Casey Nelson played 37 NHL games this season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres re-sign Casey Nelson to contract extension

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed defenseman Casey Nelson, arguably their biggest surprise during a dreary 2017-18 season, to a two-year, $1.625 million contact extension, the team announced today.

He would’ve become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Nelson, 25, exceeded expectations after beginning the season buried on the depth chart. When the Sabres summoned him from the AHL in mid-January, he became the 13th defender to dress for them this season.

But Nelson ... Read the full article

Hudson Fasching sat out two playoff games. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Hudson Fasching ends season struggling with Amerks

ROCHESTER – Barely two years ago, Hudson Fasching stood out as one of the Buffalo Sabres’ top prospects. Just days after leaving college, the power forward scored minutes into his NHL debut. Months later, he cracked the big club out of training camp.

Fast forward to today, and Fasching, having just sat out two AHL playoff games as a healthy scratch, might have an iffy future with the Sabres.... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark makes a save Wednesday. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks goalie Linus Ullmark emotional after season-ending loss

ROCHESTER – Linus Ullmark struggled to answer the question. The goalie paused for a moment and fought back tears following what could be his last AHL appearance.

Talk to any member of the upstart Americans, and they’ll likely tell you how a great group of guys helped buoy them to their first playoff appearance since 2014.

So when Ullmark, 24, tried talking about what made the team so special following Wednesday’s season-ending 6-3 loss, he ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville (29) has experienced raucous crowds in Buffalo. ©2018, Hickling Images

Winning will help Sabres generate more excitement at home

BUFFALO – KeyBank Center hasn’t always been the NHL’s quietest venue. When the Sabres roared out of the 2005 lockout and briefly contended for the Stanley Cup during winger Jason Pominville’s first tenure here, the rink was often raucous and among the league’s noisiest.

Of course, 10 or 12 years ago, the Sabres regularly won games and ranked among the league’s highest-scoring teams. If you attended a game, chances are you’d witness something special ... Read the full article

Colin Blackwell has been piling up points. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Colin Blackwell morphs from Sabres camp invite into Amerks’ top threat

ROCHESTER – With the Americans about to suffer a devastating loss that would drop them into fourth place, coach Chris Taylor tabbed center Colin Blackwell for a crucial offensive zone faceoff.

Blackwell, 25, has been the Amerks’ unsung hero for more than a month, quietly piling up points and morphing into the AHL club’s late-season MVP.

In critical times, Taylor enjoys utilizing Blackwell, a Harvard graduate who had trouble finding work this season.... Read the full article

Phil Housley won 25 games as a rookie coach. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: GM Jason Botterill supports coach Phil Housley

BUFFALO – It’s unlikely legendary coaches Toe Blake or Scotty Bowman could’ve done much with the Sabres this season. A dearth of talent helped them finish 31st overall.

Still, following such a miserable campaign, the question had to be asked: will Phil Housley be general manager Jason Botterill’s coach again next season?

“One-hundred percent Phil Housley will be our coach next year,” Botterill said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center. “I have certainly enjoyed working with Phil ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons has experienced plenty of losing with the Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Last-place Sabres never got on track during lost season

BUFFALO – Way back on opening night, Oct. 5, the Sabres caused KeyBank Center to buzz with excitement for one of the few times in recent memory.

The Sabres’ new regime of coach Phil Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman and Buffalo legend, and general manager Jason Botterill, who helped construct three Stanley Cup winners in Pittsburgh, had energized the fan base and offered hope.

Perhaps the Sabres wouldn’t make the playoffs in 2017-18, but ... Read the full article

Nathan Paetsch still has family in and around Humboldt. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks’ Nathan Paetsch wants to help Humboldt: ‘It’s home’

ROCHESTER – Humboldt, the small Saskatchewan town reeling from a crash that killed 15 members of its beloved junior hockey team, is home for Americans defenseman Nathan Paetsch.

While Paetsch lived about 20 minutes away in tiny LeRoy, he was born in Humboldt, developed into an NHL talent playing minor hockey there and still has family in and around the town of about 5,900.... Read the full article

Nick Baptiste has earned regular duty part of this season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres will soon replenish Amerks for AHL playoff run

BUFFALO – Casey Nelson believes the opportunity offers a “second chance.” In a few days, after the Sabres complete their disastrous season, about eight players will return to the AHL and begin the Rochester Americans’ first playoff series in four years.

“We all want nothing more than to win a championship,” the defenseman said Thursday inside KeyBank Center after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the start of a two-game, ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner played 53 games this season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Goalie Robin Lehner won’t make Sabres’ final road trip

BUFFALO – Injured goalie Robin Lehner won’t accompany the Sabres on their season-ending two-game trip to Florida, according to the team.

Lehner has an expiring contract and was acquired by the team’s old regime, meaning his Sabres career could be over. A lower-body injury has sidelined him the last three contests.

In 53 games this season, Lehner went 14-26-9 with a 3.01 goal-against average and a .908 save percentage.... Read the full article