On with the summer

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Pominville

Randy Cunneyworth talks Wednesday. ©2015, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

ROCHESTER – For three years, wherever Randy Cunneyworth went, he was asked the same question.

“I don’t think there was a person I came across that didn’t mention, ‘Are you going to get back into coaching or not?’” Cunneyworth recalled Wednesday after being introduced as the Rochester Americans’ new coach inside the Blue Cross War Memorial.

Cunneyworth enjoyed his player development job with the Buffalo Sabres – “I’m into whatever I’m doing,” he said – but coaching was “always prevalent on my …

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Randy Cunneyworth was Montreal's interim coach for 50 games in 2011-12. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – As the summer dragged on and the Rochester Americans’ coaching job remained open, one name kept popping up in rumors: Randy Cunneyworth, who had coached the Sabres’ AHL affiliate for eight seasons before moving up to the NHL.

Cunneyworth appeared to be the logical choice. The 54-year-old, a noted talent developer, was already a special assistant and a player development coach with the Amerks. He’s familiar with Buffalo’s prospects and the organization.

Sure enough, the Sabres general manager Tim Murray …

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Johan Larsson (22) battles Pittsburgh's Ben Lovejoy for the puck April 11. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed center Johan Larsson to a one-year, $800,000 contract, according to a Swedish newspaper report.

The Sabres now only have one unsigned restricted free agent, winger Jerry D’Amigo.

Larsson finished last season as the Sabres’ No. 1 center, scoring four goals and 14 points in his final 20 games. The 22-year-old Swede, however, struggled earlier when he played on checking lines. He scored six goals and 16 points in 39 total NHL games last season. He also …

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Ted Nolan thinks fans will cheer for the Sabres tonight. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Deep down, Sabres coach Ted Nolan probably knows the scene inside the First Niagara Center could get ugly for tonight’s anticipated matchup with the Arizona Coyotes, a contest between the NHL’s two worst teams.

With a prized, potentially franchise-changing prospect – either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel – essentially guaranteed with a loss, fans could do the unthinkable – root against the 30th-place Sabres, who trail Arizona by five points with nine games left. There have been some odd …

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The Sabres could call on Matt Hackett often down the stretch. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In less than a year, Sabres prospect Matt Hackett morphed from Ryan Miller’s possible heir apparent into an afterthought, the fifth goalie on the rebuilding team’s depth chart.

Hackett struggled last year in Rochester, posting career-worst numbers. Then the 25-year-old tore up his knee during a late-season recall, shelving him for nine months.

As Hackett rehabbed, Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth battled for the Sabres’ starting job. In Rochester, Nathan Lieuwen and Andrey Makarov tried to build off of strong …

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Chris Stewart has 11 goals this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have traded winger Chris Stewart to the Minnesota Wild for a 2017 second-round pick.

The 27-year-old, a free agent following the season, has 11 goals and 25 points in 61 games this season.

According to Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo, the Sabres are picking up half of Stewart’s salary.

The trade deadline has passed. Stay tuned for more details.

The Sabres have become regular deadline partners with Minnesota, sending the Wild Jason Pominville in 2013 and Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick …

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Josh Gorges looks dejected as Minnesota celebrates another goal Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – At this point, with the Sabres’ franchise-long losing streak at nine games and counting, it’s fair to wonder if the hapless team will win another game this season.

Seriously.

The Sabres are awful, a disaster by any standard.

In a season full of ugly, ugly defeats, the Sabres hit rock bottom in Thursday’s disastrous 7-0 loss to the reeling Minnesota Wild before 18,963 fans inside the First Niagara Center.

“I’m speechless,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said following the worst defeat in the …

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Thomas Vanek scored his eighth goal Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Call it hockey’s worst-kept secret.

Of course, Thomas Vanek couldn’t say anything as he bounced from team to team last season. But the former Sabres star confirmed the suspicions when free agency opened July 1, signing a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Minnesota Wild.

Vanek, a Minnesota resident and Golden Gophers college hero, wanted to return home.

“Honestly, every time I went out somewhere and got recognized, that was one of the first things that people would ask me, ‘When …

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Jason Pomiville knows the Wild must start winning soon. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – A year ago, a meeting with the Sabres changed the Minnesota Wild’s season.

The Wild had lost six straight games before beating the hapless club 4-1 on Jan. 2 in Minnesota. The team then ran off three more victories, saving its season and perhaps coach Mike Yeo’s job. The Wild later advanced to the second round of the playoffs, giving Chicago a tough series.

Fast forward to today, and Minnesota, having lost six straight games, is reeling again. Pittsburgh thumped …

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Florida goalie Roberto Luongo watches the puck in front of Cody Hodgson on Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – It’s getting ugly again. In fact, it’s starting to feel like October. The Sabres are losing every game. They can’t score. Opponents keep outshooting them.

Following an exciting 10-3 run, the Sabres have lost three straight games and seven of the last eight.

A wretched start, an early-season staple, doomed the Sabres in Friday’s boring 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers before a capacity crowd of 19,070 fans inside a quiet First Niagara Center.

“This game’s a 60-minute game,” Sabres coach …

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