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Crosby

Jack Eichel would likely be the No. 1 pick in any other year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

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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Tim Murray speaks Sunday after firing Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – For the first time since the Sabres replaced Ted Nolan following his initial run almost 18 years ago, the team must search for a new coach.

Yes, it has really been that long.

Lindy Ruff, Nolan’s replacement in 1997, lasted until 2013, when former Sabres general manager Darcy Regier quickly promoted Ron Rolston from Rochester as interim coach. Regier removed the interim tag following the season without interviewing anyone.

Nolan immediately took over as interim coach when owner Terry Pegula fired …

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Zach Bogosian battles with Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby (87) on Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The roughest season in the Sabres’ 45-year history is finally over, a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday capping an 82-game slate that was tumultuous from start to finish.

The outcome, of course, hardly mattered. The rebuilding Sabres, who never quit throughout the campaign, had already locked up 30th place and either the first or second draft pick in next Saturday’s draft lottery.

The season finale was about regaining some normalcy, hearing some of those Sabres fans who …

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Johan Larsson (22) battles Pittsburgh's Rob Scuderi on Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Three months ago, when the Sabres seemingly banished Johan Larsson to the minors, the 22-year-old’s future here seemed iffy.

Upon arriving in Rochester, Larsson complained about playing on the fourth line with the Sabres, something that angered coach Ted Nolan, who basically told Larsson to shut his mouth.

At that point, Larsson had one goal and six points in 41 NHL games.

Larsson entered Saturday’s season finale against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a 2-0 loss inside the First Niagara Center, as the …

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Sidney Crosby has a 19-game point streak against the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Sidney Crosby has feasted on the Sabres throughout his 10-year career.

The Pittsburgh Penguins superstar enters tonight’s season finale at the First Niagara Center with a 19-game point streak against the Sabres that goes back to Dec. 29, 2007. The 27-year-old has 10 goals and 36 points in that stretch.

Crosby has a point in all 15 career visits here, a whopping nine goals and 27 points. No wonder he said he likes the FNC ice earlier this season.

The slick …

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Jack Eichel won the Hobey Baker Award on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

Either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel will play for the Buffalo Sabres next season.

Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets clinched 30th place for the rebuilding Sabres, meaning they can fall no lower than second during the NHL Draft Lottery next Saturday and select one of the prized 18-year-old centers in June.

The Sabres have a 20 percent chance of getting McDavid, hockey’s biggest prospect since Sidney Crosby.

On Friday, about 240 miles from Columbus, McDavid was giving perhaps the most …

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Matt Moulson once formed a dynamic duo with John Tavares. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Five years ago, Matt Moulson, then a struggling winger on a two-way contract with the New York Islanders, was paired up with slick center John Tavares, the No. 1 pick months earlier.

The two immediately showcased dynamic chemistry together, becoming arguably the NHL’s best duo.

Moulson, now one of the Sabres’ top scorers, compiled seasons of 30, 31, 36 and 15 goals (in 48 games) with Tavares feeding him the puck.

How did Moulson, a former ninth-round pick, mesh so quickly …

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Rasmus Ristolainen practices Monday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – When you’re struggling and searching for anything to ignite the team, you experiment. So with nothing to lose, Sabres coach Ted Nolan paired Rasmus Ristolainen, 20, and rookie Nikita Zadorov, 19, together last game.

The defensemen became the Sabres’ top tandem in Saturday’s ugly 6-1 loss to Pittsburgh, each skating more than 20 minutes, more than Tyler Myers. Zadorov wasn’t on the ice for any goals against.

“If you look at both of them, one’s more on the defensive side …

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Sidney Crosby dissects the Sabres on Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – This one lasted one shift. Eighty-one seconds into the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 6-1 annihilation of the Sabres, Kris Letang converted Sidney Crosby’s slick pass, the first of the superstar’s five assists Saturday.

Game over.

The Penguins utterly destroyed the hapless Sabres before a capacity crowd of 19,070 fans inside the First Niagara Center.

The potent Penguins scored again before the Sabres recorded their first shot 13:21 into the lopsided contest. They led 3-0 after the first period, 6-1 after the second and …

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