Behind the Bench

On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the NHL's plan to resume play and how the Sabres have once again failed to make it into the postseason, even with an expanded 24-team playoff field. Also, Bill shares his thoughts on the team retaining General Manager Jason Botterill and what challenges await him in what will be an usual offseason. And what's going on with young defenseman Lawrence Pilut and his possible desire to play overseas?


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the NHL's decision to suspend its season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bill talks about how the situation rapidly evolved last week and what the scenarios are for a possible return at some future date. Also, how has Pegula Sports & Entertainment handled the plight of workers at KeyBank Center? And how is Bill, himself, adapting to his new reality?


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's shootout win over the Washington Capitals Monday night, which snapped a six-game losing skid. It was a game that featured yet another controversial goaltender interference call that went against the Sabres. Linus Ullmark was back in net following a nearly six-week injury absence. Also, Bill talks about how the spreading coronavirus is affecting the team, the league, and his job.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's collapse on a four-game western road trip, in which they lost all four games. The losses dashed any remaining hopes of ending their soon-to-be nine-year playoff drought. Star forward Jack Eichel struggled mightily out west, possibly indicating he's playing with an injury. How will the team finish over the last month of the season and what will the coming weeks mean for the future of General Manager Jason Botterill?


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's recent success, which has them back within sight of a playoff spot, and this week's trade deadline. GM Jason Botterill made two deals, acquiring forward Wayne Simmonds from New Jersey for a draft pick and trading forwards Conor Sheary and Evan Rodrigues to Pittsburgh for Dominik Kahun. Bill breaks down each acquisition and what message was sent to the team and its fans, and why it didn't work out for Sheary, Rodrigues, or recently-departed defenseman Zach Bogosian in Buffalo.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the Sabres dissapointing loss Tuesday to the Ottawa Senators, the team's outlook ahead of the trade deadline, and some of the challenges Jason Botterill is facing as General Manager.

On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the recent strong play of goaltender Carter Hutton, who has led the team to wins in two of their last three games; one scout's assessment of Jeff Skinner's situation and how he's still not playing with Jack Eichel; the return of old friend Ryan Miller; and which names from the past will be back in town for Thursday's night "2000s Night" at KeyBank Center.


Barring a miracle, the Buffalo Sabres will miss the playoffs for their ninth consecutive season. Tuesday's ugly 6-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche was their third home loss in four games. Frustrated fans have reached a breaking point and are expressing anger, or perhaps worse, apathy. With two months left in the season, where does it all go from here? How much blame should be placed on the team's owners, general manager and head coach? And is some new blood needed in the front office?


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about an "embarrassing" loss to the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night, the first game of a make-or-break homestand for the team. If the loss wasn't bad enough, starting goalie Linus Ullmark will miss the next three to four weeks with a lower-body injury. Can Carter Hutton step up in his place and when might we see a start from Rochester Americans call-up Jonas Johansson? General Manager Jason Botterill is still looking for help at forward, but is it too late? And what impact did NBA legend Kobe Bryant have on players like Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo?


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's critical upcoming schedule, which has them playing nine of their next 10 games on home ice. Curtis Lazar has been a strong contributor since coming to Buffalo from Rochester, but his road to get here has been rocky, at times. And we open up the mailbag with a question about whether two seemingly-disgruntled players will get their wishes for a trade.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about his takeaways from the past week's games and what's coming up ahead of an extended break. Also, a look at Zemgus Girgensons' strong season, which now has him playing on the top line. And Bill caught up with former Sabres star Pierre Turgeon, a player many believe should be enshrined in hockey's Hall of Fame, who spoke fondly of his time in Buffalo.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's acquisition of forward Michael Frolik from the Calgary Flames and how he could help make up for the losses of scorers Victor Olofsson and Jeff Skinner, who are both sidelined with injuries. Also, prospect defenseman Lawrence Pilut has been called up from the Rochester Americans. With the recent trade of Marco Scandella, could the AHL All-Star stick around in Buffalo for the long-term?


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the tough guy signing of Dalton Smith ahead of their loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday. Hoppe also comments on the Sabres recent scoring struggles, NHL player safety, what making the playoffs in 2020 would mean for Buffalo and more.

On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about Tuesday's loss in Toronto, which saw the team start slow before making the game interesting in the third period. Jack Eichel extended his point streak to 17 games and has entered the conversation for the NHL's most valuable player. Struggling youngster Casey Mittelstadt has been demoted to the AHL's Rochester Americans, where the organization hopes he will get his game back on track. And defenseman Zach Bogosian appears to want out of Buffalo, with a report that he has asked for a trade.


