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Sam Reinhart (right) played nine NHL games last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

SUNRISE, Fla. – Recent history says Jack Eichel, the mega-prospect the Buffalo Sabres will select second overall Friday at the NHL Draft, could become a franchise talent.

Just take a look at the list below.

It can be argued 15 of the last 16 No. 2 picks have been strong hits. The list includes 50-goal scorers, perennial NHL All-Stars and even future Hall of Famers. Only Sam Reinhart, a center the Sabres selected second a year ago, hasn’t established himself in the …

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Jack Eichel had a lot of media interest Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel, of course, never expected his words would leak out. The superstar was simply expressing some confidence in his special abilities during pre-draft interviews this week.

Eichel told teams, including the Sabres, who will select the 18-year-old second overall on June 26, he plans on being a better player than Connor McDavid, arguably the biggest prospect in decade.

Was it cocky? Sure. But the slick Boston University center wasn’t taking a dig at McDavid. Eichel doesn’t see what all …

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From left, Sabres general manager Tim Murray, coach Dan Bylsma and owner Terry Pegula hold up a No. 15 Bylsma jersey Thursday. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – There was a time before the Sabres hired Dan Bylsma on Thursday that the coach and general manager Tim Murray both represented the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Back in the early 2000s, as Bylsma finished up his journeyman playing career, Murray was the team’s director of player personnel.

“I complained about him a lot,” Murray cracked Thursday during a news conference to introduce Bylsma as the Sabres’ 17th coach in franchise history. “That’s about all I remember.”

Given their different roles, the …

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Dan Bylsma is the 17th coach in Sabres history. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres finally have a new coach. The rebuilding team today named Dan Bylsma, a 2009 Stanley Cup winner, the 17th coach in franchise history.

The 44-year-old Bylsma, who spent Wednesday visiting with the Sabres, will be formally introduced at a 4 p.m. news conference at the First Niagara Center.

Update: Bylsma has a five-year contract, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula went big again, bringing in perhaps the most notable name left on the market. …

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Tim Murray speaks Sunday after firing Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – For the first time since the Sabres replaced Ted Nolan following his initial run almost 18 years ago, the team must search for a new coach.

Yes, it has really been that long.

Lindy Ruff, Nolan’s replacement in 1997, lasted until 2013, when former Sabres general manager Darcy Regier quickly promoted Ron Rolston from Rochester as interim coach. Regier removed the interim tag following the season without interviewing anyone.

Nolan immediately took over as interim coach when owner Terry Pegula fired …

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Rasmus Ristolainen practices Monday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – When you’re struggling and searching for anything to ignite the team, you experiment. So with nothing to lose, Sabres coach Ted Nolan paired Rasmus Ristolainen, 20, and rookie Nikita Zadorov, 19, together last game.

The defensemen became the Sabres’ top tandem in Saturday’s ugly 6-1 loss to Pittsburgh, each skating more than 20 minutes, more than Tyler Myers. Zadorov wasn’t on the ice for any goals against.

“If you look at both of them, one’s more on the defensive side …

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Sidney Crosby dissects the Sabres on Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – This one lasted one shift. Eighty-one seconds into the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 6-1 annihilation of the Sabres, Kris Letang converted Sidney Crosby’s slick pass, the first of the superstar’s five assists Saturday.

Game over.

The Penguins utterly destroyed the hapless Sabres before a capacity crowd of 19,070 fans inside the First Niagara Center.

The potent Penguins scored again before the Sabres recorded their first shot 13:21 into the lopsided contest. They led 3-0 after the first period, 6-1 after the second and …

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Christian Ehrhoff will be a free agent again in a year. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

Former Buffalo Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff lasted less than 10 minutes on the open market, signing a one-year, $4 million deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins early this afternoon.

The Sabres bought out the final seven seasons of the German’s 10-year, $40 million contract Sunday.

It’s a win-win deal for Ehrhoff. He’s joining a slick, superstar-laden Penguins club expected to compete for the Stanley Cup. He’ll get plenty of ice time with superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Ehrhoff posted huge numbers playing with …

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Florida selected Aleksander Barkov second overall last year. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

PHILADELPHIA – How good are the Buffalo Sabres’ odds of nabbing a franchise talent with the No. 2 pick tonight? Take a look at the list below.

It can be argued the last 15 picks have been strong hits. The list includes 50-goal scorers, perennial NHL All-Stars and even future Hall of Famers.

In their 44-year history, the Sabres have never owned the second pick. Twice they’ve had the No. 1 pick, 1970, when they chose Gilbert Perreault, and 1987, when they …

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Ryan Miller (30) tries to stop Pittsburgh's Brandon Sutter with Mike Weber (6) behind him Wednesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Wednesday wasn’t an Olympic audition for goalie Ryan Miller, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said hours before his potent Penguins throttled the hapless Sabres 5-1. He’s judging Miller on his body of work, not one game.

Bylsma, Team USA’s coach for the upcoming Sochi Games, knows what most NHL observers know: Miller’s played splendidly most of the season under the most trying of circumstances.

The Sabres’ third straight loss illustrated that. Once again, they couldn’t support Miller, an unrestricted free agent …

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