Buffalo Sabres Insider App Twitter Facebook
POSTED ON Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 1:32 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

TAMPA – The Buffalo Sabres did not take the ice Tuesday in Tampa as the NHL Trade Deadline, set for 3 p.m. on Wednesday, inches closer and closer.

The Sabres arrived in Tampa early Tuesday morning and with the possibility that some players may be dealt within the next two days, Nolan decided to give them a chance to spend time with each other away from the rink.

“Their minds are probably not on hockey. Some don’t know if they’re going to be here after today. Who knows who’s going to be here tomorrow?” he told the media at the team's hotel. “Right now they’re here together so I decided to give them a day to really enjoy just being themselves.”

Nolan was also asked about his status with the team and about the possibility of him signing a contract extension. For now, Nolan said he’s not going to concern himself with that and will allow the front office to focus on the trade deadline.

“They don’t need to be negotiating a contract at this point,” he said. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m here. I’m trying to do the best job that I possibly can and worrying about the team. We’ve got a bunch of young kids that don’t really know what happened and why it happened. And it’s my job to settle their [nerves], give them some direction, some leadership right now.”

Nolan was hired as coach on Nov. 13 on an interim basis to help get the team moving in the right direction. He previously served as Sabres coach for two seasons from 1995-97. Although this season has been highlighted by some tough times as the team sits in 30th place, Nolan is happy to be coaching in Buffalo again.

“I’m ecstatic to be back. If you’re not disappointed with what’s going on, you’re hiding your emotions,” he said. “I’m a pretty emotional guy so I’m a little bit where that set me back, but as far as the excitement about being here in Buffalo hasn’t altered one bit.”

The Sabres plan to practice Wednesday morning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. They’ll take on the Lightning on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

POSTED ON Monday, 03.03.2014 / 3:35 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / THE MORNING SKATE

DALLAS – The NHL Trade Deadline comes at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and more changes to the Buffalo Sabres roster may lie ahead.

For now, the team is riding a three-game winning streak and is looking to make it four in a row Monday night against the Dallas Stars at 8 p.m. EST at American Airlines Center. The Sabres will get Tyler Ennis back on their top line after he missed the past two games with what interim coach Ted Nolan described as general body soreness.

Ennis will skate with Matt Moulson and Drew Stafford while newly acquired Chris Stewart will play on a line with center Cody Hodgson and wing Matt D’Agostini. Jhonas Enroth will start in goal.

Moulson, an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, did not take the morning skate because – as Nolan clarified afterward – the skate was optional. Nolan then confirmed that Moulson will play against Dallas.

Ennis will look to extend his three-game point streak. He also has seven points in his past seven games and feels like he’s playing some of the best hockey of his career.

“I think I’m playing well,” he said. “Been out a couple games so I’ve got to get better. I can’t be content with how it’s going.”

Nolan, for one, is very happy to have Ennis back in the lineup.

“It’s huge. He’s one of our better players and especially the way he’s been playing,” he said. “If you look at the way Drew Stafford’s been playing and Matty Moulson, I think it’s a direct impact of the way their center iceman’s been playing and that was Tyler Ennis.”

Stewart, having come from St. Louis, is pretty familiar with his former divisional rival. Stars captain Jamie Benn has 54 points (23+31) in 60 games this year and has nine points in his past 10 home games.

“I know they’re a high-powered offensive team who likes to play up the rush,” Stewart said. “They’ve got some goaltenders too and Jamie Benn’s coming off a gold medal and he’s definitely been feeling it lately. It’s going to be a true test tonight.”

The Sabres haven’t won three games in a row this season until this point and the streak may not have come at a better time for them. With trades and front office shakeups, the team has been able to maintain its focus and win hockey games.

“For a time that’s pretty anxious and nerve-wracking, we’ve had a couple good games, anyways,” Ennis said. “We’re having fun and dealing with it the best we can.”

Despite the tough times now, some players like Hodgson are looking forward to brighter days with the organization when they can realize all this hardship will have been worth it.

