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POSTED ON Tuesday, 12.03.2013 / 3:08 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

Since Ted Nolan was named interim coach of the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 13, he’s made a big effort to get to know his players. He’s leaned on the teams’ veterans for both insight and to set a good example for the rest of the players.

Nolan cited Drew Stafford and Ville Leino as two players he’s seen improve in his time with the team. He thinks they’ve benefited from a fresh start.

“When I first got here, they seemed a little bit confused on their roles and responsibilities on this team. They were a little bit confused on how they fit into certain things,” Nolan said. “But I looked at them as those guys are the senior guys on this team. They have to be relied upon, they have to be looked upon as your leaders. We only go as far as our leaders go, so my initial thought process there was just try to get them playing the way they’re capable of playing.”

WATCH: VILLE LEINO INTERVIEW

One of the first changes Nolan made to the lineup was giving Leino more responsibility on the ice by moving him to center. Leino has also seen his ice time increase about 4:30 per game since Nolan took over.

He said he has developed a positive relationship with his coach over the past few weeks.

“It’s great. He tells you what he wants out of you and he wants you to work hard, compete, do the things you’re good at,” Leino said. “So far it’s been great and I think everybody here likes him, obviously, because he’s honest. You just have to compete and do your job out there. That’s all you need, so it’s been great.”


Cody McCormick, currently on the injured reserve list with an upper-body injury, is ready to return to the lineup. He’s worked out in full with the team over the past few days. He said long practices like the ones the coaching staff has held between games are extremely beneficial for the players.

The Sabres don’t play again until Thursday when they host the New York Rangers at First Niagara Center at 7 p.m.

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“It starts in practice. If we’re doing it here, we’re going to bring it into a game,” he said. “If you kind of lollygag in a practice drill, it’s not something that you want to do in a game and everybody in the room will see it if you do it in practice. There are guys in here who will be the first ones to tell him, ‘Pick it up.’”

Nolan said that creating a mindset for the players in which they want to come to the rink every day and put forth a solid effort is critical to the process of putting a team in a position to be successful.

“We worked today hard on the ice, I thought. I told them, there’s nothing like a hard day’s work to make a person feel good,” he said. “We just have to make them feel good and their natural ability will take over.”

With Nolan still relatively new to the team, having a few days off presents a good opportunity for the players to get to know him. It allows the team time to bond as well.

“It’s just fitting in in the dressing room. I think everybody is on the same page here,” McCormick said. “Everybody is bringing their work ethic to the rink every day. You come to the rink excited. We have another day of practice and I think everybody in here is ready to play a game.”


Defenseman Alexander Sulzer missed his second day of practice with an undisclosed injury.

“We thought his injury was going to get a little bit better today, but [he took] another day to give it a rest and we’ll see how it is tomorrow,” Nolan said.

If Sulzer is healthy enough to practice Wednesday, he should be ready to go Thursday night, according to Nolan.


Nolan was asked about the possibility of loaning Mikhail Grigorenko to the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia so that the 19-year-old rookie center could compete with the national team at the IIHF World Junior Championship later this month. Nolan has had talks with president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine regarding their plans for Grigorenko.

“We’re not 100 percent sure exactly what we’re going to do, but we’re discussing all possibilities,” Nolan said. “…He’s got to be playing. I’ve never seen a player develop [by] not playing, so he’s got to play for sure.”

WATCH: TED NOLAN'S PRESS CONFERENCE

With McCormick set to come back from injured reserve, the Sabres could also return Grigorenko to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in order to make room on the roster.

“We have a lot of possibilities to look at,” Nolan said. “First of all, we want to make sure it’s a competitive field here and the people who are here are competing and earning the job versus just giving it to them. So we’re starting to turn that table, the guys are starting to earn it.”


26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 23 Ville Leino – 27 Matt D’Agostini
72 Luke Adam – 63 Tyler Ennis / 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
32 John Scott – 65 Brian Flynn / 8 Cody McCormick – 82 Marcus Foligno

3 Mark Pysyk, 4 Jamie McBain, 6 Mike Weber, 10 Christian Ehrhoff, 20 Henrik Tallinder, 44 Brayden McNabb,  57 Tyler Myers

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

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POSTED ON Monday, 12.02.2013 / 4:33 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

The Buffalo Sabres have a few days to practice before their next game and are looking to make the most of it.

