The Eichel Era

Archive:
Minnesota Wild

Phil Varone has been a healthy scratch this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

ROCHESTER – One of the oddest situations in the minors is unfolding with the AHL Americans, the Buffalo Sabres’ high-priced affiliate. The club has too many veterans, meaning some notable talent earning six figures has been forced to sit out to comply with league development rules.

The Amerks scratched Jerry D’Amigo and Patrick Kaleta, two forwards with 379 games of NHL experience, Friday. Forward Matt Ellis, an alternate captain less than a year removed from regular NHL duty, sat out for …

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Chad Johnson still hasn't played a regular-season game for the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – A season in which he morphed from arguably the NHL’s best backup goalie into one of its least reliable hasn’t shaken Sabres newcomer Chad Johnson’s confidence.

After all, Johnson, 29, landed another good gig prior to the March 2 trade deadline, getting dealt from the upstart New York Islanders to the rebuilding Sabres, who planned to play him regularly.

That was, of course, before Johnson suffered a season-ending ankle injury the morning of his first scheduled start March 6 in …

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Chris Stewart joined Minnesota on Monday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ deals before Monday’s trade deadline stripped the NHL’s worst team of four assets. Gone are starting goalie Michal Neuvirth, first-line winger Chris Stewart and centers Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell, two checkers thrust into bigger roles thanks to the rebuilding team’s shortage of talent.

In return, the Sabres received, well, nothing very notable or of immediate help. Only one NHL player, backup goalie Chad Johnson, came back. They also added four draft picks – a second, third, …

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Brian Flynn (65) battles for the puck witn Philadelphia's Ryan White earlier this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Less than three years ago, Brian Flynn was an undrafted and mostly unknown youngster at the University of Maine. The versatile forward’s signing with the Sabres barely registered with the fan base.

But Flynn quickly and quietly worked himself into a strong NHL prospect.

After less than a season in Rochester, Flynn debuted with the Sabres in 2012-13. The 26-year-old played regularly until they dealt him to the Montreal Canadiens on Monday for a fifth-round pick in 2016 hours before …

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Chris Stewart has 11 goals this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have traded winger Chris Stewart to the Minnesota Wild for a 2017 second-round pick.

The 27-year-old, a free agent following the season, has 11 goals and 25 points in 61 games this season.

According to Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo, the Sabres are picking up half of Stewart’s salary.

The trade deadline has passed. Stay tuned for more details.

The Sabres have become regular deadline partners with Minnesota, sending the Wild Jason Pominville in 2013 and Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick …

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Josh Gorges looks dejected as Minnesota celebrates another goal Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – At this point, with the Sabres’ franchise-long losing streak at nine games and counting, it’s fair to wonder if the hapless team will win another game this season.

Seriously.

The Sabres are awful, a disaster by any standard.

In a season full of ugly, ugly defeats, the Sabres hit rock bottom in Thursday’s disastrous 7-0 loss to the reeling Minnesota Wild before 18,963 fans inside the First Niagara Center.

“I’m speechless,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said following the worst defeat in the …

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Thomas Vanek scored his eighth goal Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Call it hockey’s worst-kept secret.

Of course, Thomas Vanek couldn’t say anything as he bounced from team to team last season. But the former Sabres star confirmed the suspicions when free agency opened July 1, signing a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Minnesota Wild.

Vanek, a Minnesota resident and Golden Gophers college hero, wanted to return home.

“Honestly, every time I went out somewhere and got recognized, that was one of the first things that people would ask me, ‘When …

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Tyler Myers will stand in front of the net tonight. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Right now, Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers said, the plan is “to disrupt as much as I can” in front of the net during power plays.

“I guess I’m used to being in that area defensively, but it’ll be different,” Myers said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “Usually I’m trying to carry out the puck, and now I’ll be trying score. So it’s a different look.”

The Sabres’ NHL-worst power play can’t score, so coach Ted Nolan moved the …

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Matt Moulson (26) couldn't score on his breakaway Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The joke all season has been the Sabres have one first line and three fourth lines. Right now, even that’s a stretch. No one can score.

The Sabres have only scored nine goals during their eight-game losing streak. They have 76 goals all season entering tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild, a stunning 1.7 a game.

At that anemic pace, the Sabres would score 141 goals in 82 games, nine fewer than they had last season, when they set the …

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Jason Pomiville knows the Wild must start winning soon. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – A year ago, a meeting with the Sabres changed the Minnesota Wild’s season.

The Wild had lost six straight games before beating the hapless club 4-1 on Jan. 2 in Minnesota. The team then ran off three more victories, saving its season and perhaps coach Mike Yeo’s job. The Wild later advanced to the second round of the playoffs, giving Chicago a tough series.

Fast forward to today, and Minnesota, having lost six straight games, is reeling again. Pittsburgh thumped …

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