The Eichel Era

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Montreal Canadiens

Zemgus Girgensons struggled offensively earlier this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Barely a minute into the third period last Tuesday, Sabres winger Zemgus Girgensons roared down the left side into the Ottawa zone before stopping and lifting a saucer pass to center Jack Eichel, who was zooming to the net down the middle.

The rookie connected, got stymied by Senators goalie Craig Anderson but managed to tuck the loose puck in for the winner in the Sabres’ 3-2 comeback victory.

The slick score, the duo’s fourth goal and sixth point in …

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Jack Eichel (15) battles with Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Just like the old days. For stretches Friday, it felt like five or 10 years ago as the Sabres’ talent overwhelmed the NHL’s best club, the undefeated Montreal Canadiens.

After falling behind 2-0 early, the Sabres roared back, tying the entertaining tilt just over halfway through. The crowd inside the First Niagara Center sensed something special could happen.

Then, just as quickly as it started, the Sabres imploded for the first time this season, allowing five unanswered to close an …

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Linus Ullmark dressed for his first NHL game Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – If Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark had suffered any setbacks in his rehab following double-hip surgery in April, the worst-case scenario would’ve been a return to the ice in January.

But the Swede, 22, recovered quickly enough to join full practices a month ago and earn three starts with the Rochester Americans this month.

Ullmark dazzled in the AHL, making 38 saves in his debut and 43 on Wednesday. Now, just three games into his North American career, he’s already in …

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Brian Flynn left the Sabres in March. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Having played in Montreal as a member of the Sabres, forward Brian Flynn knew about the city’s passionate support for the Canadiens.

Then Flynn, 27, really experienced the electric atmosphere inside the Bell Centre after the Sabres traded him to the Habs for a fifth-round pick prior to the March 2 deadline.

“The playoffs last year, I just remember sitting in the locker room and you could hear the whole entire building shaking before you even went out on the …

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Linus Ullmark skated with the Sabres this morning. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – If Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark had suffered any setbacks in his rehab following double-hip surgery in April, the worst-case scenario would’ve been a return to the ice in January.

But the Swede, 22, recovered quickly enough to join full practices a month ago and earn three starts with the Rochester Americans this month.

Ullmark dazzled in the AHL, making 38 saves in his debut and 43 on Wednesday. Incredibly, just three games into his North American career, he’s already in …

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Jake McCabe (29) and Mark Pysyk (3) are good friends. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Their competitions are a bit one-sided. Any game Sabres defense partners Jake McCabe and Mark Pysyk play against each other, Pysyk inevitably loses.

“Yeah, I always beat him,” McCabe said proudly Thursday. “Any game.”

There’s the Rory McIlroy golf video game for Xbox.

“He’s unbelievable at it,” Pysyk said. “He must not have any friends in the summer.”

Then there was the little one-timer contest they had following practice Thursday.

“That’s why he’s got to carry the bag back,” McCabe said.

That’s right, as …

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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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Torrey Mitchell (17) celebrates with Mike Weber (6) and Zach Bogosian (47) last week. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have traded center Torrey Mitchell to the Montreal Canadiens.

The 30-year-old, a free agent following the season, has six goals and 13 points in 51 games this season. Mitchell is from Montreal.

Stay tuned for more details.

Update: The Sabres received forward prospect Jack Nevins and a 2016 seventh-round pick. Nevins is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound 21-year-old with zero points and 88 penalty minutes in 32 games with the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs this season.

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Brian Flynn (65) skates around Dallas' Alex Goligoski last month. ©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 prospect 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 for a fifth-round pick in 2016 this morning, hours before …

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