Drew Stafford will play Thursday in New York. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Drew Stafford ready to play; Nick Deslauriers and Johan Larsson back with Amerks

BUFFALO – Slowly, the Sabres are starting to get some healthy bodies back.

Three injured players returned in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to Detroit. Now, they might have two more back Thursday in New York.

Winger Drew Stafford (undisclosed) pronounced himself ready during this morning’s practice, Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. Meanwhile, defenseman Henrik Tallinder (undisclosed) said following practice he’s a game-time decision for the Rangers.

“Hank, he gave me the old 95-percent sure look,” Nolan ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller has been facing fewer shots in St. Louis. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres goalie Ryan Miller relied on less with Blues, still adjusting to new team

TORONTO – Nights like Tuesday are acceptable now. Former Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller wasn’t dynamic in the St. Louis Blues’ 5-3 victory against the Maple Leafs. He looked average, even a bit shaky at times while making only 22 saves.

But Miller doesn’t have to be perfect these days. The 33-year-old’s tending goal for the NHL’s best team, not its worst.

Miller is 8-2-1 since the blockbuster Feb. 28 deal sent the franchise goalie ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson has 39 points in the AHL. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall rookies Johan Larsson and Rasmus Ristolainen from Amerks

With winger Torrey Mitchell and defenseman Tyler Myers questionable for Thursday’s game in Nashville, the Buffalo Sabres have recalled rookies Johan Larsson and Rasmus Ristolainen from Rochester, according to WHTK’s Rob Sanderson.

UPDATE: The Sabres have officially recalled Larsson and Ristolainen on an emergency basis.

Both played in the Americans’ 3-1 loss to Milwaukee tonight.

Larsson, and Swedish forward, has 15 goals and 39 points in 45 AHL games and one assist in ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen played five times during his recall. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres send rookie Rasmus Ristolainen to Amerks

BUFFALO – The Sabres today sent rookie defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to Rochester following a five-game recall.

Defensemen Tyler Myers (arm) or Alexander Sulzer (upper body) could be ready to return Tuesday in Montreal.

The 19-year-old Ristolainen compiled zero points and a minus-5 rating during the recall. The Finn has one goal, one point and minus-9 rating in 24 NHL games this season.

Goalie Matt Hackett will start against the Canadiens, interim Sabres coach Ted ... Read the full article

Cory Conacher was never drafted and played in the ECHL briefly. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Cory Conacher endured long road to reach NHL dream

BUFFALO – There was no straight path to the NHL for Cory Conacher. About 10 years ago, after the AAA Burlington Cougars cut him, the diminutive Sabres winger figured his hockey career was over.

“You always run into a certain coach that just doesn’t like your physical stature,” Conacher recalled Friday, “and that’s kind of I think what happened.”

But the 5-foot-8 Conacher had a chip on his shoulder that would help buoy him ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen has played 30 AHL games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall rookie Rasmus Ristolainen from Amerks

BUFFALO – With defenseman Alexander Sulzer out, the Sabres today recalled rookie Rasmus Ristolainen from Rochester.

The 19-year-old should play tonight in New York against the Islanders, his first NHL game since Nov. 15.

Ristolainen, the eighth overall pick in June, compiled one goal and four penalty minutes in 19 games after making the Sabres out of training camp. He played one game under interim coach Ted Nolan before the Sabres sent him to the ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk impressed during a 42-game run with the Sabres earlier this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Mark Pysyk still developing with Amerks

ROCHESTER – By most standards, Mark Pysyk is ready for regular NHL duty. His efficient, steady play during 42 appearances earlier this season earned the rookie praise as the Buffalo Sabres’ best defenseman.

But the 22-year-old is back with the Americans, riding buses again in the AHL.

At first, it appeared his Jan. 24 assignment would only be temporary. The Sabres wanted Pysyk to keep playing during the Olympic break, they said. Six weeks ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko has spent the last month with the Russian junior team. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Mikhail Grigorenko’s return to Sabres could be brief one

BUFFALO – At some point this week, prospect Mikhail Grigorenko, fresh off a five-goal, eight-point performance in seven world junior championship games, will be returning to the Sabres, interim coach Ted Nolan said.

But will the 19-year-old center be staying in the NHL?

“He’s coming here for Pat (LaFontaine) and I to discuss,” Nolan said Monday inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll make that decision when he gets here.”

Nolan, however, acknowledged he would prefer ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen was recently loaned to Finland's world junior squad. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Watch: Sabres prospect Rasmus Ristolainen’s nifty overtime goal clinch world junior gold

At 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds, 19-year-old Buffalo Sabres prospect Rasmus Ristolainen isn’t your normal junior-age player.

Prior to the Sabres selecting him eighth overall in June, Ristolainen played two seasons in SM-liiga, a men’s league in his native Finland. Then the defenseman cracked the Sabres’ opening-night lineup this season, playing 19 NHL games before getting sent to Rochester in November.

In the preseason, before Ristolainen’s birthday, Sabres defenseman Mike Weber called him “an 18-year-old man.”... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis won a gold medal with Canada five years ago. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres fondly recall world junior championship memories, believe tournament shaped their careers

TORONTO – Five years ago, Buffalo Sabres center Tyler Ennis figured he had a good chance to earn a coveted spot on Team Canada’s world junior championship squad.

The 24-year-old was one of his country’s most electrifying junior talents, a first-round draft pick in the midst of a dynamic 43-goal, 85-point season with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He felt he had enjoyed a strong training camp.

But, Ennis said, “Anything can happen.” Canada always has ... Read the full article