Eichel’s coming to town

Chadd Cassidy joined the Sabres organization in 2011. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – The Sabres fired Rochester Americans coach Chadd Cassidy today, ending his four-year run with the organization, the last two of which he spent leading the AHL club.

Since Cassidy was a holdover from the Darcy Regier regime, it was expected Sabres general manager Tim Murray would let the 41-year-old go. Cassidy’s contract expires this summer. Murray has been bringing in his own men. He fired Ted Nolan as Sabres coach earlier this month.

“I’d like to thank Chadd for all …

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The Sabres plan to select Jack Eichel in June. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

Slick 18-year-old Jack Eichel briefly showcased some of his slick skills during Team USA’s 5-1 win over Finland in its world championship opener today, generating two strong chances in about a minute.

First, the future Buffalo Sabres center fired high on goalie Pekka Rinne after smoothly moving from the point area to the left circle with about seven minutes left in the second period. Later, Rinne stoned the Boston University superstar’s quick wrist shot from the left circle.

In 14 minutes, 47 …

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Evan Rodrigues signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Sabres on Wednesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Yes, Evan Rodrigues said, he thought about potentially playing with Jack Eichel again before signing a two-year, entry-level contract with the Sabres. But there was more to the 21-year-old winger’s decision than being reunited with his slick Boston University linemate.

Rodrigues chose the Sabres before Saturday’s NHL Draft Lottery guaranteed them the second selection in the upcoming draft, a pick they will almost certainly use to select Eichel, whose talents could potentially change the franchise.

The undrafted free agent whittled …

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Evan Rodrigues had 61 points in 2014-15. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have signed undrafted winger Evan Rodrigues, a linemate of Jack Eichel’s at Boston University, to a two-year, entry-level deal, according to WEEI and TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Update: The Sabres have officially announced the signing.

The 21-year-old Rodrigues just finished a huge senior season beside Eichel, scoring 21 goals and 61 points in 41 games. Rodrigues ranked second in the NCAA in scoring behind Eichel, the likely No. 2 pick by the Sabres in June, who had 70 points.

The …

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Sam Reinhart made his AHL debut Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

ROCHESTER – It wasn’t easy for Sam Reinhart to change his style. After all, the slick Buffalo Sabres prospect spent three seasons dominating junior hockey as an elite scorer.

“It’s hard in junior to force yourself to play the way you’re going to need to in the AHL and NHL,” Reinhart said Friday following his AHL debut with the Rochester Americans.

But Reinhart’s nine-game NHL trial in October taught the 19-year-old center some valuable lessons about succeeding in the professional game.

“You kind …

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Jack Eichel hasn't decided if he'll turn professional next season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – All season long, as the Sabres stayed in the basement and Connor McDavid mania reached a fever pitch, this was the likely scenario: the rebuilding club would lose the NHL Draft Lottery and Jack Eichel, not hockey’s most coveted prospect, would come to Buffalo.

Sure enough, it played out Saturday in a room inside the CBC building.

Incredibly, the Edmonton Oilers, who had only an 11.5 percent chance at the No. 1 pick, won the right to draft McDavid. The …

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Jack Eichel would likely be the No. 1 pick in any other year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

TORONTO – With only a 20 percent chance of winning, Tim Murray expected the Sabres would lose the NHL Draft Lottery tonight. The general manager was right. Sorry, Buffalo, Connor McDavid is going to the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers, with only an 11.5 percent chance, snagged hockey’s most coveted prospect.

The Sabres, of course, received a pretty nice consolation prize, slick Boston University center Jack Eichel. The 18-year-old Boston native would likely be the No. 1 pick in any other draft.

Eichel, the …

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Connor McDavid is hockey's biggest prospect in 10 years. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

TORONTO – Whether the Buffalo Sabres win the right to draft mega-prospect Connor McDavid or settle for the second pick tonight, the rebuilding team will emerge victorious from the most anticipated NHL Draft Lottery ever.

Leaving town with Jack Eichel, the consensus No. 2 selection, in your arsenal for years to come wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize, right?

“You look at what the Sabres had in the pipeline, when you add a player like McDavid or Eichel, it changes your franchise …

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Mark Pysyk took some hits Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

ROCHESTER – For Buffalo Sabres defense prospect Mark Pysyk, taking a couple big hits in the Americans’ 3-2 loss to the Utica Comets on Friday felt good.

“I got back up, nothing happened. That’s a good feeling,” Pysyk said following his return to game action after collapsing during a pickup basketball game Feb. 28 inside the Blue Cross War Memorial. “That’s good for the confidence.”

The Sabres told Pysyk, who suffered a seizure related to dehydration after playing two games with Buffalo, …

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Brian Gionta liked playing for Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

ROCHESTER – During a trying season in which the Buffalo Sabres lost 59 times and finished 30th overall, former coach Ted Nolan, who was fired Sunday, made it “good on the guys,” captain Brian Gionta said.

Still, Gionta understands when a team finishes last, the coach is the first to fall.

“Obviously, it’s tough,” Gionta said Friday as the Americans, the Sabres’ AHL affiliate, played the Utica Comets. “We love Teddy. Teddy’s a great guy. He was great in the room, did …

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