Top NHL prospect McDavid in town

‘“If you haven’t heard the name Connor McDavid and you’re a hockey fan, you’re dead,” Sherry Bassin, the Otters general manager/managing partner, cracked Thursday in First Niagara Center. “You gotta check your pulse because you need a mortician.”’

Connor McDavid impressed with Sabres, can see himself playing in Buffalo

‘“It’s a pretty nice spot,” he said about Buffalo. “The fans are crazy here.”’

Don’t hold your breath for McDavid

‘Don’t get me wrong — I think landing McDavid would be huge for the Sabres. But I think Ted Nolan is the kind of coach that won’t let his team be bad enough to contend for a draft pick derby.’

Friday’s Rochester Coverage

Amerks sign, MacKenzie, Irwin (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)
Amerks sign Irwin and MacKenzie to AHL contract (

McDavid, Eichel both to play at First Niagara Center

‘Of biggest importance to the Sabres is the fact that the team with the worst record will only drop to No. 2 if it does not win the lottery in 2015. That’s what happened to the Sabres this year, as they finished 14 points behind every other team but lost the lottery to the Florida Panthers and thus took Sam Reinhart with the No. 2 pick.’

Sabres shake up front office again, reassign Kevin Devine and promote Randy Cunneyworth

‘Cunneyworth, a noted talent developer, coached Montreal on an interim basis in 2011-12. He coached the Americans from 2000-08. He also played 866 NHL games, including 35 with the Sabres.’

Lottery changes won’t hurt Sabres

‘McDavid, perhaps the best draft prospect since Sidney Crosby, is coveted. Teams would likely become laughingstocks for a crack at the 17-year-old, a potential franchise-changing talent.’

Sabres centre Tyler Ennis sees role growing on team

‘“I think everyone goes through ups and downs, I had a really bad start to the year,” said Ennis, taking part at Perry Pearn’s 3-on-3 conditioning camp. “We went though a coaching change, management change, it was nice to finish off with new coaches and some stability. I think we’re optimistic this year. I think Tim Murray did some good work picking up some great players.”‘

Sabres shift Devine to player personnel director

‘Devine previously served as the team’s chief scout and assistant general manager. Those roles were filled by Greg Royce and Mark Jakubowski earlier this month.’

Sabres make more hockey department changes

‘Several other changes in the team’s hockey department have also been announced. Jason Long will serve as coordinator of player development, Corey Smith has been named video coach, Jim Kovachik has been named a pro scout, and Seamus Kotyk and Victor Nybladh have been named amateur scouts.’

Cunneyworth, Forton, Devine Take On New Roles

‘Cunneyworth, who worked mainly in player development with the Rochester Americans last season, will serve the organization as a player development coach. Forton will assume a new role to focus on scouting the collegiate ranks as an NCAA scout, and Devine will serve as director of player personnel.’

Core Values: Sabres rebuild off to good start

‘To be fair, a lot of this rebuild begun with former GM Darcy Regier and despite all of his mistakes, he got the team off to a seemingly positive start on the road to improvement through trades that brought in multiple first-round picks and used those to find potential franchise staples like Zemgus Girgensons, Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov. The latest addition was Murray’s however, in nabbing forward Sam Reinhart second overall this year. That’s just another step towards improvement.’

Sabres will seek more events

‘“Fill in the blanks. That’s what we’re interested in,” Sabres President Ted Black said after the team and NHL announced the league’s annual scouting combine will be here the next two years during a news conference in First Niagara Center.’

It’s business as usual for Sabres

‘Speaking after Monday’s news conference to announce the NHL Scouting Combine is coming to HarborCenter in 2015 and 2016, Black told The News there has been no change in the team’s operations and no inability to stay in touch with ownership while the Pegulas are pursuing an NFL franchise.’

Brian Gionta happy to be home

‘“I’m really excited about it,” said Gionta, a lifelong Greece resident who signed a three-year, $16.75 million contract on July 1. “I wanted to be in Montreal but when that door closed, this is where we wanted to be. Now there’s that excited anticipation.”’