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Columns

It's six games into the schedule so let's not get crazy. And the scars of last season remain open wounds to fans. But this certainly feels different. We're seeing real live maturity out of the Buffalo Sabres. Confidence. Purpose. A plan. And the learning is almost immediate. Monday's 4-0 whitewash of the Dallas Stars had much deeper meaning when you study the way it …

Columns

Training camps with a set roster are boring. Of course, those are usually the ones for good teams. Training camps such as the one the Buffalo Sabres are about to embark upon are wildly interesting. A team that hasn't made the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons needs to have open competition for jobs and bringing in a new coach will add to that process. Ralph Krue…

Latest Sabres

CHICAGO — Before you think about this season, there's plenty of relevance in probing how the last one ended for Jack Eichel. And that's not a reference to the Buffalo Sabres' miserable finish or the firing of Phil Housley. Eichel went to the World Championships in Slovakia, where he first met new coach Ralph Krueger to get started on building the player-coach relationsh…

Columns

It's hard to imagine an NHL general manager having a worse spring than Jason Botterill. He's hard at work trying to redeem himself and the early returns of summer are good. We're at the point now where I can't wait for his next move. This is a fascinating process to watch play out. The Big One has to be coming. And you're starting to realize it may not be simply R…

Bisons and Baseball

Through Friday's games. Most recent rankings in parentheses. 1. Los Angeles Dodgers. Monster season at work: Five straight walk-offs, 60th win in Game 89, 30 HRs for Bellinger. (1) 2. New York Yankees. Best wishes for health to radio/TV voices John Sterling and Michael Kay. (6) 3. Houston Astros. Verlander is a runaway AL Cy Young leader. (6) 4. Minnesota Twins…

Columns

For every Dylan Cozens at your average Sabres development camp, there are multiple guys you've heard very little about. They all have stories too. Perhaps not as dramatic as the No. 1 pick's rise from the Yukon, but nonetheless unique to them. They're usually low-round draft picks, often from far-off lands. (Of course, the way the Sabres like to draft, maybe "far off" i…

Columns

It's been less than three months since we last saw Jacob Bryson and a whole lot has changed since then. Bryson, one of the Buffalo Sabres' top defense prospects, was in town in April as a key member of the Providence College team that advanced to the Frozen Four. Less than a week later, he signed an entry-level contract with the Sabres, an amateur tryout offer with the …

Columns

Ralph Krueger insisted on his opening conference call with Buffalo reporters Wednesday that the 2019 Sabres are ahead of the Edmonton Oilers he coached in 2013, who were mired in the "rebuild phase completely." The Sabres, of course, have big-name talents Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin and Sam Reinhart, as well as the promise of many younger players on the NHL roster and in…

Columns

While texting this week with a Western Conference colleague about Buffalo Sabres coaching candidates, he stopped me in my tracks when he asked if I ever had seen the commercials for Dos Equis, the Mexican beer that featured "the most interesting man in the world." "I think that is Ralph Krueger," my friend said confidently. "Who else has been an NHL head coach, ran Sout…

Colleges

When the news first broke Monday morning, it was a stunner. It seemed like Michigan was going to be the last stop on John Beilein's long and winding coaching road. At age 66, he was the program's winningest head coach with 278 wins – more than the likes of Maize and Blue legends Johnny Orr, Bill Frieder and Steve Fisher. He had job security. He had money. He also had he…

Latest Sabres

This is on Jason Botterill. All of it. Poor roster construction. Questionable moves. Odd development decisions. And ultimately, the decision to fire Phil Housley. While Housley's two seasons as coach rate among the most disappointing in Buffalo Sabres history, the general manager did his head coach no favors. As a tandem, Housley and Botterill were a colossal failure. …

Latest Sabres

After a game in which they kept their noses to the grindstone for 65 minutes, a quick apology to the Sabres for the first thing that popped into this corner's head on Selection Sunday night. In a day featuring a quasi Buffalo-St. Louis doubleheader, the wrong Buffalo team won. How sweet it would have been for a few more St. Bonaventure shots to have dropped home at t…

Latest Sabres

The Edmonton Oilers are still a longshot to sneak into the Stanley Cup playoffs. But they're saving face with a 5-1-1 burst and three straight wins to finish a nine-day road trip. Helps when Connor McDavid can put up five points in the last two games and make it look pretty effortless, too. McDavid has seemed frustrated at times this season. Who wouldn't be with what…

Latest Sabres

Jason Botterill knows it might be a longshot for the Sabres to make the playoffs, but it was pretty clear the general manager stepped over a line he had yet to cross here with this year's version of the NHL trade deadline. Botterill isn't dealing with just futures anymore. Getting Brandon Montour was about today, something the Sabres haven't been about nearly enough in …

Latest Sabres

In about a half-hour Saturday afternoon, you saw exactly why the Buffalo Sabres have to be more about the present and stop always looking at the future. Play out the worst-case scenarios in your head for a minute. What if Jeff Skinner hadn't pulled a Willis Reed act and come back out for the third period of the 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals? Imagine if his ank…