Jason Payne played 14 pro seasons before becoming a coach. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Cincinnati’s Jason Payne becomes pro hockey’s only Black head coach

The Cincinnati Cyclones on Tuesday became North America’s only pro hockey team with a Black head coach after promoting Jason Payne to the position.

Payne, 45, has spent two seasons as an assistant with the Cyclones, the Buffalo Sabres’ ECHL affiliate. He replaces Matt Thomas, who recently left to become an assistant with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL affiliate. Payne will also be the Cyclones’ director of hockey operations.

The Sabres started sending prospects to ... Read the full article

Michael Houser played his first four NHL games last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Goalie Michael Houser returns to Sabres organization on AHL contract

Goalie Michael Houser, who made his NHL debut late last season and started the Buffalo Sabres’ final four games, will be back in the organization next year.

The Rochester Americans on Thursday announced they’ve agreed to terms with Houser, 28, on a one-year AHL contract.

Houser, who has spent most of his career in the ECHL, became one of the hockey’s feel-good stories last spring, cracking the NHL for the first time in his ... Read the full article

Michael Houser played four games with Rochester. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

After wild run, Michael Houser’s time in Sabres organization could be over

ROCHESTER – Coach Seth Appert felt his goalie, Michael Houser, deserved to take over the Americans’ net in the final days of the season.

For years, Houser, who played four late-season games for the Buffalo Sabres, toiled in the ECHL. While he just completed his third season in the organization, he hadn’t played a game for the Amerks until a week ago.

Before earning his first NHL action earlier this month, Houser, 28, spent ... Read the full article

Mattias Samuelsson played 12 games with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Mattias Samuelsson close to cracking NHL for good

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

Michael Houser player four games for the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres make moves, send five players to Amerks

Goalie Michael Houser, who started four games for the Buffalo Sabres last week, was among five players the team sent to the Rochester Americans this morning.

The Sabres also assigned defenseman Mattias Samuelsson and forwards Steven Fogarty, Brett Murray and C.J. Smith to their AHL affiliate.

The Amerks have four games left this season, starting with Wednesday’s road contest against the Utica Comets.... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark was Buffalo’s best player this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres GM Kevyn Adams has offseason filled with critical decisions

Kevyn Adams experienced a brutal rookie season as Buffalo Sabres general manager, overseeing a team that suffered through an 18-game winless skid and finished dead last in the NHL.

Trying to fix the Sabres, who have missed the playoffs a record-tying 10 consecutive seasons, could be an arduous task.

Adams’ short list for this offseason includes hiring a coach, trying to re-sign his No. 1 goalie and top scorer and making sure his captain and ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt started thriving under interim coach Don Granato. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Many Sabres thrived with Don Granato: ‘I owe Donnie a huge thank you’

When Don Granato took over the Buffalo Sabres, Casey Mittelstadt had mustered one goal while mostly being utilized as a third- or fourth-line winger in his limited action.

Mittelstadt, 22, ended the season as the Sabres’ No. 2 center. After stints in the minors and on the taxi squad over the last year and a half, he developed into a consistent scoring threat, compiling nine goals and 17 points in the final 22 games.

The ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark was injured April 13. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Linus Ullmark won’t play in finale; Sam Reinhart wins Martin Award

Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark will miss Saturday afternoon’s season finale against the Pittsburgh Penguins, interim coach Don Granato said.

Granato said earlier this week that Ullmark, 27, likely wouldn’t be ready to return from his lower-body injury before the season ends. The Swede was injured April 13 and resumed skating with his teammates Monday.

So goalie Michael Houser, fresh off Thursday’s 8-4 loss to the Penguins, will start his fourth straight game. Houser, ... Read the full article

Michael Houser won his first two NHL games before Thursday’s blowout loss. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres don’t help Michael Houser, get throttled by Penguins: ‘We owe him’

Almost eight minutes into Thursday’s second period, after the Penguins scored twice in a minute and grabbed a two-goal lead, it became apparent Sabres goalie Michael Houser wouldn’t enjoy a warm homecoming in Pittsburgh.

After winning his first two NHL games in Buffalo, Houser, 28, became the league’s feel-good story. A victory before about 20 family members and friends watching inside PPG Paints Arena would’ve made the most incredible week of his career even more ... Read the full article

Buffalo drafted Brett Murray in 2016. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Brett Murray thrilled to make NHL debut: ‘At a loss for words’

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