Behind the Bench

The Buffalo Sabres have two picks, including seventh overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft, which begins Friday night in Vancouver. Reporter Bill Hoppe checks in from western Canada with his thoughts on which young players the Sabres might by looking at and whether defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen could be traded by the end of the weekend.


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.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's continued collapse, now having lost 11 of their last 13 games, as well as Jeff Skinner's goal-scoring drought, the illegal hit that led to Jack Eichel's two-game suspension, and the prospects for 2016 first-round draft pick Alexander Nylander, who is back up with the big club.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's tendency to give up goals in bunches, often sinking otherwise-strong efforts. Many fans are calling for the ouster of head coach Phil Housley, but would firing another coach after two years be wise move? And what do defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen's horrid plus/minus numbers tell us about a player who frustrates fans and has grown frustrated himself?


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's latest setbacks, losses to Toronto and Philadelphia, which have left them even further outside of a playoff position. Also a look at the two trades GM Jason Botterill made prior to Monday's deadline and how the addition of defenseman Brandon Montour is a move for both the present and the future.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about a team in turmoil, which has lost three straight games and is falling out of the playoff race. Head coach Phil Housley called his team "soft" last week, but many fans blame him for the current state of affairs. How much fault falls on the shoulders of Housley and GM Jason Botterill, who has been inactive when it comes to improving the roster? How should Botterill approach the upcoming trade deadline? And what now for Kyle Okposo, who has suffered his third concussion in two years?


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's improved defense over their last three games, the strong play of the "fourth" line, and how the Sabres, who are in the thick of the playoff race, are rejecting the concept of "moral victories."


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about head coach Phil Housley's recent line-shuffling, the team's continued defensive woes, and whether it's finally time for Linus Ullmark to take over the role of number one goaltender.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's return to action this week, splitting games in Columbus and Dallas. Could rookie forward Casey Mittelstadt be on the verge of a breakout? Also, the Sabres begin a rare seven-game homestand Friday night when they host the Chicago Blackhawks. Success over the two-week stretch is critical for the team's playoff aspirations.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about how the team's long break could help them once again find their game. How did the Sabres go from first place in the NHL to out of a playoff spot in six weeks? And could some fresh faces help the franchise end its long postseason drought?


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about Wednesday's much-needed win over the Calgary Flames and where the team stands just ahead of their upcoming bye week. Also, goaltender Linus Ullmark has been outperforming Carter Hutton in recent weeks. Will Ullmark take over the starter role for the Sabres' playoff push?


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about Tuesday's 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, which saw two Sabres rookies score their first NHL goals. Also, the pending return of star forward Jack Eichel, the return of goal-scoring dynamo Jeff Skinner to Carolina, and what to watch for in the second half of the season.


WBFO

On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about Jack Eichel's injury, what players need to step up in his absence, and seeing a healthy Lawrence Pilut back in the lineup. With the Sabres holding on to a wild card spot by a thread, Bill also discusses what teams could pass them in the standings.

WBFO's Behind the Bench

On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about a win over the Anaheim Ducks, the hot play of Linus Ullmark and how he was developed, the Ryan O' Reilly as it stands and the struggling St. Louis Blues, the Sabres raised expectations, and what young defensman you should keep an eye out for in 2019.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about Tuesday's home loss to the Florida Panthers, a team the Sabres have had difficulty defeating. Also, Jack Eichel has been on a tear, continuing his ascent into one of the NHL's elite players, and a look at the situation surrounding now ex-Sabre Patrik Berglund, who was waived Wednesday after failing to report to the team last weekend.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about Tuesday's victory over the Los Angeles Kings, a win that snapped a five-game losing streak. Also, a lack of secondary scoring has become a problem for the Sabres, who continue to rely heavily on their top line. And we check in on rookie defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, the number one overall pick, who has been making dazzling plays on a nightly basis.


After winning ten in a row, the Buffalo Sabres have gone 0-2-2 in their last four games. On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about a tough stretch of close contests against some of the NHL's top teams. Tuesday night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs was a showcase for two of hockey's brightest young stars. Sam Reinhart continues to pile up points and rookie defenseman Lawrence Pilut has impressed in his first taste of NHL action.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's remarkable 10(!)-game winning streak and how the first-place Sabres have reinvigorated their fan base with a series of fun and exciting games, many of them decided in extra time.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's six-game winning streak and buzz they have created in Western New York and across the National Hockey League. Also, a look at the continued heroics of goaltender Carter Hutton and how the team's defensemen are contributing on offense, a stark contrast from last season.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's three-game winning streak, the resiliency they've showed against strong competition, and the continued strong play of goaltender Carter Hutton and prolific goal scorer Jeff Skinner.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's nine-goal explosion last weekend against the Ottawa Senators, the strong play of forward Jason Pominville and the team's top line, and what positives can be taken away from some recent losses.


The Buffalo Sabres suffered a tough 2-1 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames Tuesday night, but things are looking up after the Sabres finished with their best record in October since 2011. On this edtion of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks with Nick Lippa about the team's recent success, which includes strong goaltending performances from Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark. The Amerks are a "powerhouse" according to Hoppe. So when will some of that talent make their way to Buffalo? Also, Jason Pominville will be playing his 1,000 career game in the NHL Thursday against the Ottawa Senators.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's (mostly) impressive western road trip which featured successful lineup changes, the emergence of goal scorer Jeff Skinner and some strong play by defenseman Zach Bogosian.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about an up and down start to the season for the team, who have looked impressive in their three wins and dreadful in their three losses. Also, the return of oft-injured defenseman Zach Bogosian and a check-in with the Sabres' AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans.


On this week's edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the first three games of the 2018-19 season, which featured an ugly opening night loss to Boston followed by two impressive wins over the New York Rangers and Vegas Golden Knights. Also, a look at the team's improved depth, represented by the strong play of its fourth line. And how has rookie defenseman Rasmus Dahlin looked in his first NHL games?


The Buffalo Sabres kick off the 2018-19 season with a home game against the Boston Bruins Thursday night. On the season premiere of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about the team's revamped roster, which includes #1 overall draft pick Rasmus Dahlin, top line forward Jeff Skinner and new goaltender Carter Hutton, among others. Also, Jack Eichel gets the captain's 'C' on his jersey and Bill gives his prediction on whether the Sabres, who finished in last place in the NHL last season, will make the playoffs for the first time since 2011.


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