Monday morning, the team worked as a group with skating consultant Dawn Braid for approximately 30 minutes at First Niagara Center. She had the players moving up and down the ice to improve their strides and power skating technique.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Dawn now for almost four years. She’s made great improvements on my stride alone,” Sabres center Cody Hodgson said. “I feel like every time I go out, whether it’s a 10-minute touch-up session or a couple hours with someone on the ice, it always makes me feel more comfortable and smoother and a more efficient skater.”

After the session with Braid, the Sabres held a traditional practice.

Buffalo is coming off a stretch in which they played three games in four nights. Over the weekend, they picked up three out of four points in games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils. The Sabres don’t play again until they host the New York Rangers on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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“You get a chance to recharge batteries. There’s a little break here,” captains Steve Ott said. “Guys, if they’re feeling something or if they’re a little banged up, they get a chance to heal up as well. We have to use it to our benefit and that’s kind of what the whole emphasis on the next few days.”

Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan is going to use this time to drive home some of the things he’d like to see the team do more consistently. Since he took over behind the bench on Nov. 13, he’s had limited time to practice with the team because of a condensed schedule.

Having the team work on their skating, he said is good for not only the younger players, but older one who may need little reminders along the way when it comes to improving their fundamentals.

WATCH: MARCUS FOLIGNO INTERVIEW

“As I mentioned to the team today, we’re all creature of habit and we have to change a few things that we’ve been doing and just get used to doing it on a daily basis,” Nolan said. “I think the game against Toronto, we played really well and when we went to New Jersey, we slipped off a little again. Just trying to get that consistent work ethic every day and the only way you can do it is consistently work.”


Defenseman Alexander Sulzer was given a maintenance day and did not practice with the team.

Nolan said that center Cody McCormick, who has missed the past four games with an upper-body injury, is ready to return to the lineup. A roster move would have to be made once the team is ready to activate him from the injured reserve list.


26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 23 Ville Leino – 27 Matt D’Agostini
72 Luke Adam – 63 Tyler Ennis / 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
32 John Scott – 65 Brian Flynn / 8 Cody McCormick – 82 Marcus Foligno

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 44 Brayden McNabb
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 3 Mark Pysyk
4 Jamie McBain

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

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POSTED ON Thursday, 11.28.2013 / 1:05 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

A day after being claimed off waivers, Matt D’Agostini was on the ice with his new club, the Buffalo Sabres, shaking hands and getting to know some of his new teammates.

D’Agostini had been waived by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday and had to wait until noon Wednesday to find out if he’d be on his way to the minors or another NHL city.

“[Pittsburgh] told me the news and then you have the most anxious 24 hours of your life,” D’Agostini said after Buffalo’s optional practice Thursday at First Niagara Center. “Again, that’s just the way it goes in this sport. Guys come and go so I’m excited about my opportunity.”

Buffalo is D’Agostini’s fourth NHL club in the past two years. St. Louis traded him to New Jersey last season – where he played with Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder – and he signed a one-year contract with the Penguins this summer.

WATCH: MATT D'AGOSTINI MEETS THE BUFFALO MEDIA

In 275 NHL games, he’s scored 96 points (47+49), including 21 goals with the Blues in 2010-11.

The 27-year-old forward is from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., which is also the hometown of Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan. Nolan said that he’s known about D’Agostini since he was a teenager playing junior hockey with the Guelph Storm. When president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine suggested the Sabres claim D’Agostini, Nolan was on board.

“I’ve known of him since he was about 15, 16 years old and I remember him going to another Ontario Hockey League team [and playing] against his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie. I was wondering why he got away,” Nolan said.

D’Agostini is looking forward to being in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.

“Hopefully [I can] get back to my ways and my confident self again,” he said. “Confidence is everything in this league I think, so get some playing time under my belt and hopefully get back to my old game.”

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He’ll likely get a lot of ice time as Nolan said he’ll put D’Agostini on the wing with center Ville Leino and captain Steve Ott.

“When you get a goal scorer, you have to put him in a position to score some goals so hopefully that’ll help,” Nolan said.


To make room for D’Agostini on the roster, the Sabres waived right wing Corey Tropp. Thursday afternoon, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced that they had claimed Tropp.

The Sabres were hoping to send Tropp to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League where he could play a lot of minutes in all situations. Tropp has battled injuries the past two seasons and in nine games with Buffalo this season, he’d averaged 10:29 of ice time while on the fourth line.

