The Official Site of the Buffalo Sabres Twitter Insider Mobile App Twitter Facebook The Official Site of the Buffalo Sabres
Beyond The Boards
POSTED ON Tuesday, 09.10.2013 / 2:46 PM ET
By Craig Kanalley - Social Media Manager / BEYOND THE BOARDS

It's always fun to go north of the border, especially when you're still in Sabres Country.

These past two days, Buffalo Sabres players, alumni and team employees spent time in Fort Erie, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines to connect with the local community.


Our "Invade Canada" caravan began with a lunch and networking event with business leaders in Fort Erie. The Mayor of Fort Erie Doug Martin joined us as Sabres President Ted Black and President of the HARBORcenter John Koelmel provided an update on the state of the Sabres and HARBORcenter project. Sabres alumni Larry Playfair and Andrew Peters mingled with the crowd.

We continued on to the Niagara Health System's St. Catharines site where we were joined by Sabres forward Cody Hodgson. While it was difficult to see the children needing care, it was heartwarming to see the smiles Cody, the alumni, and Sabretooth brought to their faces.

We traveled to the Gale Centre in Niagara Falls where Sabres forward Marcus Foligno and alumni Rob Ray, Jay McKee and Richie Dunn met with youth hockey teams. Marcus spent time skating with the Niagara Falls Rivermen novice AAA team.

Then it was a dinner at Fallsview Casino with Cody Hodgson, Steve Ott, Sabres alums, and Casino members.

The invasion continued on Tuesday bright and early. Marcus put in a solid shift working the drive-thru at Tim Hortons in Fort Erie.

This is what you may have seen if you were one of those lucky customers. Sabretooth was there too.

The trip concluded with a stop at Garrison Road Public School. Marcus, Sabretooth and Rob Ray met with third graders and read them a book - about hockey, of course.

POSTED ON Saturday, 09.7.2013 / 12:18 PM ET
By Chris Ryndak - (@chrisryndak) / BEYOND THE BOARDS

TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. – Following an overtime win against the New York Rangers prospects on Friday, Buffalo Sabres coach Chadd Cassidy decided to give his team Saturday off.

Buffalo is 2-0 so far in the eight-team NHL Prospects Tournament with five points (each regulation win is worth three points) and currently leads the Ted Lindsay Division.

One point against the Carolina Hurricanes prospects on Sunday would clinch first place for the Sabres and a date in the championship game Monday night against the prospects of the Detroit Red Wings organization. Detroit has already locked up first-place in the Gordie Howe Division.


To prepare for the game against Carolina, Cassidy, the coach of the Rochester Americans who is serving as the bench boss for the Sabres during the tournament, decided to make Saturday a maintenance day, keeping the team off the ice and allowing them to recuperate both mentally and physically.

“As we talked about it [Friday] night as a coaching staff, we’re really impressed with the pace of play and the physical play so far here, but it takes a toll on your team,” Cassidy said Saturday morning. “…Even though they’re young – we see all the energy they have – these game are high-tempo, very physical [and] mentally taxing. So we want them to be prepared.”

The tournament schedule calls for four games in five days. While that may be manageable, the coaching staff also must look ahead to the coming weeks when it comes to planning rest. Sabres training camp opens on Sept. 11 and keeping some of the young players with a chance to play in the NHL this season healthy is also a priority.

    Chad Ruhwedel

“So long-term gains, you have to kind of manage their energy and manage the injuries and just the nagging stuff because we don’t want them to be completely worn down by the time we get to Buffalo,” Cassidy said. “We want these guys – Joel Armia, [Zemgus] Girgensons, [Chad] Ruhwedel, all these kids – [they] need to be able to go there and put their best foot forward to have an opportunity to make that club. It is a balancing act.”

Cassidy also said he has not yet decided on a starting goalie for Sunday. Connor Knapp is the only goaltender to not yet see any game action. Nathan Lieuwen started against the Blue Jackets on Thursday and Andrey Makarov picked up the win against the Rangers on Friday.

As far as any other lineup changes, Cassidy said it depends on how some players are feeling, especially when it comes to those nagging injuries.