“It’s definitely a character-building year, that’s for sure,” he said. “For all the guys that have been through it together, we’re all going to look back on it in a few years and hopefully laugh.”

Stars coach Lindy Ruff, who served as the Sabres bench boss for parts of 14 seasons, will go for his 600th regular-season win. Ruff is 599-454-172 in 1,225 games coached.

Dallas currently holds the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with 66 points. Winnipeg and Vancouver also have 66 points, but the Stars have games in hand. Ruff is focused on holding onto that spot and not allowing Buffalo to play the role of spoiler.

“For me, I just want to win. I don’t care if it’s 520, 450, 601,” he said. “We’re in one hell of a battle here. The two points is really important to us. We have a couple games in hand that we have to take care of and that’s the most important thing.”


26 Matt Moulson – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
80 Chris Stewart – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agsotini
82 Marcus Foligno – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
37 Matt Ellis – 23 Ville Leino – 8 Cody McCormick

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 32 John Scott
6 Mike Weber – 57 Tyler Myers
20 Henrik Tallinder – 4 Jamie McBain

1 Jhonas Enroth
41 Jaroslav Halak

POSTED ON Sunday, 03.02.2014 / 1:36 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

After a whirlwind of a weekend off the ice, the Buffalo Sabres were met by some new faces at practice Sunday morning.

Forward Chris Stewart and goaltender Jaroslav Halak joined the team on the ice at First Niagara Center for their first practice with the team since being acquired from the St. Louis Blues on Friday for Steve Ott and Ryan Miller.

Between the trade Friday and the sudden resignation of president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine on Saturday, there have been a lot of distractions for a team that’s now won its past three games to deal with.

Interim coach Ted Nolan, who was brought in by LaFontaine in November to help steer the on-ice product back in the right direction, is locked in on what the team needs to do to have success moving forward.

“I think we’re all numb right now so right now, we’re just going to try to get this team focused on the Dallas Stars and that’s our next opponent,” he said. “We’ve got two new players in here and they come into this situation.”

As far as his future with the team is concerned and a possible contract extension, Nolan said he didn’t he didn’t think it was the right time to discuss those matters.

“When you’re emotional, you never want to make emotional comments on anything,” he said. “Yes, we did talk about a contract. Right now, it’s not about the contract. It’s about what’s transpired in this organization, it’s about what happened to a very dear friend and we’ll leave it at that.”

The Sabres jumped on a plane to Dallas after practice in preparation of a Monday night meeting with the Stars. Tyler Ennis should be ready to play after missing the past two games with general body soreness, Jhonas Enroth will start in goal and Stewart will play on a line with Matt D’Agostini and Cody Hodgson.

“The younger players, they need direction and they need coaching,” Nolan said. “They don’t need to hear all this stuff. The one thing about hockey, they go on the ice and they play.”

D’Agostini played with both Stewart and Halak when he was with St. Louis from 2009-13 and also played with Halak when both were in the Canadiens organization.

When D’Agostini was traded from the Blues to the Devils last season, Halak told him they’d be on the same team again at some point down the road.

“I told him we might meet again and here we are,” Halak said.

D’Agostini is looking forward to playing with his old – and new – teammates.

“Definitely no slouches that we go back so we’re happy to have them,” he said.

With the NHL Trade Deadline set for 3 p.m. on Wednesday, more trades occurring that involve the Sabres would not be out of the realm of possibility. The two newest Sabres could potentially be on the move as well.

Both Stewart and Halak have heard the rumors and aware of the possibility that Buffalo may not be their final destination this season.

“As long as I’m here I’m just going to focus 100 percent of my energy on winning hockey games for the Buffalo Sabres,” Stewart said.

The Blues are currently battling for the top spot in the Western Conference and are preparing to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup. The Sabres, on the other hand, sit in 30th place in the League and will miss the playoffs for the second season in a row.

“Obviously it’s tough when you’re traded from almost being the first one to being the last one,” Halak said. “But I’m here and I’m going to try to do my best here when I get a chance.”

