The Eichel Era

Archive:
Perreault

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, …

Read More --->
Jack Eichel zooms in on Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk on March 5. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Thanks to a scheduling quirk three months ago, the Sabres enjoyed a six-day Christmas break, a rare opportunity to recharge during the rigorous six-month, 82-game season.

At that point, 33 games into his career, Sabres center Jack Eichel had nine goals and 16 points, terrific numbers for a 19-year-old. Still, those statistics ranked nowhere near the NHL’s elite.

Eichel used the time to go home to Boston and relax. Having played only 55 total games over eight months as a …

Read More --->
Phil Housley played eight seasons with the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – It was September 1982, and before the Sabres headed to Montreal for their first exhibition game, the team bus stopped at a hotel to pick up some players.

Phil Housley, an 18-year-old just months removed from high school, thought the bus was going to another hotel. So the green rookie, who was with his girlfriend, Karin, decided to bring his future wife on the bus, a big no-no.

“Everybody was on the bus,” Housley, who was inducted into the Hockey …

Read More --->
Phil Housley electrified Buffalo fans in the 1980s. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

Doubt crept into Phil Housley’s head as the Hockey Hall of Fame passed him over year after year. Since 2006, three years after he ended an often spectacular 21-year career, the former Buffalo Sabres star defenseman patiently waited for a life-changing phone call.

Housley, who amassed 1,232 points in 1,495 games, was starting to think the call might never come.

Then on Monday, as Housley was about to eat lunch at a restaurant in Arizona, his phone rang. The Hall of Fame …

Read More --->
Ryan O'Reilly spent six seasons in Colorado. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly’s ready to tackle a new challenge. During his first six NHL seasons, the 24-year-old wasn’t viewed as one of the Avalanche’s leaders. Colorado stars Matt Duchesne, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon often overshadowed him.

But O’Reilly, acquired in a blockbuster deal Friday at the NHL Draft, will have a new role next season. The Sabres want him to be one of the guys to shepherd a team filled with youngsters.

“I think it’s going to be …

Read More --->
Jack Eichel would likely be the No. 1 pick in any other year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

TORONTO – With only a 20 percent chance of winning, Tim Murray expected the Sabres would lose the NHL Draft Lottery tonight. The general manager was right. Sorry, Buffalo, Connor McDavid is going to the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers, with only an 11.5 percent chance, snagged hockey’s most coveted prospect.

The Sabres, of course, received a pretty nice consolation prize, slick Boston University center Jack Eichel. The 18-year-old Boston native would likely be the No. 1 pick in any other draft.

Eichel, the …

Read More --->
Patrick Kaleta practiced Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Patrick Kaleta’s face was mangled.

“Broke a bunch of things in there,” the oft-injured Sabres winger said Thursday following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

Kaleta said doctors inserted three plates and 14 screws after a shot hit him in the face during a Sept. 28 preseason game in Toronto. The 28-year-old has experienced blurred vision and migraines.

Still, less than three weeks after the scary incident, the Angola native is on the road back to game action. He skated with …

Read More --->
Terry Pegula's passion struck a chord with Sabres fans. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

To a certain degree, the euphoria sweeping through Western New York today was felt once before, on Feb. 22, 2011, when Terry Pegula was introduced as the Sabres’ fourth owner.

Of course, Pegula’s reported purchase of the Buffalo Bills is much different.

While the Sabres weren’t in danger of moving, there was a feeling he had rescued the franchise. With the Sabres among the NHL’s bottom-feeders, it’s easy to forget now, but that day was among the most emotional sports days in …

Read More --->
Ted Black (left) and Colin Campbell talk Monday. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – To Colin Campbell, who’s spent his life in hockey as a player, coach and executive, this city has a special place in the game.

“Buffalo, for a lot of hockey people, is almost like an Original Six team,” Campbell, the senior executive vice president of NHL Hockey Operations, said Monday in announcing the Sabres had landed the NHL Scouting Combine. “It’s been here for a long time, a lot of history here and a lot of things have happened …

Read More --->
Colin Campbell speaks this afternoon. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Before the NHL Scouting Combine could move here, commissioner Gary Bettman told Colin Campbell, one of his top lieutenants, the league had to allow all 30 teams a crack at the event

“We had a lot of interest,” Campbell, the senior executive vice president of NHL Hockey Operations, said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center.

Eventually, the NHL whittled its list down to two cities, Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

“Buffalo was heads and tails above everyone else,” Campbell said during a …

Read More --->