The Sabres’ tilt against Carolina on Sunday is set to start at 3:30 p.m. and can be heard live on 1520 AM and at Full highlights and locker room interviews will also be available at following the game.

POSTED ON Wednesday, 09.4.2013 / 10:10 AM ET
Mark Pysyk

As a group of Buffalo Sabres prospects prepare for the 2013 NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich. this week, stay tuned to for the most comprehensive coverage of the eight-team tournament.

First-round draft picks like Zemgus Girgensons, Joel Armia, Rasmus Ristolainen and Mark Pysyk will be there as the Sabres look to defend their 2011 title.


During each game, will stream WWKB 1520’s broadcast of the game featuring play-by-play by WGR 550’s Paul Hamilton and analysis by Sabres studio host Brian Duff.

In-game updates will also be posted to the team’s official Twitter account.

After each game,’s Chris Ryndak will have a full recap of the day’s action. will also have video highlights and locker room interviews for fans to watch that night.

Kris Baker of will be contributing as well with written analysis of the prospects throughout the tournament. The day after each contest, check for Baker’s thoughts on how eight-10 prospects looked in that game.

A future episode of the award-winning, behind-the-scenes series Beyond Blue & Gold will also focus on the tournament.

Any additional information about the Sabres participation in the tournament can also be found at

If you plan on making the trip to Traverse City, tickets are available for $10 per day at or at the arena doors prior to each day’s first game. Morning practice sessions are open to the public and free of charge. The tournament consists of four games per day next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, wrapping up with the championship round on Monday, Sept. 9.

The Sabres are playing in the Ted Lindsay Division with the Blue Jackets, Rangers and Hurricanes. The Red Wings, Blues, Stars and Wild are in the Gordie Howe Division.

Thursday, Sept. 5
4 p.m. Buffalo vs. Columbus

Friday, Sept. 6
4 p.m. Buffalo vs. New York

Sunday, Sept. 8
3:30 p.m. Carolina vs. Buffalo

Monday, Sept. 9
3:30 p.m. - 7th Place Game (4th Howe vs. 4th Lindsay)
4 p.m. - 5th Place Game (3rd Howe vs. 3rd Lindsay)
7 p.m. - 3rd Place Game (2nd Howe vs. 2nd Lindsay)
7:30 p.m. - Championship (1st Howe vs. 1st Lindsay)

POSTED ON Tuesday, 08.27.2013 / 12:41 PM ET
By Chris Ryndak - (@chrisryndak) / BEYOND THE BOARDS
            Nicholas Baptiste

The IIHF’s 2013 Junior Club World Cup is currently taking place in Omsk, Russia and in the early goings of the tournament, one Buffalo Sabres prospect finds himself among the tournament’s scoring leaders.

Right wing Nicholas Baptiste, a third-round pick of the Sabres in the 2013 NHL Draft (69th overall), had an impressive showing for the Ontario Hockey League’s Sudbury Wolves in their game against Finland’s representative, HPK. While Sudbury lost 4-3, Baptiste had a hand in every Wolves goal, finishing with a goal and two assists. The Wolves are representing Canada in the tournament.

Sudbury previously lost to Dynamo Shinnik of Belarus 5-1 on Sunday.

Baptiste and the Wolves now face a must-win situation against Sweden’s Frolunda Indians on Wednesday. A victory would help get them into a tie-breaking situation to enter the medal rounds. Sudbury won the tournament in 2012.

The Dubuque Fighting Saints, the former USHL team of Sabres prospect Zemgus Girgensons, are also in the tournament, representing the United States.

The tournament is scheduled to run through Saturday.

Check the tournament homepage for more information on the Junior Club World Cup and Sudbury’s team site for news on Baptiste now and throughout the Ontario Hockey League season.

POSTED ON Thursday, 08.1.2013 / 9:42 AM ET
By Chris Ryndak - (@chrisryndak) / BEYOND THE BOARDS
Yesterday, wrote a feature about Rick Jeanneret's "May Day" call and the connection it will always have to former Sabres forward Brad May. We asked our Twitter followers if they remembered where they were when May scored.