Stewart is also looking forward to a new opportunity with the Sabres.

“I’ll tell you, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed at first, but if you think I’m going to come in here and pout and feel sorry for myself, that’s not the kind of person that I am,” he said. “So I’ve got to make the best of this situation and look at the positives. They’ve got a good young team here.”

With Ott now in St. Louis, Nolan said he won’t look to name a new captain right away.

“I don’t think anyone can replace a captain like Steve Ott right now. We’ll pass around the leadership,” Nolan said.

He then singled out Drew Stafford as a player that’s really impressed him lately as a leader.

“We’re going through an emotional period right now and the way Drew handled himself [after] losing one of his close friends and losing your captain, he really stepped up the other night in that room and took the lead,” Nolan said. “He kept his personal feelings behind so that’s what we’re all trying to do right now.”

POSTED ON Friday, 02.28.2014 / 1:12 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / THE MORNING SKATE

Buffalo Sabres center Tyler Ennis will not play Friday night against the offensively potent San Jose Sharks.

Ennis did not play on Wednesday against Boston due to some soreness. He participated in the team’s optional morning skate at First Niagara Center on Friday, but the coaching staff decided it was best to hold him out for another game.

“He did a little extra work [after practice],” interim coach Ted Nolan said. “He’s pretty close, but not close enough to play tonight. So hopefully, like I said, it’s day-to-day. He’s a lot better but you probably won’t see him tonight.”


Zenon Konopka, however, will be in the Sabres lineup. He had surgery on a finger over the Olympic break and has missed the past two games as the team waited for the finger to completely heal before putting him back in. He took the warmup before the Bruins game but was a late scratch.

Konopka said taking the extra day to recuperate made a big difference.

“As much as I wouldn’t have thought it would, it has,” he said. “Definitely the best I’ve felt was this morning and maybe that’s why you listen to the doctors, trainers and coaches. But it’s one of those things where I was pretty happy with the way it felt this morning.”

Ryan Miller will start in goal and John Scott will be the team’s healthy scratch on the blue line.

The Sharks defeated the Flyers 7-3 in Philadelphia on Thursday. Joe Pavelski recorded a hat trick and Raffi Torres and Logan Couture each scored twice in their returns from injury.

Pavelski, Couture, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are just a few of the talented forwards on San Jose’s roster. Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers is aware of the challenges each player presents.

“I don’t think we want to play any guy differently. I think we focus on things like gap control and making sure we have good defensive sticks,” he said. “It’s just a matter trying to limit their time and space because they have guys that’ll make things happen every shift.”

Couture is one player that Konopka has his eye on.

“He doesn’t get a lot of media on this side, on the East Coast, but he’s an elite player in the League right now. He’s probably their best player,” Konopka said. “You think of Marleau, you think of [Brent] Burns and Thornton, but Couture’s their best player and he’s one special player. We’re going to have to be really on the ball because they have a couple lines that can hurt you.”

Sabres general manager Tim Murray said earlier this week that he’s ready to make some trades to improve the hockey club before the NHL Trade Deadline hits at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said after practice Friday that the front office has “recently” asked him to submit a list of eight teams he would not accept a trade to. Ehrhoff has a limited no-trade clause in his contract.

“It doesn’t mean I will get traded or I won’t get traded, but it’s just part of the business and I’ll focus on the game at hand tonight and do my best for the team,” Ehrhoff said.

Several players including Miller and captain Steve Ott have been the subject of trade rumors. Nolan is charged with the task of keeping his players loose but also focused.

"You don’t want to make light of it, but every day, everyone walks in and says, ‘Steve, you’re still here.’" Nolan said with a smile. "I talked to Tyler Myers on the ice today. His name popped up in the newspapers yesterday and I told him, maybe it’s a compliment on his side because people want him.

"So it’s just one of those things that’s part of our business. But we have to make sure we’re professional about it. We’re all Buffalo Sabres right now and they have to go about their business and work."


