Best wishes to RJ

Archive:
Myers

Bryan Trottier has won seven Stanley Cups. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Two men who had spent their entire lives in hockey never met until a chance encounter almost 19 years ago outside Memorial Auditorium.

It was 1995-96, Ted Nolan’s first year as Sabres coach. Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier, an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, was walking outside the Aud in a snowstorm when Nolan spotted him.

Nolan pulled over and offered a lift.

“We had a five-minute chat,” Trottier, one of Nolan’s new assistant coaches, recalled last week inside the …

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Tyler Myers turned a corner last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Before the defensemen became Sabres teammates, they met about nine years ago, as Tyler Myers was beginning his junior career and Josh Gorges was leaving the Kelowna Rockets for professional hockey.

Gorges couldn’t believe the teenager’s lanky frame.

“He was 6-5, 6-6, but probably only 180 pounds,” Gorges, who will skate beside Myers in tonight’s season opener, recalled earlier this week. “I’m thinking, ‘They’re really high on this kid, he better fill out. He’s pretty skinny.’”

Myers’ talent intrigued Gorges. He …

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Brian Gionta talks about being named captain Tuesday. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – For five years, Josh Gorges watched Brian Gionta closely. Gionta’s Stanley Cup ring offered him instant credibility in the Montreal dressing room. But Gorges quickly learned why Gionta won a championship.

Gorges noticed the professionalism Gionta exhibited, the strong habits that made him a leader and respected captain.

“I’ve said this all along, when you’re a young guy coming into a team … who do you look to in the room and say, ‘This is who I got to follow …

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Brian Gionta, a candidate to be captain, has worn an 'A' this preseason. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – How close is Ted Nolan to naming a new Sabres captain?

“Uh, real close,” the coach said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center.

Don’t expect an announcement today, however.

“It hasn’t officially happened yet, but we all know who the leadership is going to be on this team,” he said. “We’ll officially sit down with people. We haven’t talked to anybody yet.”

The Sabres open the season one week from today.

In other news, defenseman Tyler Myers (maintenance day) missed today’s practice. …

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Mikhail Grigorenko skates this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Two weeks into training camp, center Mikhail Grigorenko remains the Sabres’ biggest surprise. Two more impressive outings could earn the Russian prospect a roster spot.

“He’s been looking really good,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “He’s strong on the puck. He’s been making some really good plays. So the biggest thing right now is keep seeing him do it.”

Grigorenko has two more preseason opportunities, tonight against the Washington Capitals and Friday in …

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Tim Schaller has looked impressive this training camp. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Ted Nolan knew very little about Sabres prospect Tim Schaller prior to training camp. The center hasn’t dazzled the coach, but his play away from the puck has been catching Nolan’s eye.

“I just thought his hockey intelligence was evident to a few of us,” Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “He kept doing it day after day after day. We just felt that he deserves an opportunity.”

Schaller, an undrafted free agent from Providence College, will …

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Brendan Lemieux's father, Claude, enjoyed a long NHL career. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Rookie Brendan Lemieux figures he has a chance. Sure, the Sabres have more experienced players fighting for the two or three open wing spots this training camp. But the 18-year-old believes a place in tonight’s preseason lineup means they want to evaluate him.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have a chance,” Lemieux, the 31st pick in June, said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “I don’t think they would’ve kept me around if they didn’t think …

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Michal Neuvirth only played two games with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – They’ve been friends for years. Sabres goalies Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth grew up facing each other overseas. When their careers shifted to North America, they kept competing all the way to the NHL.

These days, the 26-year-olds are challenging for the same spot, the No. 1 goalie position.

“It’s Jhonas and Neuvirth’s time,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said Friday inside the First Niagara Center following the first session of training camp.

The competition should be a friendly one. The two …

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Sam Reinhart skates this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Hey, it’s never too early for line and defense combinations, right? Clearly, coach Ted Nolan has formed trios and pairs he believes could be used in the regular season.

Here are some notable ones the Sabres are using today during the opening session of training camp (left to right):

– Marcus Foligno, Sam Reinhart and Chris Stewart.

– Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford.

– Cody Hodgson, Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Gionta.

Following his first camp practice, Reinhart, the No. 2 pick …

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Sam Reinhart skates last week at the NHL Prospects Tournament. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – If you love roster battles, the next three weeks of Sabres training camp should be fun.

About 34 players have a legitimate chance to crack the opening-night lineup. They have a prized prospect, slick center Sam Reinhart, vying for a spot. The starting goalie job is up for grabs. Defense spots are open. Nine or 10 guys will be competing for three fourth-line spots.

Players report for physicals today. The first on-ice session is Friday. Incredibly, the Sabres play their …

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