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Larsson a center of attention for tonight's home opener

Johan Larsson on the bench during his only previous NHL game, playing for Minnesota against Detroit on Feb. 17. (Getty Images)


By Mike Harrington

Much of training camp and the buildup to the season opener in Detroit was spent on the debuts of first-round draft picks Rasmus Ristolainen and Zemgus Girgensons. Tonight's home opener against the Ottawa Senators will mark the Buffalo debut of 21-year-old center Johan Larsson, another player the Sabres have high hopes for as a future building block.

With Ville Leino injured and Tyler Ennis shifted to wing, Larsson will take the ice as Buffalo's No. 2 center tonight between Ennis and Steve Ott.

"I'm really excited to go out and play," Larsson said today. "Camp was pretty good for me and that helped me build the confidence to do some work. they are two good players but they just told me to go out there and play my style and that's what I want to do.

Larsson, of course, was acquired from Minnesota last year as part of the Jason Pominville trade that also brought Matt Hackett and, as it turned out, Nikita Zadorov. His career will be closely watched as a main guy acquired in the deal for a captain.

"They really wanted me I think," Larsson said. "They told me to go out and play my style. That's the only thing I have to do. It's a great group of guys here to help me out. [Henrik] Tallinder helps me out. He's from Sweden too. You just go out, have fun."

Continue reading "Larsson a center of attention for tonight's home opener" »

It was about the playoffs for Amerks, and several Sabres prospects showed well

By John Vogl

Despite a key talking point lately, it is in fact about the playoffs. It's the best hockey of the year, and players build or enhance their reputations during the postseason.

Zemgus Girgensons sure did.

The 19-year-old had an non-descript regular season in Rochester, but he was the Amerks' best player as the team lost all three games to Toronto. (Read all about him here.)

“Best player on the team. Best player on the ice,” said Amerks forward Cody McCormick, the former Sabres tough guy who was no slouch himself against the Marlies.

Continue reading "It was about the playoffs for Amerks, and several Sabres prospects showed well" »

Amerks coach complimentary of Sabres' prospects Girgensons, Hackett, Larsson

By John Vogl

ROCHESTER -- The Sabres' season is done, and their minor-league club can't afford another loss. Rochester is in a 2-0 hole to the Toronto Marlies, and Game Three of the best-of-five series is Wednesday night in Rochester.

Though the team is in trouble, the prospects are getting rave reviews from Amerks coach Chadd Cassidy. Here are his thoughts from today on forward Zemgus Girgensons, selected in the first round last year, and center Johan Larsson and goalie Matt Hackett, who were acquired in the trade that sent Jason Pominville to Minnesota.

Continue reading "Amerks coach complimentary of Sabres' prospects Girgensons, Hackett, Larsson" »

Larsson's 'weird day' starts with leaving Wild's morning skate, ends with Sabres and Amerks

By John Vogl

Johan Larsson was in his Minnesota Wild gear today, ready to take part in the morning skate. The session didn't last long.

The Wild and Sabres agreed to a trade that sent Larsson to Buffalo as part of a deal for Jason Pominville, so Minnesota took the forward off the ice to prevent injury.

"It’s been kind of a weird day," Larsson said by phone this evening. "We’re in San Jose right now, and I just stepped on the ice and they took me off, then we go from there."

Continue reading "Larsson's 'weird day' starts with leaving Wild's morning skate, ends with Sabres and Amerks" »

Sabres' Larsson, known as 'The Bull,' has shown improvement as scorer

By John Vogl

New Sabres acquisition Johan Larsson is known as a defensive forward, a powerful center/winger who goes by the nickname of "The Bull" in his native Sweden. He's begun to add finesse, too.

Larsson, a 20-year-old who is coming to Buffalo as part of the deal that sent Jason Pominville to Minnesota, had 12 goals in 49 games during his last season in the Swedish league. In the American Hockey League this year, Larsson recorded 15 goals and 37 points in 62 games.

"Johan is a player that has continued to get better since he was a young player first being evaluated for the draft," his agent, Craig Oster, said about the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder. "He’s not a tall player but extremely stocky, very, very strong. I think his nickname in Sweden is 'the Bull.'

"He’s demonstrated at different times a little bit more of a scoring touch than people had originally anticipated.

"He can play center, wing, penalty killer. If I had to categorize him, responsibly defensive forward who can also chip in offensively and has some offensive creativity."

Listening in to newest Sabre Johan Larsson

By Mike Harrington

Quick video looks at new Sabres forward Johan Larsson, speaking to the Houston Aeros' web site in January and speaking after last year's gold-medal clinching game of the World Junior Championships. He was the captain for Team Sweden as it won the title last year in Calgary.

John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |