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Archive:
Europe

Jochen Hecht left his family to play at home in Germany briefly. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Nine months earlier, in the same spot he stood smiling Sunday, Jochen Hecht had fought back tears discussing what appeared to be the end of his long Sabres career.

Back then, concussions – three in 10 months and two in five, including a serious, season-ending one last January – had derailed the German’s career. He was turning 35 years old and entering free agency following a 22-game season.

The chances of the Sabres re-signing the center looked slim.

“There was a …

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Jochen Hecht played six games at home in Germany ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

AMHERST – Not surprisingly, Jochen Hecht’s Buffalo Sabres teammates are excited the popular 35-year-old veteran, who battled concussions last season, is rejoining the Buffalo Sabres for a 10th campaign.

“Bring him back, pick him up,” Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said this afternoon after practicing with teammates inside the Northtown Center, his first skate here since September. “I’m just glad he’s healthy, No. 1. Watching what he went through last year was hard to watch as a friend. I’m thrilled for him …

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Tyler Myers said playing in Austria was a "great alternative" to the NHL. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

AMHERST – Tyler Myers acknowledged the left ankle injury he suffered last month in Austria was the “nightmare scenario” for any locked-out NHL player in Europe.

At first, the Buffalo Sabres defenseman was nervous about the injury.

“But once we figured out what it was, I knew it would be pretty quick,” Myers said Tuesday after skating about 90 minutes with some Sabres teammates inside the Northtown Center. “I didn’t want to push it to try to come back too early in …

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Tyler Myers played 17 games in Austria. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

AMHERST – Tyler Myers acknowledged the left ankle injury he suffered last month in Austria was the “nightmare scenario” for any locked-out NHL player in Europe.

At first, the Buffalo Sabres defenseman was nervous about the injury.

“But once we figured out what it was, I knew it would be pretty quick,” Myers said this afternoon after skating about 90 minutes with some Sabres teammates inside the Northtown Center. “I didn’t want to push it to try to come back too early …

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Jochen Hecht (front) and Jason Pominville played well together in Germany. ©2013, Soerli Binder, Adler Mannheim
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – If you think Sabres captain Jason Pominville’s five-goal, 12-point performance during a short seven-game stint with the Mannheim Eagles was impressive, consider what old friend Jochen Hecht, who hadn’t played regularly in nearly a year, accomplished during the same time with the DEL club in Germany.

In his first action since last January, when he suffered what was believed to be his third concussion in 10 months, Hecht compiled five goals and 13 points in six appearances. He’s still …

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Jason Pominville posted gaudy numbers in Germany. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
8

AMHERST – Just hours after returning to Buffalo following a marathon travel day from Germany, Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville was back on the Northtown Center ice this morning, skating with 10 other teammates.

“I wanted to be here,” said Pominville, who left the Mannheim Eagles when the NHL lockout ended Sunday. “I wanted to make sure I get a good sweat. It’s going to be such a short turnaround (before the season) that’s there’s no time to take off.”

Pominville found …

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Jason Pominville already has four goals in four DEL games. ©2012, Soerli Binder, Adler Mannheim
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Will more Sabres go overseas? Could some go back?

You bet.

If the NHL lockout drags on, expect to see more players bolt for Europe. They desperately want to stay sharp. Some haven’t played games now in eight or nine months.

Of course, going overseas has its drawbacks. Most of the good leagues are filled up, leaving only second-tier (or lower) jobs available. Some leagues pay paltry salaries. Many teams are isolated. Some players leave their families, too.

For some, it’s just …

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Tyler Ennis (left) played 10 games in Switzerland. ©2012, Peter Eggimann, SCL Tigers
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Tyler Ennis experienced his first bit of Swiss culture shock one day during lunch, when the soup du jour the locked-out Sabres center ordered tasted “a little bit funky.”

“The (waitress) asked me if I knew what I was eating,” Ennis told the Times Herald on Thursday. “I said no, and then she came back with a pig nose on the plate, and she said, ‘This is what you’re eating.’ That was a little a little bit of culture …

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Tyler Ennis can go back to Switzerland if he wants. ©2012, Peter Eggimann, SCL Tigers
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – For now, Tyler Ennis’ Swiss adventure is on hold.

Ennis recently returned from Switzerland to have a nagging shoulder injury re-evaluated.

The locked-out Sabres center stressed the minor bang-up he sustained during his second National League A appearance with Langnau isn’t serious. He plans on skating Friday.

“(It’s) not bad, but I just wanted to be cautious just in case the season starts, I want to be 100 percent,” Ennis told the Times Herald tonight. “For the most part, if I was …

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Jochen Hecht wants to return to the NHL when the lockout ends. ©2012, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In September, former Sabres forward Jochen Hecht said he had a standing offer to join his hometown Mannheim Eagles, a DEL club in his native Germany.

Hecht kept that option on the backburner, however.

Instead of returning home, the 35-year-old free agent made the NHL his No. 1 option. Hecht stayed in Buffalo, skating with some locked-out Sabres at the Northtown Center a few times a week.

But with the lockout 87 days old and the one-year anniversary of his last …

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