WATCH: TED NOLAN'S PRESS CONFERENCE

“I don’t know if [Tropp being claimed is] disappointing. You’re happy for the young guy,” Nolan said. “Pittsburgh lost a guy to us. It’s unfortunate that we haven’t got enough positions or room for him right now. It’s good for him to be picked up by somebody else and get his career going there. Unfortunately it wasn’t happening here at that moment. You take a chance and it’s good for Corey.”


Center Cody McCormick skated with the team again. He’s been on injured reserve since he took what he calls a “stiff hit” on Nov. 21 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Nolan said that he may not be ready for this weekend’s pair of games. McCormick declared himself day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

“We’re still kind of seeing how it’s going to react tomorrow morning,” McCormick said. “If the game was tonight, I don’t think it would work but another day might do it some help.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 11.26.2013 / 2:09 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

Buffalo Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan has been on the job for almost two weeks now and continues to work on getting players settled in on his systems and the types of things he expects from them.

In addition to even-strength play, the power play is an aspect of the game the team looks to continue to improve on. The Sabres are 3-for-15 with 25 shots on goal with the man-advantage in the five games since Nolan was put in charge.

The team spent time working on the power play Tuesday morning at First Niagara Center in preparation for their home game against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The first unit featured Matt Moulson, Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis up front with Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff at the points. Ville Leino, Steve Ott, Drew Stafford, Brayden McNabb and Mark Pysyk made up the second unit, with Luke Adam rotating in and out.

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Nolan said that in order to be successful, the units need to keep making simple plays and generate more traffic in the areas around the crease.

“We’re not setting the League on fire so we have to make sure we simplify our game and that’s in all aspects of it, whether it’s 5-on-5 or power play,” he said. “We just have to make sure we do the simple things, get shots on net, create some rebounds. A majority of the goaltenders in this league will stop you even if you have a point-blank shot from the slot. We have to create some traffic in front of it.”

WATCH: LUKE ADAM INTERVIEW

The team spent time working on maintaining possession in the offensive third with the man advantage and reading the types of defensive coverage they’re facing.

“You just have to take what they give you. Every team is pretty much the same,” Leino said. “They pressure when they don’t have possession, they’re trying to block shots and so on.”


Nolan has talked about how the trust level on the ice may not be very high at the moment, but he said Tuesday that he’s seen progress in that regard the past few days.

“I see it growing, not on leaps and bounds, but I see it growing every day. The guys are getting a little bit more comfortable in what’s expected and using their ability, which they have, he said. “Ville Leino’s, I think, a really highly skilled player but he was playing a little bit differently than what his skill set is. So we’ve got to get him back to that. I think it all has to do with comfort zone.”

WATCH: TED NOLAN'S PRESS CONFERENCE

One of the first changes Nolan made to the lineup when he took over behind the bench on Nov. 13 was moving Leino back to center ice.

“It’s been pretty good. It’s a lot more work in the defensive zone so you don’t really get to rest at all but it’s been better,” Leino said. “I think last game for me was pretty good even though there was not a lot of goals or so, but it’s been better and I feel more comfortable.”

WATCH: VILLE LEINO INTERVIEW

In trying to foster an atmosphere in which players can thrive out of familiarity, the Sabres once again practiced with no changes to the line combinations or defensive pairings. Left wing Matt Moulson has skated almost exclusively with center Hodgson since the team acquired him from the New York Islanders on Oct. 27. Stafford has been their linemate as of late.

“The more you play with guys, the more you feel comfortable out there,” Moulson said. “I know it’s definitely the case with myself, I think. The more you get to know guys, their tendencies, it makes reading and reacting a lot easier out there.”


26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
63 Tyler Ennis – 23 Ville Leino – 9 Steve Ott
72 Luke Adam – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn – 78 Corey Tropp
32 John Scott

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
44 Brayden McNabb – 3 Mark Pysyk
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

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POSTED ON Monday, 11.25.2013 / 2:54 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

The Buffalo Sabres spent a bulk of their practice Monday morning at First Niagara Center focusing on improving their defensive zone coverage.

One point of emphasis for interim coach Ted Nolan is having the players talk to each other more frequently on the ice, especially when they're defending in their own end. Some of his veteran players are picking up on the message and stressed why communication on the ice is a key component to being successful.

“It starts with communication, making sure everyone’s on the same page, that you know what the other guy’s doing,” Sabres forward Drew Stafford said. “If you are trying to guess what your teammates are doing out there, you’re thinking too much. We’re just trying to take the thought process out of it and just make sure it becomes natural.”

Nolan has noticed that he’s working with a quieter bunch and is making an effort to change that.

