Best wishes to RJ

Jack Eichel could be taken No. 2 next year. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel, a slick center many project to be the No. 2 draft pick next year, headlines the 42-man roster USA Hockey released today for the upcoming All-American Prospects Game.

The Sept. 25 tilt at the First Niagara Center features the top U.S. players eligible for the 2015 draft.

Eichel, a Boston University freshman, could be one of the top American prospects ever. He’s expected to be drafted behind center Connor McDavid, whose Erie Otters play Oct. 22 in Buffalo.

The …

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Connor McDavid visited Buffalo on Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The sight was enough to make any Sabres fan dream and drool: 17-year-old phenom Connor McDavid inside the First Niagara Center, talking about playing here someday.

For good measure, he was even photographed with a Sabres banner behind him.

If you ask the junior superstar, he’ll acknowledge that, yes, he can envision himself wearing blue and gold come 2015.

“It’s a great organization,” the slick center said Thursday after touring the rink, where his Erie Otters will face the Niagara IceDogs …

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Connor McDavid is hockey's brightest young talent. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – If you ask him, 17-year-old phenom Connor McDavid will acknowledge that, yes, he can envision himself playing for the Sabres in two seasons.

“Yeah, that’s something that’s crossed your mind, I guess,” the slick center said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center, where his Erie Otters will face the Niagara IceDogs in a Oct. 22 Ontario Hockey League game. “You can’t worry about that right now.”

Right now, McDavid, who’s been dubbed hockey’s next great superstar, is focusing on …

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Connor McDavid is coveted by NHL teams. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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The draft lottery changes the NHL unveiled today might not hurt the Buffalo Sabres, owners of three 2015 first-round picks, next year. The league’s worst team can’t fall below the second pick.

The odds of nabbing that No. 1 pick, however, have fallen from 25 percent to 20, according to the league.

Still, the Sabres, a team many have pegged to finish last, will get Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, the consensus top two prospects, if they finish 30th overall again.

From the …

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Kevin Devine has been with the Sabres 17 years. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Kevin Devine has been reassigned to director of player personnel, one of several front office changes the Sabres announced today.

Devine served as assistant general manager under former GM Darcy Regier.

In addition, Randy Cunneyworth has been named player development coach. Cunneyworth, Rochester’s former coach, mostly worked in player development with the AHL club last season. Dennis Miller, the old player development coach, is still with the organization, a team spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Jerry Forton, an assistant coach last season, has …

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Connor McDavid will likely be drafted No. 1 next year. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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For one night at least, Connor McDavid, the top 2015 NHL draft prospect, is coming to Buffalo.

The Sabres announced this afternoon the team will be a hosting an Ontario Hockey League game with the Erie Otters, McDavid’s club, at the First Niagara Center next season.

Of course, Sabres fans want more than a glimpse of McDavid, the slick 17-year-old sensation many regard as the best prospect since Sidney Crosby. But given the slew of signings the Sabres made earlier this summer, …

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Ted Black (left) and Colin Campbell talk Monday. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – To Colin Campbell, who’s spent his life in hockey as a player, coach and executive, this city has a special place in the game.

“Buffalo, for a lot of hockey people, is almost like an Original Six team,” Campbell, the senior executive vice president of NHL Hockey Operations, said Monday in announcing the Sabres had landed the NHL Scouting Combine. “It’s been here for a long time, a lot of history here and a lot of things have happened …

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Colin Campbell speaks this afternoon. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Before the NHL Scouting Combine could move here, commissioner Gary Bettman told Colin Campbell, one of his top lieutenants, the league had to allow all 30 teams a crack at the event

“We had a lot of interest,” Campbell, the senior executive vice president of NHL Hockey Operations, said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center.

Eventually, the NHL whittled its list down to two cities, Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

“Buffalo was heads and tails above everyone else,” Campbell said during a …

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Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart attended the NHL Scouting Combine in May. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have a “major announcement” planned for Monday afternoon, and multiple outlets are reporting the team has secured an agreement to host the NHL Scouting Combine next year.

The team bid on the combine earlier this year. The new Harbor Center facility, which opens this fall, would be the site.

Colin Campbell, the senior executive vice president of NHL Hockey Operations, will be attending the news conference. So will Sabres president Ted Black, Harbor Center president John Koelmen and …

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Sam Reinhart scored a goal Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Sam Reinhart hasn’t stopped much this “offseason.” Before the Buffalo Sabres selected him second overall June 27, the slick prospect spent the spring preparing for the NHL Entry Draft. Following his whirlwind draft experience, Reinhart participated in Buffalo’s summer development camp three weeks ago.

Reinhart’s back on the ice again, skating at Team Canada’s world junior camp this week in Quebec. The 18-year-old captained the Canadians and scored a goal in a 6-2 win against the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

Ace photographer …

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