We couldn't retweet them all, so here are some of the best responses:

POSTED ON Wednesday, 07.24.2013 / 10:12 PM ET
By Kevin Snow - (@kwsnow) / BEYOND THE BOARDS

The subject of trade rumors and speculation since April, Thomas Vanek says he hasn’t been fazed by all the chatter. Speaking today with ABC affiliate KTSP in Minneapolis, the veteran winger said he expects to be a member of the Buffalo Sabres when camp opens in September.

“As of right now, yeah. I haven’t heard anything differently. I’m preparing myself like I’m going back to Buffalo, so that’s what I’m doing.

“I’m not flattered by (trade speculation) by any means. I’ve enjoyed my time in Buffalo and I’m looking forward to going back. In this business you can’t look into that stuff, read the internet or look at the papers too much. If something happens, I’m sure my agent or the GM in Buffalo will call me and tell me where I’m going.”

The 29-year-old Vanek is entering the final season of a seven-year contract that will pay him $6.4 million (with a cap hit of $7.14 million) in 2013-14. Despite playing in just 38 of Buffalo’s 48-game lockout-shortened schedule in 2013, Vanek’s 20 goals marked his eighth consecutive season of 20 or more goals.

With the trades of Jason Pominville, Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr at the deadline, coupled with GM Darcy Regier’s comments that the Sabres were going to have a younger core group moving forward, many assumed that Vanek would be the next domino to fall. But as training camp approaches, Vanek knows that may not be the case.

“We’re rebuilding, and I’m hoping we have the right pieces to accomplish something. I’m not saying I’m old. At 29, I’ve still got many years left,” Vanek explained. “But at the same time, you like to be on a team where you feel like going into camp you’re contending. You’re not guaranteed to win a Cup, but right now in Buffalo I think we’re rebuilding which is not the best case scenario for me. But at the same time, there’s a lot of good young players and hopefully we pick the right ones.”


POSTED ON Monday, 07.22.2013 / 3:11 PM ET
By Chris Ryndak - (@chrisryndak) / BEYOND THE BOARDS
Ville Leino

The NHL and the NHLPA reached an agreement last week with the International Ice Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee that would allow NHL players to participate in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Over the next few days, organizers from each national team will be announcing their orientation camp rosters. Team Canada and Team Russia and Team USA gave us theirs on Monday. 

Ryan Miller has been invited to attend Team USA's camp at the end of August.

It was announced last month that Ville Leino had been invited to Team Finland’s camp (you might need Google Translate for that link). Same with Jhonas Enroth and Henrik Tallinder for Team Sweden.

A few other members of the Buffalo Sabres organization have represented their countries in international play since reaching the NHL. Here are some connections between current Sabres and the national teams that qualified for the 2014 Olympic Games.


Ryan Miller

Miller received Most Valuable Player honors at the 2010 Winter Olympics and Team USA won the silver medal thanks to his strong play. He’s also appeared in the IIHF World Championship in 2002 and 2003.

Coach Ron Rolston was very involved with USA Hockey’s National Development Program before joining the Sabres and Rochester Americans. He spent seven seasons as the program’s head coach where he led the U.S. Under-18 team to three gold medals and a silver medal in four stints at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship. Rolston also served as head coach for the U.S. National Junior Team in both 2007 and 2009.

New assistant coach Joe Sacco served as head coach for the 2013 World Championship team and guided them to a silver medal-performance. Sacco has also worked with Team USA as both a player and a coach. He played in the 1992 Olympic Games in France and coached Team USA at both the 2009 and 2010 World Championship.

Jamie McBain played for Sacco at the World Championship in Sweden this spring. He’s a product of the U.S. development program.

Russia, Slovenia and Slovakia are also in Group A.


Thomas Vanek

Thomas Vanek
has represented Austria in the past, and as the most prolific hockey player from the country, it’s likely he’ll be headed to Sochi. He played for Team Austria in May for the World Championship, where he scored six points in seven games (4+2). He was also a member of the team back in 2004.

Tyler Myers
played six games for Team Canada during the 2010 IIHF World Championship in Germany. Sabres alternate captain Steve Ott was on that team as well.

No Sabres were invited to Team Canada’s orientation for the games in Sochi.

After retiring as a player in 2009, assistant coach Teppo Numminen spent time as a scout with the Finnish National Team. He participated in four Olympic Games as a player, winning two silver medals (1988 and 2006) and a bronze (1998).

