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 – In a 14-minute stretch Tuesday, Sabres newcomer Anders Bjork erased the New York Islanders’ lead, scoring two goals.
First, Bjork redirected defenseman Colin Miller’s point shot past Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin late in the second period. Then Bjork scored from the right circle 10:56 into the third period, tying a game the Sabres would win 4-3 in a shootout.
What do both goals have in common? Bjork, 24, created them by tenaciously ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Hours before Michael Houser’s second NHL start, interim Sabres coach Don Granato said he wasn’t concerned about his goalie becoming fatigued.
Coaches, of course, rarely use the same goalie on back-to-back nights. The position is simply too taxing.
But Granato, having lost his other goalies, needed Houser again Tuesday, a night after his big league debut. It was also his first game at any level in nearly 14 months.
Granato was confident ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – After a lower-body injury sidelined goalie Linus Ullmark 15 games, he returned in late March and quickly morphed into the Sabres’ backbone again.
Then on April 13 in Boston, Ullmark, in his eighth appearance back, suffered a lower-body ailment stretching to make a save in the opening minutes. At first, he tried to play through the pain.
“When the pain never subsided and it was getting worse and worse, I couldn’t find any ... Read the full article
Over the past couple of games, Buffalo Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens said he has been battling the puck and unable to find any rhythm.
So when an opportunity materialized late in Tuesday’s 3-1 road loss to the New York Rangers to stick up for a teammate and fight Kevin Rooney after he boarded Drake Caggiula, Cozens pounced on it.
“The hit didn’t look too good and I wasn’t too happy with my own play ... 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 – When Sabres defenseman Will Borgen blocked a shot with his right forearm Feb. 20 in New Jersey, he had no idea it had been fractured.
“They just kind of stitched it up because it was bleeding a little bit,” Borgen said on a Zoom call prior to Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins. “I didn’t have an excuse to not play at the time.”
So Borgen, 24, finished the Sabres’ 3-2 win ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In his first 12 games as interim coach, Don Granato’s most telling accomplishment has been his ability to unlock potential from several of the Sabres’ young players who struggled to stay in the lineup earlier this season.
Consider that in Friday’s 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals, center Casey Mittelstadt, defenseman Henri Jokiharju and winger Tage Thompson scored for the Sabres inside KeyBank Center.
All three players are 23 or under and spent ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – There was no wild celebration. Not even a fist pump.
When Sabres winger Steven Fogarty scored his first NHL goal on Wednesday, he reacted as if he had done it 100 times. A smiling Fogarty simply raised his stick, pointed to defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and shared a few fist bumps with his teammates.
By the time he started skating back to the bench, his grin had disappeared.
“It just happened so quick and ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Instead of letting the Sabres rest and recover in the midst of their grueling schedule, interim coach Don Granato said he has “overworked” his players.
“We’re trying to push them harder to develop harder,” Granato said on a Zoom call prior to Wednesday’s 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at KeyBank Center. “We know we have to get better. The focus has to be on that. And we have to trust that wins ... Read the full article