“We’ve talked about communication, talking down low. We’re a very quiet team. We don’t talk enough,” he said. “I’ve always said good communication eliminates duplication, so you’re not doing someone else’s job. We worked on that so hopefully we’ll get better as we go.”

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Defenseman Mike Weber is usually one of the most vocal players on the ice and would like to see that trait be more prevalent among his teammates.

“I think it’s just coming down to communication,” he said. “Any guy you’re going to talk to in here today or any day from this day forward should just be about talking.”

The Sabres spent about half of the practice on one end of the ice, working on defensive zone assignments. Nolan wants the players to be able to know where to go without thinking about it. The team has been battling breakdowns in their own end all season and it’s cost them points in several games.

“There are glimpses of playing well and then we collapse. We just have to learn to do it on a consistent basis and having faith in one another. Right now I don’t think we have too much faith in one another and we need to work on that.


The Sabres kept the same lines and pairings in practice as they skated with Sunday evening against Detroit. Nolan said that he would like to keep the forwards together so that they can begin to create some chemistry.

He also said that it’s important for the coaching staff to maintain a sense of continuity when it comes to how the team practices and what they work on each day.

WATCH: TED NOLAN'S PRESS CONFERENCE

“When we ask the players to be consistent, we have to consistent with our message and our delivery. We can’t work on defensive zone coverage one day and forget about it the next two weeks,” he said. “We have to do it on a consistent basis and it’s the same thing with the lines. We have to keep them somewhat consistent so you can learn what each and every one does on a line.”

Brian Flynn centered the fourth line Sunday evening. Nolan was pleased with Flynn’s play their on Sunday and said he would like to keep him there for the time being.

“He has to be a little bit stronger, but we all have to be a little bit stronger. I really like his hockey sense,” Nolan said. “He jumps in, he’s got a very quiet demeanor, he doesn’t say too much. But he always listens and he pays attention and he always does what we ask him to do.”

Flynn skated 11:58 and recorded two shots on goal against Detroit.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Flynn said. I need to improve a little bit on face offs, I think, and work a little more on the D-zone coverage, but I think it’s something that I feel comfortable with and I think I continue to improve and get better. I can see myself playing this position.”


26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
63 Tyler Ennis – 23 Ville Leino – 9 Steve Ott
72 Luke Adam – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn – 78 Corey Tropp
32 John Scott

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
44 Brayden McNabb – 3 Mark Pysyk
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.23.2013 / 2:23 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan is looking for a calming influence on his blue line. After attending the Rochester Americans home game Friday night with president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine, the decision to call up defenseman Alexander Sulzer was made.

He’ll be in the lineup Sunday evening when Buffalo hosts the Detroit Red Wings at 5 p.m. at First Niagara Center.

Sulzer re-joins the Sabres for his second call-up of the season. He last played on Oct. 12 in Chicago, where he logged 19:20 of ice time. With the Amerks this season, Sulzer has appeared in 10 games and has recorded two goals and five assists.

“One of the reasons we went down is we wanted to see him play,” Nolan said after practice at Bud Bakewell Arena at Riverside Park on Saturday. “He’s a veteran guy and we’ve got a lot of young talent here. We need to make sure they mature at the right pace. This guy’s a veteran guy that’s been around for a while and he can have some stability back there for us.”

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Sulzer skated with the team Saturday morning and was paired with Christian Ehrhoff. The two have played a lot of hockey together since the Sabres acquired Suzler from Vancouver at the 2012 NHL Trade Deadline. They were a pair last season before a knee injury ended Suzler’s season 17 games in.

“We had pretty good chemistry last year when we played together and I hope we can continue that,” Sulzer said.

Sulzer, 29, is a veteran of 107 NHL games and hopes to provide some stability to the defense. He and Nolan had a good chat about that on the ice after practice.

“I’m an older guy even if I don’t want to admit it. I am now and he just wants me to be as calm as I usually play and just try to be solid,” Sulzer said. “It’s just when it gets scrambly a little bit that not everybody starts running around, that we just play in the zone like Teddy wants us to play and just don’t freak out if one mistake happens. If one happens, everybody else makes up for it and then we’re going to be fine.”


It looks like rookie Mark Pysyk will be back in the lineup as well. He skated with Brayden McNabb during practice and the duo worked together on the team’s second power-play unit. There is some familiarity between the two as they were paired together in Rochester last year.

Pysyk was a healthy scratch on Thursday in Philadelphia and said he was able to see what adjustments he needs to make in his game by watching the action from up in the press box.

