The Eichel Era

Archive:
Cunneyworth

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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Jack Eichel had a nifty assist on his first shift. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – It took just one 25-second shift, his first wearing a Sabres uniform, for rookie Jack Eichel to create his first highlight.

There will likely be many more over the coming years.

Seconds into Sabres’ 6-2 rookie camp exhibition win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, Eichel snagged the puck in his own zone with clear ice ahead, and the announced crowd of 5,505 inside the First Niagara Center began to buzz.

An instant later, the fans roared when Eichel fed …

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Randy Cunneyworth talks Wednesday. ©2015, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
4

ROCHESTER – For three years, wherever Randy Cunneyworth went, he was asked the same question.

“I don’t think there was a person I came across that didn’t mention, ‘Are you going to get back into coaching or not?’” Cunneyworth recalled Wednesday after being introduced as the Rochester Americans’ new coach inside the Blue Cross War Memorial.

Cunneyworth enjoyed his player development job with the Buffalo Sabres – “I’m into whatever I’m doing,” he said – but coaching was “always prevalent on my …

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Randy Cunneyworth was Montreal's interim coach for 50 games in 2011-12. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – As the summer dragged on and the Rochester Americans’ coaching job remained open, one name kept popping up in rumors: Randy Cunneyworth, who had coached the Sabres’ AHL affiliate for eight seasons before moving up to the NHL.

Cunneyworth appeared to be the logical choice. The 54-year-old, a noted talent developer, was already a special assistant and a player development coach with the Amerks. He’s familiar with Buffalo’s prospects and the organization.

Sure enough, the Sabres general manager Tim Murray …

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Kevin Devine has been with the Sabres 17 years. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Kevin Devine has been reassigned to director of player personnel, one of several front office changes the Sabres announced today.

Devine served as assistant general manager under former GM Darcy Regier.

In addition, Randy Cunneyworth has been named player development coach. Cunneyworth, Rochester’s former coach, mostly worked in player development with the AHL club last season. Dennis Miller, the old player development coach, is still with the organization, a team spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Jerry Forton, an assistant coach last season, has …

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