Jack Eichel has been one of the NHL's hottest scorers. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Jack Eichel honored by All-Star Game selection

BUFFALO – Two years ago, the NHL revamped its traditional All-Star Game, transforming the stale affair into a slick three-on-three tournament featuring six divisional squads.

The league also added a $1 million incentive for the winning team, a prize center Jack Eichel, the Sabres’ lone All-Star, said “brings a little more energy to the event.”... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark has played 21 NHL games. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark to start; Zach Bogosian out 4 to 6 weeks

BUFFALO – Why not try something different, right? The reeling Sabres have lost five straight games and 33 of their 43 outings this season.

Starting goalie Linus Ullmark tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets is worth a try.

Sabres coach Phil Housley, who criticized his goaltending in Tuesday’s 7-4 loss to Winnipeg, said Ullmark will receive his first NHL nod since last season’s finale.

... Read the full article

Chris Taylor knows the Amerks and Sabres well. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Friendship with Sabres GM Jason Botterill led Chris Taylor back to Amerks

ROCHESTER – Barely a year ago, after 14 seasons with the Americans as an AHL player and assistant coach, Chris Taylor was let go, the victim of new head coach Dan Lambert’s desire to field his own staff.

On Thursday, the Amerks, the Buffalo Sabres’ top affiliate, introduced Taylor as the 32nd head coach in franchise history.

A fired coach, of course, rarely returns to his old team, let alone in a larger role so ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander is the Sabres' top prospect in Rochester. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill plans to make Rochester a priority

BUFFALO – Very quietly, general manager Jason Botterill played a key role in the development of the talent that once made the Sabres a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

Botterill played three seasons with the Rochester Americans, piling up goals while helping prospects like Paul Gaustad, Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek acclimate to the AHL and eventually graduate to the Sabres.... Read the full article

C.J. Smith enjoyed a big junior season. ©2017, UMass Lowell

Commitment to defense helped C.J. Smith reach Sabres

BUFFALO – After C.J. Smith led UMass Lowell in goal scoring for the third consecutive season, River Hawks coach Norm Bazin knew his star forward would have opportunities to turn pro.

Smith, who signed a two-year contract with the Sabres on Thursday, enjoyed a huge 2016-17 campaign, scoring 23 goals and 51 points in only 41 games.

But something besides Smith’s scoring prowess helped him morph from an undrafted youngster into an NHL prospect ... Read the full article

Randy Cunneyworth talks Wednesday. ©2015, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Randy Cunneyworth happy to be back coaching Amerks

ROCHESTER – For three years, wherever Randy Cunneyworth went, he was asked the same question.

“I don’t think there was a person I came across that didn’t mention, ‘Are you going to get back into coaching or not?’” Cunneyworth recalled Wednesday after being introduced as the Rochester Americans’ new coach inside the Blue Cross War Memorial.

Cunneyworth enjoyed his player development job with the Buffalo Sabres – “I’m into whatever I’m doing,” he said – ... Read the full article

Randy Cunneyworth was Montreal's interim coach for 50 games in 2011-12. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres name Randy Cunneyworth Amerks coach

BUFFALO – As the summer dragged on and the Rochester Americans’ coaching job remained open, one name kept popping up in rumors: Randy Cunneyworth, who had coached the Sabres’ AHL affiliate for eight seasons before moving up to the NHL.

Cunneyworth appeared to be the logical choice. The 54-year-old, a noted talent developer, was already a special assistant and a player development coach with the Amerks. He’s familiar with Buffalo’s prospects and the organization.... Read the full article

Ville Leino's Sabres career could end today. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ville Leino’s Sabres career began with much fanfare

While it’s hard to believe now, Ville Leino’s arrival in Buffalo almost three years ago was greeted with some fanfare.

Back then, Leino was one of the best free agents on the market. Awarding Leino a stunning six-year, $27 million contract was risky. The Finn only had one full NHL season under his belt. But the signing proved the Sabres wanted to bring in the best talent they could and gun for a Stanley Cup.... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko has played nine AHL games this season. ©2014, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko thriving with AHL Amerks

ROCHESTER – Finally, almost two years after the Buffalo Sabres drafted him 12th overall, center Mikhail Grigorenko has landed in the AHL.

Just weeks before his 20th birthday, the prospect too good for junior but too green for the NHL has settled in nicely with the Americans.

The Amerks closed the regular season 7-1-1 with Grigorenko, who recorded his four assists in his first three appearances.

But numbers aren’t important right now.

“Maybe ... 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