The Eichel Era

Marcus Foligno celebrates his second goal Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – On the Sabres bench, they were all wondering what Marcus Foligno would do with his second-period penalty shot Friday, coach Dan Bylsma said.

The hulking winger possesses a lethal shot, yet he rarely utilizes it. From watching him up close in practice for months, Bylsma has learned Foligno has a tendency to deke.

So as he roared in at 17:41, Bylsma must’ve been mildly surprised to see him unleash a wicked wrist shot high over Montreal Canadiens goalie Mike Condon’s …

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Jake McCabe had his suspension rescinded Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Before Dan Bylsma answered a question about the suspect hit that likely concussed Sabres winger Dan Catenacci late in Thursday’s ugly 5-1 road loss in Philadelphia, the coach paused for a few moments.

Clearly, Bylsma, who said he hadn’t watched a replay, wanted to choose his words carefully.

Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas, who has a reputation for questionable hits and has been suspended by the NHL once, won’t have a disciplinary hearing. Meanwhile, Catenacci missed Friday’s exciting 6-4 win against …

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Dan Cantenacci will miss tonight's game. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Before Dan Bylsma answered a question about the suspect hit that likely concussed Sabres winger Dan Catenacci late in Thursday’s ugly 5-1 road loss in Philadelphia, the coach paused for a few moments.

Clearly, Bylsma, who said he hadn’t watched a replay, wanted to choose his words carefully.

Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas, who has a reputation for questionable hits and has been suspended by the NHL once, won’t have a disciplinary hearing, according to the Cherry Hilly Courier Post’s Dave …

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Ryan O'Reilly hasn't scored since Jan. 8. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – As Ryan O’Reilly’s struggles have increased recently, so have the frequency of his talks with Sabres coach Dan Bylsma, who has told his top center to take a deep breath and relax.

Just a few months ago, as O’Reilly, 25, enjoyed a scorching start, the two didn’t need to chat much. But the Sabres’ lone NHL All-Star is extremely hard on himself. After nearly every loss, he almost sounds inconsolable as he laments his miscues and lost opportunities.

So naturally, …

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justin Bailey has been on a tear in Rochester. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres recalled rookie winger Justin Bailey, a Williamsville native who grew up rooting for the team, from the Rochester Americans this afternoon.

The 6-foot-4, 206-pound Bailey, 20, could make his NHL debut in Thursday’s road game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said earlier today winger Zemgus Girgensons and center Johan Larsson, who both missed Tuesday’s 7-4 loss to Florida, were questionable for the Flyers. Neither player practiced today.

Bailey, the 52nd overall pick in 2013, has …

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Sabres rookie Jack Eichel (15) battles Anaheim's Kevin Bieska earlier this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Relax, everyone. Sabres rookie Jack Eichel only had a maintenance day from practice today, coach Dan Bylsma said. The 19-year-old will play Thursday in Philadelphia.

Bylsma said part of Eichel’s absence today inside HarborCenter was related to a shot block late in Tuesday’s 7-4 loss to Florida. Eichel also has a “couple bumps and bruises.”

In other injury news, center Johan Larsson and winger Zemgus Girgensons, who both sat out Tuesday, also missed practice. Bylsma said they’re being evaluated and …

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Sabres rookie Jack Eichel (15) rushes the puck Tuesday with Florida's Dmitry Kulikov in pursuit. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Following a dreadful first period Tuesday in which the Sabres imploded and fell behind 3-0 to the upstart Florida Panthers, some frustrated fans booed for one of the few times this season.

Not long ago, games like the Sabres’ wretched 7-4 loss inside the First Niagara Center – a contest hardly as close as the score might indicate – were gladly accepted by a fan base that valued a high draft pick over winning.

But these days, with coveted rookie …

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Brian Campbell should hit 1,000 games in April. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – More than 12 years later, the number is seared into Brian Campbell’s memory. It is a part of the popular former Sabres defenseman. After a Stanley Cup and multiple NHL All-Star appearances, it still motivates the Florida Panthers standout as he approaches a prestigious milestone.

Back in 2003-04, Campbell’s fifth NHL season, the youngster couldn’t crack the Sabres’ less-than-stellar defense corps, regularly serving as a spare part.

“I don’t forget how many healthy scratches I had,” Campbell said Tuesday prior …

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Johan Larsson (22) has been centering the third line. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres center Johan Larsson “had a little bit of an issue in the morning skate” and is a game-time decision for tonight’s contest against the Florida Panthers, coach Dan Bylsma said.

What if Larsson, who has been recently been pivoting the third line well, can’t play? Well, the Sabres might recall a forward from the AHL, Bylsma said. They could also use seven defensemen, something Bylsma doesn’t like but has done about 30 times in his coaching career, he …

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Dan Catenacci has played three seasons in the AHL. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – In his first three AHL seasons, Sabres winger Dan Catenacci has developed what he believes is a strong relationship with his coaches. So the youngster was shocked when Randy Cunneyworth summoned him to his office Friday and the entire Rochester Americans’ staff began berating him.

What was the beef? Something Catenacci called a “nothing play” in the previous game.

“They started yelling at me,” he said Monday following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

An “angry” Cunneyworth eventually ordered Catenacci to …

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