Jimmy Vesey Watch

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New York Rangers

Johan Larsson possesses a strong shot. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres’ most consistent and sturdiest line in years – yes, years – is a trio comprised of players who underachieved, struggled offensively and couldn’t stay in the lineup earlier this season.

But these days, center Johan Larsson, left wing Marcus Foligno and right wing Brian Gionta quietly form the Sabres’ steadiest combination.

While the line’s technically the Sabres’ third – the players usually face the opponent’s best in a checking role – it has  created offense and scored timely …

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Jack Eichel (15) upended by the New York Rangers' Ryan McDonagh on Tuesday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Robin Lehner spoke calmly and passionately. Of course, the goalie said, he wanted to stay in the Sabres’ 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers instead of getting yanked.

Despite allowing three goals in barely 26 minutes of action Tuesday, the fiery Lehner believes he was playing well enough “to keep fighting to the end and be a part of a turnaround.”

“I’m a competitor,” Lehner said. “I want to stay in there and keep going.”

Lehner never got his chance. …

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Cal O'Reilly has been playing strong minutes. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Don’t think of Cal O’Reilly as a late-season recall the Sabres simply added to fill out the roster for a few weeks.

If O’Reilly keeps producing like he has recently – one goal and three points in four games – the versatile forward could perhaps earn a regular role as a third- or fourth-liner next season.

“I always view the roster as about 32 people,” coach Dan Bylsma said today after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the New …

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Zach Bogosian suffered a lower-body injury early in training camp. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – In seven seasons in Atlanta and Winnipeg, two NHL cities a long ways from Massena, Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian never enjoyed the comfort he has felt playing just five hours from home.

As an upstate New York guy, Bogosian feels he “can really relate to a lot of people in the area.” He’s so close to home his father, Ike, drives to Buffalo for almost every game.

“It’s just been a comfort maybe you don’t have when you’re playing in …

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The Sabres’ Zac Dalpe (20) is driven into New York Rangers goalie Mackenzie Skapski by Matt Hunwick (44) on Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – These days, as the Sabres’ awful season mercifully winds down, their efforts have remained strong.

Sure, they’re badly outmatched every game. But tenacity and strong goaltending has leveled things out a bit, keeping them in some contests.

“We can’t ask for much more,” coach Ted Nolan said Saturday following the Sabres’ 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers, their sixth straight defeat.

Well, scoring a goal would help now and then.

They hung with the slick Rangers, dodging bullets all night against …

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Nick Deslauriers has fought seven times this year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Off the ice, rookie Nick Deslauriers usually has a smile etched on his face. The affable Sabres winger can often be found joking and laughing with his teammates in the dressing room.

“He’s always got something to say, always joking around with the boys,” defenseman Mike Weber said Saturday prior to the Sabres’ 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers inside the First Niagara Center.

But on the ice, the 6-foot-1, 209-pound Deslauriers possesses a fearsome edge. Just 85 games …

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Patrick Kaleta has battled injuries all season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – These days, oft-injured Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta feels “like a new man” after undergoing surgery last month to remove a bone chip from his knee.

The chip – Kaleta said it’s like having a rock in your shoe – hampered the 28-year-old all season, he said this morning. He couldn’t straighten his knee or bend it all the way. Still, he kept playing with it and planned to get it cleaned out after the season.

“There’s nothing I could do,” …

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Matt Moulson has only 10 goals this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – There’s a common theory why Sabres winger Matt Moulson has struggled offensively for the last two seasons. The three-time 30-goal scorer needs an elite center feeding him the puck regularly to be productive. Without one, the 31-year-old’s pretty average.

To wit: Moulson averaged 32 goals and 57 points on the left wing beside New York Islanders superstar John Tavares over three full seasons. Moulson scored 15 goals and 44 points in 47 games two years ago and had six …

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The Sabres' Zemgus Girgensons (middle) battles for the puck in front of New York Rangers goalie Mackenzie Skapski and Lee Stempniak on Feb. 20. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – With star goalie Henrik Lundqvist sidelined by a neck injury, the New York Rangers have been riding backup Cam Talbot for six weeks, starting him 17 of the last 18 games.

Talbot’s one breather came Feb. 20 in Buffalo, when unknown rookie Mackenzie Skapski subbed. After allowing a goal 14 seconds into his NHL debut, the 20-year-old settled down, stopping 24 shots in the Rangers’ 3-1 win against the Sabres.

Skapski is expected to start again tonight against the Sabres …

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Matt Moulson beats New York Rangers goalie Mackenzie Skapski early Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – It was a gift the Sabres couldn’t exploit. Instead of starting backup goalie Cam Talbot, the New York Rangers used little-known rookie Mackenzie Skapski on Friday.

Who?

Skapski, 20, has been dressing for games as superstar goalie Henrik Lundqvist recovers from a neck injury. The 2013 sixth-round pick spent most of his first professional season playing in the AHL before getting recalled earlier this month. He even made one start in the ECHL.

Skapski’s NHL debut started ominously.

Before Skapski could settle …

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