Matt Ellis was recently named Rochester's captain. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Amerks captain Ellis transitioning from Sabres back to AHL

BUFFALO – Reminders of the Sabres’ recent roster overhaul are all over Matt Ellis’ Clarence neighborhood.

Each day, the hardworking forward drives by “For Sale” signs in front of the homes Jordan Leopold and Jason Pominville recently left. When Ellis picks up neighbor Cody McCormick, instead of going downtown, the teammates drive 75 miles down the thruway to Rochester, their new playing home.

“The only one left in our neighborhood is (Thomas Vanek),” Ellis, ... Read the full article

Chadd Cassidy took over as Rochester's coach on Feb. 20. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

After early struggles, Amerks improving under new coach Cassidy

BUFFALO – Under normal circumstances, Chadd Cassidy’s transition to becoming the Rochester Americans’ bench boss would’ve been “a lot easier,” the interim coach said.

On Feb. 20, Cassidy, then Ron Rolston’s top assistant, was going through his regular routine inside the Blue Cross War Memorial, preparing for a game against the Texas Stars that night.

Hours later, Cassidy was the Amerks’ new coach.

In summoning Rolston to replace Lindy Ruff on an interim basis, ... Read the full article

David Leggio has played 59 games this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Amerks coach Cassidy says goalie Leggio should be considered for AHL MVP

BUFFALO – In 28-year-old No. 1 David Leggio, the Rochester Americans possess one of the AHL’s best goalies, a workhorse interim coach Chadd Cassidy thinks should be considered for the AHL’s MVP award.

But following the Sabres’ deadline trade with Minnesota last Wednesday, the Amerks received Matt Hackett, a strong prospect with NHL experience and three seasons as an AHL starter. The 23-year-old made 39 saves in a 3-2 shootout win Sunday, his first ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson has played three games with Rochester. ©2013, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks coach Cassidy already impressed by new Sabres prospect Larsson

BUFFALO – Chadd Cassidy called Johan Larsson’s new situation “very difficult.” A week ago, the 20-year-old prospect was preparing for his second NHL game. Then Minnesota yanked the center from its morning skate.

Not only was Larsson going back to the AHL, the Wild had sent him to the Sabres as a key figure in the Jason Pominville trade.

So far, Larsson has impressed Cassidy through three games, scoring one goal and three points.... Read the full article

Matt Hackett played well during his three seasons in Houston. ©2013, PhotoGraphics Photography, AHL

Goalie prospect Hackett upbeat about future with Sabres

BUFFALO – Matt Hackett figured the Minnesota Wild would eventually trade a goaltending prospect. The team possessed two similar youngsters in the 23-year-old Hackett and Darcy Kuemper.

With Niklas Backstrom entrenched as the upstart Wild’s No. 1 goalie, there simply wasn’t room for everyone.

Still, when the Wild yanked him from the ice during the team’s morning skate Wednesday, Hackett “was pretty shocked,” he said.

“It just caught me off guard, I guess,” Hackett said ... Read the full article

Adam Pardy should stay in the NHL the rest of this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ new defense corps locking down, helping keep slim playoff hopes alive

BUFFALO – There are some perks to hotel life, Adam Pardy said. Each day, a maid makes his bed and cleans his room. That’s not a bad thing, right?

For three months, the defenseman has been living out of a suitcase while shuttling between the Sabres and the Rochester Americans, an experience Pardy chalks up to being “one of those years.”

“It (stinks), but it is what it is,” Pardy said about hotel living Saturday ... Read the full article

Cory Conacher made his Senators debut Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Canisius star Conacher thrilled to play in Buffalo again

BUFFALO – Cory Conacher’s family and friends all had their tickets for April 14, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first visit here this season. The homecoming promised to be a special night for the former Canisius College star, the first Golden Griffins product to crack the NHL.

The 23-year-old’s parents reserved a suite inside the First Niagara Center. The Sabres plan to honor Canisius’ recent NCAA Tournament team that night, Conacher said.

Then, in one of ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville became a Sabres regular in 2005-06. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres thinking long-term after trading captain Pominville to Wild

BUFFALO – Instead of trading captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild before the deadline Wednesday, the 13th-place Sabres could’ve tried staying in the playoff chase and acquiring another player to make a run at eighth place, general manager Darcy Regier said.

But the Sabres, whose owner, Terry Pegula, has spent tens of millions of dollars pursuing his championship dream, no longer embrace that kind of philosophy.

They’ve started thinking long-term.

“The preference ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville played 578 games with the Sabres. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres shift focus to future after trading Pominville to Wild

BUFFALO – The Minnesota Wild first asked the Sabres about star winger Jason Pominville three weeks ago, general manager Darcy Regier.

When the Wild’s interest diminished, Regier still approached his captain for a list of eight teams he could refuse a trade to. Regier said he had “no real interest” in trading Pominville, although he wanted to keep his options open.

Then, Tuesday night, Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, who had been talking with Regier ... Read the full article

Luke Adam spent more than a year in the minors. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Adam thrilled to be back in NHL after long wait

PITTSBURGH – One day this winter, Luke Adam finally had enough. The 22-year-old cleared his head and stopped wondering about his future with the Buffalo Sabres.

In just a few months last season, Adam suffered a stunning decline, morphing from a first-line NHL scoring threat into a forgotten AHL player repeatedly bypassed for recalls.

But fretting wasn’t helping Adam’s career.

“That’s what got me in trouble,” Adam said Tuesday prior to the Sabres’ 4-1 win ... Read the full article