26 Matt Moulson – 23 Ville Leino – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
82 Marcus Foligno – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
37 Matt Ellis – 24 Zenon Konopka – 8 Cody McCormick

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
6 Mike Weber – 57 Tyler Myers
20 Henrik Tallinder – 4 Jamie McBain

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

POSTED ON Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 3:25 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

Tyler Ennis did not practice with the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday as he recovers from, in the words of interim coach Ted Nolan, “general body soreness.”

Ennis was scratched for Buffalo’s game Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins but Nolan hopes that his top-line center will be ready for Friday when the San Jose Sharks come to town.

“[He’s] still a little sore. But hopefully, knock on wood, he’ll be ready to go tomorrow,” Nolan said after practice at First Niagara Center. “[It’s] still one of those day-to-day things. He was a lot better today, so hopefully you’ll have a good chance at seeing him at morning skate and we’ll go from there.”

With Ennis out, Ville Leino stepped up to fill his role on a line with Matt Moulson and Drew Stafford. Leino finished the game with two assists as Buffalo came out on top 5-4 in overtime.

“In many ways, I’m more of a playmaker so that’s my first thought,” Leino said. “…Matty and Stafford are goal scorers, so it’s my job to get them the puck and try to make good chances.”

Nolan said he plans to start Ryan Miller in goal Friday night.

Miller spoke with the media about the NHL Trade Deadline and his time in Buffalo. Watch the interview here:

John Scott has filled in as a defenseman in practice numerous times this season. However, since the team has come out of the Olympic break, Scott has been a fixture on the blue line both in practices and now in game situations.

Tuesday night, he played 11:01 on a pairing with Jamie McBain and logged 7:16 of ice time, rotating in as the seventh defenseman on Wednesday.

Scott played defense for most of his career before coming to Buffalo before the start of last season. At 6-foot-8, 259 pounds, he’ll look to use his size to his advantage on the blue line.

“I just try to use my reach. I obviously don’t have the quickest of feet so I just keep my distance,” he said. “I just use my stick and my length and make smart plays out there and not put myself in a bad position where I can get kind of victimized. It’s a fast game and I just try to maintain my position and do my best.”


There’s still, however, some rust to shake off as well. Scott finished the game against the Bruins with an even rating, but he committed a turnover behind his own net that directly led to a Boston goal.

“Obviously it has its ups and downs. I had a few downs last night, but it happens,” he said. “I haven’t played in two years but it’s been fun. I grew up playing D and I enjoy playing it so hopefully I can get a few more games out there and get a little better.”

Nolan acknowledged that the transition has been a little bumpy, but he likes what he sees out of Scott.

“I thought Johnny looked a lot more comfortable on defense outside of that one play last night,” Nolan said. “To be fair, to throw a guy like that after a number of games, back in his natural position, it’s going to take a little while to get adjusted but I like him on defense more so than forward.”


While Scott has been able to step up in various roles this season, he still sees himself as a player who can fill the enforcer role on the team.

“I still think I’m the enforcer. I still think I protect my team but I think I’ve just maybe evolved a little bit and gotten a more regular shift whether it’s on forward or D,” he said. “It’s nice. It’s good to contribute in other ways and put a little tick on my resume where I can play more than just fight.”

With the Sabres currently in 30th place and out of the playoff picture, some major changes could be made to the club’s makeup by the NHL Trade Deadline on March 5.

In spite of the swirling rumors and constant questions about their futures, players like Miller, Moulson and captain Steve Ott – all set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1 – have helped Buffalo to consecutive victories coming out of the Olympic break.


Nolan cited them as three important leaders that have been able to remain professional and help their current club be productive in any way they can.

“All these guys maybe have excuses or reasons to say, ‘Hey, it’s a matter of time before we leave.’ No, they’re not doing that,” he said. “They’re paying attention to what they have to do right here right now.”

But what will happen if some of those leaders aren’t around after 3 p.m. on Wednesday? Nolan is confident other players will fill the void.

“That’s the beauty of sports. Sometimes your leadership goes somewhere else and you have to create some new stuff within,” Nolan said. “There are some guys in that room that will have to [assume] those positions.”

