Share this article

print logo

Sabres Notebook: Botterill talking to other GMs; Moulson producing

Jason Botterill has shown this month that he'll make moves. The Buffalo Sabres' general manager continues to look at ways to improve his club.

"We certainly have had conversations going," Botterill said Friday, "but I wouldn't say anything is imminent right now."

Since Dec. 1, Botterill has recalled forwards Hudson Fasching and Evan Rodrigues, sent Matt Moulson to the American Hockey League and traded for Scott Wilson. Buffalo had a 2-0-2 run end with Thursday's loss in Philadelphia.

Still, the Sabres are last in the Eastern Conference.

"We have to improve in short situations here," Botterill said before the Sabres hosted Carolina. "You have to look at five-game segments. You have to look at seven-game segments.

"Yeah, we've been impressed with how we've performed the last little bit here. Last night was disappointing. I thought we had an opportunity there to continue the point streak, but now it's a scenario where, hey, we have to respond from that and have a good performance in front of our fans here. We haven't done that enough throughout the year."

Botterill spoke outside KeyBank Center to celebrate the arrival of a Winter Classic truck that housed ice-making equipment that will be used for the New Year's Day game in Citi Field. The truck was on its way to New York City, and the Sabres will head there late this month to play the New York Rangers.

"Our organization is extremely excited about playing in this game," Botterill said. "The last 10 years, this has been a premier event not only to celebrate the National Hockey League but celebrating hockey in general. I know our players, our fans, our staff, all their families are very excited about playing in this game."

The buildup began this week with the premiere of "Road to the Winter Classic," the four-part series on NBCSN that gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the Sabres and Rangers.

"I think our players have done a great job," Botterill said. "They have embraced having cameras around. They've had fun with it, and I think it's great for fans to get a little more access to what our players and what our coaches are like behind the scenes."

* * *

Matt Moulson has nothing to show for his 14 NHL games this season. He's certainly showing he can perform in the American Hockey League.

The former Sabres forward had seven assists in his first three games since being assigned to the Los Angeles Kings' minor-league affiliate in Ontario, Calif. The winger recorded an assist in his opener, added two in the second game and had four Wednesday in a 4-2 victory.

Moulson had no points and 13 shots while skating 10:17 per night in Buffalo.

"You look at his start down in the AHL already, hopefully this jump-starts him getting back into the National Hockey League," Botterill said.

Ideally, the Sabres would find a team willing to trade for the 34-year-old, who will make $5 million per year through the 2018-19 season. Buffalo couldn't find any takers earlier this month, so it waived him and assigned him to the Reign.

"It was a very difficult move," Botterill said. "Everyone in that locker room, everyone in this organization has a ton of respect for Matt and the professionalism that he brings.

"It was difficult conversations, but it was a situation that we had to make some adjustments to our team where we were at."

Inside the NHL: Capital of a nation, Ottawa is league's circus capital too

* * *

As the world junior tournament nears, the Sabres have yet to announce whether they'll let prospect Alex Nylander play for Sweden.

"We still have discussions with Team Sweden throughout," Botterill said. "They've been very accommodating."

Nylander is playing in Rochester and had one goal, three assists and 16 shots in his opening 12 games. He was a team-worst minus-8.

The Amerks played at home Friday against Toronto and visit Utica on Saturday. It's likely Botterill will make a decision on Nylander's status following the games.

Sweden has an exhibition game against Denmark on Monday in Rochester. The world juniors begin Dec. 26 in Buffalo and run through Jan. 5.

Rochester has seven games between Sunday and the close of the world juniors, so Nylander would miss quite a few outings.

"Like I've said, I've always been a big proponent of the world juniors tournament," Botterill said. "I think it is very good for their development. Right now we're having Alex just focusing on the games this weekend, and we'll see how things progress this week."

Culture change making an impact for the Rochester Americans

There are no comments - be the first to comment