Bill Hoppe

On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's big win over St. Louis this week and captain Jack Eichel's hot streak, which has him on pace for a 100+ point season. Linus Ullmark has taken over as the team's top netminder but forward Casey Mittelstadt's struggles continue. And Bill shares some of his memories of Memorial Auditorium ahead of Thursday's "Aud Night" game against the Nashville Predators.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's better play as of late, including a 7-1 drubbing of the New Jersey Devils on Monday. Head coach Ralph Krueger says he likes how the unconventional 11 forward/7 defenseman lineup has worked for the team. Goal-scorer Jeff Skinner continues to find success no matter whom he's paired with. And Linus Ullmark has been the team's best option in goal. Will he emerge as the Sabres' #1 netminder over the course of the season?


On this week's edition of Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter talks about the team's continued inconsistent play, which has resulted in just two wins in their last 12 games. The Sabres' poor special teams play is one reason for their struggles and the concussion suffered this week by defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is more bad news for a team on the ropes.


On this week's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's losing stretch, in which they have dropped eight of their last nine games, which is reminding many of last season. Will GM Jason Botterill make a move to help the Sabres' injury-depleted group of forwards? When will defenseman Rasmus Dahlin turn around his defensive woes? And well wishes for Kyle Okposo, who suffered his third concussion in four years this week.


The Buffalo Sabres are sliding down the standings, having lost five straight games. On this week's Behind The Bench, reporter Bill Hoppe talks about how the balanced scoring that led to early-season success has evaporated. The Sabres now enter a busy part of the schedule that could be critical to their playoff hopes. The team has called up Curtis Lazar to take the place of the injured Vladimir Sobotka and defenseman Zach Bogosian is back at practice after a lengthy recovery from surgery.

The Buffalo Sabres are in Stockholm, Sweden for two games against the Tampa Bay Lightning as part of the NHL's Global Series. On this week's Behind The Bench, Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about how the trip could be a significant bonding experience for a team that has six Swedish players on its roster.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe takes stock of the team's successful first month, 13 games in which they have far exceeded expectations under new head coach Ralph Krueger. Is this a team fans can believe in and will those fans start to fill KeyBank Center if that success continues? Is their condensed schedule, ahead of next week's trip to Sweden, catching up to them? And what did former coach Phil Housley, who was back in town Monday with the Arizona Coyotes, have to say about his time in Buffalo?


On this week's Behind The Bench, reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the 8-1-1 Sabres' continued hot start to the season including their success on home ice, the improved play of forward Casey Mittelstadt and his linemates, continued strong goaltending, and the chemistry that has come from lineup stability. Also, is Jack Eichel taking his next step toward superstardom?


The Buffalo Sabres have yet to lose a game in regulation time, upping their record to 5-0-1 following Monday's 4-0 home win over the Dallas Stars. On this week's Behind The Bench, reporter Bill Hoppe talks about what's different so far this season under new head coach Ralph Krueger, the team's improved defensive play, and the comeback of forward Vladimir Sobotka.


The Buffalo Sabres are 3-0-1 in their first four games thanks, in large part, to their stellar production on the power play. Buffalo has scored eight goals with the man advantage in 15 opportunities. But reporter Bill Hoppe thinks for the team's success to continue, they need to score more often five-on-five. Also on this week's Behind The Bench, a look at the team's forward lines—which ones are clicking and which isn't?


The Buffalo Sabres start the 2019-20 season with a road game in Pittsburgh Thursday night. The Sabres have failed to make the postseason for the last eight seasons and beat reporter and WBFO analyst Bill Hoppe doesn't think that will change this year. On the season premiere of Behind The Bench, WBFO's weekly check-in on the team, Bill talks about new head coach Ralph Krueger, some of the team's new faces, expectations for rookie forward Victor Olofsson, and the ongoing saga surrounding seemingly-disgruntled defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.


The Buffalo Sabres surprised many on Wednesday by naming Ralph Krueger their new head coach. Krueger takes over for Phil Housley, who was fired in April after two years on the job. Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe shares his thoughts on a special edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench.


On the season finale of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the firing of Phil Housley and what it means for an organization undergoing yet another coaching change. Who are the most likely candidate to replace him and does the failure mean for general manager Jason Botterill? What went wrong in a season that showed promise early on? What went right? And what are the team's biggest needs this offseason?


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about a good effort this week against Nashville, which followed two ugly games last weekend that had many wondering if the team has quit on coach Phil Housley. Forward Jeff Skinner could reach the 40-goal mark in the final two games, but given the Sabres' dreadful second half, is the pending free agent's presumed (by many) re-signing with the team in jeopardy? And Bill recently caught up with former Sabres goalie Daren Puppa, who recently put on the pads again for the first time in a long time.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the latest embarrassment in the team's dreadful run toward the end of the season. Tuesday's defeat to the Ottawa Senators was Buffalo's 13th straight road loss and their 11th loss in their last 12 games. Will, and should, head coach Phil Housley be given another season behind the Sabres' bench?


On this week's edition WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's poor showing against the Toronto Maple Leafs and how far ahead the cross-border rivals are after both teams underwent rebuilds in recent years. Also, with former Sabre Ryan O'Reilly returning to Buffalo last weekend, how does the trade that shipped him to St. Louis look now? And Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander is showing signs why he was a first-round pick in 2016.


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