The Eichel Era

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Dan Catenacci has never played an NHL game. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres winger Marcus Foligno suffered a lower-body injury during his last shift in Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Bruins and will likely miss tonight’s rematch in Boston, coach Dan Bylsma said.

To replace Foligno, the Sabres recalled forward Dan Catenacci from the Rochester Americans on Friday. Catenacci, 22, could make his NHL debut tonight.

Foligno’s day-to-day, Bylsma said Friday following the Sabres’ optional practice inside HarborCenter.

“I don’t anticipate it will be week-to-week,” he said.

Catenacci has often been one of …

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Marcus Foligno (82) was injured Thursday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres winger Marcus Foligno suffered a lower-body injury during his last shift in Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Bruins and will likely miss Saturday’s rematch in Boston, coach Dan Bylsma said.

Foligno’s day-to-day, Bylsma said this afternoon following the Sabres’ optional practice inside HarborCenter.

“I don’t anticipate it will be week-to-week,” he said.

The Sabres will recall a forward from the Rochester Americans, Bylsma said. He wouldn’t reveal which one.

Update: The Sabres have made a surprising recall, summoning forward Dan …

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Johan Larsson has only two goals this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Early in the Sabres’ 4-2 comeback win Wednesday in Montreal, for one of the few times this season, center Johan Larsson drove to the net with authority and narrowly missed scoring just his second goal.

With 8:14 left in the contest, the Swede skated to the crease again and was rewarded with his first score in 20 games, the winner against the Canadiens.

For Larsson, 23, it was his best performance in what has mostly been a colossally disappointing season.

“No …

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Marcus Foligno believes the Sabres can make a late run. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Instead of jetting away for a quick vacation during the NHL All-Star break, Dan Bylsma stayed close to home and enjoyed a rare breather from the arduous six-month season. The Sabres coach still watched some AHL games in Rochester, but he mostly relaxed and spent a little time fishing.

After getting “muddied out” of one trip, Bylsma caught 15 steelhead at an undisclosed location.

“We had a very good day of steelhead fishing,” Bylsma said Monday after the Sabres assembled …

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Nick Deslauriers (44) should play Wednesday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Before the Sabres started their first post-NHL All-Star break practice this afternoon inside HarborCenter, coach Dan Bylsma wanted his team to scrimmage. But instead of using five on a side, he had the entire team go out and threw two pucks on the ice.

He also instructed players to use their opposite hands, so lefties shot righty and vice versa.

As you might expect, it looked pretty odd. It wasn’t easy, either.

“It’s amazing when all you do is switch over …

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Zemgus Girgensons (28) has missed four games. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres winger Zemgus Girgensons, out the last four games with an upper-body injury, practiced this morning inside HarborCenter beside center Jack Eichel and Matt Moulson and should play in Monday’s road game against the New York Rangers.

“Pretty back to normal,” said Girgensons, who hit Boston’s Kevan Miller early Jan. 15.

Girgensons, 22, has struggled offensively this season, compiling only three goals and eight points in 40 games. Still, the Latvian, who showcased some chemistry with Eichel before getting hurt, …

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Jamie McGinn (88) has been perhaps the Sabres' biggest surprise. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Don’t let four impressive wins in the last six games fool you. The Sabres still rank last in the Atlantic Division and 29th in the 30-team NHL.

Yes, they’ve improved greatly this season. Still, they’re 11 points out of the Eastern Conference’s last wild card spot entering tonight’s home tilt against the Detroit Red Wings inside the First Niagara Center.

The Sabres are going to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight year, meaning they’ll almost certainly be sellers before …

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Dan Bylsma (right) took over the Sabres' coaching job this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres coach Dan Bylsma noticed almost immediately, way back in September, and it surprised him. Training camp had just started with an overhauled roster – about 10 new faces, in fact – yet his players were already forming close bonds.

“They enjoy being a part of this team and part of this group,” Bylsma said Thursday inside the First Niagara Center. “It has developed. It is a part of what we are. … It is a calling card of …

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Ryan O'Reilly leads the Sabres in goals and points. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Right away, everything has clicked for center Ryan O’Reilly. In just half a season here, the 24-year-old has quickly become the Sabres’ MVP and perhaps their most popular player.

O’Reilly plays more minutes than any other NHL forward. He leads the Sabres in scoring and has 17 points in the last 17 games. No one in the league has taken more faceoffs. Following losses, he regularly takes responsibility for his performance and passionately says he needs to be better.

Not …

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Ryan O'Reilly has been the Sabres' best forward all season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – In just half a season here, center Ryan O’Reilly has already become perhaps the Sabres’ most popular player.

In a blue-collar city, O’Reilly’s versatile style and accountable personality have resonated with the Sabres’ rabid fan base. The 24-year-old plays more than any other NHL forward. He leads the team in scoring and has 17 points in the last 17 games. Following games, O’Reilly often passionately laments what he and his teammates couldn’t accomplish.

Not surprisingly, O’Reilly was selected today as …

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