Vladimir Sobotka (17) skates by Dallas' Andrej Sekera on Monday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Ducks’ Nick Ritchie fined maximum for hit on Sabres’ Vladimir Sobotka

The NHL has fined Ducks forward Nick Ritchie $4,121, the maximum amount allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, for roughing Sabres winger Vladimir Sobotka in Buffalo’s 5-2 loss Wednesday in Anaheim, the Department of Player Safety announced today.

After a whistle 15:57 into the second period, Ritchie grabbed Sobotka by the head and tackled him, earning two minor penalties for roughing.

The NHL gives the money to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.... Read the full article

Carter Hutton posted a 25-save shutout Monday afternoon. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Ralph Krueger has Sabres looking like playoff contender early in tenure

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

Vladimir Sobotka endured a rough season in 2018-19. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Vladimir Sobotka shaking off poor season, earning respect

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

Jeff Skinner has moved beside center Marcus Johansson. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres sniper Jeff Skinner off to fast start on new line

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

Marcus Johansson has impressed coach Ralph Krueger. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Marcus Johansson honored by earning letter

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

Carter Hutton played a career-high 50 games last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie Carter Hutton to start opener; Evan Rodrigues to sit

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

Victor Olofsson played six games with the Sabres last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Maturity, commitment to defense helps Sabres’ Victor Olofsson earn roster spot

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

Jake McCabe has battled shoulder problems in the past. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jake McCabe to miss rest of preseason

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

Tage Thompson joined Rochester late last season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

‘Full-time job’ eating helped Sabres’ Tage Thompson pack on muscle

TORONTO – In the offseason, Buffalo Sabres winger Tage Thompson started what he called a “full-time job.”

“I was eating a lot,” Thompson said prior to Friday’s 3-0 exhibition loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Yes, Thompson, 21, spent much of the spring and summer devouring food.

“I was probably eating five square meals a day with snacks in between,” Thompson said in Buffalo before the Sabres traveled to Scotiabank Arena.

Sound like fun? Well, ... Read the full article

Conor Sheary endured long goal droughts last season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Conor Sheary knows consistency must improve to help Sabres

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Conor Sheary certainly showcased flashes of his scoring prowess last season.

On Nov. 18, Sheary scored in his third straight game, his sixth goal in just his 16th outing with the Sabres.

Then suddenly, Sheary, 27, went cold.

The speedy UMass product endured a 16-game goal drought. After scoring an empty-netter Dec. 22, he experienced an 11-game dry spell.

On. Jan 29, Sheary finally scored past a goalie again.... Read the full article