The Eichel Era

Archive:
Catenacci

Matt Ellis will have options if he retires. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

ROCHESTER – Physically, Matt Ellis said, he hasn’t felt this good in four or five years. At 34 years old, having just finished his 14th pro season, the popular former Buffalo Sabres forward believes he could keep playing.

“I definitely feel like I got lots left in the tank,” Ellis said Thursday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial.

Still, Ellis understands he could be nearing retirement. This season, his first out of the NHL in 10 years, he played only 56 times …

Read More --->
Nick Deslauriers beats Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson on Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – As a third- or fourth-liner known more for his fists than his soft hands, gritty Buffalo Sabres winger Nick Deslauriers has endured some long goal droughts.

While the likable Deslauriers scored his career-high sixth goal in Friday’s 3-1 home win against the Ottawa Senators, he has only 12 in his 160-game career. After scoring three times in the first 11 games this season, the former defenseman went 41 appearances before finally scoring again March 3.

“I told him he needs …

Read More --->
Jack Eichel (15) will miss his first NHL game. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – The flu will force Buffalo Sabres rookie Jack Eichel to miss his first NHL game tonight, coach Dan Bylsma said.

To replace the center against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, the Sabres have recalled rookie winger Dan Catenacci from the Rochester Americans. Cal O’Reilly will move to center, Bylsma said.

Eichel, 19, finished Friday’s 3-1 home win against the Ottawa Senators, recording as assist, his 49th point.

“It didn’t come on until early morning this morning,” Bylsma said inside the Air …

Read More --->
Sabres goalie Chad Johnson stops Ottawa's Bobby Ryan on Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In the span of six months, Sabres goalie Chad Johnson has been a backup, a starter, part of a platoon with rookie Linus Ullmark and a backup again.

For this weekend at least, with Robin Lehner sidelined, Johnson is the Sabres’ top netminder again.

Johnson started Friday’s 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators inside the First Niagara Center, his fifth straight victory, and will get another nod tonight in Toronto against the Maple Leafs, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said.

Lehner could …

Read More --->
Robin Lehner believes smaller equipment might help goalies. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Robin Lehner’s the NHL’s biggest goalie.

Sure, a few are taller than the Sabres’ new starter. Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, for example, is 6-foot-7 but weighs 31 fewer pounds than his former AHL teammate.

Lehner, of course, looks huge in his net. But so do a lot of other goalies much smaller than the Swede.

“There’s guys out there that weigh 160 pounds (who are) not that tall who look bigger than me, and … I’m …

Read More --->
Ryan O'Reilly (90) stickhandles between Detroit's Alexey Marchenko (47) and Henrik Zetterberg (40) on Jan. 2. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Since a broken right foot has sidelined Ryan O’Reilly the last 11 games, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma wants to ease his No. 1 center and most versatile asset back into the lineup tonight after a 26-day absence.

So O’Reilly, who plays more than any NHL forward at 21 minutes, 51 seconds a game, might see a little less action against the Montreal Canadiens inside the First Niagara Center.

“I think you do ease him back in, without a question,” Sabres …

Read More --->
Evander Kane loves to shoot the puck. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – By now, 56 games into Evander Kane’s Buffalo Sabres tenure, most observers know what will happen when the former 30-goal scorer zooms down the wing.

Instead of cutting to the net and skating to the so-called “dirty area,” Kane often just shoots the puck.

Modern NHL goalies – so large, well-trained and armored – usually swallow it up easily.

Kane began Monday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Maple Leafs with the ninth-most shots in the NHL, a team-high 228 (4.1 a …

Read More --->
Dan Catenacci has been playing on the fourth line. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – Dan Catenacci’s welcome-to-the NHL-moment came Feb. 9, when during his second game, the Buffalo Sabres rookie spotted Florida Panthers star Jaromir Jagr, a 44-year-old legend.

“I was kind of in awe,” Catenacci, a native of nearby Newmarket, said this afternoon inside the Air Canada Centre.

Before Catenacci’s father, Maurice, ended his European career in the 1990s, he also played against Jagr.

“It’s pretty cool for me and my dad to both play against a legend,” Catenacci said after he prepared for …

Read More --->
Evander Kane (9) has been one of the Sabres' steadiest goal scorers. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – In his last three starts, goalie Robin Lehner has been the Sabres’ backbone, stopping 100 of the 105 shots opponents have pumped on him, a gaudy .952 save percentage.

For his efforts, thanks to just a single goal of support, Lehner earned zero wins.

“It’s frustrating to let those (performances) go to waste,” Sabres winger Marcus Foligno said Wednesday.

For the first time since 2010-11, the Sabres could have four players – Jack Eichel, Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly and Sam Reinhart …

Read More --->
Connor McDavid (97) downplayed hype before his first game in Buffalo. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Dan Bylsma, as he loves to do, kept accompanying his words with a sly grin. The so-called rivalry between phenoms Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid is a “made-up” scenario, the Sabres coach said Tuesday.

The Sabres’ 2-1 overtime loss to McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers was the first-ever NHL meeting between the “generational talents” drafted first and second overall last year. The rookies barely know each other.

How could they truly be rivals?

“The hype is produced,” Bylsma told a packed media room …

Read More --->