“For myself, I need to be a little more patient in the defensive zone and a lot more assertive, stronger on the puck,” he said.


Cody McCormick was absent from practice after missing the third period on Thursday with what the team called an upper-body injury. Nolan said after practice Saturday that McCormick will be out at least a week.

WATCH: TED NOLAN'S PRESS CONFERENCE

With McCormick injured, the fourth line had a different look. Brian Flynn skated at center with Marcus Foligno on the left wing and Corey Tropp on the right. Nolan said he’s going to give Flynn an opportunity to play down the middle against Detroit.

“One thing you notice about him is that he’s a very intelligent player. He said he played eight games at center ice last year [with Rochester],” Nolan said. “With the fourth line position, we have to make sure we have reliable guys there to eat up some good minutes and give our top guys some rest. He seems like a very reliable young man.”


26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
63 Tyler Ennis – 23 Ville Leino – 9 Steve Ott
72 Luke Adam – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn – 78 Corey Tropp
32 John Scott

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
44 Brayden McNabb – 3 Mark Pysyk
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

Power Play 1
Moulson – Hodgson – Ennis
Myers – Ehrhoff

Power Play 2
Stafford – Ott – Leino
Pysyk – McNabb

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 5:05 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

Luke Adam and Brayden McNabb are getting another chance in the NHL and hope to take full advantage of the opportunity presented to them.

       Luke Adam

The Buffalo Sabres recalled them from the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League on Wednesday and interim coach Ted Nolan said both will play Thursday night in Philadelphia.

Adam, 23, currently leads the Americans with 18 points through 15 games. The left wing has 13 goals with Rochester this season, which is tied for most in the AHL.

“The kid’s having a great year and when kids do that, they have to be rewarded. That’s what the American Hockey League’s all about. It’s not just going down there and seeing what happens. They have to be rewarded and he was rewarded by his play,” Nolan said after practice at First Niagara Center. “McNabb’s the same way. He’s playing pretty well in a different way. We want to reward guys down there and keep guys up here on their toes because there’s always someone coming in the back door. You never know where they come from.”

Adam said that the coaching staff in Rochester, particularly head coach Chadd Cassidy and assistant coach Chris Taylor put a lot of trust in him to play in all different situations and eat up a lot of minutes.

“I think I was just focused on what I could control and I wasn’t focused a whole lot on coming back here or getting back to Buffalo or how Buffalo’s doing,” he said. “I just focused on my game and focused on Rochester.”

Adam was last called up by the Sabres on April 1, 2013, scoring one goal in his four-game stint in Buffalo.

He said he isn’t going to try to change his game much, if at all, and will try to continue to do the same things that have made him successful in the AHL so far this season.

“I’m just going to try to keep playing the same way I’ve been playing down there. Hopefully I’ll be able to help this team win a few games,” Adam said. “I’m not going to come in here and expect anything to be given to me or expect to be put in situations that I’m not earning and not deserving.”

   Brayden McNabb

McNabb, a 6-foot-4, 207-pound defenseman, hasn’t played in Buffalo since 2011-12. He finished that season in Buffalo, but started the next season in Rochester because of the lockout. A logjam of defensemen kept him in Rochester when the NHL season resumed and by the time the Sabres were ready to make a call-up for the blueline, McNabb was sidelined with a knee injury.

In 25 career NHL games, all with Buffalo in 2011-12, McNabb has recorded eight points (1+7) and 15 penalty minutes.

McNabb set career-highs in all offensive categories, including goals (5), assists (31), points (36) and penalty minutes (50) while appearing in 62 games for the Amerks in 2012-13. He’s looking forward to being back in the NHL after such a long time away.

“It was tough. Especially when you get a taste, you want to be there,” he said. “It was unfortunate and a learning curve for my career and I think it’s helped me throughout this year and hopefully further on in my career.”

Drafted by the Sabres in the third round of the 2009 NHL Draft, he is in the last year of his three-year entry-level contract.


After three games at center, rookie Zemgus Girgensons skated on the wing at practice. Organizationally, there’s a consensus according to Nolan that Girgensons may project out to be more successful at wing so they’re going to work him there now. Steve Ott centered his line with Adam. Despite the move, Nolan was very impressed with Girgensons’ play down the middle.

“He looked good to me. He looked really good to me,” Nolan said. “I think that could be an option when situations present itself that we could always do that, but right now, we want to make sure we put him in a good situation where he’s going to flourish. Playing with a guy like Steve Ott could help that process that much quicker.”


