Best wishes to RJ

Archive:
Hodgson

Tyler Ennis is the Sabres' No. 1 center. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The five-year, $23 million commitment illustrates the Sabres’ strong belief in Tyler Ennis, their leading goal scorer and No. 1 center.

At 24 years old, the 5-foot-9 speedster has become a cornerstone for the rebuilding club.

The likable Ennis signed the new deal worth $4.6 million annually Thursday, becoming the Sabres’ third-highest cap hit behind defenseman Tyler Myers ($5.5 million) and winger Matt Moulson ($5 million).

Clearly, the Sabres believe Ennis will keep growing. He had a career-high 21 goals in …

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Joel Armia hasn't played in a regular-season NHL game yet. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

Since most NHL Entry Drafts don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at the Buffalo Sabres’ first-round picks from 2006-11 and some notable hits and misses. Fourteen of Buffalo’s 43 draft choices over that time have made the NHL.

The Sabres have eight picks this weekend in Philadelphia, including the No. 2 selection.

2011

First-round pick: center Joel Armia, 16th overall

Armia endured a rough season in 2013-14, his first in North America. The 21-year-old broke his hand during an …

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Zemgus Girgensons had only 14 penalty minutes as a rookie. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

Zemgus Girgensons, dirty player?

Not really. The Buffalo Sabres center showcased a clean game during his rookie season in 2013-14, accumulating only 14 penalty minutes in 70 contests. But the IIHF has suspended Girgensons one world championship game for spearing Alexander Burmistrov in Latvia’s 4-1 loss to Russia on Friday.

Check out the video below. Girgensons, umm, got Burmistrov pretty good.

The 20-year-old must sit out Latvia’s tilt against host Belarus on Monday. Latvia’s 3-2, good for third place in Pool B.

In other …

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Alexander Sulzer played only 25 games this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Despite having played 12 professional seasons, Sabres defenseman Alexander Sulzer avoided his first concussion until March 13, his 505th game.

Jiri Tlusty hit Sulzer a few minutes into the Sabres’ 4-2 loss in Carolina. He bumped his head on the glass.

“Then it went back and forth a couple times,” Sulzer recalled Monday.

Sulzer’s disappointing season – and possibly his 57-game Sabres career – was over.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” the German said about the concussion as the Sabres cleaned …

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Detroit's Danny DeKeyser (65) pushes Zemgus Girgensons on Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Zemgus Girgensons’ development can’t be measured with statistics. The Sabres rookie only has eight scores in 67 games following his first two-goal performance in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

But the 20-year-old center has been showcasing a growing confidence throughout the season.

Late Tuesday, with the Sabres down a goal, Girgensons found himself one-on-one with Niklas Kronwall just inside the Detroit blue line. Girgensons blew by the respected veteran defenseman in the right circle before zooming in …

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Cody Hodgson had played center his entire career. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Ted Nolan doesn’t want to project his lineup too far into the future. But the Sabres coach said he must evaluate his top six forwards these last two weeks so they receive enough ice time next season.

If Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons are his top centers, where does that leave Cody Hodgson?

For the time being, on the left wing, a position Hodgson had played once in his career before Saturday, during a 2008 exhibition game.

“I don’t think I …

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Matt Hackett made 29 saves Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Nothing has changed, Matt Hackett said. Forget that he was enduring a terrible season in Rochester before injuries forced his recall. Forget that general manager Tim Murray recently said the Sabres’ goalie of the future likely wasn’t in the organization.

Hackett, a key piece of April’s Jason Pominville trade with the Wild, hasn’t lost much confidence. The 24-year-old still believes he can become the team’s No. 1 netminder, a coveted spot that’s up for grabs following Ryan Miller’s recent …

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Ville Leino didn't practice Friday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said what happened to forward Ville Leino early in Thursday’s 6-1 loss in Nashville “was strange.”

Leino experienced some lightheadedness and left the game. He didn’t practice Friday.

“He just started not feeling very well,” Nolan said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning inside the First Niagara Center, their first home tilt following an awful 1-4 road trip. “When something like that happens, you got to make sure you’re …

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Nathan Lieuwen made his NHL debut on Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – A day after his surprising NHL debut, everything had settled down a bit for Sabres rookie Nathan Lieuwen.

Lieuwen said his body felt OK after playing three games in three days, a rarity for a goalie. He even remembered some of the action he faced Sunday. Memories were a blur following his 22-minute, 10-save relief appearance in the Sabres’ 2-0 loss to Montreal.

“I could remember a few more things this morning,” a smiling Lieuwen said Monday inside the First …

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Michal Neuvirth will start in goal Friday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – It wasn’t a normal NHL trade deadline for the rebuilding Sabres. No one was off limits.

“If you look at the majority of the teams, they got one guy maybe they’re thinking about moving,” interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan told reporters today in Tampa Bay, a day after the deadline. “We had almost half our team in the trade mill. We didn’t really know until yesterday.

“There was a lot of anxious moments. One of the players was telling me …

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