Best wishes to RJ

Andre Benoit played his first full NHL season in 2013-14. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The Sabres added more defense depth today, signing Andre Benoit to a one-year contract.

The deal’s worth $800,000, according to TSN’s Aaron Ward.

Benoit just completed his first full NHL season, compiling seven goals, 28 points and 26 penalty minutes in 79 games with the Colorado Avalanche. He averaged 21:17 of ice time.

The 30-year-old has 10 goals, 39 points and 40 penalty minutes 120 career NHL contests.

Sabres general manager Tim Murray knows Benoit well from their time together with the …

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Tyler Ennis signed a five-year, $23 million contract last week. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The setting made Tyler Ennis reflect on a career that almost never started.

The slick Sabres center was about to skate at Callingwood Recreation Centre, the rink around the corner from his childhood home in Edmonton, when word arrived last week his new five-year, $23 million contract had been finalized.

His best friend, Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon, was with him. So were the memories of his struggles as a youngster.

“I was just kind of thinking, ‘Wow, how far I’ve …

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Buffalo native Paul Schaus just won Paralympic gold. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Local athletes Paul Schaus and Adam Page were among 17 players named to the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team on Tuesday.

Team USA, the two-time defending Paralympic gold-medal winners, will be hosting the 2015 IPC Sledge Hockey World Championship April 23-May 2 here at HARBORCENTER.

For more information, click here.

Check out Dan and Margaret’s U.S. Sled Hockey galleries here and here.

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Jhonas Enroth (1), Mike Weber (6), Tyler Myers (57) and the Sabres will face Washington on March 16 on NBC Sports Network. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – NBC’s 2014-15 national television schedule includes 11 Sabres games.

From the schedule the NHL released today:

– Oct. 14 at Carolina, 7:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network) *

– Nov. 11 at St. Louis, 8 p.m., (NBCSN)

– Nov. 18 vs. San Jose, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN) *

– Dec. 2 vs. Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN) *

– Dec. 9 vs. Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN) *

– Jan. 18 at Detroit, 8 p.m. (NBCSN) *

– Feb. 15 vs. Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

– Feb. 17 vs. …

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Linus Ullmark will play one more season in his native Sweden. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – It was a low-risk move. In 2012, the Sabres wanted to find a late-round steal in net. The team’s new European scouts scoured Finland and Sweden, two countries known for producing hidden goaltending gems.

Eventually, the Sabres drafted Linus Ullmark, a little-known Swede, in the sixth round, 163rd overall.

Barely two years later, Ullmark has developed into a legitimate NHL prospect. The 20-year-old enjoyed a breakout season in the Swedish Hockey League last year, compiling a gaudy .931 save percentage …

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Linus Ullmark grew up playing Nintendo. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Despite being born in 1993, Sabres goalie prospect Linus Ullmark grew up playing Nintendo and Super Nintendo, classic video game consoles from an earlier generation.

“I’ve been playing that kind of stuff for a way, way long time, since I was like 5,” Ullmark said last week following a development camp session inside the First Niagara Center.

Ullmark likes the “Super Mario Bros.” games so much he asked his mask designer, David Gunnarsson, to paint characters from the game – …

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Sean Malone (gold) has played well since the Sabres drafted him. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – As a sixth-round pick, center Sean Malone faces some long odds to crack the NHL someday. But the West Seneca native has been developing rapidly since the Sabres selected him 159th overall in 2013.

The 19-year-old earned Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Year honors last season. He’ll be participating in Team USA’s world junior camp next month in Lake Placid.

In the Dan Hickling photo above, Malone nearly scores on goalie Nathan Lieuwen in close during Friday’s three-on-three development camp …

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Tyler Ennis will earn $23 million over five years. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

BUFFALO – If the Sabres couldn’t sign Tyler Ennis to a long-term deal, they would’ve given the slick center a one-year qualifying offer, general manager Tim Murray said this afternoon.

Ennis, a restricted free agent, inked a five-year, $23 million contract Thursday.

“It certainly wasn’t straightforward,” Murray said about getting the deal done.

Still, Murray believes “both sides were on the same page.”

“It was just how you got there,” he said inside the First Niagara Center.

Ennis just finished a two-year contract.

Right now, Ennis, …

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Sam Reinhart skates during today's three-on-three tournament. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – While no announcement is imminent, Sabres coach Ted Nolan is close to hiring some assistant coaches, general manager Tim Murray said.

“He’s talking to certain individuals, and he’s at a point where he’s talking contract with a couple individuals,” Murray said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “Now, whether the money and term suits them, I don’t know that. We’re not there yet.”

Following the season, the Sabres fired or reassigned the coaches Nolan inherited.

In other news, top prospect …

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Tyler Ennis is the Sabres' No. 1 center. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The five-year, $23 million commitment illustrates the Sabres’ strong belief in Tyler Ennis, their leading goal scorer and No. 1 center.

At 24 years old, the 5-foot-9 speedster has become a cornerstone for the rebuilding club.

The likable Ennis signed the new deal worth $4.6 million annually Thursday, becoming the Sabres’ third-highest cap hit behind defenseman Tyler Myers ($5.5 million) and winger Matt Moulson ($5 million).

Clearly, the Sabres believe Ennis will keep growing. He had a career-high 21 goals in …

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