On with the summer

Archive:
Ellis

Nick Baptiste scored 32 goals last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – OK, it’s time for a quick development camp quiz, Sabres fans.

Name the only youngster in hockey who has already played alongside slick centers Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, the top two picks in the 2015 NHL Draft.

It’s Sabres prospect Nick Baptiste, the 69th overall selection in 2013.

“I’m a lucky guy,” Baptiste said Thursday. “They’re both so fantastically good.”

Now, name the most prolific career scorer among the 46 players in camp.

It’s Baptiste, a 19-year-old who scored 106 goals in …

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Jack Eichel's excited for his pro "debut." ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Since arriving in Buffalo last week, Sabres prospect Jack Eichel has been “doing the media tour and doing a million things.” The 18-year-old center just wants to play a hockey game, something he hasn’t done in months.

Eichel will get his wish tonight, when the Sabres host what is quickly becoming a huge summer event, the annual development camp scrimmage at 7 p.m. inside the First Niagara Center.

The Sabres have already sold more than 10,000 tickets at $10 each. …

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Matt Ellis joined the Sabres in 2008. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Matt Ellis will be back for an eighth season with the Sabres organization.

The Rochester Americans signed the popular forward to a one-year AHL contract today. The respected 33-year-old, a veteran of 356 NHL games, spent parts of two seasons as Amerks captain before getting recalled. He could wear the ‘C’ in 2015-16.

Ellis has split the last three seasons between Buffalo and Rochester, playing 95 games in each league. He started the last two seasons in the AHL before …

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Andrej Sekera might get snatched up early in free agency. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – For a rebuilding team fresh off two consecutive 30th-place finishes, the Sabres’ shopping list entering free agency, which opens today at noon, is relatively small. A weekend of wheeling and dealing at the NHL Draft pretty much set the roster for the upcoming season.

The Sabres have two goalies, four forward lines and almost a full defense corps. Not bad for a team that finished 2014-15 using a patchwork lineup filled with AHL players.

General manager Tim Murray’s main target …

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Sabres general manager Tim Murray is offering Mikhail Grigorenko a two-way contract. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
9

BUFFALO – General manager Tim Murray knows 21-year-old center Mikhail Grigorenko is frustrated the Sabres are offering a two-way contract. The restricted free agent dislikes the deal so much he’s reportedly fielding offers from the KHL, a league in his native Russia.

“I hear rumors,” Murray said Thursday during a news conference inside the First Niagara Center to discuss next week’s NHL Draft.

Clearly, the Sabres and Grigorenko’s camp have vastly different opinions of the youngster, the No. 12 pick in 2012.

“We …

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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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Ted Nolan took over the Sabres early last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

BUFFALO – Six weeks into last season, Sabres winger Tyler Ennis was struggling badly. The Xs and Os of hockey were overwhelming him and sapping the creativity from his instinctive game.

In the past, Ennis said, some coaches “limited me in terms of my creativity and what I’m allowed to do.”

Then coach Ted Nolan took over the Sabres 21 games into 2013-14.

“He’s smart in that he understands what guys can do and what guys can’t do,” Ennis said about Nolan on …

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Brian Gionta was named captain in October. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Sabres captain Brian Gionta has finally started scoring again. With two more assists Wednesday, the winger has four goals and 11 points in the last nine contests, his hottest stretch in more than a year.

Gionta, after months of offensive struggles, looks like the slick veteran who has averaged 26 goals in his full NHL seasons. The production has helped buoy the Sabres’ late-season goal surge and a two-game winning streak entering tonight’s tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks inside …

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Matt Ellis celebrates his first goal this season Wednesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

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 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 Niagara Center.

“Putting …

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Matt Ellis (37) skates Monday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

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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