Jeff Skinner hit the 20-goal mark Sunday afternoon. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Dynamic four-goal game shows Sabres’ Jeff Skinner back as elite scorer

In the two seasons following his scintillating 40-goal campaign in 2018-19, it appeared Sabres winger Jeff Skinner would never recapture the scoring prowess he possessed throughout that career year.

Skinner, who enjoyed a dynamic afternoon in Sunday’s 5-3 win, scoring a career-high four goals and adding an assist, looked finished as an elite NHL scorer.

Last season, Skinner scored just seven times in 53 games and was scratched three times. In 2019-20, he recorded 11 ... Read the full article

Casey Fitzgerald has played eight NHL games. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Casey Fitzgerald’s aggressive, agitating style earning notice from Sabres, others

BUFFALO – By the end of that night in Vegas, every member of the Golden Knights knew when Sabres rookie Casey Fitzgerald, the undersized defenseman playing just his seventh NHL game, was on the ice.

“And they didn’t like it,” Sabres coach Don Granato said following Saturday’s practice at LECOM Harborcenter. “It was the better players, that was the beauty of it. We can play him against better players and they’re looking over their ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has played 11 games for Rochester this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Could Sabres look to Amerks goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen for help?

BUFFALO – Given the Sabres’ recent goaltending woes, the rebuilding team could be forced to award prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen a look soon.

Maybe Luukkonen would stay for just a game or two. Or perhaps he might receive regular action while No. 1 goalie Craig Anderson, 40, recovers from his upper-body injury.

The Sabres, as evidenced by the ugly 2-9-1 streak they carry into tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens at KeyBank Center, need help ... Read the full article

Arttu Ruotsalainen was regular late last season in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Arttu Ruotsalainen sits out opener; Rene Robert honored

BUFFALO – For Thursday’s season opener, the Sabres had three extras, scratching forwards Arttu Ruotsalainen and John Hayden and defenseman Will Butcher.

In Ruotsalainen, they sat out one their most intriguing young forwards. The Finn, 23, enjoyed regular duty over the final month last season, compiling five goals and six points in 17 games.

In Butcher, they sat out one their higher-profile offseason acquisitions. The American, 26, compiled 74 points over his first two ... Read the full article

Buffalo goalie Craig Anderson made his NHL debut in 2002-03. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

At 40, Sabres goalie Craig Anderson earns remarkable achievement

BUFFALO – Nine months ago, as Craig Anderson’s 40th birthday approached, it appeared his long career could be over. Eventually, the veteran goalie parlayed a tryout with the Washington Capitals into a one-year contract.

Still, Anderson was their third netminder, spending most of the season on the taxi squad and playing just six games, including two playoff appearances.

Tonight, Anderson will be the Sabres’ opening night starter against the Montreal Canadiens, a remarkable late-career ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has become one of the most recognizable faces on the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

‘Deep dive’ into game helped Casey Mittelstadt become Sabres’ top center

BUFFALO – Don Granato first sensed it during the Sabres’ marathon offseason in 2020. Having been humbled by his demotion to the minors, Casey Mittelstadt grasped he had reached a critical juncture of his career.

When Granato, then an assistant coach, spoke to Mittelstadt, he could feel the center was evolving and maturing.

“He was putting all these pieces (together) of what people had presented to him,” Granato said following Wednesday’s practice.

Granato said Mittelstadt ... Read the full article

Don Granato knows the value of an early goal. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Don Granato plans to play fast-paced, exciting hockey

BUFFALO – Historically, NHL teams that score first or hold the lead at the end of the first period go on to win the game.

The Sabres won only 15 of their 56 games last season, finishing dead last. Still, when they opened the scoring, they compiled a strong 8-6-5 record. When they led after 20 minutes, they went 4-3-4.

Sabres coach Don Granato brought up the value of an early goal or lead Wednesday ... Read the full article

Eric Staal spent less than one season in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Eric Staal doesn’t want to revisit past with Sabres: ‘Put that behind me’

Eric Staal was hardly interested in revisiting his rough 32-game tenure in Buffalo and explaining the hapless Sabres’ struggles.

Staal, 36, left the NHL’s laughingstock on Friday in the midst of a stunning 17-game winless skid and a personal 23-game goal drought.

So can you blame the veteran center, one of the league’s most decorated players, for wanting to forget about a tumultuous two months and concentrate on his new opportunity with the Montreal Canadiens?... Read the full article

Eric Staal can become an unrestricted free agent following the season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

After trading Eric Staal, Sabres know more moves coming: ‘Nobody’s naive’

Winger Kyle Okposo knows center Eric Staal was likely only the first of several veteran teammates who will be leaving the hapless Buffalo Sabres over the next few weeks.

The Sabres, having lost 16 straight entering this afternoon’s road game against the Boston Bruins, are broken and on pace to be historically bad. The NHL’s laughingstock needs a massive overhaul, so anyone could be in play before the April 12 trade deadline.

“I mean, nobody’s ... Read the full article

Eric Staal played 32 games for Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres trade Eric Staal to Canadiens

The Buffalo Sabres this afternoon traded veteran center Eric Staal to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for third- and fifth-round picks in 2021.

The Sabres will retain $1.625 million of Staal’s $3 million salary. Staal, 36, did not practice with the Sabres today in Boston.

Following the session, Sabres winger Kyle Okposo said he said goodbye to Staal.... Read the full article