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Ennis

Mark Pysyk figured he was in the Sabres' plans. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Fresh off his first full NHL season, Mark Pysyk figured he was in the Sabres’ long-term plans. With the defenseman skating regular minutes in 55 games, the team improved 27 points, moving from last overall to 23rd.

“I wasn’t really banking on anything happening,” Pysyk told the Times Herald by phone Sunday.

Then Saturday morning, as Pysyk slept, his phone began lighting up with calls and texts. Eventually, his fiancé informed him the Sabres had just traded him to the …

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Rasmus Ristolainen has been a strong pick for the Sabres. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – To thrive in the modern NHL, teams must build through the draft. It’s that simple. The days of loading up with veteran players through free agency or trades are long gone. The league belongs to the 20-somethings now, and if teams draft poorly, they’re doomed.

How good are the Sabres at drafting? Judge for yourself below. Since drafts usually don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at their selections from 2008-13. Eighteen of Buffalo’s 47 …

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Tyler Ennis wants to improve his practice habits. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – As winger Tyler Ennis watched his teammates enjoy some success during his three-month recovery from a concussion, the Sabres’ longest-tenured player reflected on his career and how he must improve.

One day, Ennis, 26, told Tim Murray, “I used to come in to practice and put my skates and pants on and have fun,” the general manager said Monday inside the First Niagara Center.

“Maybe this makes him a better player,” Murray said. “Maybe this makes him a harder worker.”

The …

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Ryan O'Reilly was named team MVP Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – In his first season as coach, Dan Bylsma has experienced so much excitement surrounding the Sabres he wonders how crazy it would feel if his team becomes a contender again.

The Sabres, of course, will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Still, to a rabid fan base yearning for postseason hockey, the progress the Sabres have made this season – they’ve improved 25 points with newcomers Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly and others – offers strong hope for …

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Tyler Ennis is felt good on the ice Thursday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – After experiencing a “strange few months” recovering from a scary concussion, Tyler Ennis can smile now. But at times throughout the past 13 weeks, as his health constantly changed and the emotional toll wore on him, the speedy Sabres winger feared for his future.

“There’s days where you feel great and days where it’s tough,” Ennis said Thursday following his first practice since he was injured Dec. 30. “To say I wasn’t scared at some point would probably be …

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Tyler Ennis suffered a concussion Dec. 30. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – In the more than three months Tyler Ennis spent recovering from a concussion, the Sabres winger reflected on and developed a greater appreciation for what he calls “such a great job.”

For the first six years of his career, the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Ennis, 26, had been remarkably durable, rarely missing action. Then injuries started ravaging him this season. After missing 16 games early, he suffered a scary concussion Dec. 30 in Washington.

Ennis had never experienced anything like it. That’s …

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Jason Kasdorf signed last month. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Goalie Jason Kasdorf could make his NHL debut in one of the Sabres’ final games this season, coach Dan Bylsma said this afternoon following the rookie’s first full practice.

“It’s still realistic,” Bylsma said inside the First Niagara Center.

Kasdorf, 23, arrived from R.P.I two weeks ago with a groin injury he suffered in his final NCAA game. He said he’s fully recovered. The Winnipeg native recently started working with goalie coach Andrew Allen on the ice. Kasdorf won’t accompany …

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Hudson Fasching has been busy doing homework. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – On Wednesday night, hours before Sabres rookie Hudson Fasching had to be at the First Niagara Center to prepare for his fourth NHL game, he was in his hotel room taking a quiz.

Fasching, 20, has kept working toward his entrepreneurial management degree since leaving the University of Minnesota last week following his junior season. He’s taking classes online and is on track to graduate in May.

Three nights earlier, Fasching wrote a one-page paper – it was a case …

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Robin Lehner's season is over. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – If the Sabres were still in the hunt for the postseason, then perhaps goalie Robin Lehner would’ve battled through his ankle injury and kept playing, coach Dan Bylsma said.

“I can’t say that for sure,” Bylsma said this morning. “It might’ve been the case if we were in a different spot in the standings right now and fighting for a playoff spot.”

Instead, Lehner underwent season-ending surgery this week. The Swede, 24, suffered a high right ankle sprain opening night …

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