The Eichel Era

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Cunneyworth

Linus Ullmark struggled late in the season in Rochester. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

ROCHESTER – In the midst of a nine-game AHL winless stretch in which Buffalo Sabres prospect Linus Ullmark allowed 37 goals, the rookie goalie received a much-needed confidence boost.

When a bruised finger prevented goalie Chad Johnson from playing April 9, the Sabres recalled the struggling Swede from the Americans hours before their season finale against the New York Islanders.

In his first NHL start since Jan. 12, Ullmark helped the Sabres win 4-3 in overtime. The victory, Ullmark’s only win at …

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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 …

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Tyler Myers is out for the season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Tyler Myers’ first game back here will have to wait until another season. The Winnipeg Jets defenseman underwent knee surgery Thursday and will miss the rest of the year.

The Jets make their yearly visit to the First Niagara Center on Saturday afternoon.

After Myers’ knee is stabilized and the season ends, he will undergo major hip surgery that requires 16 to 20 weeks of recovery, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

“He needs his knee to rehab the hip,” Jets …

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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
0

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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Matt Donovan spent all last season in the NHL but only played 12 games. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

ROCHESTER – It’s easy to forget, but almost four months ago, Matt Donovan made the Buffalo Sabres’ roster out of training camp and briefly stayed as the eighth defenseman.

After sitting out three games as a healthy scratch, the Sabres sent Donovan, 25, to the AHL, where he has quietly resumed a career that stalled last season with the New York Islanders.

Sure, getting demoted to the Americans was disappointing. But simply having an opportunity to play regularly has jumpstarted Donovan, who …

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Linus Ullmark knows he must improve to be a No. 1 NHL goalie. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

ROCHESTER – Ten minutes after his occasionally suspect 20-save outing ended Wednesday, goalie Linus Ullmark was his normal loquacious self, joking and laughing with a familiar face following the Americans’ entertaining 6-5 overtime win.

Ullmark’s third appearance since the Buffalo Sabres sent him to their AHL affiliate earlier this month was perhaps his toughest game in what has mostly been an impressive rookie season. His teammates frequently abandoned him, leaving Syracuse Crunch players open for third and fourth opportunities.

Still, the 6-foot-4, …

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Phil Varone has been a healthy scratch this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

ROCHESTER – One of the oddest situations in the minors is unfolding with the AHL Americans, the Buffalo Sabres’ high-priced affiliate. The club has too many veterans, meaning some notable talent earning six figures has been forced to sit out to comply with league development rules.

The Amerks scratched Jerry D’Amigo and Patrick Kaleta, two forwards with 379 games of NHL experience, Friday. Forward Matt Ellis, an alternate captain less than a year removed from regular NHL duty, sat out for …

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Jean Dupuy already has 10 points with Rochester. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

ROCHESTER – The biggest early-season surprise on the farm hasn’t been Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste or Evan Rodrigues – three talented AHL rookie forwards many believe will play for the Buffalo Sabres someday.

While the prospects have contributed to the Americans at times, another first-year pro has outplayed them all. Remember this name: Jean Dupuy.

Who? Just 23 games into his career, Dupuy, an undrafted center from the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, looks like he could have a future …

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Jack Eichel gave Boston fits all night. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel had just played about half of the final 25 minutes of regulation and overtime, and following a long shift in his own zone, coach Randy Cunneyworth asked the Sabres rookie if he had anything left. The 18-year-old phenom figured he could muster one final skate.

“I figured I could go out there and see what I could do,” Eichel said modestly following his highlight-reel winning goal with 37 seconds left in the three-on-three overtime Monday.

Eichel’s final shift …

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Dan Catenacci scored 15 goals last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – As last year dragged on and the losses and recalls piled up, at least one bright spot emerged for the depleted Rochester Americans, forward Dan Catenacci, an often overlooked Sabres prospect.

In his second professional season, Catenacci, 22, developed into one of the AHL club’s lone offensive threats, scoring 12 of his 15 goals in his final 38 games.

Catenacci, a third-round pick in 2011, 77th overall, is rarely mentioned among Buffalo’s top forward prospects, something that likely won’t change …

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