffalo Sabres center usually keeps an even keel.

Still, Ralph Krueger could tell being named one of the Sabres’ two alternate captains earlier this week had special meaning to Johansson.

“His Swedish persona (was) able to kind of tuck it away in the talk with me, but I thought he was extremely honored,” Krueger said prior to Thursday’s 3-1, season-opening win ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson spent last season in Rochester. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres recall Victor Olofsson, Henri Jokiharju from Amerks

PITTSBURGH – As expected, the Sabres recalled winger Victor Olofsson and defenseman Henri Jokiharju from the Rochester Americans this morning.

In paper moves to get under the salary cap before Tuesday’s roster deadline, the Sabres sent Olofsson and Jokiharju to the AHL.

The Sabres also assigned the three players they summoned Tuesday – forwards Jean-Sebastien Dea and Curtis Lazar and defenseman Lawrence Pilut – to the Amerks.... Read the full article

Ralph Krueger hasn't coached an NHL game since 2013. ©2019, Hickling Images

Communication skills help Ralph Krueger win over Sabres early

PITTSBURGH – Kyle Okposo figures they spent 10 minutes talking about hockey. For most of the evening, the three Buffalo Sabres veterans dining with their new coach, Ralph Krueger, discussed their backgrounds and families.

The sport that consumes so much of their lives didn’t come up much.

“We barely talked about hockey,” Okposo said of the get-together.

When the Sabres hired Krueger on May 15, he hadn’t coached in the NHL in six years. ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens could be assigned to junior soon. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens ready for NHL preseason debut

BUFFALO – Coach Ralph Krueger wants center Dylan Cozens to relax during tonight’s preseason opener. Throughout the recent Prospects Challenge rookie tournament, the Sabres’ top pick often tried to do to much.

“He was trying to be a different-maker every time on the ice,” Krueger said after the Sabres prepared for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The seventh overall pick knows he must calm down a little.

“I can’t be out there trying to dangle everyone and ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played 11 NHL games last season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

AHL star C.J. Smith intent on sticking with Sabres this season

BUFFALO – Only about 10 Sabres forwards have roster spots locked up, meaning in a training camp filled with competition, the best battles might be taking place up front.

Among the players fighting for the four or so remaining slots are journeymen (Jean-Sebastien Dea, for example), NHL veterans (Vladimir Sobotka) and prized prospects (Victor Olofsson).

Then there’s C.J. Smith, an older (he turns 25 on Dec. 1) and often overlooked ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton allowed five goals Thursday. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Reeling Sabres get shut out again, lose sixth straight game

BUFFALO – Late in the second period of Thursday’s ugly 5-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, a disgruntled fan had enough of the Sabres’ awful performance and gave Jason Botterill his unvarnished thoughts.

“Botterill, this is garbage!” the fan yelled to the general manager, who was sitting in a nearby box, as the Sabres trudged to their third consecutive shutout loss, one of the lowest points in franchise history.

Right now, few would argue that ... Read the full article

Casey Nelson has played 26 games this season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres notes: Casey Nelson returns after one-game benching

BUFFALO – The night after Nikita Zadorov drilled Sabres captain Jack Eichel high after the whistle, Casey Nelson said he couldn’t sleep.

The defenseman said he was looking through three players Saturday afternoon in Colorado and didn’t see Zadorov hit Eichel into the boards and rip off his helmet.

That’s why Nelson glided up to Zadorov and never went after the Avalanche defenseman.

On Thursday morning, Nelson’s tepid reaction was still bothering him.... Read the full article

Casey Nelson will return tonight. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres’ Casey Nelson bothered by response to hit on Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – The night after Nikita Zadorov drilled Sabres captain Jack Eichel high after the whistle, Casey Nelson said he couldn’t sleep.

The defenseman said he was looking through three players Saturday afternoon in Colorado and didn’t see Zadorov hit Eichel into the boards and rip off his helmet.

That’s why Nelson glided up to Zadorov and never went after the Avalanche defenseman.

If Nelson had seen what happened to Eichel, he would’ve offered a ... Read the full article

Conor Sheary (43) celebrates his goal with Jeff Skinner (53) and Jake McCabe (19). ©2019, Hickling Images

Conor Sheary busts out, helps Sabres down Penguins in overtime

BUFFALO – For months, Conor Sheary’s performances had mostly been underwhelming.

As the Sabres have played some of their most important games in years, Sheary, 26, has usually been silent, sometimes going weeks without scoring a goal.

No one on the Sabres has played more meaningful NHL games than Sheary. Just four seasons into his NHL career, the diminutive winger has won two Stanley Cups and played 55 playoff contests.

Sooner or later, it felt ... Read the full article