It looks like the roster is set.
Each team’s 23-man roster must be submitted to the NHL by 5 p.m. on Monday and the Buffalo Sabres do not plan on making any more moves by then.
Buffalo assigned forward Luke Adam and defenseman Alexander Sulzer to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League on Monday after both players cleared waivers. In addition to that, injuries have played their part in shaping the initial roster.
Sabres coach Ron Rolston said after practice Monday at First Niagara Center that forward Marcus Foligno will likely be unavailable for the season opener in Detroit on Wednesday. Rolston had previously hoped Foligno would be able to play in the game, but after missing practice on Monday, that scenario seems more and more unlikely.
“I don’t see it Wednesday. I think he’ll probably be in a position tomorrow to practice, but I don’t think one day is going to help in terms of being ready,” Rolston said.
That means three first-round picks from the past two drafts will be in the lineup against the Red Wings. Center Mikhail Grigorenko (12th overall, 2012) and left wing Zemgus Girgensons (14th overall, 2012) skated Monday with Brian Flynn; defenseman Rasmus RIstolainen (eighth overall, 2013) was paired with Mike Weber.
While Girgensons may be on the roster now, he’s only looking ahead to how he can stick once the team starts to get healthier.
“For me and for any young guy in this locker room, I don’t think there’s such a thing as ‘made it so far.’ I think for the young guys, you have to make it every day,” he said. “You have to make every day count and you have to prove yourself every day to stay up here because any young guy can be sent down at any time.”
Grigorenko is the only Sabres player to have played in all seven preseason games. For Rolston and the coaching staff, being able to evaluate him for that period of time – especially since he did not play in the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich. earlier this month like Girgensons, Ristolainen and Johan Larsson did – was important.
“[Grigorenko’s] progress is there. It’s a process with those young guys. It’s going to be a process,” Rolston said. “But I’ve seen the off-ice maturity. I’ve seen some on-ice maturity. His compete’s getting better. It’s not where we want it to be, but it’s getting better and that’s going to be a process. But he has made strides.”
Ristolainen has not only impressed the coaching staff, but some of the veteran players on the roster as well. Weber said that Ristolainen’s someone Sabres fans should be excited about.
“He’s a solid defender. He plays beyond his years. He’s an 18-year-old man-child so it’s exciting to play with him,” Weber said. “I’m really, really happy about it and hopefully we can keep the same chemistry that we had in preseason going right through the regular season here.”
When asked about those recent draft picks, Rolston was also quick to point out the work of center Johan Larsson, whom the Sabres acquired from the Minnesota Wild at this year’s trade deadline for Jason Pominville.
“They’re here and Johan’s here and I think you could argue he might’ve been the best of all those guys in terms of competitive nature in camp,” Rolston said. “We’ve got some good young players there. Again, now it’s for us finding the mix that’s going to help us move into the future but also be able to have results too. There’s a balance there and along with that, the development part of things – how they’re developing and moving forward.”
Larsson has skated as the extra forward during the past two practices.
Mark Pysyk (16th overall, 2010) is another first-rounder who will start the season in Buffalo for the first time. He played 19 games for the Sabres last year. He’s recently been practicing with Christian Ehrhoff and has also seen time with the second power play unit, which has featured Ristolainen, Grigorenko, Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford and Ville Leino.
26 Thomas Vanek – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 63 Tyler Ennis – 23 Ville Leino
28 Zemgus Girgensons – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 65 Brian Flynn
12 Kevin Porter – 8 Cody McCormick – 36 Patrick Kaleta
22 Johan Larsson – 32 John Scott
The Buffalo Sabres coaching staff has some tough decisions to make in the next few days. They’ll set the 23-man roster for the regular season by Monday.
One spot on the defense looks like it’ll go to rookie Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo’s top draft pick this year (eighth overall). The 18-year-old from Finland played in five of the team’s seven preseason games, logging at least 19 minutes of ice time in all but one.
