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Ottawa Senators

Jack Eichel had a goal and two points Tuesday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

OTTAWA – The Jack Eichel Show started on the slick center’s third shift of the season, just 6:16 into the Buffalo Sabres’ exciting 5-4 win against the Senators.

Stationed above the left circle on the power play, Eichel showcased some supreme vision and adroit passing, finding Kyle Okposo in front for the opening goal Tuesday.

On his next shift, Eichel, 20, unleashed a wicked power-play one-timer from the left circle off Ryan O’Reilly’s feed, beating Senators goalie Craig Anderson at 9:31.

Most observers …

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Evander hasn't scored this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

OTTAWA – Five years ago, Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane enjoyed the best start of his eight-year career, scoring 18 times in his first 36 games for the Winnipeg Jets, a torrid 41-goal pace over a full season.

Then, in the midst of his career year, Kane suddenly endured an 11-game goal drought.

“Maybe I could’ve scored 40 if I didn’t have that slump,” Kane said to Tuesday prior to recording an assist in the Sabres’ 5-4 win against the Senators inside …

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Jack Eichel still feels his injury. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

OTTAWA – The 21-game wait is over. Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, sidelined by a high left ankle sprain for almost seven weeks, will make his season debut tonight against the Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre.

Eichel can still feel the injury he sustained late in practice Oct. 12, the eve of the season opener. Still, it doesn’t restrict the second-year star.

“You can notice it at all times, to be honest,” Eichel told a hoard of reporters following the team’s …

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Jack Eichel has missed 21 games. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

OTTAWA – The smiles told the story. They adorned the faces of Jack Eichel’s Buffalo Sabres teammates and his coach, Dan Bylsma, who looked relieved his young star could make his season debut tonight against the Senators.

Eichel, meanwhile, tried to keep his emotions in check following a 50-minute practice Monday inside KeyBank Center. The second-year center said he has passed every hurdle – “No real restrictions,” he said – in his recovery from a high left ankle sprain he sustained …

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Robin Lehner wasn't busy in overtime. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In the modern NHL, contests like the Sabres’ 2-1 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators – low-scoring, drab affairs – are all too common.

An abundance of speed and slick talent in the game hasn’t translated into more entertainment or goals. Instead, teams executive rigid systems, playing it conservative.

Wednesday’s snoozer before 17,884 fans inside KeyBank Center was a prime example.

“I don’t think either team gives a lot of room out there, especially in the neutral zone,” Sabres coach Dan …

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Evander Kane misssed 11 games. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Cody Franson isn’t concerned. Neither is coach Dan Bylsma.

Thirteen games into the season, the Sabres are the only team without a goal from a defenseman.

“I could care less if I score one goal in a season,” Franson said Wednesday prior to the Sabres’ 2-1 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators. “For me, assists, getting pucks there for other guys to score are just as important as how many goals I have.”

Said Bylsma: “Not necessarily concerned that …

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Evander Kane was injured Oct. 13. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – For the next little bit, Evander Kane will likely have to endure some pain on the ice. The Sabres winger, out since breaking four ribs Oct. 13, hasn’t quite healed 100 percent.

“I don’t think anything is really healed kind of right when I get back, but it’s healed enough to where I can play and come back,” said Kane, who will return tonight against the Ottawa Senators. “I’m sure there’ll be a little bit of pain throughout the …

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Kyle Okposo has gotten off to a hot start. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Kyle Okposo’s quick acclimation and productive start have been welcomed by the Sabres, whose previous high-priced free agents quickly turned into disasters.

Remember Christian Ehrhoff? How about Ville Leino? Both lasted three seasons before the Sabres exercised buyouts. Both are out of the NHL, now cautionary tales for the dangers of free agency.

The rest of Ehrhoff’s 10-year, $40 million contact is being paid through 2027-28. The remainder of Leino’s six-year, $27 million deal – a contract widely regarded as …

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Robin Lehner made 32 saves Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

OTTAWA – Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner, coach Dan Bylsma said recently, gets a twinkle in his eye whenever he plays the Senators.

Lehner, 25, clearly relishes beating his old team, which traded him to keep Saturday’s counterpart, Craig Anderson, who’s 10 years older.

“Absolutely I can tell that,” a grinning Bylsma said following the Sabres’ 2-1 comeback win, a game in which Lehner starred, stopping 32 shots.

The Swede dazzled strong throughout his fourth straight start, allowing the Sabres to roar back …

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Nick Baptiste played his first NHL game in Ottawa on Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

OTTAWA – As a native of nearby Barrhaven, about a 10-minute drive from the Canadian Tire Centre, Buffalo Sabres rookie Nick Baptiste had quite the cheering section for his sixth NHL game.

“There’s going to be a lot of people here tonight – a lot of family, friends, teachers, people in the area,” Baptiste said prior to Saturday’s 2-1 comeback win against the Senators, his first NHL appearance here. “My brother’s whole hockey team is coming. There’s going to be quite …

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