Welcome back, Jack

Archive:
Pysyk

Sam Reinhart smiles after scoring Saturday afternoon. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – As the seven-game mark approached, Sabres forward Sam Reinhart figured after all his missed opportunities, his first goal would be fluky.

“The way the year has been going, that’s the way the first one had to go in, because the chances have been there,” Reinhart said after scoring a power-play goal late in Saturday afternoon’s 3-0 win against the Florida Panthers inside KeyBank Center.

Sure enough, 8:48 into the third period, Reinhart tried to find Kyle Okposo from behind the …

Read More --->
Mark Pysyk was a first-round pick in 2010. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Being back here felt “weird,” Mark Pysyk, clad in Florida Panthers workout gear, said Saturday morning as he took a break from preparing for his first game as a visitor at KeyBank Center.

Pysyk, 24, grew up with the Sabres, developing from a first-round pick in 2010 into an NHL defenseman.

“The last six years I’ve been coming here for … everything,” Pysyk said prior to the Sabres’ 3-0 win against the Panthers.

The Edmonton native, who played 125 games with …

Read More --->
Dmitry Kulikov (left) chases down new Sabres teammate Zemgus Girgensons with Florida in 2014-15. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Coach Dan Bylsma noticed it right away. So did some others on the ice for Wednesday’s practice, the Sabres’ first training camp session with defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.

“A couple comments on the D-man (being) able to get the puck up to the forwards with Dmitry,” Bylsma said inside KeyBank Center. “It’s good to see.”

The Sabres acquired Kulikov from the Florida Panthers on June 25 for a slew of reasons, including his strong ability to move the puck.

Kulikov, 25, just …

Read More --->
Cody Franson suffered a season-ending injury Feb. 19. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

How remarkably healthy did the Buffalo blue line stay in 2015-16? The Sabres recalled a defenseman as an injury replacement just once.

Think about that. Over the course of the grueling six-month, 82-game season, the Sabres only dipped into the AHL on March 18, when they summoned Chad Ruhwedel to sub for Carlo Colaiacovo prior to their 72nd contest. Ruhwedel played that night and was quickly returned to the Rochester Americans.

The Sabres almost certainly won’t be so lucky injury-wise next season. …

Read More --->
Kyle Okposo will sign a lucrative contract. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The pickings are so slim in NHL free agency this year, perhaps the most coveted player available, Kyle Okposo, has never cracked the 30-goal or 70-point marks.

Okposo, of course, is a talented winger. The Minnesota native is coming off a 22-goal, 64-point season with the New York Islanders. He has 139 goals and 369 points in 529 NHL games over nine years, including three 20-goal seasons and two 60-point campaigns.

Yes, Okposo has been productive over the years. But …

Read More --->
Dmitri Kulikov thought he would stay in Florida. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – When the Sabres examined defenseman Dmitry Kulikov as a potential trade target, the team’s decision-makers studied video of the Florida Panthers’ first-round playoff series.

While the Panthers lost to the lower-seeded New York Islanders in six games, Kulikov’s performance wowed them. In critical tilts, the Russian thrived playing a No. 1 shutdown role against the Isles’ top talent.

Those outings helped convince the Sabres they needed to pursue the Russian, who believes he found something extra in himself to “push …

Read More --->
Dmitri Kulikov is excited by his new opportunity. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – When the Florida Panthers acquired Keith Yandle’s rights last week, Dmitry Kulikov was initially excited the team had an offensive defenseman in its arsenal.

But three days later, the Panthers signed Yandle to a seven-year, $44.45 million contract. With the NHL Draft just a day away, Kulikov, 25, said he was starting to have doubts he would stay in Florida.

“I was comfortable in Florida,” Kulikov, who was traded to the Sabres on Saturday at the draft, said this afternoon …

Read More --->
Mark Pysyk figured he was in the Sabres' plans. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Fresh off his first full NHL season, Mark Pysyk figured he was in the Sabres’ long-term plans. With the defenseman skating regular minutes in 55 games, the team improved 27 points, moving from last overall to 23rd.

“I wasn’t really banking on anything happening,” Pysyk told the Times Herald by phone Sunday.

Then Saturday morning, as Pysyk slept, his phone began lighting up with calls and texts. Eventually, his fiancé informed him the Sabres had just traded him to the …

Read More --->
Dmitri Kulikov fills a big need for the Sabres. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In acquiring Dmitry Kulikov from the Florida Panthers on Saturday morning, the Sabres added the versatile, left-handed defenseman they coveted and filled perhaps their biggest need.

“We have a need for a left-shot D,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said after the NHL Draft ended.

There are, of course, other holes, including up front, where the Sabres must add more scoring, either through trades or free agency.

“The best that are available at any position I’m going to listen to,” Murray …

Read More --->
Sabres draft pick Rasmus Asplund (left) walks Saturday with Chris Bandura, the team's director of media relations. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The trade was almost complete. The Sabres and Florida Panthers had agreed to swap defensemen Mark Pysyk and Dmitri Kulikov as the main components.

But the sides hadn’t worked out draft picks yet. Originally, general manager Tim Murray wanted to give the Sabres’ first third-round pick, 69th overall, to his counterpart, Tom Rowe, at the NHL Draft.

Murray went back to Rowe on Saturday morning and offered his last third-rounder, 89th overall, and said he wanted to flip-flop second-round picks. …

Read More --->