Sabres coach Ron Rolston was asked after practice Saturday morning if Ristolainen had done enough to make the team.
“I would say, yeah. He was probably one of our better defensemen last night [against the Carolina Hurricanes],” Rolston said.
Injuries have already cropped up, sidelining four Sabres so far and muddling some of the roster decisions.
Defenseman Nikita Zadorov injured his hand in the team’s preseason finale in Carolina on Friday. Rolston said on Saturday that the team’s other first-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft (16th overall) needed stitches to repair a cut on his left hand. He’ll miss approximately two weeks.
The team is currently carrying nine defensemen. The Sabres do not have to keep Zadorov while he is injured and could send him back to juniors. However, Rolston said there might be value in having him continue to work with an NHL team.
“We don’t have to keep him. Will we keep him? We have to discuss that,” Rolston said. “It’s two weeks. We could have him here and he could be working out on the ice because it’s not obviously lower body, so we still have to determine that.”
Marcus Foligno is still expected to recover from an upper-body strain he sustained in Toronto on Sunday in time for the team’s season opener in Detroit on Wednesday.
Rolston said that Armia, who broke his hand in the exhibition game against Columbus last Wednesday, has his hand in a cast and that surgery was not required.
The center position is still one that’s pretty wide open for the Sabres. Cody Hodgson is locked in on the top line with left wing Thomas Vanek. Rookie Mikhail Grigorenko played all seven preseason games in the middle albeit with a wide variety of linemates. Cody McCormick has pivoted the fourth line for the past few exhibition games.
Tyler Ennis, who started training camp at left wing moved back to center last Sunday and has been playing there ever since. Rolston, however, wouldn’t totally commit to sticking with Ennis in the middle and that the coaching staff is still evaluating the position.
“He could be. I mean right now, I would say probably, but you never know. Yes, right now,” Rolston said.
Johan Larsson is another center hoping to make the team. He did not play in Carolina on Friday and according to Rolston, that’s why he did not skate on a line Saturday morning. He was working on the fourth line with John Scott and Patrick Kaleta earlier in the week, but has seen both practice time and game action with most of the wings on the roster.
“He didn’t play last night so he wasn’t on a line,” Rolston said on Saturday. “And those are guys we have to decide who’s on the roster. And he’s fighting for a spot.”
Kevin Porter, typically a center, has played some left wing recently. He skated in Carolina with McCormick and Kaleta. It’s another spot that will require a decision by the coaching staff.
“I think [Porter’s] camp got better as it went on. It was a little slow to start with but I’ve liked how it finished,” Rolston said. “He’s a competitor. He’s a smart player. He’ll give you everything he’s got. We moved over on the wing last night and he offers speed to our team and allows Cody some more looks in the middle and see where that’s at.”
Rolston confirmed that forward Luke Adam has been sent down to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League pending waivers.
Adam did not make the trip to play in the team’s last preseason game in Carolina and was not at practice on Saturday.
“He’ll have a chance to continue to work on his game and continue to chase his dreams of playing here,” Rolston said Friday morning. “He has the potential, but just where we’re at right now, there were some guys in front of him, especially with the youth that we have.”
Rolston also said that he expects to name a full-time captain sometime this week before the season opener. He rotated the “C” throughout the preseason. Thomas Vanek, Christian Ehrhoff and Steve Ott have each worn it twice.
Ott most recently served as captain on Friday with Vanek and Ehrhoff wearing the “A’s”. Cody Hodgson had the opportunity to captain the game last Sunday against Toronto.
26 Thomas Vanek – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 63 Tyler Ennis – 23 Ville Leino
28 Zemgus Girgensons – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 65 Brian Flynn
12 Kevin Porter / 32 John Scott – 8 Cody McCormick – 36 Patrick Kaleta
22 Johan Larsson
With Corey Tropp out 5-6 weeks with a broken jaw and Marcus Foligno nursing an upper-body strain that will likely keep him out of the lineup until the season opener in Detroit on Oct. 2, the Buffalo Sabres were dealt another blow on Thursday.
