BUFFALO – Few figured coach Ralph Krueger could transform the Sabres so quickly that – gasp – a playoff berth would feel possible this season.
Players need time to understand new messages and systems. Besides, Krueger inherited a hapless team that won just two games last March.
It would take time – maybe months, even a season – before the Sabres showed real progress, right?
Well, six games into Krueger’s tenure, the Sabres are still ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In the first period Monday afternoon, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger tapped winger Vladimir Sobotka for two defensive-zone draws.
“He went right out there and cleanly won them and took us out of our end,” Krueger said following the Sabres’ 4-0 victory over the Dallas Stars inside KeyBank Center.
Then 4:20 into the third period, Sobotka’s nifty pass past a sliding defender created linemate Jeff Skinner’s goal.
The Czech’s first point this season put ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Officially, center Marcus Johansson’s winner 1:30 into overtime Wednesday doesn’t count as the Sabres’ ninth power-play goal this season.
Johansson secured the Sabres’ third win in four tries (3-0-1), an exciting 5-4 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens, five seconds after center Phillip Danault’s slashing penalty expired.
So, yes, on paper, Johansson’s one-timer from the right circle goes down as an even-strength score. But Danault hadn’t even gotten back into the play yet.
Make ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – As defenseman Ryan Murray started carrying the puck out from behind the Blue Jackets net Monday, Sabres winger Jeff Skinner lurked close by and followed him up the slot.
Before Murray could skate past the circles, Skinner stripped the puck and took off toward the net. The 40-goal scorer then beat Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo, tying the game at 11:58 into the second period.
“That was a pure Jeff Skinner goal,” Sabres coach ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – One by one Rick Jeanneret introduced them, 15 in all, including some of the greatest names in Sabres history.
Gilbert Perreault, the most iconic name, received a rousing standing ovation from the capacity crowd of 19,070. The fans roared for Danny Gare and Jason Pominville, two of the most popular players in franchise history.
Before the Sabres started Saturday’s 7-2 annihilation of the New Jersey Devils, they kicked off the home portion ... Read the full article
PITTSBURGH – Marcus Johansson rarely displays much emotion. In good times and bad, the Buffalo Sabres center usually keeps an even keel.
Still, Ralph Krueger could tell being named one of the Sabres’ two alternate captains earlier this week had special meaning to Johansson.
“His Swedish persona (was) able to kind of tuck it away in the talk with me, but I thought he was extremely honored,” Krueger said prior to Thursday’s 3-1, season-opening win ... Read the full article
PITTSBURGH – In almost equal preseason action, Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark outplayed Carter Hutton, posting a goals-against average 64 points lower and a save percentage 49 points higher than his partner.
But Hutton, 33, handled the load last season, playing a career-high 50 games.
Sabres coach Ralph Krueger, who said everything was up for competition during training camp, probably wants to show Hutton respect on opening night against the Penguins.
The veteran will ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Everyone can see Victor Olofsson’s dynamic ability to shoot the puck has helped him develop into an elite goal scorer.
The quick release. The accuracy and speed.
Few players can unleash the puck like the 24-year-old Sabres rookie.
“He’s a pure goal scorer,” Sabres captain Jack Eichel said following Tuesday’s practice inside KeyBank Center.
Olofsson’s lethal shot has helped him morph from an unknown seventh-round pick into a first-line NHL winger.
Still, a ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – For seven months last season, Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt lived the hectic NHL life. The rookie practiced almost daily, played 77 games and logged thousands of air miles traveling across North America.
Mittelstadt, 20, had never experienced anything like it.
Then in the second week of April, everything stopped. When the season ended, Mittelstadt quickly became bored.
“You go from 100 mph to literally zero,” Mittelstadt said prior to Wednesday’s 4-3 preseason overtime ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – An upper-body injury will sideline Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe the rest of the preseason, the team announced this morning.
“It was in practice yesterday, just light upper body,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said inside KeyBank Center. “We’re expecting him to be good to go for the first league game.”
McCabe, 25, has battled shoulder problems in the past.
In addition to McCabe, four other Sabres defensemen – Zach Bogosian (hip), Matt Hunwick (neck), ... Read the full article