Henri Jokiharju won two gold medals last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Henri Jokiharju impressed Sabres GM Jason Botterill before up-close look

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill knew of Henri Jokiharju’s talents before he watched the defenseman up close during Team Finland’s run to a gold medal at the World Championship in the spring.

So even if Botterill hadn’t run Team Canada’s entry in Slovakia, the Sabres still might’ve dished winger Alexander Nylander to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Jokiharju on July 9.

“It certainly helps things out to see a player play on ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith enjoyed a huge season in 2018-19. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres re-sign Amerks star C.J. Smith to two-year contract

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed forward C.J. Smith to a two-year, $1.4 million contract, the team announced today.

Smith, 24, was a restricted free agent.

The UMass Lowell product enjoyed a huge AHL season in 2018-19, compiling 28 goals and 58 points and a team-high plus-26 rating in 62 appearances with the Rochester Americans. He also earned multiple recalls to the Sabres, scoring his first two NHL goals during his 11-game look.... Read the full article

Chris Taylor plans to soak up knowledge from the Sabres' new coaching staff. ©2019, Hickling Images

Chris Taylor happy with Amerks, likes Sabres’ hire of Ralph Krueger

BUFFALO – To many observers, Rochester Americans coach Chris Taylor possesses the talent to run an NHL bench someday.

Not only have the Amerks enjoyed two successful seasons under the affable Taylor, players seem to love playing for him.

Not surprisingly, Taylor’s name came up during the Sabres’ search for Phil Housley’s replacement. Taylor, course, has close ties to general manager Jason Botterill, his friend and former teammate.... Read the full article

Sean Malone played only 38 games last season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres notes: Sean Malone signs AHL contract with Amerks

BUFFALO – Center Sean Malone’s 2018-19 season started ominously. After some impressive performances early in his second NHL training camp, the West Seneca native injured his knee in the Sabres’ preseason opener.

So instead of competing for a spot on the big club, Malone, 24, didn’t play his first game until Nov. 7 with the Rochester Americans.

Injuries limited Malone to only 38 appearances during a frustrating campaign. The Harvard product never seemed to ... Read the full article

Sean Malone endured a tough season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sean Malone signs with Amerks; Sabres give qualifying offers to NHL regulars

BUFFALO – The Rochester Americans have signed West Seneca’s Sean Malone, who wasn’t given a qualifying offer by the parent Sabres, to a one-year AHL contract, the team announced today.

Injuries limited Malone, 24, to only 38 games during a frustrating 2018-19 campaign. The center hurt his knee in the Sabres’ preseason opener and never seemed to find a groove.

In two seasons with the Amerks, Malone has compiled 16 goals, 35 points and ... Read the full article

Don Granato has an extensive coaching resume. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres hire Don Granato, Mike Bales as assistant coaches

BUFFALO – The Sabres have hired Don Granato and Mike Bales as assistant coaches on new head coach Ralph Krueger’s staff, the team announced this morning.

The Sabres also officially announced Krueger will retain assistant Steve Smith, a former NHL defenseman he had on his staff with the Edmonton Oilers.

Granato, 51, has coached at all levels – junior, college, pro and NHL – over his 26-year career. He spent the last two seasons ... Read the full article

Mike Bales won two Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh. ©2019, Hickling Images

Reports: Sabres to hire Mike Bales as goalie coach, retain Steve Smith

The Buffalo Sabres will hire Mike Bales as their new goalie coach and retain assistant coach Steve Smith, according to multiple reports.

Bales, 47, resigned as goalie coach of the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday. The Buffalo News, The Athletic and Sportsnet all reported Bales is bound for Buffalo.

Former Sabres coach Phil Housley hired Smith, a three-time Stanley Cup winner as a player, to run his defense last year. Ralph Krueger, Housley’s replacement, ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson (12) stands between Toronto's Kasimir Kaskisuo (30) and Joseph Duszak (21) on Sunday afternoon. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks lose in overtime, fall behind 2-0 to Marlies

ROCHESTER – Chris Taylor was seething following Sunday afternoon’s 3-2 overtime loss. Can you blame the Americans coach? Through 122 minutes of hockey, his team has thoroughly outplayed the Toronto Marlies.

But the Amerks have nothing to show for it. Just like that, they’re on the brink, down 2-0 in the best-of-five series AHL North Division semifinal playoff series.

The Marlies can eliminate them Wednesday in Toronto.

“I’m upset, I’m mad,” Taylor said after the ... Read the full article

Toronto's Chris Mueller, a West Seneca native, tries to convert a chance in front of Rochester goalie Scott Wedgewood on Friday. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks can’t convert early chances, fall to Marlies in playoff opener

ROCHESTER – For the opening 25 minutes of Friday’s first-round playoff opener, the Americans blitzed the Toronto Marlies, beating goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo four times.

Of course, the puck never actually went in the net. The Amerks rattled it off the post or crossbar four times. They missed empty nets, a breakaway and pumped 15 shots on goal in the first period.

So instead of seizing a commanding lead, the Amerks let the Marlies hang around ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart has quietly enjoyed a terrific season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Sam Reinhart enjoys first hat trick in Buffalo

BUFFALO – On the first of his three goals Saturday afternoon, Sabres winger Sam Reinhart showcased a little flash.

After grabbing center Evan Rodrigues’ nifty one-handed pass, Reinhart unleashed a wicked wrist shot from the right circle, beating Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby over the right shoulder 12:51 into the 5-2 win.

Later in the contest, Reinhart put the Sabres up two goals again, sealing the game by tipping defenseman Matt Hunwick’s shot in front ... Read the full article