The Eichel Era

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New Jersey Devils

Ryan O'Reilly (90) skates Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – New Devils regime. Same boring style.

Some things never change.

Even with Lou Lamoriello, the architect of those highly successful but oh-so-dull New Jersey teams, now 480 miles away from Newark running the Toronto Maple Leafs, his legacy lives on.

The Devils haven’t changed much under new general manager Ray Shero and coach John Hynes. They still suck the life out of the game, patiently wait for opportunities and then sit on the lead.

That happened Tuesday in the Devils’ 2-0 win …

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Johan Larsson only has four points this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – When Johan Larsson scored his first goal this season Monday, the winner with 3:13 left in the Sabres’ 2-1 comeback victory in Detroit, coach Dan Bylsma couldn’t quite read the center’s body language.

“Whether he was happy, relieved, matter of fact,” Bylsma said Tuesday prior to the Sabres’ 2-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. “I know he’s been pressing for a while now not having scored. To get that one and to get it at that point in …

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Johan Larsson (22) battles Toronto's Mark Arcobello on Oct. 21. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – When Johan Larsson scored his first goal this season Monday, the winner with 3:13 left in the Sabres’ 2-1 comeback win in Detroit, coach Dan Bylsma couldn’t quite read the center’s body language.

“Whether he was happy, relieved, matter of fact,” Bylsma said this morning after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils. “I know he’s been pressing for a while now not having scored. To get that one and to get it at that …

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Evander Kane grimaces in pain after hurting his knee Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – It’s not even Halloween, and the Sabres’ season is already starting to fall apart.

If losing for sixth time in eight tries wasn’t bad enough, winger Evander Kane left the Sabres’ 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils with what appeared to be a left knee injury after David Schlemko hit him hard into the corner boards with 9:31 left in the game.

Kane, perhaps the Sabres’ most natural goal scorer, stayed down on the First Niagara Center ice for …

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Ryan O'Reilly was on the ice for every goal in the game Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The scene repeats itself after nearly every Sabres loss.

Inevitably, center Ryan O’Reilly will face a hoard of cameras in the dressing room, lament his miscues and take some responsibility for the defeat.

“It’s something I like about myself,” O’Reilly said about pressure Saturday prior to scoring a goal and two assists in the Sabres’ 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils. “I think I have to be that way. … Whether it’s practice or a game day, it pushes …

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Linus Ullmark was recalled Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Goalie Chad Johnson’s shaky 19-save outing Friday in an ugly 7-2 loss to Montreal didn’t force the Sabres to turn to rookie Linus Ullmark, coach Dan Bylsma said.

“We called him up so that he could get an opportunity to play, whether that was tonight, last night or later on next week,” Bylsma said this morning. “He was going to get a chance to play. Tonight’s it.”

The 6-foot-4, 212-pound Ullmark, who was summoned Friday, will make his first NHL …

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New Jersey's Steve Bernier (18) celebrates with Scott Gomez on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – During a 17-game run with the Sabres late in 2007-08, Steve Bernier mustered only three goals, two of which he scored in his first game. The winger mostly disappeared after that, and he was quietly traded to Vancouver months later.

Mention Bernier’s name around some Sabres fans, and inevitably someone will bring up his rollicking debut.

Now, after Bernier’s two-goal performance Friday in the New Jersey Devils’ 3-1 win against the Sabres, the 29-year-old might have a new claim to …

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Sabres goalie Anders Lindback stops New Jersey's Stephen Gionta on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – In Europe, handling the puck is “not a big thing for the goalies,” Sabres newcomer Anders Lindback said.

The bigger rink allows them to sling it and almost act as a third defenseman. European ice surfaces don’t have those pesky trapezoids designed to keep goalies in their net, either.

Handling the puck on the smaller North American ice surface with restrictions is difficult for NHL goalies. Very few do it well.

The 6-foot-6 Lindback is one of the best.

The Swede has …

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Mikhail Grigorenko has one goal and two points in 13 games this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres recalled center Mikhail Grigorenko from Rochester this afternoon and sent center Tim Schaller and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel down.

Grigorenko’s sixth recall this season is another opportunity for the 20-year-old to prove he belongs in the NHL. So far, the Russian, the No. 12 pick in 2012, has compiled only one goal and two points in 13 outings this season.

The Sabres host the New Jersey Devils tonight at the First Niagara Center.

In his last appearance March 6, Grigorenko …

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Anders Lindback has a .934 save percentage with the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Anders Lindback likes to take a big-picture approach, so the Sabres goalie will examine his entire season when it ends. The Swede’s six-game hot streak means little to him right now.

The 26-year-old, a spare part before the March 2 trade deadline, has quickly morphed into a stud in net, posting a 2.41 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage in seven appearances (six starts) with his new club.

Lindback dazzled in his only win, making 44 stops in Tuesday’s …

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