Forward Tyler Ennis missed practice. Nolan said Ennis “tweaked a little something” Tuesday night against the Blues, but will be ready to go against the Flyers.


Rookie center Mikhail Grigorenko was returned to the club. He was to be sent down to the Amerks on a conditioning stint. However, after complying with all guidelines in the Collective Bargaining Agreement as they relate to player conditioning assignments, the Sabres’ assignment for Grigorenko was ruled against by the NHL and the team said in a release that they respect the League’s decision.

Grigorenko said he had been feeling under the weather and had lost some of his conditioning. He was in a hotel in Rochester when he received a call at 10 p.m. Wednesday night that he had to return to Buffalo for practice the next morning.

“Last week I was a little bit sick, so we decided I’m going to go to Rochester for a conditioning basis, but something happened,” he said. “They just told me to come back, so I’m here now.”

Nolan said he would meet with President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine to figure out what the next step for Grigorenko should be.

“Now we have to go back to the drawing board and see what else might work and what’s the best situation for him to develop his skill and be a dominant player that we all think he could be in this organization,” Nolan said.


26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
72 Luke Adam – 9 Steve Ott – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
82 Marcus Foligno – 23 Ville Leino – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko
65 Brian Flynn – 8 Cody McCormick – 78 Corey Tropp
32 John Scott

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 3 Mark Pysyk
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain
44 Brayden McNabb

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

Did Not Skate: 63 Tyler Ennis

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POSTED ON Monday, 11.18.2013 / 3:12 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

With the possible return of one veteran player, some younger players on the Buffalo Sabres may soon be filling different roles.

Defenseman Mike Weber said he feels like he’s ready to return to the lineup Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues and interim coach Ted Nolan said after practice on Monday that Weber will likely be back in.

“All indications are he’s ready to go,” Nolan said at First Niagara Center.

Weber has been out since Oct. 26 with a thumb injury. He skated with Jamie McBain at practice, who scored on Saturday in Toronto.

When the team activates Weber from injured reserve, a roster move would have to be made.

With seven rookies on the team, the Sabres are currently the youngest team in the NHL and have many players that are eligible to play either in the American Hockey League or at the junior level without having to clear waivers.

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Nolan said that he has had discussions with President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine about which players might be best served developing elsewhere in the short term.

The Sabres currently have four teenagers on the roster and are the first NHL team since 1995-96 to dress four teenagers during the course of a season. That year, the Sabres joined Florida and Winnipeg as the last teams to dress at least four teenagers in a season. Jay McKee, Martin Biron, Wayne Primeau, Vaclav Varada and Curtis Brown were Buffalo’s four teens. Florida dressed four teenagers during that season and Winnipeg played six.

Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko, Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov, the four teens currently on the Sabres roster, have been relied on in both even-strength and special-teams play this season.

“I didn’t realize how young they really were in the positions they’re in and the capabilities of what they can do besides playing here,” Nolan said.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Sabres are the first team to dress four teenagers in a single game since March 30, 1996, when Winnipeg dressed four 19-year-old players (Shane Doan, Chad Kilger, Deron Quint and Oleg Tverdovsky) in a 5-2 loss to Detroit. The only other time the Sabres have dressed four teenagers simultaneously was in the 1982-83 season, when forwards Dave Andreychuk and Paul Cyr and defensemen Phil Housley and Hannu Virta all played in 21 games together.

Nolan believes that sending young players down a level or two shouldn’t be seen as a demotion, but as an important part in the development of their careers. He also said that he and LaFontaine are looking at possibly giving players currently with the Rochester Americans a chance with the Sabres.

WATCH: RYAN MILLER SPEAKS WITH THE MEDIA

“You see good organizations and how they go about it. You don’t force feed somebody and then say, ‘we’re [in a] rebuild.’ Rebuild is important, but how you rebuild is really important,” Nolan said. “Like I said, Patty and I have been talking here since we got involved. I think you can have some young kids, a few of them, not as many as we have.

“…Everything’s up for change right now and we’re going to try to get this thing on a proper footing going forward and putting people in a position of success versus force-feeding them.”

Nolan said that he’s still learning about all of the players and has talked with the assistant coaches and training staff to get more and information about them. Not every player responds the same way to certain type of motivation from a coach.

“You have to find out those buttons that need to be pushed,” he said. “Some guys on this team already, they need a good swift kick in the rear and some people might need a little hug. So we’ll go through that once we find out the personalities of the player.”


