five games left

Archive:
Ellis

Matt Ellis celebrates his first goal this season Wednesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – It was a pretty goal, the type that can bring fans out of their seats before the puck is even in the net. Basically, it was the kind of goal Sabres center Matt Ellis never scores.

In 351 NHL games, Ellis has only 21 goals. The likable veteran hadn’t scored a point in 33 appearances this season prior to his nifty highlight-reel winner Wednesday in the Sabres’ 4-3 come-from-behind victory against the hapless Toronto Maple Leafs inside the First …

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Matt Ellis (37) skates Monday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – To Sabres center Matt Ellis, the AHL’s experiment with three-on-three overtime this season has created “a really exciting brand” of hockey.

The extra space allows players to freewheel all over the ice and have fun. Systems become an afterthought.

“The speed and the skill really shines through, the amount of open ice,” Ellis, who played 38 games in Rochester this season, said Monday prior to the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals. “It’s incredible to see it, and …

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The Sabres acquired Zach Bogosian on Feb. 11. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Zach Bogosian slipped into town under the radar last month. High-scoring winger Evander Kane and ace defenseman Tyler Myers garnered most of the attention in the Sabres’ blockbuster trade with the Winnipeg Jets, allowing the defenseman, the No. 3 pick in 2008, to quietly adjust to his new team.

“It’s kind of how I like it,” Bogosian said Thursday following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “I wanted to come here and work hard, show my worth to the …

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The Sabres acquired Jerry D'Amigo from Columbus on Dec. 16. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – Jerry D’Amigo understands an opportunity like the one he’s enjoying with the Buffalo Sabres doesn’t materialize very often.

Injuries and trades have opened up a regular spot on the fourth line for the 24-year-old, a hardworking winger with 25 games of NHL experience. The rebuilding Sabres are the Binghamton native’s third organization since July.

The final 16 games could be D’Amigo’s best – and last – chance to prove he deserves regular NHL duty.

“I think you get only a few …

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Mikhail Grigorenko recently returned from a knee injury. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – For once, center Mikhail Grigorenko can relax a little bit. Eighteen games are left in the Sabres’ trying season. The NHL’s weakest lineup needs reinforcements.

Grigorenko, the 12th pick in 2012, should get a long look after getting recalled from Rochester again this morning.

The Russian was excited when he saw a white practice jersey hanging in his locker today. That meant he would be centering the second line beside Marcus Foligno and captain Brian Gionta.

“I think it’s a really …

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Phil Varone skates Wednesday inside HarborCenter. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Prior to Phil Varone’s 19th NHL game Tuesday, the Sabres center couldn’t find his No. 84 written on the board with the team’s new line combinations.

The 24-year-old looked again and found it an unexpected spot.

“I didn’t see it at the top,” Varone said Wednesday following practice inside HarborCenter. “It was pretty surreal, obviously. I was in the AHL three weeks ago. It’s just pretty special.”

Yes, Varone, who has three goals and four points in his short career, is …

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Chris Stewart skates between Vancouver's Eddie Lack (31) and Luca Sbisa (5) on Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Chris Stewart will leave town with no regrets, he said. Despite some tough times in Buffalo, he enjoyed playing here.

The Sabres will likely deal the honest veteran today before the 3 p.m. trade deadline, ending his one-year run with the rebuilding club. He’s excited about the fresh opportunity a trade could bring him.

A year ago at the deadline, St. Louis, a team built to win the Stanley Cup, dealt Stewart to the lowly Sabres. Missing the …

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Zemgus Girgensons blocked a shot Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

BUFFALO – Top Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons, who blocked a shot with his right ankle Tuesday, will play again this season, coach Ted Nolan said this morning.

Nolan hinted Girgensons could be finished after James Wisniewski’s shot hit the Latvian halfway through the 4-2 win in Columbus.

“It’s bad but not as bad as we thought,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center.

Nolan wouldn’t say if Girgensons’ ankle was broken.

“It could be, but it still could be healed in two weeks,” he …

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The Sabres recalled Matt Ellis last month. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Matt Ellis considers himself a realist. At 33 years old, the center understands the Sabres have younger and more talented players they need to examine.

That’s why the veteran of 330 NHL games spent four months this season mentoring the organization’s AHL prospects in Rochester.

“To be perfectly honest, I enjoyed the role that I played in Rochester,” Ellis said Monday inside the First Niagara Center.

The role was fulfilling. Ellis felt proud when several Sabres prospects realized their dreams. Joel …

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Johan Larsson's comments last month upset Sabres coach Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – As the Sabres trickled out on the ice Sunday morning, coach Ted Nolan and winger Johan Larsson skated around and talked about the prospect’s latest recall.

Upon getting demoted to Rochester in early January, Larsson voiced his displeasure with having to skate on the fourth line in the NHL, a complaint that irked Nolan.

“Yeah, I was upset,” Nolan said. “Players play. The tail can’t wag the dog.”

So Nolan gave Larsson a direct message during their brief chat prior to …

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