Rookie right wing Joel Armia is out indefinitely with a broken hand, Sabres coach Ron Rolston said after the team’s practice at First Niagara Center. It’s still not clear if surgery will be required, but Rolston predicted he’ll be out at least 4-6 weeks.
The injury occurred when Armia, Buffalo’s first-round pick in 2011 (16th overall), was slashed in the second period during the Sabres’ 3-0 win over Columbus on Wednesday.
“Each game was saw improvement in how he’s performing and I thought last night was one of his best games of the exhibition season. He was doing a good job,” Rolston said.
Cody McCormick, who injured his hand in the game on Sunday, will be available to play Friday in Carolina for the team’s final preseason game. Foligno skated after practice in a red non-contact jersey.
Mike Weber was given a maintenance day and did not skate.
The practice on Thursday was also the first time the Sabres worked on special teams on the ice this training camp. The team scored on a delayed penalty against the Blue Jackets and killed off all seven of Columbus’ power plays.
“That’s exactly what today was all about was practicing at length on our power play, on our special teams. It needs work. It can always improve,” Sabres forward Steve Ott said. “You want to start off strong at the beginning of the season and having the chemistry early and practicing hopefully makes some dividends for the start of the year.”
Ott was on the ice during that 6-on-5 delayed penalty goal when the Sabres were able to move the puck confidently and efficiently, waiting for the right shot. Eventually, after about 45 seconds, Ville Leino put home a rebound from Cody Hodgson, giving the Sabres a 1-0 lead.
“It was a really fun sequence to be in. Guys were moving the puck, we had good support. Guys were driving to the lanes, things that instinctively took over for us in last night’s game since it hasn’t been practiced yet,” Ott said. “But we’ve all been in those situations in our careers and in our lives and I think it took over last night. Hopefully when we get those opportunities 6-on-5 we can bury some this year.”
John Scott spoke to the media for the first time Monday following the much-talked about line brawl against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.
The 6-foot-8 enforcer sparked some controversy when he tangled with Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel after a face off during the preseason game in Toronto. On the previous play, Sabres forward Corey Tropp had gotten into a fight with the much bigger Jamie Devane. Tropp hit the ice hard after the bout and the result upset the Sabres bench.
Rolston then sent Scott, Mike Zigomanis and Brian Flynn onto the ice. Maple Leafs coach Randy Carslyle opted to use his last change to put out his top line Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Carter Ashton, reportedly hoping to diffuse the situation.
That line of thinking backfired as every player on the ice including goaltenders Ryan Miller and Jonathan Bernier tussled. The play resulted in 211 penalty minutes.
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW
Scott said that he was planning on dropping the gloves with whoever Toronto sent out and was a bit surprised to see that line come out onto the ice. For Scott, he said it was about playing his role and defending Tropp.
“I obviously thought our guy got taken advantage of the shift before and I was trying to stick up for him and send a message to Toronto, like, ‘You can’t do that to our small guys,’” Scott said. “And whoever they lined up with me, whether it’s Kessel or [Colton] Orr or whoever else they have in their lineup, I was going to fight them.”
Kessel, Toronto’s leading scorer last season, responded to Scott’s challenge by swinging his stick at Scott’s ankles. Kessel's teammates quickly came to his aid and everyone on the ice got in on the action, including Toronto forward David Clarkson, who left the bench and faces a 10-game suspension.
Scott said he can see Toronto’s side of things In that an enforcer shouldn’t go after a star player, but doesn’t necessarily agree with it.
“I would be pissed off if someone went after my star guy, too. Their coach didn’t have to put Kessel out with me,” Scott said. “He kind of knew what was going to happen. It was kind obvious that I was upset that our bench was upset. It’s what happened. Obviously Phil’s OK. He probably came out on the better end of it. I’m bruised all over my legs.“
The two teams don't meet again until Nov. 15 in Buffalo.
Training camp is winding down and the Buffalo Sabres are beginning to get a better idea of what their team will look like for their season opener on Oct. 2 in Detroit.
