When Mattias Samuelsson returned to Rochester last week following a three-week stint with the Buffalo Sabres, the Americans’ coaching staff challenged the rookie defenseman.
The coaches wanted Samuelsson, fresh off first NHL recall, to use the remaining games on the Amerks’ truncated schedule as a springboard back to Buffalo next season.
“OK, you did a good job in those 12 games, you got a taste,” Amerks coach Seth Appert said the coaches told Samuelsson. “Now ... Read the full article
Despite having interim status, Don Granato took a broad approach as Buffalo Sabres coach, opting for building and development over simply trying to win some games.
“I hate being a desperate team,” Granato said on an end-of-season Zoom call Wednesday. “Everybody can look and say, ‘My God, you’re in a desperate situation.’ Well, that’s fine if that’s your perception. But we’re not going to be a desperate team. We’re going to get better every day, ... Read the full article
Buffalo Sabres rookie Brett Murray experienced an unconventional path to the NHL, moving backwards before taking small steps forward.
Three years ago, Murray, who made his NHL debut in Thursday’s 8-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, left Penn State and returned to junior. Before last season, after making a stronger commitment to his conditioning, he received an AHL contract.
Murray, a fourth-round pick in 2016, 99th overall, parlayed a solid rookie campaign with the ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – On April 10 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, goalie Stefanos Lekkas played his last game for the Komets, an ECHL team, allowing five goals in a loss to the Indy Fuel.
Twenty-three days later, Lekkas was in the NHL, serving as Sabres rookie Michael Houser’s backup for Monday’s 4-2 win over the New York Islanders at KeyBank Center.
The memories of the night will forever be seared in Lekkas’ head.
“Just to go through ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Matej Pekar wanted to agitate Brett Gallant, so as they awaited a faceoff at center ice, he bumped into the AHL’s premier tough guy.
Gallant, of course, retaliated, cross-checking Pekar near his neck. A second later, Pekar, a rookie forward with the Americans, dropped the gloves for the first time as a pro.
Meanwhile, Gallant, a veteran with the Cleveland Monsters, registered his 107th AHL fight, according to hockeyfights.com.
It ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Before Sabres prospect Jack Quinn left the Rochester Americans earlier this week to undergo season-ending hernia surgery, coach Seth Appert said the rookie’s teammates gravitated to him and wanted to say goodbye.
In a normal year, Quinn, the eighth overall pick in 2020, wouldn’t have been eligible to play in the AHL. But the Ontario Hockey League’s COVID-19 pause created a unique opportunity for teenagers like Quinn to develop against men in ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Forget about goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s last six outings, Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert said.
Yes, Luukkonen, 22, has looked sloppy at times since the Amerks’ COVID-19 pause ended late last month, compiling a 2-3-1 record and an awful .863 save percentage.
But a lot of players struggle after being forced to sit idle. Luukkonen did not play for three weeks.
Appert believes Luukkonen’s early-season exploits and the strong habits he has developed illustrate ... Read the full article
Top goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s highly anticipated NHL debut could take place this weekend, Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said.
The Sabres have become woefully thin in net, losing Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton to injuries after trading Jonas Johansson.
If Luukkonen hadn’t suffered a lower-body injury with the Rochester Americans, the Sabres likely would’ve recalled him before Thursday’s 5-2 road win over the Washington Capitals at Capital One Center. The Finn missed ... Read the full article
A lower-body injury will force Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark to miss tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals, meaning Dustin Tokarski will receive his fifth start this season.
Taxi-squad goalie Michael Houser, who has never played an NHL game, will back up Tokarski. Houser, 28, hasn’t played a contest at any level in more than 13 months.
Top goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen would be the only available recall, but Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert... Read the full article
In scoring his second goal as a pro, Buffalo Sabres prospect Jack Quinn showcased some of the slick skills that made him the eighth overall pick in 2020.
On Saturday, Quinn utilized his speed to beat a Syracuse Crunch defender down the right wing before his hard backhander from the edge of the slot cemented the Rochester Americans’ 5-3 road win.
But Quinn’s willingness to cut to the net and go to the so-called “dirty ... Read the full article