Jake Oettinger sported a patriotic look Wednesday. ©2017, Olean Times Herald

Team USA excited for outdoor game

ORCHARD PARK – Right away, Team’s USA’s Bob Motzko experienced what he called a “wow moment.” Over his 30-year career coaching college and junior hockey, he has never participated in an outdoor game.

So walking out of the New Era Field tunnel Wednesday afternoon and seeing an ice rink in the middle of the 72,000-seat NFL facility, the home of the Buffalo Bills, was “pretty cool,” Motzko said.

“I’ve only seen (outdoor games) on TV,” ... Read the full article

Matt Moulon (26) fights off Boston’s Anton Blihd last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Matt Moulson clears waivers, sent to Ontario Reign

BUFFALO – As expected, winger Matt Moulson cleared waivers today, meaning the Sabres will likely send him to the Rochester Americans.

The NHL’s worst team waived the graying Moulson, 34, on Monday. The veteran compiled zero points and a minus-9 rating in 14 appearances this season.

Moulson hasn’t played in the AHL since 2008-09. He’s in the fourth season of a five-year, $25 million contract.... Read the full article

Phil Housley likes Marco Scandella’s talents. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Phil Housley likes defense, plans to lean on Marco Scandella

BUFFALO – In a two-week span last month, general manager Jason Botterill addressed the Sabres’ most glaring weakness by acquiring defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Marco Scandella.

Is either player elite? Hardly. Still, as puck-moving defenders, Beaulieu and Scandella offer talents the Sabres sorely lacked last season and add some much-needed depth.... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt spent part of last season with the Green Bay Gamblers. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt thrived at two levels as senior

BUFFALO – Lee Smith figured Casey Mittelstadt was simply reacting to Eden Prairie’s emotional, season-ending loss. Once the high school hockey superstar settled down, the coach thought to himself, he would change his mind.

In the moments after Smith’s Eagles lost in the final of the 2016 Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament, Mittelstadt, the eighth overall pick by the Sabres on June 23, told Smith he would return for his senior season.... Read the full article

Jason Botterill had to run a draft with scouts he barely knows. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill comfortable with scouts for NHL Draft

CHICAGO – When Jason Botterill was named Buffalo Sabres general manager May 11, he entered what he called a “different situation.”

The Sabres also fired amateur scouting director Greg Royce with GM Tim Murray on April 20. Botterill inherited Jeff Crisp, the team’s head amateur scout, and Murray’s old scouts.

So Botterill only had six weeks to prepare for the NHL Draft with Crisp and his new staff, not exactly ideal.... Read the full article

Jason Botterill doesn’t want to rush. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill stays patient at NHL Draft

CHICAGO – Forget about the quick fix. The Buffalo Sabres left the NHL Draft festivities with six prospects and nothing else.

As trade activity engulfed the NHL over the past few days, new Sabres general manager Jason Botterill stayed quiet, choosing to take the patient approach.

Botterill, the hockey world learned, will remake the Sabres, a team six years removed from its last playoff appearance, at his own speed. Outside expectations won’t influence the 41-year-old, ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen met with the Sabres at the NHL Scouting Combine. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen sensed interest from Sabres

CHICAGO – When Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen surveys Buffalo’s goaltending depth chart, the 18-year-old Finn sees an opportunity. With Cal Petersen passing on the Sabres, the team wants another strong netminding prospect to fill the void.

So in the second round Saturday, 54th overall, the Sabres selected Luukkonen at the NHL Draft.... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was all smiles this morning. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen excited for opportunity with Sabres

CHICAGO – When Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen surveys Buffalo’s goaltending depth chart, the 18-year-old Finn sees an opportunity. With Cal Petersen passing on the Sabres, the team wants another strong netminding prospect to fill the void.

So in the second round this morning, 54th overall, the Sabres selected Luukkonen at the NHL Draft.... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt smiled a lot Friday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Casey Mittelstadt happy to be Sabres’ top pick

CHICAGO – As the first round of the NHL Draft approached, no one seemed to have any idea how the early portion would play out and where youngsters like new Buffalo Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt could be picked.

Sure, it was expected centers Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick would go first and second overall Friday, and they did. But after that, several guys like Mittelstadt were pegged to go anywhere from third or fourth or ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt (17), flanked by Sabres general manager Jason Botterill (left) and owner Terry Pegula, was all smiles Friday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Casey Mittelstadt thrilled to be drafted by Sabres

CHICAGO – As the first round of the NHL Draft approached, no one seemed to have any idea how the early portion would play out and where youngsters like new Buffalo Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt could be picked.

Sure, it was expected centers Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick would go first and second overall Friday, and they did. But after that, several guys like Mittelstadt were pegged to go anywhere from third or fourth or ... Read the full article