26 Matt Moulson – 23 Ville Leino – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
82 Marcus Foligno – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
37 Matt Ellis – 24 Zenon Konopka – 8 Cody McCormick

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
6 Mike Weber – 57 Tyler Myers
20 Henrik Tallinder – 4 Jamie McBain
32 John Scott

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.26.2014 / 12:51 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / THE MORNING SKATE

With a goal against Carolina on Tuesday, Tyler Ennis extended his point streak to three games and has racked up seven points in his past seven games. He’s been one of the Buffalo Sabres’ most productive players of late, but the team will have to see how it fairs without him Wednesday night.

Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan announced after the team’s optional morning skate that Ennis will not play against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., NBCSN) due to what he called “general body soreness.”

“Hopefully it’s nothing too serious,” Nolan said. “Just a day-to-day thing so we’ll be good.”

Ennis’ line with Matt Moulson and Drew Stafford has been relied upon for offensive output. Stafford has recorded 11 points (6+5) in his last eight games, making it his most prolific eight-game stretch since 2011-12.

In his career, Stafford has recorded 51 points (24+27) in 71 games during the month of February (.718 points per game), his highest point-scoring rate of any month of the season.

Jhonas Enroth will start in goal and make his first appearance since returning from the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia earlier this week.

Henrik Tallinder, Enroth’s teammate on silver medal-winning Sweden, will also be back in the lineup. He didn’t play against the Hurricanes as the Sabres decided to give him an extra day of rest after the long flight back to North America.

It’s possible that by next Wednesday, starting goaltender Ryan Miller could be traded away and Enroth could be the team’s No. 1 goalie.

Tallinder thinks Enroth, 25, is up for the challenge if that scenario becomes a reality and playing the Bruins provides a great opportunity to start making his case.

“Obviously I think he wants to just show that he can play against top teams in this League and show that he might be ready to be battling for the first job next year,” Tallinder said. “I think that’s natural for him. He’s at that stage of his career too, where he wants to get that job.”

Enroth, however, is keyed in on the Bruins and what he will have to do well to pick up his second victory of the season.

“It’s a tough team and a pretty big team so they like to bring a lot of bodies in front of the net. For the key for me is probably to fight to see the puck and stay sharp on that part,” he said.

Center Zenon Konopka was scratched Tuesday night as well but said he’s set to play on Wednesday. TSN reported Tuesday that Konopka had finger surgery over the Olympic break and Konopka confirmed that Wednesday morning.

“I don’t know how TSN got a hold of that, but I broke my finger in Minnesota, the fifth game of the year,” he said. “Kept on playing with it and it was bugging me quite a bit. So over the break, we thought it was an opportunity to get in there and clean up the bone.”

Konopka expects the finger to be 100 percent “sooner than later.” While Nolan said on Wednesday that Konopka was held out of the lineup as a precaution, the 33-year-old forward declared himself ready to go. Konopka has talked with the coaches and training staff every morning and feels like he’ll be able to contribute on the ice against the Bruins.

“Today we thought it was a day to try it,” he said. “You love to get back in there. You love to play hockey. So it’s going to be exciting. Always a good rivalry with Boston so it’ll be fun.”

If it turns out Konopka can’t go, Nolan said they’ll dress John Scott as a seventh defenseman and play with 11 forwards.

26 Matt Moulson – 23 Ville Leino – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
82 Marcus Foligno – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
37 Matt Ellis – 24 Zenon Konopka – 8 Cody McCormick

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain

1 Jhonas Enroth
30 Ryan Miller

POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 1:31 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / THE MORNING SKATE

There’s only one game on the NHL schedule Tuesday night and it’s happening in Buffalo.

The Sabres take on the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 p.m. at First Niagara Center for a game that was originally supposed to be played on Jan. 7. However, a snowstorm in Buffalo caused the game to be postponed until Tuesday.

Both teams are coming off a two-week break because of the Olympic Winter Games, but some players have gotten more rest than others.

