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

Brad Marchand played for Ted Nolan in 2005-06. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Bruins’ Brad Marchand on Sabres’ Ted Nolan: ‘I don’t think I’d be here today if he didn’t coach me that year’

BUFFALO – Ted Nolan only coached Boston Bruins pest Brad Marchand one season, 88 total games in 2005-06. Still, the year under the interim Sabres coach changed his career.

Marchand was 17 years old, heading into his draft season, when Nolan took over the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Moncton Wildcats.

“He really helped me understand more about the pro life, how the pros have to play the game and what you have to do ... Read the full article

Brayden McNabb has sat the last four games. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres to use new lines against Senators; Brayden McNabb back in lineup

BUFFALO – Ted Nolan wanted to give his lines a long look. The interim Sabres coach figured he couldn’t ask his players for consistency if he kept shuffling the trios.

But after a string of losses and more meager offensive production, Nolan switched up his combinations Monday.

“Our top line is having a little bit of trouble, maybe the chemistry wasn’t quite right,” Nolan said following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “We talked to ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis said the lines had to be changed. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ted Nolan changes Sabres’ lines; Brayden McNabb to return Tuesday

BUFFALO – Ted Nolan wanted to give his lines a long look. The interim Sabres coach figured he couldn’t ask his players for consistency if he kept shuffling the trios.

But after a string of losses and more meager offensive production, Nolan switched the lines up today.

“Our top line is having a little bit of trouble, maybe the chemistry wasn’t quite right,” Nolan said this afternoon following practice inside the First Niagara Center. ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko could be playing somewhere else soon. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres could send Mikhail Grigorenko to play with Russians or back to junior

BUFFALO – The Sabres are “discussing all possibilities” to find 19-year-old prospect Mikhail Grigorenko playing time, interim coach Ted Nolan said Tuesday.

That means the Sabres could loan the center, a healthy scratch the last two games, to Russia for the world junior championship later this month if he’s invited. He could also get sent back to the junior Quebec Remparts.

“We’re not 100 percent sure what we’re going to do,” Nolan said following practice ... Read the full article

Nikita Zadorov has played well since returning to London. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ youngsters thriving back in development leagues

Some quick updates on the rookies the Buffalo Sabres’ new regime reassigned to the AHL and junior Nov. 19.

Not surprisingly, the youngsters are thriving outside the NHL. You think these prospects should’ve been sent down earlier?

Johan Larsson, winger, Rochester Americans

The 22-year-old Swede, who had one assist in 17 NHL games, has two goals and seven points in six AHL games as winger beside center Kevin Porter and rookie Joel Armia. ... Read the full article