The team announced Monday that goaltender Matt Hackett, defensemen Brayden McNabb and Chad Ruhwedel and center Mike Zigomanis have been assigned to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. Defenseman Drew Bagnall and forward Matt Ellis will also be assigned to Rochester, pending waivers.
The Sabres’ roster now includes 29 players: 18 forwards, nine defensemen and two goaltenders.
Corey Tropp and Marcus Foligno did not participate in practice at First Niagara Center. Cody McCormick, who left the game on Sunday with 5:22 remaining in the second period after knocking down a puck with his hand, also did not skate.
Sabres coach Ron Rolston said after practice that he’ll have more information on Tuesday regarding the conditions of Foligno and Tropp after they are evaluated. Rolston said he anticipates McCormick to be ready by Wednesday, when the Sabres host the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. at First Niagara Center.
Foligno was injured while setting up Tropp’s goal midway through the third period on Sunday. Toronto defenseman T.J. Brennan checked Foligno into the boards as he made a pass to the point and landed awkwardly as Tropp tipped Jamie McBain’s shot in. He left for the dressing room shortly after.
On the ensuing faceoff, Tropp fought with Jamie Devane and landed hard on the ice after taking a punch to the head. A bloodied Tropp had to be helped off the ice by the training staff. He did not return to the game.
“They’re obviously a big part of our team. They’re both gritty players so anytime anybody gets injured on our team, it’s a concern, but those two players are important players for us,” Rolston said after practice.
The following players were on the ice Monday afternoon:
Forwards: Luke Adam, Joel Armia, Tyler Ennis, Brian Flynn, Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko, Cody Hodgson, Patrick Kaleta, Johan Larsson, Ville Leino, Steve Ott, Kevin Porter, John Scott, Drew Stafford, Thomas Vanek.
Forward lines at practice:
26 Vanek – 19 Hodgson – 21 Stafford
9 Ott – 63 Ennis – 23 Leino
28 Girgensons – 22 Larsson – 65 Flynn
72 Adam – 25 Grigorenko – 33 Armia
32 Scott – 12 Porter – 36 Kaleta
The Buffalo Sabres announced Friday that 12 players have been assigned to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.
Forwards Colin Jacobs, Eric Locke, Jonathon McGuire, Jonathan Parker, Kevin Sundher, Shawn Szydlowski, and Frederick Roy, defensemen Alex Lepkowski and Matt Mackenzie and goaltenders Connor Knapp, Nathan Lieuwen and Andrey Makarov are now with the Amerks. Defenseman Nick Crawford, pending waivers, will also be assigned to Rochester.
Additionally, defenseman Brady Austin and forward Peter Trainor have been returned to their junior clubs. Austin plays for the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League while Trainor is with Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The moves leave the Sabres with 41 players in training camp (25 forwards, 13 defensemen, three goaltenders).
"[We're down to] two teams and I think this weekend will be a big evaluation for a lot of guys with the back-to-back with Toronto. Hopefully [we'll] be able to trim it down from there," Rolston said after practice at First Niagara Center on Friday.
The Sabres play the Maple Leafs twice this weekend as the preseason continues. They host Toronto on Saturday at 7 p.m. and then go to Air Canada Centre on Sunday for a 7 p.m. face off.
Rolston said either Jhonas Enroth or Matt Hackett will start on Saturday.
Group One - 10:30 a.m.
Forwards: Daniel Catenacci, Matt Ellis, Marcus Foligno, Zemgus Girgensons, Patrick Kaleta, Cody McCormick, Steve Ott, Tim Schaller, John Scott, Drew Stafford, Jamie Tardif, Philip Varone, Mike Zigomanis.
Group Two - 12:15 p.m.
|Executive Chef Scott Green|
Over the past year, the Buffalo Sabres have made several conspicuous changes. Outside of the construction for the behemoth $172 million dollar HARBORCenter project, the team has redesigned wayfinder signage and murals throughout the arena concourse. Adherent to that theme, it should come as no surprise that the team has enhanced their menu items.
