Arttu Ruotsalainen got off to a torrid start in Finland this season. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres release training camp roster, schedule; 37 players to participate

On Friday, the Buffalo Sabres will touch the KeyBank Center ice for the first time in 296 days and begin preparing for the most unusual of seasons.

The NHL will be attempting to play during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will likely experience problems – positive tests, postponements or even cancellations – as the schedule unfolds.

But those potential roadblocks can be examined another day. The Sabres’ 10-month break is nearly over. Training camp officially ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis instructs Sabres propsects at development camp. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Playing career prepared Matt Ellis for new development role with Sabres

During his playing days, former Buffalo Sabres forward Matt Ellis embraced what he calls the “art of preparation.”

Ellis, the Sabres’ new director of player development, kept a training notebook he still consults. He constantly searched for ways to evolve and maximize his potential.

“I was always a chronic explorer,” Ellis said by phone Wednesday.

In the 2009 offseason, for example, Ellis, then 27, overhauled his shot, changing it so he could create more ... Read the full article

Chris Taylor has made Rochester his home since 1999. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres fired Amerks coach Chris Taylor with no explanation

The call lasted less than a minute. Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams simply informed Chris Taylor he was being fired as Rochester Americans coach, offering no details into the sudden dismissal.

Taylor was stunned. Following a successful three-year run in which the Amerks reestablished themselves as an AHL heavyweight, the Sabres let him go Tuesday with no explanation.

“It was very short, fast, why they felt that they wanted a clean slate,” Taylor told ... Read the full article

Lawrence Pilut spent two seasons in the Sabres organization. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Why did Lawrence Pilut bolt from Sabres to Russian team?

Following two productive seasons in the Buffalo Sabres organization, it seemed like a formality defenseman Lawrence Pilut would re-sign this offseason as a restricted free agent.

Pilut, 24, quickly acclimated to a new brand of hockey following his arrival from Sweden in 2018, developing into one of the AHL’s most dynamic defensemen as a rookie with the Rochester Americans. Less than two months into his North American career, he earned his first recall to ... Read the full article

Ramsus Ristolainen has played seven seasons with the Sabres. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Rasmus Ristolainen knows he could be traded

Rasmus Ristolainen understands that if the Buffalo Sabres make significant moves this offseason, he could be dealt.

“If changes will happen, I know I’m one of the first ones probably who is going to get traded,” the defenseman said on a Zoom call Thursday, two days after the Sabres’ season officially ended. “It’s part of the business and I’m ready, whatever happens. I have really enjoyed my time in Buffalo. It’s home for me.”

Buffalo ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt and Rasmus Asplund leave the ice after a game in 2019-20. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Cancellation of AHL season means lost opportunities for Amerks

In what would be the final days of the American Hockey League season, coach Chris Taylor drew confidence from the maturity his Rochester Americans began showcasing.

To Taylor, the Amerks’ response to some rare adversity – they endured losing streaks of seven and four games in the winter – illustrated his players had become equipped to handle the highs and lows of a long, grinding season.

“They weren’t getting as frustrated as you think that ... Read the full article

Zach Redmond helped Rochester become a winner again. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Decision to leave Amerks for Germany ‘difficult’ for Zach Redmond

Zach Redmond and his wife, Maggie, wrestled with their decision. Rochester, after all, became their second home.

On the ice, Redmond, 31, thrived for three seasons, morphing into the Americans’ biggest star and perhaps the AHL’s most dynamic defensemen. The Redmonds felt so comfortable they purchased a house a five-minute drive from Blue Cross Arena.

“If I’m not (in the NHL), I really could not have imagined a better setup (than Rochester),” said Redmond, whose ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith is an AHL star. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres reassign 15 players, including Arttu Ruotsalainen, C.J. Smith

BUFFALO – The Sabres made their first significant roster cuts of training camp this morning, reassigning 15 players, most notably center Arttu Ruotsalainen and winger C.J. Smith.

The Sabres sent Ruotsalainen, 21, back to Ilves, a Finnish team in Liiga. Meanwhile, Smith, 24, must clear waivers before he can go to the Rochester Americans.

The Sabres also sent the following players to the Amerks, their AHL affiliate: forwards Eric Cornel, Sean Malone, Andrew Oglevie, ... Read the full article

Matej Pekar loves to be an agitater. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Matej Pekar thrilled to earn spot in NHL exhibition game

BUFFALO – Matej Pekar acknowledged he had been thinking about this opportunity. Sure, it’s just an NHL preseason game. But for the Sabres prospect, tonight’s exhibition represents another small milestone.

“It’s happening,” Pekar said after he prepared for the Sabres’ road contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets, his preseason NHL debut. “I just have to be ready for it.”

While Pekar, 19, is probably a longshot to crack the Sabres, his mix of skill and ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner scored a career-high 40 goals in 2018-19. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: GM Jason Botterill knows Jeff Skinner interested to see coach

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill understands 40-goal winger Jeff Skinner needed to know something important before making a huge decision.

“If you’re going to sign a long-term contract with an organization, you kind of want to know who the head coach is,” Botterill said Wednesday after announcing Ralph Krueger as the 19th head coach in franchise history.

Skinner, who turns 27 on Thursday, can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Until ... Read the full article