The Eichel Era

Archive:
Pysyk

Josh Gorges (4) has been battling an upper-body injury. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In reality, it’s a good problem. With Josh Gorges ready to play, the Sabres have eight healthy defensemen. Given the rough-and-tumble nature of the position, bodies are always at a premium, especially at this time of year.

Still, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma doesn’t like it much. He’s already had to mothball defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, who has played one game since Dec. 7. Now someone else must sit.

What will the Sabres do? Could a move be coming?

“I expect to see …

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Matt Donovan spent all last season in the NHL but only played 12 games. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

ROCHESTER – It’s easy to forget, but almost four months ago, Matt Donovan made the Buffalo Sabres’ roster out of training camp and briefly stayed as the eighth defenseman.

After sitting out three games as a healthy scratch, the Sabres sent Donovan, 25, to the AHL, where he has quietly resumed a career that stalled last season with the New York Islanders.

Sure, getting demoted to the Americans was disappointing. But simply having an opportunity to play regularly has jumpstarted Donovan, who …

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Phil Varone scored his fifth NHL goal Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Just 18 days ago, when the Rochester Americans made their yearly visit to the First Niagara Center, Phil Varone watched as a healthy scratch. At that point, almost halfway through his fifth professional season, the forward appeared to be on the outs with the Sabres organization.

Despite playing 28 NHL games last year and earning a contract worth $200,000 in the minors, Varone’s poor play and the Amerks’ glut of veterans helped him get benched five times recently.

But Varone, …

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Phil Varone will replace Zemgus Girgensons. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Just a couple of weeks ago, the chances of Phil Varone earning another recall to the Sabres appeared to be slim. The center, 25, was struggling with the Rochester Americans, getting scratched thanks to a glut of veterans and a terrible minus rating.

When the Amerks played a game on Dec. 30 at the First Niagara Center, Varone sat out.

But Varone, the Amerks’ leading goal scorer with 10, has recently been the AHL’s club’s best forward. With winger Zemgus …

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Marcus Foligno has been a noticeable presence recently. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – For perhaps the first time all season, enigmatic forwards Marcus Foligno and Johan Larsson are playing well at the same time, meaning the Sabres have finally started receiving some notable contributions from their third line.

For the last four games, Foligno, Larsson and captain Brian Gionta have been one of the Sabres’ strongest trios, contributing some much-needed offense and grit while often facing the opposition’s best.

Larsson, the center, skated a season-high 17 minutes, 59 seconds in Tuesday’s 3-2 win …

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Jack Eichel had a career-high four points Dec. 26 against Boston. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – On Thursday, after the Sabres recalled Robin Lehner from his three-game AHL conditioning assignment, coach Dan Bylsma thought his goalie looked tired.

Following Lehner’s final rehab game Wednesday in Albany, the Americans had a long bus trip back to Rochester in inclement weather. The Swede only slept three hours before practicing with the Sabres.

It appeared the Bylsma might give Lehner, out since Oct. 8 with a high right ankle sprain, more time to rest before playing only his second …

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Phil Varone has been a healthy scratch this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

ROCHESTER – One of the oddest situations in the minors is unfolding with the AHL Americans, the Buffalo Sabres’ high-priced affiliate. The club has too many veterans, meaning some notable talent earning six figures has been forced to sit out to comply with league development rules.

The Amerks scratched Jerry D’Amigo and Patrick Kaleta, two forwards with 379 games of NHL experience, Friday. Forward Matt Ellis, an alternate captain less than a year removed from regular NHL duty, sat out for …

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Mark Pysyk hasn't played an NHL game since Nov. 17. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres recalled defenseman Mark Pysyk from his AHL conditioning assignment today.

Pysyk, who turns 24 today, has missed last the 24 games with a broken foot. The former first-round pick played three games with the Rochester Americans, recording an assist. He hasn’t played an NHL game since Nov. 17.

With Pysyk back, the Sabres will have eight defensemen available for Tuesday’s road contest against the Minnesota Wild, meaning one more will have to be scratched.

Pysyk has one assist and …

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Robin Lehner played his first game Friday since Oct. 8. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

ROCHESTER – Robin Lehner knew his first rehab appearance for the AHL Americans could be a bit rocky. After all, the goalie hadn’t played since suffering a high ankle sprain opening night, his debut as the Buffalo Sabres’ new starter.

Lehner, 24, looked shaky at times Friday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial. In his first action since Oct. 8, the Swede allowed a goal on the fifth shot he faced and three scores on the first nine shots in the …

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Dan Bylsma (right) took over the Sabres' coaching job this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres coach Dan Bylsma noticed almost immediately, way back in September, and it surprised him. Training camp had just started with an overhauled roster – about 10 new faces, in fact – yet his players were already forming close bonds.

“They enjoy being a part of this team and part of this group,” Bylsma said Thursday inside the First Niagara Center. “It has developed. It is a part of what we are. … It is a calling card of …

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