Ryan Miller, Jhonas Enroth and Henrik Tallinder returned from Sochi on Monday and while Enroth and Tallinder will receive the night off, Miller will start in goal for Buffalo.


Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan is confident that Miller will be able to overcome the time zone change and play a solid game.

“I think the biggest thing is you’re a little bit foggy from the travel,” Nolan said after the team's morning skate. “So hopefully he’ll knock the fog out through the pregame skate today and be real good for us tonight.”

Several Sabres used the break to recover from various injuries and three players who missed the team’s last game in Ottawa on Feb. 6 will suit up against the Hurricanes.

Forwards Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick and defenseman Tyler Myers are all expected to play Tuesday night.

Moulson missed four games with an upper-body injury and will return to a line featuring center Tyler Ennis and right wing Drew Stafford.

“We’ve been having some good chemistry lately and I think adding Matty back in the fold will just improve things,” Ennis said. “I know we’ve had a long break and some time off, so hopefully we can get the rust off early.”

McCormick has been out since Dec. 18 with an upper-body injury. Tyler Myers sustained a lower-body injury on Feb. 3 but is also ready to go.

“We had a ton of injuries before so it’ll be nice to have all the guys around and a full squad,” center Cody Hodgson said. “It’s just also good that we had a couple good days of real good practice and come out ready.”

Zenon Konopka is expected to be Buffalo’s scratch at forward.

One day after being dismissed by Nolan from practice, John Scott will find himself in the lineup. With Tallinder not dressing for the game, Scott will be on the blue line, a spot he spent the majority of his career prior to coming to Buffalo. He said he’ll be paired with Jamie McBain.

On Monday, Nolan wasn’t satisfied with how Scott was performing in practice and sent him off the ice. Scott apologized to Nolan afterward and everything has been ironed out between the two.

“I was perfect with John Scott yesterday. Sometimes in this sport, you have those moments, but it’s forgotten right afterwards,” Nolan said. “He’s in tonight. It wasn’t so much I threw him off [the ice], he just banged his stick and I asked him to stay in [the dressing room] until he cooled down a little bit. So everything’s good.”

Scott said he understands his coach’s stance and what Nolan expects from each player.

“Obviously I wasn’t happy. No one likes getting sent off from practice but I was having a tough practice and maybe overreacted a little bit and got a little upset, but it happens and you move on,” Scott said. “…I know exactly where he’s coming from. He doesn’t want lackadaisical practices and I was terrible yesterday.

“I couldn’t make passes or anything and it was just one of those days where nothing was going right so I understand his decision. I totally get what he’s doing and I would’ve probably done the same thing.”


26 Matt Moulson – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
23 Ville Leino – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
82 Marcus Foligno – 8 Cody McCormick – 37 Matt Ellis

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
6 Mike Weber – 57 Tyler Myers
32 John Scott – 4 Jamie McBain

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

POSTED ON Monday, 02.24.2014 / 2:39 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

The Buffalo Sabres practiced again on Monday and, once again, did so without three of their Olympic athletes.

Ryan Miller, Jhonas Enroth and Henrik Tallinder took the same flight home from Sochi according to interim coach Ted Nolan and were expected to arrive in Buffalo at around noon.

Nolan is “banking on” Miller starting between the pipes Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at First Niagara Center. One of the biggest issues the players face upon returning from Russia is the time zone changes.

“Maybe it’ll be like playing at 4 a.m. for him,” Nolan said of Miller. “It’ll be a different challenge, but hopefully he has at least some sleep and he’s somewhat awake at that point.”

However, it’s possible that the plan could change.

Depending on how both goaltenders feel leading up to the morning skate on Tuesday, it’s possible that the Sabres could recall a goaltender from their American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester.

Nolan also said that as of now, they don’t plan on bringing up any skaters from the Americans.

“What we’ve got today is what we’ve got for tomorrow,” he said.


With 25 games remaining, Nolan has set some goals for the team moving forward so that they can finish the season on a positive note.

