The Eichel Era

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Philadelphia Flyers

Ryan O'Reilly hasn't scored since Jan. 8. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – As Ryan O’Reilly’s struggles have increased recently, so have the frequency of his talks with Sabres coach Dan Bylsma, who has told his top center to take a deep breath and relax.

Just a few months ago, as O’Reilly, 25, enjoyed a scorching start, the two didn’t need to chat much. But the Sabres’ lone NHL All-Star is extremely hard on himself. After nearly every loss, he almost sounds inconsolable as he laments his miscues and lost opportunities.

So naturally, …

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Jack Eichel watches his first-period goal Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – So, how many times in the last two-plus seasons had these words been written prior to Friday? The Sabres manhandled an opponent from start to finish.

Probably zero.

In arguably their most complete effort in years, a commanding 3-1 win inside the First Niagara Center, the Sabres dominated the Philadelphia Flyers all over the ice.

Don’t let the score fool you. It wasn’t that close.

“Everything was just going right today,” said Sabres winger Nick Deslauriers, who scored for the second straight …

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Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark makes a save in his NHL debut. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Some quick updates from the First Niagara Center, where the Sabres host the Philadelphia Flyers tonight:

– A lower-body injury will sideline Sabres winger Tyler Ennis, whose three goals are tied for the team lead, for a second straight game, coach Dan Bylsma said. Ennis missed the Sabres’ 4-3 loss in Pittsburgh on Thursday. He skated briefly this morning. Marcus Foligno subbed on the right wing beside center Ryan O’Reilly and Nick Deslaurier against the Penguins.

The rest of tonight’s …

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Evander Kane (9) is helped off the ice Saturday by trainer Tim Macre and Jake McCabe. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The bad news, in some odd way, was still good for the struggling Sabres. A left MCL injury will only sideline winger Evander Kane four to six weeks, coach Dan Bylsma said.

At least the former 30-goal scorer will play again this season.

After New Jersey’s David Schlemko hit Kane hard into the corner boards late Saturday in the Sabres’ 4-3 loss, it appeared he might be finished as he writhed in pain on the ice before skating off gingerly.

Kane …

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Daniel Briere co-captained the Sabres. ©2015, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Former Sabres co-captain Daniel Briere, who stills holds a special place in the hearts of many Buffalo sports fans, held his retirement news conference today in Philadelphia, where he played six seasons for the Flyers. As expected, the former high-scoring center was classy and thoughtful. Courtesy of the Flyers, here are some highlights from the 37-year-old Briere, who played with the Sabres from late 2002-03 through 2006-07.

On what the future holds:

“There’s many things that I’d like to do moving forward. First …

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Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth stops Philadelphia's Chris VandeVelde on Sunday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – There was no easing Zach Bogosian into the lineup or letting him get acclimated to the Sabres’ systems. Coach Ted Nolan threw the aggressive defenseman headfirst into the fray, skating his newest addition a game-high 24 minutes, 49 seconds in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Bogosian responded, recording 11 hits, the Sabres’ highest total this season.

“That’s the way I like to play,” Bogosian said. “I felt good to get out there.”

Bogosian, a key piece in Wednesday’s blockbuster …

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Johan Larsson's comments last month upset Sabres coach Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – As the Sabres trickled out on the ice Sunday morning, coach Ted Nolan and winger Johan Larsson skated around and talked about the prospect’s latest recall.

Upon getting demoted to Rochester in early January, Larsson voiced his displeasure with having to skate on the fourth line in the NHL, a complaint that irked Nolan.

“Yeah, I was upset,” Nolan said. “Players play. The tail can’t wag the dog.”

So Nolan gave Larsson a direct message during their brief chat prior to …

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Johan Larsson didn't like his linemates his last trip up. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The lower-body injury Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges has been nursing could sideline the veteran for a while.

Sabres coach Ted Nolan wouldn’t say Gorges’ season is over, however.

“I’m not too sure about that,” Nolan said this morning after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll see. He’s going to get a second opinion.”

Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta, meanwhile, had played 21 consecutive games, a long streak for the oft-injured agitator. But …

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Zach Bogosian grew up in Massena. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The mood on the ice inside HarborCenter belied the Sabres’ sorry state. Players laughed and had fun throughout Saturday’s up-tempo practice, the end of another trying week for the rebuilding club.

For some, the session, the first with new Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian, was therapeutic.

“We got a good group of guys,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “They give us what they have every day. They’re trying to keep their spirits up as best we can. There’s problems outside the …

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Philadelphia's R.J. Umberger deflects the puck past Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth on Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – If you’re a glass-is-half-full type, the Sabres did some good things in Saturday’s 4-3 defeat to a weak Philadelphia Flyers team, their 10th consecutive regulation loss.

For the first time in weeks, the Sabres started strongly and showcased a better effort early, taking the lead and dictating much of the play. When the Flyers went up 2-1, they tied it late in the second period. They even scored three goals for the first time in 10 games.

If you’re a …

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