JJ Peterka scored three goals in five preseason games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect JJ Peterka makes strong case to stick in NHL

BUFFALO – If the Sabres assign rookie JJ Peterka to the minors this week, his stint with the Rochester Americans could be short. The German arrived here last month nearly an NHL-ready prospect, having spent two seasons playing pro hockey against men.

Sabres coach Don Granato has watched Peterka, who scored in Saturday afternoon’s 3-1 preseason win over the Detroit Red Wings, acclimate quickly to North American hockey.

“He absorbs what’s in front of him, ... Read the full article

John Hayden played for three teams before joining Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

John Hayden hoping ‘Swiss Army Knife’ style helps him crack Sabres’ lineup

BUFFALO – Over the past three seasons, winger John Hayden bounced around the NHL, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes before signing a one-year, two-way contract with the Sabres.

Hayden, 26, has usually served as a fourth-liner or an extra forward, never playing more than 54 games in a season. Still, he has stayed put in the NHL. Other than a 37-game stint in 2017-18, his first full pro season, ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons also played in the 2014 Olympics. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Zemgus Girgensons thrilled to represent Latvia at Olympics

BUFFALO – When Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons represented Latvia in an Olympic-qualifying tournament late in the summer, NHL players hadn’t committed to participating in the 2022 Beijing Games.

“But I still decided to go over and compete in the qualification because even if I wasn’t going, what it means to other players back home to go is a big thing,” said Girgensons, who played for Latvia in the 2014 Sochi Games, the last time the ... Read the full article

Dustin Tokarski played 13 games for Buffalo last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Dustin Tokarski to start; J-J Peterka, Jack Quinn earn another look

BUFFALO – Very quietly, Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski has enjoyed a stellar training camp, allowing just one goal in nearly 53 minutes of preseason action.

Tokarski, 32, has outplayed newcomer Aaron Dell in the competition for the backup job behind Craig Anderson.

Tokarski will start tonight’s road exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Penguins before Dell relieves him. Another strong outing by Tokarski could cement a roster spot.

Earlier today, the Sabres sent top goalie ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is considered Buffalo’s goalie of the future. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres trim training camp roster, send six players to Amerks

BUFFALO – Top goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was among six players the Sabres sent to the Rochester Americans this morning.

The Sabres also assigned forwards Matej Pekar, Ryan MacInnis, Sean Malone and Linus Weissbach and defenseman Oskari Laaksonen to their AHL affiliate.

The Amerks open training camp today. The Sabres, meanwhile, play a road preseason game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.... Read the full article

Tage Thompson played center Monday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Tage Thompson working to unleash ‘incredible potential’

BUFFALO – Over his 145-game NHL career, Sabres forward Tage Thompson has only showcased glimpses of what coach Don Granato called his “incredible potential.”

“Which is different than actual potential,” Granato said prior to Monday’s 5-3 preseason loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. “He can do things in moments but we need him to sustain more and to do it more consistently.”

Thompson, 23, has enjoyed little consistency over his three years here, often getting ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk spent his first four NHL seasons in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Mark Pysyk enjoying return to Sabres: ‘Going to be a fun team to watch’

BUFFALO – Sometimes, Mark Pysyk said, it seems like he only left the Sabres a week ago. Other times, however, he acknowledged it feels like it has been a long time.

The Sabres, who signed a one-year, $900,000 contract to return, left in 2016. Only one teammate from the affable defenseman’s first run here, center Zemgus Girgensons, is still with the team.

“I see him walking around, the way he plays, his body takes a ... Read the full article

J-J Peterka scored late in Tuesday’s win. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

J-J Peterka, Jack Quinn showcase skills in Sabres’ come-from-behind win

Buffalo Sabres prospect J-J Peterka couldn’t stop smiling.

Yes, he had only experienced a preseason victory. And his late goal in Tuesday’s come-from-behind, 5-4 shootout triumph doesn’t officially count in the record books.

Still, for Peterka, linemate Jack Quinn and the other youngsters who buoyed the Sabres to an unlikely win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the exhibition opener likely holds a lot of meaning.

The Sabres roared back in the third period, erasing a ... Read the full article

Jack Quinn will play right wing tonight. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres to utilize line of Dylan Cozens, J-J Peterka and Jack Quinn

BUFFALO – In a year or two, after  wingers J-J Peterka and Jack Quinn acclimate to pro hockey, they could flank center Dylan Cozens on the Sabres’ No. 1 trio.

But right now, the intriguing line is simply an experiment for tonight’s preseason opener in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. Instead of putting the talented youngsters beside veterans, Sabres coach Don Granato wants them to learn on their own.

While Cozens, 20, played 41 NHL ... Read the full article

©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Why did Victor Olofsson change his number again?

BUFFALO – Three years into his NHL career, Sabres winger Victor Olofsson is already sporting his third number.

The Swede recently switched to No. 71 after having No. 68 for two seasons. He also briefly wore No. 41 for his first six NHL games late in the 2018-19 season.

Why did Olofsson pick new digits? When he broke into the NHL, No. 71, one of his favorite numbers, was worn by Evan Rodrigues, a forward ... Read the full article