Buffalo Sabres

On a special edition of WBFO's Behind The Bench, Buffalo Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe talks about Tuesday's firing of former general manager Jason Botterill and what changed from late May, when co-owner Kim Pegula endorsed his return. Using words like "leaner" and "more efficient," the Pegulas' open checkbook era appears to be over, perhaps as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Who is new GM Kevyn Adams and why was he given the job? And why was the Rochester Americans coaching staff, one of the few bright spots in the organization in recent years, also fired? 


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Saying "our fans deserve better," Buffalo Sabres owners Kim and Terry Pegula have fired Jason Botterill and named Kevyn Adams as the team's new general manager.

Jeffrey T. Barnes / Associated Press

Jason Botterill is very much aware of the criticism he’s attracted overseeing a Buffalo Sabres team that extended its playoff drought to nine years by failing to even qualify for the NHL’s expanded 24-team format.

That doesn’t mean the general manager is going to his alter his vision in continuing to build the organizational depth and developing young talent.

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?


Photo courtesy of Buffalo Sabres

At least one more year. That is the message being sent out by Buffalo Sabres Team President and Co-Owner Kim Pegula in regard to the status of General Manager Jason Botterill. Botterill was hired by Buffalo in 2017.

Jay Moran/WBFO

What does it say about a sportswriter who retired three years ago but spent a week this winter reporting on six different sporting events? “It’s still fun to go to games,” said Budd Bailey, who retired from the Buffalo News in 2017. “As I tell people, I’d like to think I see more games in Buffalo than anybody else in town.”  While he clearly hasn’t grown tired of sports after four decades of coverage, he did share concerns over how sports journalism may be losing out in a changing marketplace. 


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?


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A person who attended the Buffalo Sabres game at KeyBank Center on March 5 has tested positive for COVID-19.

Omar Fetouh / WBFO News

The National Hockey League is suspending the rest of its regular season, until further notice, due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

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.


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Former Buffalo Sabres player Matthew Barnaby has been arrested and charged with assault and public intoxication after an altercation at a bar in Nashville, TN early Thursday morning.

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?


Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres are restructuring their ticket policy for next season. Th restrucuring will include increasing prices by an average of 2.5%.

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.


nhl.com

The Buffalo Sabres pulled off two deals prior to the NHL's trade deadline Monday afternoon.

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 the team's current slump, in which they have lost four of their last five games, and the state of the team nearing the midway point of the season. What's behind forward Jeff Skinner's lack of production? The 40-goal scored has just one goal in December. And as the 2010s near their end, a look at a decade marked by failures to make the playoffs, high coaching turnover, and the general failure of the "tank" strategy.


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.

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