General manager Kevyn Adams has turned to an old friend, Matt Ellis, to be the Buffalo Sabres’ new director of player development.
The Sabres today named Ellis, 39, to his first NHL front office post.
Ellis played 356 NHL games over nine seasons, including 286 contests with the Sabres, after going undrafted. Following his retirement in 2016, Adams hired Ellis as a development coach at the Academy of Hockey at Harborcenter.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Coaches often evolve or reinvent themselves following their failures. Sometimes they swallow their pride to do it. They might return to junior hockey or the minors and start riding buses again. They might take an assistant or development job.
Remember that as general manager Jason Botterill searches for the Sabres’ sixth coach in barely six years after firing Phil Housley on April 7.
Sometimes the best candidates aren’t the names being bandied about. ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Even after Liam Kirk reached the pinnacle of British hockey, earning a spot in his country’s top pro league at just 16 years old, the NHL remained a far-flung dream for the English prodigy.
After all, in the NHL’s long history, zero players who were born and trained in the United Kingdom have played even one game. So while Kirk said he always believed he possessed the talent to make the NHL, he ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When Sabres general manager Jason Botterill interviewed Mike Sullivan for Pittsburgh’s AHL coaching vacancy two years ago, thoughts of the candidate’s unsuccessful run as an assistant in Vancouver were fresh in his mind.
“I had an impression,” Botterill said Thursday of Sullivan, who spent a tumultuous season with the Canucks in 2013-14 beside embattled coach John Tortorella.
But Sullivan changed that impression. The former Boston Bruins coach had just spent a year as ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Given the speed at which the offseason moves, the Sabres must find a new general manager soon, perhaps in the next month, to replace Tim Murray, who was fired with coach Dan Bylsma on Thursday.
Of course, given owner Terry Pegula’s track record, would the Sabres even hire a GM first?
Remember, Pegula hired Pat LaFontaine as the team’s president of hockey operations in November 2013. LaFontaine lasted less than four months ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Paul Byron and Tyler Ennis laughed and sounded nostalgic remembering their days growing up together as rookie roommates in the Sabres organization.
Byron, according to Ennis, is “not very good at video games.”
“A liar,” said a smiling Byron called Ennis on Wednesday.
These days, Byron and Ennis are happy NHL veterans.... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – Before Americans winger Justin Bailey started his first pro season, he set a significant goal for himself. The Williamsville native wanted to score 20 times, a tough number for anyone, let alone a rookie, to reach in this low-scoring era.
“I think it’s something that in the beginning I strived to accomplish,” Bailey said Thursday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial after the AHL club prepared for tonight’s home finale against the Albany ... Read the full article
David Leggio insists his terrible season hasn’t shaken his confidence. The Williamsville native, once one of the AHL’s best goalies, morphed into perhaps its worst last year, compiling a ghastly .861 save percentage and a bloated 3.93 goals-against average in 23 appearances with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Three seasons ago, Leggio garnered MVP talk as the Rochester Americans’ workhorse starter. His four-year run from 2010-14 was arguably as good as any AHL goalie.
Still, Leggio, ... Read the full article
Williamsville native David Leggio will attend Winnipeg Jets training camp next month on a professional tryout, the goalie’s agent, Brian Bartlett, told the Times Herald.
Despite a strong body of work in the AHL, Leggio, 31, is still unsigned for the 2015-16 season. He spent last season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Portland Pirates.
He struggled with Bridgeport, the New York Islanders’ top affiliate, posting a 3.93 goals-against average and a .861 save percentage ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Since arriving in Buffalo last week, Sabres prospect Jack Eichel has been “doing the media tour and doing a million things.” The 18-year-old center just wants to play a hockey game, something he hasn’t done in months.
Eichel will get his wish tonight, when the Sabres host what is quickly becoming a huge summer event, the annual development camp scrimmage at 7 p.m. inside the First Niagara Center.
The Sabres have already sold ... Read the full article