Tuesday afternoon, the Buffalo Sabres and Delaware North Companies/SportService announced the annexation of several new menu items to enhance the First Niagara Center experience.
First Niagara Center Executive Chef Scott Green introduced a collection of several new items to the concessions menu. Green challenged his team of chefs to improve upon the menu from the previous season. “At the end of last year, we [did] an assessment of what happened during the year. [We looked] at what worked and did not work. We looked at new trends and tested them out during the summer. From there, we test them out and see what works and then we develop our menu,” Green commented.
Of the highlighted trends, the Sabres are prominently featuring several new seafood dishes. Fans with access to the suites will be able to order individual portions of crab cakes, bubbling crab dip (crostini and pita salad) and the chicken and shrimp jambalaya (peppers, onions, tomato, spicy sauce and Cajun rice). The Lexus Club will also feature a local favorite, pepper dusted walleye (lemon-poached butter beans, Swiss chard and tomato jus). General concessions will offer shrimp tacos (spicy garlic shrimp, house-made jalapeno coleslaw, served on warm flour tortillas and served with chili lime aioli).
The team also has developed some new concepts from local favorites. Suiteholders will be able to order boneless and traditional chicken wings. The Lexus Club has added a flavorful beef on weck (served with Pommes frites, lettuce, tomato, pickled carrot and onion) and a buffalo-chicken themed Juicy Lucy burger. Fans in the 200 Level Harbour Club can enjoy an always-fresh bacon cheeseburger (fresh beef patty, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato) featured on a Costanzo's Kaiser roll. In general concessions, fans can try the ‘The Big Puck.’ Intended to be shared, ‘The Big Puck’ is a 16-ounce steak burger with a pound of toppings (American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickle chips and a special Sabre sauce) and a pound of French fries.
The organization also announced the renovation of suites. As part of a three-year multi-million dollar renovation process, nearly 20 suites have been renovated for the 2013-2014 season. Renovations include the installation of new seats and flat-screen televisions. “So far, [the renovations] have been met with tremendous response from our suiteholders,” remarked John Livsey, Sabres VP/Sales and Business Development.
Fans will be able to experience the improvements when the Sabres open the home portion of their schedule on Friday, October 4 against Ottawa.
Session One – 10:30 a.m.
Christian Ehrhoff is ready to play and he’ll get the chance to lace up his skates sooner rather than later.
The Buffalo Sabres defenseman said he will be one of the players that will suit up in the Sabres’ second exhibition game Tuesday night in Columbus. The game can be heard on WGR 550 at 7 p.m. The official lineup has yet to be finalized.
“That’s the fun part about our job, playing the games and I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Ehrhoff said after practice at First Niagara Center on Monday.
Ehrhoff is entering his 10th NHL season and his third with the Sabres. Due to some roster turnover, he’s already one of the longest-tenured Sabres defensemen in training camp.
Ehrhoff aims to set a good example both on and off the ice for the younger players in camp that are vying for roster spots in the NHL.
“I never really set any personal goals, especially not any statistics I want to achieve. It’s more that I want to play a consistent season,” he said. “It’s 82 games. It’s a long season and there are ups and downs. I try to keep the downs as few and as short as possible and just try to play solid for my team.”
Session Two – 12:45 p.m.
The afternoon group consisted of players that played Sunday night in the team's preseason opener in Montreal. The squad left Quebec with a 5-4 shootout victory.
Steve Ott – Mikhail Grigorenko – Ville Leino
Zemgus Girgensons – Johan Larsson – Drew Stafford
Luke Adam – Kevin Porter – Brian Flynn
Colton Gillies – Cody McCormick – Patrick Kaleta
Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier announced today the team has returned the following five players to their respective junior clubs:
Forwards Justin Bailey (Kitchener, OHL), Nicholas Baptiste (Sudbury, OHL), Justin Kea (Saginaw, OHL) and Logan Nelson (Victoria, WHL), and defenseman Connor Boland (Peterborough, OHL).
