Eichel’s coming to town

Archive:
Rochester Americans

Justin Bailey scored 34 goals in 57 games in 2014-15. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Justin Bailey had known for months the rebuilding Kitchener Rangers would likely try to trade him to an Ontario Hockey League contender.

Still, when the team offered the youngster a deal to the powerhouse Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in early January, Bailey, who had a no-trade clause, wrestled with his decision.

“It was very, very difficult,” the high-scoring winger said Wednesday.

The 19-year-old Williamsville native loved playing in Kitchener, which is about two hours from Buffalo. The close proximity …

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John Wroblewski spent two seasons in Rochester. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have fired Rochester Americans assistant coach John Wroblewski, another holdover from the team’s old regime.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle first reported the news. Wroblewski later confirmed it in a tweet, writing, “Words won’t explain how much I enjoy the city of Rochester! However, I’m already excited for my next professional challenge, wherever it is!”

Sabres general manager Tim Murray fired Amerks head coach Chadd Cassidy on Friday. Both Cassidy and Wroblewski were hires during the Darcy Regier …

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Chadd Cassidy joined the Sabres organization in 2011. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – The Sabres fired Rochester Americans coach Chadd Cassidy today, ending his four-year run with the organization, the last two of which he spent leading the AHL club.

Since Cassidy was a holdover from the Darcy Regier regime, it was expected Sabres general manager Tim Murray would let the 41-year-old go. Cassidy’s contract expires this summer. Murray has been bringing in his own men. He fired Ted Nolan as Sabres coach earlier this month.

“I’d like to thank Chadd for all …

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Evan Rodrigues signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Sabres on Wednesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Yes, Evan Rodrigues said, he thought about potentially playing with Jack Eichel again before signing a two-year, entry-level contract with the Sabres. But there was more to the 21-year-old winger’s decision than being reunited with his slick Boston University linemate.

Rodrigues chose the Sabres before Saturday’s NHL Draft Lottery guaranteed them the second selection in the upcoming draft, a pick they will almost certainly use to select Eichel, whose talents could potentially change the franchise.

The undrafted free agent whittled …

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Sam Reinhart made his AHL debut Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

ROCHESTER – It wasn’t easy for Sam Reinhart to change his style. After all, the slick Buffalo Sabres prospect spent three seasons dominating junior hockey as an elite scorer.

“It’s hard in junior to force yourself to play the way you’re going to need to in the AHL and NHL,” Reinhart said Friday following his AHL debut with the Rochester Americans.

But Reinhart’s nine-game NHL trial in October taught the 19-year-old center some valuable lessons about succeeding in the professional game.

“You kind …

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Mark Pysyk took some hits Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

ROCHESTER – For Buffalo Sabres defense prospect Mark Pysyk, taking a couple big hits in the Americans’ 3-2 loss to the Utica Comets on Friday felt good.

“I got back up, nothing happened. That’s a good feeling,” Pysyk said following his return to game action after collapsing during a pickup basketball game Feb. 28 inside the Blue Cross War Memorial. “That’s good for the confidence.”

The Sabres told Pysyk, who suffered a seizure related to dehydration after playing two games with Buffalo, …

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Brian Gionta liked playing for Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

ROCHESTER – During a trying season in which the Buffalo Sabres lost 59 times and finished 30th overall, former coach Ted Nolan, who was fired Sunday, made it “good on the guys,” captain Brian Gionta said.

Still, Gionta understands when a team finishes last, the coach is the first to fall.

“Obviously, it’s tough,” Gionta said Friday as the Americans, the Sabres’ AHL affiliate, played the Utica Comets. “We love Teddy. Teddy’s a great guy. He was great in the room, did …

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Cody Hodgson scored only six goals in 2014-15. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Nothing could ignite Sabres enigma Cody Hodgson. Not moving from wing to center and back. Not switching lines. Not getting scratched.

In the worst season by a Sabres forward not named Ville Leino in recent memory, Hodgson mustered only six goals and 13 points in 78 games, a stunning 14-goal, 31-point drop in six more appearances.

Hodgson scored one goal in a 47-game stretch from Oct. 28 to Feb. 22. He endured goal droughts of 27 and 19 games and …

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Nikita Zadorov's rookie season was rough at times. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Tim Murray called his end-of-season meeting with 19-year-old Sabres rookie Nikita Zadorov, whose maturity was an issue all year, an “interview.” In reality, the general manager’s chat with the defenseman was probably more of a lecture.

“A big part of … our talk today was me putting the onus on him to grow, to get better to get fitter and become a man,” Murray said Sunday inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll see how that goes.”

Zadorov, the No. 16 …

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Tim Murray speaks Sunday after firing Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – For the first time since the Sabres replaced Ted Nolan following his initial run almost 18 years ago, the team must search for a new coach.

Yes, it has really been that long.

Lindy Ruff, Nolan’s replacement in 1997, lasted until 2013, when former Sabres general manager Darcy Regier quickly promoted Ron Rolston from Rochester as interim coach. Regier removed the interim tag following the season without interviewing anyone.

Nolan immediately took over as interim coach when owner Terry Pegula fired …

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