Ramsus Ristolainen has never played an NHL playoff game. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Ex-Sabre Rasmus Ristolainen welcomes fresh start after trade to Flyers

BUFFALO – In defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen’s first eight seasons, the Sabres morphed into the NHL’s laughingstock, finishing dead last four times and winning barely one-third of their games.

The constant losing and turmoil – Ristolainen played for a whopping six coaches and four general mangers, stunning numbers that illustrate the Sabres’ futility – wore on him. The straight-shooting Finn often voiced his frustration.

On Friday afternoon, hours before the Sabres picked Michigan defenseman Owen Power... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen played eight years in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres trade Rasmus Ristolainen, get huge return from Flyers

Rasmus Ristolainen’s eight-year career with the Buffalo Sabres is over.

The Sabres this afternoon traded the Finnish defenseman to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for the 14th overall pick in tonight’s NHL Draft, a 2023 second-round selection and defenseman Robert Hagg.

Ristolainen, 26, has just one year left on his contract. He often voiced his frustration with the constant losing he has endured over his NHL career. Following last season, he said he was open ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner enjoyed perhaps his best game this season Sunday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres rally to stun Flyers; Don Granato making strong case to keep job

On Sunday afternoon, Don Granato said the Buffalo Sabres’ belief they could roar back and win was stronger and more collective than in previous games. The interim coach could feel it up and down the bench.

“More confident speak, less emotional speak,” Granato said after the Sabres rallied to stun the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 at Wells Fargo Center.

The Sabres, who ended their 18-game winless skid March 31, possessed little or no confidence just a ... Read the full article

Arttu Ruotsalainen scored in only his second NHL game. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Arttu Ruotsalaien utilizes lethal shot to score first NHL goal

Buffalo Sabres rookie Arttu Ruotsalainen said when linemate Dylan Cozens delivered a short, soft pass to him in the right circle Sunday afternoon, he simply closed his eyes and shot the puck.

A second later, Ruotsalainen’s lethal one-timer blew by Philadelphia Flyers goalie Carter Hart 4:42 into the second period. The Finnish winger’s first NHL goal tied the game at 2.

“It’s awesome. It’s a dream,” a smiling Ruotsalainen said following his second NHL game, ... Read the full article

Brandon Montour played 112 games with the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Dealing Brandon Montour to Panthers likely only Sabres’ first deadline trade

BUFFALO – Defenseman Brandon Montour, like so many of the Sabres’ other notable acquisitions in recent years, left town having never sniffed the playoffs.

The Sabres on Saturday traded Montour, who turns 27 today, to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.

Barely two years ago, ex-Sabres general manager Jason Botterill paid a steep price for Montour, sending defense prospect Brendan Guhle and a first-round pick to the Anaheim ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart scored the first goal in Wednesday’s win. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres finally end winless streak, beat Flyers: ‘Everybody stepped up’

BUFFALO – Instead of addressing the Sabres during Wednesday’s second intermission, interim coach Don Granato left his players alone.

No words of encouragement. Not even a tactical point or two.

The game was playing out eerily similar to Monday’s. Granato, whose Sabres also held a three-goal that night over the Philadelphia Flyers, wanted his players to take over.

“I wouldn’t have handed it off to them if I wasn’t confident that they could do it ... Read the full article

Brandon Montour tries to escape Philadelphia’s Michael Raffl in Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Don Granato overworks players; Buffalo plans to add prospects

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

Dylan Cozens was injured Monday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Dylan Cozens should return from upper-body injury soon

When interim Buffalo Sabres coach Don Granato saw center Dylan Cozens on Tuesday morning, he said the rookie “was really angry.”

An upper-body injury had just sidelined Cozens, 20, four games. Now he is dealing with another upper-body injury after Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Philippe Myers checked him into the left boards 11:43 into the first period on Monday.

“He was upset at himself and the fact that he was injured,” Granato said on a Zoom ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has moved up the depth chart this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Casey Mittelstadt’s development earns him gig as Sabres’ top center

BUFFALO – Shifting Casey Mittelstadt to center wasn’t simply a result of the hapless Sabres trading Eric Staal or Jack Eichel suffering a lower-body injury.

Yes, injuries and Staal’s departure have decimated the Sabres at center. The four who practiced Tuesday inside KeyBank Center – Mittelstadt, Cody Eakin, Curtis Lazar and Riley Sheahan – have combined to score 10 goals and 25 points this season.

Interim coach Don Granato, whose Sabres host the Philadelphia ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin looked dejected Monday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres blow three-goal lead, lose in OT to Flyers: ‘This … is embarrassing’

BUFFALO – After 34 days, more than 1,000 minutes of hockey and one coaching change, it appeared the Sabres would finally halt their winless skid Monday.

Instead, they suffered the most gut-wrenching loss of their 18-game streak, blowing a 3-0 third-period lead and falling to the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime inside KeyBank Center.

Good grief. What happened late? How did the Sabres suddenly start chasing the game after dominating it for 40 minutes?

“Panic ... Read the full article