BUFFALO – That miraculous save was a result of Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s experience and growing confidence, not luck.
Sure, it helped that Jimmy Vesey couldn’t lift the puck high as Luukkonen lunged across the crease during the third period of Monday’s 5-1 road win over the New York Rangers.
Still, the Finn, Sabres coach Don Granato explained, now reads plays so well he knew Vesey was lurking in the left circle, waiting for Erik ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Of all the coaches the Sabres’ Matt Ellis could’ve faced in his first game filling in for Don Granato, it turned out to be the one he knows best, Lindy Ruff.
These days, Ruff, 61, coaches the New Jersey Devils, the Sabres’ opponent Wednesday at KeyBank Center.
Ellis, 40, played under Ruff for parts of five seasons, growing from a forward the Sabres plucked off waivers into an NHL regular. ... Read the full article
Johan Larsson looked looser early last season. The Sabres center, affectionately nicknamed “Angry Larry,” even occasionally smiled, a rarity throughout his turbulent seven-year career in Buffalo.
Naturally, as the season progressed, the Sabres’ annual implosion sapped some of his happiness.
Still, Larsson, 28, enjoyed perhaps his best NHL campaign. The tenacious Swede entrenched himself between Zemgus Girgensons and Kyle Okposo early in 2019-20, helping the trio morph into one of the league’s best checking ... Read the full article
Jimmy Vesey became the first Buffalo Sabres player to speak out about the death of George Floyd and the violence and racial tension in the United States in a reflective essay he posted on Twitter late Wednesday afternoon.
“The videos I’ve seen online are gut-wrenching,” wrote Vesey, who made an undisclosed monetary donation to the NAACP Boston Branch. “Whether it’s seeing extreme injustices by law enforcement against people of color or seeing fellow Americans beat ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Wayne Simmonds doesn’t regret waiving his no-trade clause to join the Sabres two weeks ago.
The Sabres, having crept within six points of a playoff spot, wanted the respected veteran winger to help their push. Meanwhile, Simmonds, an unrestricted free agent following the season, wanted a fresh opportunity after enduring a rough campaign.
So far, the deal – the Sabres sent the New Jersey Devils a conditional fifth-round pick – hasn’t paid many ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The Sabres’ season certainly turned quickly. Two weeks ago today, they stood six points out of a playoff spot and acquired forwards Dominik Kahun and Wayne Simmonds before the trade deadline.
Today, having lost six straight games in regulation, they’re 13 points out.
How bad is it getting? The Sabres haven’t dropped seven straight contests in regulation since their marathon 14-game losing streak halfway through the 2014-15 season. That, of course, was the ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Expect Linus Ullmark to morph into a workhorse again over the final four weeks this season. If the goalie can stay healthy, he might start 12 or 13 of the reeling Sabres’ 14 remaining games.
Ullmark, who hasn’t played since suffering a lower-body injury Jan. 28, will likely start tonight against the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center.
Before Ullmark missed 17 games – he backed up Carter Hutton on Saturday – he seized ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – For 67 games this season, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger refused to play center Jack Eichel and winger Jeff Skinner together for any notable stretch.
Other than some occasional shifts, Krueger kept the lethal duo separated before reuniting them for Friday’s practice inside Harborcenter.
Krueger has often explained he likes balancing the lines by placing a defensive presence on each one. So Skinner, who scored a career-high 40 goals playing beside Eichel last season, ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Forget about Jimmy Vesey’s slow start. Since the Sabres winger registered his first goal Nov. 25, he has scored nine times in 37 games.
Over a full season, that’s a 20-goal pace. Vesey, 26, has saved his best hockey for the past few weeks, performing more like the player the Sabres likely envisioned when they traded the New York Rangers a third-round pick for him.
The Harvard product has also evolved into ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Jack Eichel smirked when he heard the question. The captain had just scored the game-winning goal, igniting a late outburst that cemented a critical victory against the Sabres’ fiercest rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Clearly, Eichel revels in beating the Leafs and sending their legions of loud fans – they comprised at least 60% of Sunday’s capacity crowd inside KeyBank Center – home unhappy.
“I enjoy it,” was all Eichel would say following ... Read the full article