ROCHESTER – With the Americans about to suffer a devastating loss that would drop them into fourth place, coach Chris Taylor tabbed center Colin Blackwell for a crucial offensive zone faceoff.
Blackwell, 25, has been the Amerks’ unsung hero for more than a month, quietly piling up points and morphing into the AHL club’s late-season MVP.
In critical times, Taylor enjoys utilizing Blackwell, a Harvard graduate who had trouble finding work this season.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In three seasons between his stints in the Sabres organization, forward Kevin Porter played 43 NHL games. One year, the former Hobey Baker Award winner stayed in the minors all season. In another one, he played just two contests.
But two years ago, Porter, 32, earned regular duty with the Pittsburgh Penguins, playing 41 contests before an ankle injury ended his season.
While Porter missed the playoffs, he experienced the Stanley Cup run ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – For a chunk of the season, Sabres defensemen Brendan Guhle and Casey Nelson formed a strong AHL tandem, showcasing their speed and slick puck-moving skills together.
Then the Sabres recalled Guhle, 20, in early January for two games. A week later, they summoned Nelson, 25, and he quickly earned a regular spot.
So the two hadn’t played together for about two months until Sabres coach Phil Housley reunited them for Monday’s 5-3 win ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Kyle Criscuolo was about to leave for the rink Sunday morning when Rochester Americans coach Chris Taylor phoned him.
“He was giving me a little joke,” Criscuolo said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “He said, ‘You’re not playing tonight.’ I said, ‘OK.’ He said, ‘You’re suspended. No, I’m kidding, you’re going up.’”
With a dearth of centers, the Sabres summoned Criscuolo, 25, for the second time this season. He will play tonight against ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – Early in Danny O’Regan’s junior season at Boston University, he earned a coveted spot playing beside an ultra-talented freshman center named Jack Eichel.
The two meshed well together, but around Christmas that rollicking 2014-15 campaign, an underrated senior began playing right wing with O’Regan and Eichel.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Chris Taylor prefaced his comments with a reminder Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander is still a teenager, one of the AHL’s youngest players, and coming off a lower-body injury that cost him all of training camp and six weeks of the season.
“We always forget how young he is and he went through a major injury this year, too,” the Rochester Americans coach said prior to Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Syracuse Crunch inside ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Chris Taylor knows winger Justin Bailey better than anyone in the Sabres organization.
Before the Americans coach left Rochester for a year, he was an assistant with the AHL club, helping the Williamsville native earn his first NHL recall as a rookie two seasons ago.
Taylor mentored Bailey, 22, watching him develop from a raw prospect into a youngster the Sabres have played 47 times over the last three seasons.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Earlier this season, if you had asked Casey Nelson if he could play 20 minutes a night in the NHL, often against the opposition’s top line, the Sabres defenseman would’ve given you a straightforward answer.
“I’d say there’s no chance, there’s no way,” Nelson said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center.
But in tonight’s tilt in Detroit, Nelson, 25, will likely play big minutes on the second defense pair, meaning he’ll face some of the ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – The second phase of former Buffalo Sabres defenseman Nathan Paetsch’s career has been rewarding, even a bit unlikely.
Five years ago, Paetsch transitioned into a veteran role helping develop Detroit Red Wings prospects. He won two Calder Cups with the Grand Rapids Griffins, playing a vital role well into his 30s, an advanced age for the AHL.
Now, Paetsch has come full circle. Fourteen years after starting his career in Rochester as a ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – It’s early, just 26 tilts into a 76-game season. Still, Buffalo Sabres prospect C.J. Smith hasn’t let up yet, compiling nine goals and a gaudy 27 points to start his AHL career.
So keep an eye on Smith, an undrafted winger the Sabres signed out of UMass Lowell late last season. The Americans’ leading scorer is on a 25-goal, 79-point pace over a full season.
How rare is a campaign like that?... Read the full article