This leaves the Sabres with 56 players still in training camp (33 forwards, 17 defensemen and six goaltenders).
Dale Stromberg has held season tickets for the past 20 years. When he found out that a pair of Buffalo Sabres would be delivering him his season tickets on Saturday, his enthusiasm could not be contained.
“I could not sleep all of last night,” said Stromberg.
|Jhonas Enroth & Henrik Tallinder meet the Stromberg family|
Stromberg hosted Buffalo Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder and goaltender Jhonas Enroth in his living room for an informal conversation. After trading stories about their heritages, the Sabres pair commemorated the visit with a couple of autographs and photos.
At the conclusion of the visit, Stromberg was at a loss for words.
“It means the world to me. I have never won anything in my life and to have something like this, after I have gone [to the games] for all these years, I can’t believe it,” commented Stromberg. “I’m speechless.”
After departing from the Stromberg household, Enroth and Tallinder made several other deliveries in the Getzville area.
At the Weber household, a large contingent of family and friends congregated to meet the Sabres tandem. “They have been so excited since yesterday,” said Jill Weber, a season ticket holder for the past 10 years. “We’re looking very forward to the season. We’re hoping this is our year.”
Enroth and Tallinder embraced the interaction with the fans.
“It makes you humble,” remarked Tallinder. “We’re no different than they are. It’s just a different job. We’re so appreciative that they come out to the games and support us.”
-Alex Pagliano, Digital Contnent Intern
|Weber and Kaleta with the Braun family|
Noah and Luke Braun had no idea that their family was expecting visitors Saturday morning. Their father, Jon Braun, met Buffalo Sabres players Patrick Kaleta and Mike Weber in the front yard to receive his Sabres season tickets.
After the exchange of the tickets, Jon had an idea.
“Want to surprise my boys?” he asked the players.
Noah and Luke were in the basement of the family home playing video games. The shock on their faces was apparent when they came upstairs and saw Kaleta and Weber standing there.
The group went outside to share the excitement with neighbors after a bit of good-natured teasing from Kaleta about the teams they chose to play with in their video game match.
“Boston versus the Islanders? What the heck?” Kaleta said.
Some perfect timing ensured that the whole family got to meet the pair as Olivia, the Braun’s youngest child, returned home from her dance lesson in time to grab her jersey and be included in some family photos.
The family thanked Kaleta and Weber for taking the time to deliver the tickets before the players moved on to other stops in the Hamburg area.
-Clare Lewis, Digital Content Intern
|Cody Hodgson and Marcus Foligno pose with the Bruntons.|
Cody Hodgson and Marcus Folingo also made a few stops to deliver season tickets to some lucky fans.
Although the Brunton family of Fort Erie knew that a pair of Sabres was going to show up at their door, it didn't stop them from rushing out the front door to greet Hodgson and Foligno the moment the car pulled up.
“You were my Tim Hortons guy!” one of the Bruntons said to Foligno, referring to Foligno’s visit to a Fort Erie Tim Hortons earlier in the week as a part of the second annual “Invade Canada” tour.
Jacob Brunton, a young hockey player himself, was eager to meet Hodgson and Foligno assuring the two that he was a Sabres, not a Maple Leafs fan.
As family and neighborhood friends congregated, it became clear that Fort Erie is a part of Sabres nation as well.
-Clare Lewis, Digital Content Intern
SESSION ONE (8:45-9:45 a.m.)
Tyler Ennis – Johan Larsson – Drew Stafford
Corey Tropp – Cody McCormick – Patrick Kaleta
Daniel Catenacci – Philip Varone – Jamie Tardif
Colton Gillies – Justin Kea – Nicholas Baptiste
SESSION TWO (10-10:45 a.m.)
SCRIMMAGE (11:15 a.m.-Noon)
Team Gray vs. Team Blue
SESSION THREE (12:15-1 p.m.)