The Eichel Era

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New Jersey Devils

Ray Sheppard scored 38 goals as a rookie in 1987-88. ©2016, Rochester Americans
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – As Sabres rookies Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart put the finishing touches on two outstanding, high-scoring seasons, one name from the team’s past keeps popping up: Ray Sheppard.

Each week, it seems, the young forwards become the team’s first rookies to reach or approach milestones since Sheppard, who scored 38 goals and 65 points in 74 games in 1987-88 before fizzling out and re-emerging as one of the NHL’s most dangerous scorers.

Sheppard’s name has also been coming up, ironically, …

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Ryan O'Reilly was hurt Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

Buffalo Sabres centers Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly are both questionable for tonight’s road game against the New Jersey Devils, coach Dan Bylsma told reporters in Newark.

Bylsma said Eichel enjoyed a maintenance from practice Monday. O’Reilly, meanwhile, rested something he hurt in Saturday’s 4-3 win against the New York Rangers.

Bylsma said he expects one to play “for sure.” That’s likely Eichel.

The Sabres could recall a forward, Bylsma said.

Update: The Sabres recalled winger Justin Bailey on Tuesday morning. Bailey, 20, has …

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Ryan O'Reilly (90) skates Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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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