Norway is also in Group B.

Jhonas Enroth


Zemgus Girgensons
played for Latvia at the 2013 World Championship in May, as well as the 2011 and 2012 World Junior Championship. When Buffalo selected him in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft (No. 14), he became the highest drafted Latvian ever.

Enroth backstopped his national team to the gold medal at the 2013 World Championship. He’s a candidate to back up Henrik Lundqvist in Sochi.

Tallinder played for Team Sweden in the Olympics in Vancouver.

The Czech Republic and Switzerland are also in Group C.

POSTED ON Friday, 07.19.2013 / 1:30 PM ET
By Chris Ryndak - (@chrisryndak) / BEYOND THE BOARDS

The schedule for the 2013-14 NHL regular season is out and that means Buffalo Sabres fans are going to be busy filling in dates on their calendars over the next few days. Or hours.

Realignment kicks in this upcoming season, meaning that the Sabres will see some new faces in the division. In addition to the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs, the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning will be joining the party. And you can officially call it the Atlantic Division.


The Sabres will play each divisional opponent at least four times each and the other teams within the conference three times each. They will play each team in the other conference once at home and once on the road.

Keep in mind that the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Winnipeg Jets have swapped conferences, so there will be one more game against ’Lumbus. The Blue Jackets join the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals in the newly formed Metropolitan Division.

But that’s only 80 games. To make up those extra two, Buffalo has five games scheduled against both the Maple Leafs (two at home, three in Toronto) and the Bruins (three at home, two in Boston). Next year, the Sabres will play two different teams in the division an extra time.

October: 15 games
November: 13 games
December: 12 games
January: 14 games
February: 6 games
March: 14 games
April: 8 games

Monday: 6 games
Tuesday: 17 games
Wednesday: 6 games
Thursday: 19 games
Friday: 9 games
Saturday: 17 games
Sunday: 8 games

Sets of Back-to-Back Games: 13 (Franchise-Low)

Longest Home Stand: 3 games (Five times)
Longest Stretch of Consecutive Road Games: 5 games (March 18-27)

Wednesday, Oct. 2 at Detroit – Season opener against a new division rival
Friday, Oct. 4 vs. Ottawa – Home opener
Monday, Oct. 14 vs. Minnesota – Former Sabres captain Jason Pominville will be back in town
Monday, Oct. 28 vs. Dallas – A return for another former Sabre, this time Lindy Ruff

Tuesday, Nov. 5-Friday, Nov. 8 – A three-game West Coast swing against the Sharks (Nov. 5), Kings (Nov. 7) and Ducks (Nov. 8)
Friday, Nov. 15-Saturday, Nov. 16 – A home-and-home against the Leafs, starting in Buffalo on Friday

Tuesday, Dec. 10-Thursday, Dec. 12: Two games in three nights against Ottawa, starting Tuesday in Buffalo
Thursday, Dec. 19-Saturday, Dec. 21 – Two games in three nights against the Bruins, starting Thursday in Buffalo
Tuesday, Dec. 31 at Winnipeg: New Year’s Eve game on the road against the Jets

Tuesday, Jan. 14 vs. Philadelphia – The Flyers make their first trip of the season to First Niagara Center

Thursday, Feb. 6 at Ottawa – Last game before Olympic break
Wednesday, Feb. 26 vs. Boston – First game back after Olympic break

Sunday, March 9 vs. Chicago – The Sabres host Pat Kane and the defending Stanley Cup champions
Tuesday, March 18-Thursday, March 27 – Five consecutive road games (at Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal and Nashville)

Sunday, April 13 vs. New York Islanders – Regular season finale

Any other games Sabres fans should be excited about?

POSTED ON Tuesday, 07.16.2013 / 10:28 AM ET
By Chris Ryndak - (@chrisryndak) / BEYOND THE BOARDS

The schedule for the 2013 NHL Prospects Tournament has been released and the Buffalo Sabres are expected to defend their title starting Thursday, Sept. 5.

The Detroit Red Wings, who are hosting the tournament at Centre ICE Arena in Traverse City, Mich., posted the tournament schedule Monday afternoon. Buffalo was announced as a participant back in April.