26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
63 Tyler Ennis – 23 Ville Leino – 9 Steve Ott
82 Marcus Foligno – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
32 John Scott – 8 Cody McCormick – 78 Corey Tropp
25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 22 Johan Larsson

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 3 Mark Pysyk
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain
61 Nikita Zadorov – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

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POSTED ON Thursday, 11.14.2013 / 3:41 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

The first practice Ted Nolan ran with the Buffalo Sabres was up-tempo and designed to set the tone for how he wants the team to start playing.

The new interim head coach jumped right in and opened practice with battle drills in all four corners of the ice. Nolan opted to let the assistant coaches run practice on Wednesday and he took time in his first day on the job to talk to the players and learn more about them as people. During practice on Thursday, he took charge and directed all of the drills.

“Today was the first day that I really took over practice and that’s the message we want to get to the team: We gotta up our compete level a little bit and it started here today in practice,” Nolan said after practice at First Niagara Center.

Rookie Zemgus Girgensons said that the on-ice workout may have been the team’s best of the season.

“You can look at all the faces in practice, I think this was the best practice we’ve had, probably the most goals we’ve scored in practice,” he said. “I think it was a great effort by all of the guys. It’s just something new. Everyone has new excitement. Everyone has to prove themselves again from the start, every player. I think it’s just a brand new start for us.”

That idea of a fresh start was echoed by Nolan. He thought the first practice “went OK” and that there is still a lot of work to do moving forward.

“What happened yesterday is done. It’s over with. What happened in their first 20 games of the season is done. It’s over with. We’re turning a new page. We’re starting a new chapter,” Nolan said. “I talked to some of the players. Every stat they have is out the door. Forget about it. Tomorrow night against the Leafs, we start anew and we’re going to compete. ”

Girgensons played for Nolan on Team Latvia during the 2013 IIHF World Championships in May. For about two weeks, he learned about Nolan’s style and what he expects from his players first-hand. A similar message has been conveyed in Nolan’s two days with the Sabres.

“He wants simple hockey but you have to play hard. He wants all the guys going 100 percent,” Girgensons said. “If you’re not going to do that, most likely you’re not even going to be out there. He wants the guys to compete and I think that’s what we need in this team right now.”

Girgensons practiced at center for the first time this season. He started playing the wing last year with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League after playing in the middle for much of his career. He skated on a line with Steve Ott and Tyler Ennis on Thursday.

Nolan told the media after practice that Girgensons will play center on Friday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Girgensons understands that he is being offered a great opportunity.

“I just need to seize the moment. I can’t let it slip,” he said.

Nolan talked about how when he was coaching junior hockey, it was difficult to have 17 year olds to go up against more mature 19-year-old players. With a team featuring seven rookies – four of them teenagers – decisions will have to be made as to whether it’s best for some of these young players on the Sabres to continue developing in the NHL or down a level in either juniors or the American Hockey League.

He said he will be careful when it comes to the types of situations he puts the younger players like Girgensons in.

“We don’t want to put a kid in a position of failure. You want to make sure he’s in a position that he’s going to feel good about himself,” Nolan said. “You can’t put him on against big-time guys too soon because if you get burnt, it hurts your confidence a little bit. We’re going to work with these guys on a daily basis and put them in where we feel that they’ll have some success.”


Nolan hasn’t coached in the NHL since 2008 and was asked if the attitudes of the players are any different now, especially compared to when he was last behind the Sabres bench back in 1997.

“When we were growing up too, we would always say we didn’t have it as hard as our parents and they probable said we changed,” he said. “And rock-and-roll music came and that was different, so now they have this hip-hop stuff going on and you’ve got the internet going on and all that stuff. So everything does change, but I think the core beliefs in what you want to do as a family man, as an organization, that has not changed.

“Successful companies are successful because they do certain things that others don’t want to do and the same thing with hockey teams. They do things that the other teams don’t want to do. But the big line is finding the right people that want to do it.”


A large media contingent swarmed around Sabres forward John Scott after practice. Nolan said on Wednesday that Scott would be in the lineup Friday night against the Maple Leafs.

It’s the first game between the two clubs since a line brawl broke out in their preseason matchup on Sept. 22. Scott and Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel were in the middle of it.

“I think it’s being blown out of proportion, this game. Something happened in the preseason and I don’t think much is going to happen from it,” Scott said. “…[Nolan] said he wants me to play my game, go out there and hit, actually not be too concerned with the fighting and all that stuff. He wants me to be a hockey player and be responsible and physical and go from there.”


