Best wishes to RJ

Archive:
Hecht

Leon Draisaitl could become the highest-drafted German ever. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – In Germany, soccer reigns supreme. The sport’s popularity can’t be matched. Hockey, meanwhile, competes for attention with basketball and even handball, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff once said.

Germany didn’t even qualify for Olympic ice hockey this year.

But in center Leon Draisaitl, the country has produced one of the game’s slickest prospects. The 18-year-old will likely become the highest-drafted German ever Friday at the NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia.

With that honor, Draisaitl will happily become the face of …

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Ryan Miller celebrates after stopping John Tavares to win Friday's game. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The cheers started before Friday’s season finale. First, fans applauded Ryan Miller’s name in the starting lineup. Minutes later, as the Sabres honored the goalie as their MVP prior to his 500th NHL game, Miller received a loud ovation.

Some fans ever stood up.

It was a far cry from last Friday, when Miller sarcastically saluted the crowd in between two Bronx cheers.

That ugly outing felt like the end of Miller’s 10-year Sabres career. But the 32-year-old, never one to …

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John Scott has scored one NHL goal. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The home crowd reacts immediately. For a moment or two, the First Niagara Center starts buzzing.

John Scott has the puck around the net. The hulking Sabres tough guy just might score.

Scott’s second NHL goal would be celebrated wildly, generate some cheer during an otherwise glum season.

The fans want to see this badly.

“I want it just as bad,” Scott said Friday. “I can tell it’s kind of an anticipation happening. Hopefully, it happens. If not now, then in the …

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Ryan Miller made 40 saves Tuesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

PITTSBURGH – The thinking went like this: Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, heckled during an ugly home outing Friday, wouldn’t play in Buffalo again this season. No way. The Sabres couldn’t risk having the face of their franchise jeered again.

Sure enough, he sat Monday’s home game.

But the Sabres turned to Miller again Tuesday inside Consol Energy Center, and the former Vezina Trophy winner dazzled in his 499th NHL appearance, stopping 40 shots in the Sabres’ 4-2 victory over the mighty Penguins.

Now, …

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Jhonas Enroth made 37 saves Monday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – To Jhonas Enroth, Friday’s terrible relief effort meant little. The backup goalie forgot about allowing four goals in 31 minutes at the final horn. Enroth didn’t start the Sabres’ 8-4 loss to the New York Rangers. The game wasn’t his.

“I came off the bench the other game,” Enroth said Monday after making 37 saves in the Sabres’ 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. “So I really didn’t care about that after the game. Just trying to look at …

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Christian Ehrhoff takes a hit from Winnipeg's Alexander Burmistrov. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Watching Germany’s national team fall into disarray and off the world stage hasn’t been easy for Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff.

The country recently failed to qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Consider that other than three world war bans, the country’s ice hockey team had qualified for every other Olympics, all of them since 1948.

“Obviously, the non-qualification for the Olympics is very frightening, very sad,” Ehrhoff said Monday prior to the Sabres’ 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets inside …

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Jhonas Enroth kicks out a shot by Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier (4) in front of Mark Pysyk on Sunday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – This two-day stretch hardly mirrored the last time Sabres backup goalie Jhonas Enroth earned consecutive starts for a healthy Ryan Miller.

Back in November 2011, Enroth sported an eight-game winning streak as Miller was beginning a wretched three-month slump. The Swede’s second nod ignited a goaltending controversy.

These days, Miller’s entrenched as the No. 1 goalie. Enroth, meanwhile, recently regained the dynamic form he showcased early during his rookie season.

If the Sabres, whose playoff chances remain scant following Sunday’s solid …

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Tyler Ennis has zero points in the last five games. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The clock is ticking loudly again on the Sabres’ lost season. With eight games left, the 11th-place club, which hosts the Montreal Canadiens tonight, is six points behind the eighth-place New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

After three straight wins, the Sabres fell 4-1 Tuesday in Winnipeg. Incredibly, they’re 2-9-2 against the feeble Southeast Division, by far the NHL’s worst group of teams.

The Sabres have beaten the fourth-place Canadiens three of four meetings this season, including …

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Ryan Miller slides across his crease to stop a shot by New Jersey’s Steve Sullivan on Sunday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
8

BUFFALO – Not long ago, the Sabres might’ve wilted under the intense pressure, lost a game like Sunday’s 3-2 shootout win over the freefalling New Jersey Devils.

For at least 15 minutes – from late in the first period until midway through the game – the Devils hemmed the Sabres in their own zone, pumping chance after chance on goalie Ryan Miller as they sustained almost constant pressure.

It looked like the reeling Devils enjoyed a marathon power play.

The 18,703 fans inside …

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Jochen Hecht has played 10 seasons with the Sabres. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Thirty-one days ago, it appeared Jochen Hecht’s long career here could be ending. In his fifth game as interim coach, Ron Rolston scratched the versatile forward, the first benching of his 10-season Sabres career. Rolston had already slashed the German’s minutes dramatically.

Hecht, a favorite of former coach Lindy Ruff, was seething.

But Rolston complimented Hecht’s play following the scratch, saying the German was only benched so the Sabres could add some toughness.

Hecht has played all 14 games since then. …

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