The Sabres’ squad of prospects will compete in the Ted Lindsay Division against the future stars of the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers. The Red Wings are in the Gordie Howe Division along with the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues.


Buffalo won the tournament in 2011, the last time it was held. Ron Rolston coached a team that included Marcus Foligno, Corey Tropp, Luke Adam, Daniel Catenacci, Mark Pysyk and Brayden McNabb. It was the first time the Sabres participated in the tournament.

For 2013, teams will play a round-robin format by facing-off against each team within their division before a crossover on the final day of the tournament. The tournament concludes with the Howe and Lindsay division winners facing off in the championship game on Monday, Sept. 9.

The tournament, entering its 15th season, has featured over 350 prospects that have gone on to play in the NHL.

During the “Blue & Gold Scrimmage” that wrapped up the Sabres’ development camp on Friday, general manager Darcy Regier noted that many of the prospects in the scrimmage will go to Traverse City. Rosters likely won’t be announced until closer to the start date.

The full tournament schedule and other information can be found on the Red Wings’ team site.

Sabres Schedule
Thursday, Sept. 5
4 p.m. Buffalo vs. Columbus

Friday, Sept. 6
4 p.m. Buffalo vs. New York

Sunday, Sept. 8
4 p.m. Carolina vs. Buffalo

Monday, Sept. 9
3:30 p.m. - 7th Place Game (4th Howe vs. 4th Lindsay)
4 p.m. - 5th Place Game (3rd Howe vs. 3rd Lindsay)
7 p.m. - 3rd Place Game (2nd Howe vs. 2nd Lindsay)
7:30 p.m. - Championship (1st Howe vs. 1st Lindsay)

POSTED ON Monday, 07.15.2013 / 10:13 AM ET
By Chris Ryndak - (@chrisryndak) / BEYOND THE BOARDS

What you may have missed from around the division:

      Rasmus Ristolainen

BUFFALO: The Sabres signed 2013 first-round draft pick Rasmus Ristolainen to a three-year, entry-level contract. Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said that the 6-foot-4, 225-pound defenseman will have a chance to compete for an NHL job this season.

Team Blue defeated Team Gold 6-3 in the 2013 "Blue & Gold Scrimmage," which pitted Sabres prospects against each other to wrap up development camp. Center Zemgus Girgensons had a goal and two assists. Right wing Nick Baptiste and center Logan Nelson each scored twice in the victory.

Sabres general manager Darcy Regier provided updates on the trade market and named Chadd Cassidy the new coach of the Rochester Americans.

After getting goaltender Tuukka Rask to sign a new, long-term contract Thursday, the Bruins inked center Patrice Bergeron to an eight-year extension Friday. Rask is set to be in Boston until the end of the 2020-21 season while Bergeron is under contract until 2021-22.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli also said that the Bruins are “done for now” when it comes to making any more significant off-season moves.

DETROIT: Center Darren Helm, who was limited to one game last season due to a back injury, took the ice for the first time in two months on Thursday. Helm is working to be ready for training camp in September.

FLORIDA: The Panthers signed center Jon Matsumoto and defenseman Matt Gilroy to one-year, two-way contracts.

Michael McCarron, the Canadiens’ top pick in the 2013 NHL Draft (No. 25 overall), signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the organization. The 6-foot-5, 237-pound right wing is set to play for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League this season.

OTTAWA: The Senators will take on the Vancouver Canucks outdoors in the 2014 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic on March 2, 2014. The game, hosted by the Canucks at BC Place, will be the first outdoor game for both teams.

Ottawa also avoided arbitration with Erik Condra and re-signed the forward to a two-year contract. Condra was a restricted free agent. 

The Lightning signed Jonathan Drouin, their top draft pick in the 2013 NHL Draft to a three-year, entry-level contract. The 18-year-old center, picked third overall, scored 41 goals and racked up 105 points last season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

TORONTO: The Maple Leafs signed forwards Joe Colborne and Troy Bodie to one-year contracts last week. Colborne spent most of last season with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.

@BuffaloSabres Instagram is the official Web site of The Buffalo Sabres. The Buffalo Sabres and are trademarks of The Hockey Western New York, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 The Hockey Western New York, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.