Mike Weber remains on injured reserve with a thumb injury he sustained on Oct. 25 in Florida. He’s been anxious to get back and has been practicing with the team all week, but has yet to be medically cleared for game action.

He said that if he is not cleared to play this weekend, he thinks he’ll certainly be ready to go by Tuesday when the Sabres host St. Louis.

“I’ve been ready to come back, so right now just waiting on a doctor,” he said. “It feels great so I understand I have some hardware in there that has to settle some more into the bone, but I feel great, it feels good. I’m ready to rejoin the boys here. Especially right now, it’s an exciting time.”


26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford / 22 Johan Larsson
9 Steve Ott – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 63 Tyler Ennis / 25 Mikhail Grigorenko
23 Ville Leino – 82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn
32 John Scott – 8 Cody McCormick – 78 Corey Tropp

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 3 Mark Pysyk
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
61 Nikita Zadorov – 4 Jamie McBain

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

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POSTED ON Monday, 11.11.2013 / 2:12 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said after practice at First Niagara Center on Monday that he’s ready to return from a lower-body injury that sidelined him against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

His fellow veteran blueliner Mike Weber, who has been on injured reserve the past seven games with a thumb injury, said he hoped to be cleared by the doctors later today. Monday marked his first practice with the team since sustaining the injury.

“It feels as good as it’s going to feel, I guess, but it feels good so I’m ready to get back at it,” Weber said. “I think that phone call’s going to be today, so we’ll see what’s up. But if it’s up to me, I’m ready to go.”

Sabres coach Ron Rolston, however, said that while he thinks Ehrhoff will be back for the team’s game against the Los Angeles Kings at First Niagara Center on Tuesday, Weber might not be available until the home-and-home series against Toronto this weekend.

Christian said he’s feeling good, so he’ll be ready and Webby’ll be close. He’s close,” Rolston said. “I doubt that [he’ll be ready Tuesday]. Today was his first day of practice.”

Weber, who was injured on Oct. 26 in Tampa Bay, did not travel with the team for their three-game road trip in California. He said he worked out every day on his own back in Buffalo, skating and working on defensive drills.

“Pretty lonely in this locker room for the last week here with no one here,” he said. “Just some locker room guys and some scouts and things like that helping me out. It was pretty lonely but it’s nice to have everyone back and obviously it’s exciting for me to just get back into a full practice with the boys.”

Weber seemed eager to get back and feels that he can help the team through their recent struggles.

“I think the main focus is just our consistency and how we come out every shift. There are too many lulls and in some cases, I don’t think we’re playing nasty enough,” he said. “We’re not playing desperate enough. So those are the little things that I’m going to try and bring if, hopefully, the doctor gets me cleared here. ”

The Sabres will face the Kings for the second time in six days. Despite losing 2-0 in Los Angeles on Thursday, the team felt they played well against the Kings in even-strength situations. Both Los Angeles goals came on the man advantage. Rolston said they’ll look to build off that game and their 5-4 shootout win in San Jose on Monday.

“I think we talked about it that we thought that we had two solid games there,” Rolston said. “Obviously the power play in L.A. right away put us behind the eight ball in terms of penalties, but in terms of 5-on-5 play, I think both those games were a positive in terms of how we wanted to play and the energy level and the effort that we wanted to play with. A lot of areas of our game are getting better and allowing us to create some more offense.


Rolston shook up the lines at practice Monday.

He had benched the top line of Cody Hodgson, Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis for the final 26:11 against Anaheim on Friday. At practice, captain Steve Ott skated with Hodgson and Moulson.

“Steve will probably be in the mucking it up a little more, but I’m sure we’ll be able to read off him and hopefully have some chemistry and be successful,” Moulson said.

Moulson also said he talked with the coaching staff about the benching and is looking forward to putting in a solid effort against the Kings.

“Obviously I want to help this team win. I had a good talk with coach today, so we’re going to move on from that,” he said. “Obviously in sports you’ve got to put things behind you pretty quickly, so I think just getting the mindset [of being] ready to come work today. Obviously we didn’t we didn’t play the way we wanted to play last game, our line especially. We know we have to be better. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”


9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 26 Matt Moulson
25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 8 Cody McCormick – 78 Corey Tropp / 22 Johan Larsson
28 Zemgus Girgensons – 82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn
23 Ville Leino – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
32 John Scott

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 3 Mark Pysyk
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
61 Nikita Zadorov – 4 Jamie McBain

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

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SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82