“I think moving forward, setting a strong foundation of where we’re going to go to down the road,” he said. “You don’t win championships like the Chicago Blackhawks do overnight. It takes a little time, it takes some growth and it takes a certain amount of work and commitment by your athletes.”

Matt Moulson, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, knows that it’s possible he could be moved by the time the NHL Trade Deadline rolls around on March 5 at 3 p.m.

“I think you guys in the media as a whole have been telling me I’ve been getting traded since the first day I got here,” he joked after practice.

Moulson was acquired from the Islanders with two draft picks for Thomas Vanek on Oct. 27.

He said that he’s only going to concentrate on the aspects of the business he can control, which is primarily his performance on the ice.

A native of Mississauga, Ont., he said his experience as a Sabre so far has been a very positive one.

“I’ve definitely enjoyed my time here,” he said. “Like I said before, I think this team is going to be good. I think they have the right guys in place that are going to make this team good and the owners are willing to do anything to have a successful team. I’ve enjoyed my time here. My family’s enjoyed our time here. We’ll see what happens.”

John Scott left practice early. The 6-foot-8 forward has been practicing as a defenseman while Tallinder is overseas.

“He just fumbled the puck a few times in practice and I didn’t like it,” Nolan said. “In order for us to get better here, we have to practice better. He just had one of those moments and I didn’t like it so we sent him off.”

After being dismissed, Scott snapped his stick and stormed off to the dressing room, slamming the bench door behind him.

26 Matt Moulson – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
82 Marcus Foligno / 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 23 Ville Leino – 65 Brian Flynn
37 Matt Ellis – 24 Zenon Konopka – 8 Cody McCormick

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
6 Mike Weber – 57 Tyler Myers
32 John Scott – 4 Jamie McBain

POSTED ON Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 1:41 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

With the Olympics just about over, teams are getting back to practice to prepare for the remainder of the NHL regular season. The Buffalo Sabres are no different as they get ready to enter a pretty tough stretch of hockey that begins Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at First Niagara Center.

The game, which was originally supposed to be played on Jan. 7 but postponed due to inclement weather, opens up a three-game homestand over four nights for Buffalo. The team then hits the road next week for three games in five nights against Dallas, Tampa Bay and Florida.

Sabres forward Cody McCormick, who has missed 24 games since sustaining an upper-body injury on Dec. 17 against Winnipeg, is anxious to get back into the swing of things.

“I don’t care if it’s going to be five-in-five. I’ve missed too many games,” he said after practice at First Niagara Center on Saturday. “I want to play. That’s what it’s about right now. My personal feeling is, ‘Let’s play some hockey.’”

McCormick has been a full participant in practice the past two days and has shed a red non-contact jersey in favor of a white one that means he’s ever so closer to returning to the lineup. The team would still need to officially activate him from injured reserve before he can return to action.

Like many members of the team, he was able to use the two-week Olympic break to heal up and he rehabbed his injury to the best of his ability.

“I think everything’s a go, so hopefully – barring any setbacks – I think we’re all set,” he said. “It was something where I could focus 100 percent on it and do everything I had to do to get it to where it needs to be.”

Sabres captain Steve Ott was also able to use the break to rest up and recuperate from any injuries that may have been bothering him. He was also able to spend some time relaxing with his wife and daughter in warmer climates.

“I think every guy in the dressing room and throughout the League probably has a lot of bumps and bruises right around now,” he said. “We’ve played a lot of games in a short period of time and there’s nothing better than to refresh your brain and refresh your body. Just take in the two weeks to get away.”

However, with the upcoming schedule, the next few days of practice are vital for the team when it comes to getting back into a rhythm, especially in terms of on-ice drills.

“After a couple weeks, everyone did something, but there’s nothing like skating to replace or replicate the workout that we go through,” Ott said. “We start right away with a three-in-four situation and it doesn’t get any easier the rest of the way out. We want to be as prepared as possible.”

Buffalo currently has both of their goaltenders, Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth, in Sochi for the Olympics. Enroth, Henrik Tallinder and Team Sweden will face Canada in the gold medal game on Sunday while Miller and Team USA lost on Saturday to Finland in the bronze medal game.

Since Miller will be heading home first, Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said he may lean toward starting him against Carolina. That would likely mean Enroth would play Wednesday night when the Sabres host the Boston Bruins.

With Tallinder also in Sochi, the Sabres have been practicing with five defensemen.

The Sabres sent Chad Ruhwedel back to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League to play during the break and he’s one of a few defensemen, including Mark Pysyk and Brayden McNabb, who could be called up in the next few days to fill out the roster.

Nolan said that’s an area president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine and general manager Tim Murray are focusing on.

“I’m quite sure come gametime, we’ll have six,” Nolan said. “Not too sure who it’s going to be, but we’ll have six.”

After practice, Ott was preparing to head out to the Buffalo Zoo as part of his “Ott’s Otters” program. Last month, Ott and the Sabres teamed up with the Zoo to sell a limited number of stuffed otters. The otters, each wearing an Ott jersey, came with a card autographed by the Sabres captain.

The Sabres Store at First Niagara Center sold out of the stuffed animals in one day.

“I was blown away with the success,” Ott said. “We completely underestimated it with the amount of actual stuffed animals that we had but maybe next year we’ll have another round at this, we’ll see.”

All proceeds from the sale directly benefit the Buffalo Zoo.

“It’s just the smallest token since we’re all pretty much animal lovers in this dressing room,” Ott said. “It’s just a fun little project I thought about.”

POSTED ON Friday, 02.21.2014 / 1:46 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

After a long flight back from Sochi, Ted Nolan was on the ice in Buffalo on Friday to lead the Buffalo Sabres in their first practice in two weeks.

Nolan said he arrived back in Buffalo at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday night and didn’t get much sleep before the team’s practice Friday morning at First Niagara Center.

Zemgus Girgensons, who played for Latvia under Nolan in the Olympics, did not skate, but spoke with the media after practice about his experience. The 20-year-old center said he was proud of what Latvia was able to do in his first Olympic Games.

“We believed in ourselves since the first day we got there and even before, just looking at the paper, I knew that’s the best team Latvia probably has had in a long time,” Girgensons said. “I was hoping we can accomplish something good.”

He likely won’t practice for the next few days as he adjusts to the time change and rests up for the rest of the NHL season.

Nolan said he thinks being around some great players on both Latvia and other teams will be extremely beneficial to his development.

“We had some pretty good leadership on that team so Zemgus being around that, being so young, I think [for] his growth, it’s almost like adding another year on to his experience,” he said.

Despite going 0-3-0 in the preliminary round, Latvia was able to defeat the Swiss in the qualification match to advance to the quarterfinals. They played a tight game against Canada, falling 2-1 on a goal by Shea Weber in the third period.

“The way Latvia played, you could tell they were playing without fear and they were competing,” Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers said. “That’s exactly what Ted asks for you and you could tell Ted was the coach of that team.”

Despite some injuries and risks that have taken place during the tournament, like a season-ending one for John Tavares of the New York Islanders, Nolan believes that the opportunity to participate in the Olympics shouldn’t be passed up.

“I think it’s worth it. You can get hurt walking across the street and slipping on a piece of ice. Those things happen,” Nolan said. “And to say the event is one of those events you don’t want to take a chance, I think it’s worth every chance there is because it’s a world event, it’s a world-class event to showcase our game.”

Myers, Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick, who were all injured prior to the break could all be ready to go when the team faces the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

Myers said Friday morning that he’s back and set to play. Moulson declared himself as day-to-day with a rib injury. He sustained the injury on Jan. 30 in Phoenix.

“I’ve never had a dislocated rib, but that’s what it felt like at the start,” Moulson said. “But luckily it wasn’t that. A little time off came off came at a pretty good time if there ever is a good time right before the break. Lots of time to rest it, so it’s feeling good now.”

Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth are still in Sochi. Nolan said either get the start Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes but will wait to make a decision.