Training Camp Edition

Archive:
Ruff

The Sabres drafted Philippe Boucher 13th overall in 1991. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – As Philippe Boucher approached Buffalo on his eight-hour drive from Quebec City on Wednesday, the 25th anniversary of the 1991 NHL Draft, the former Sabres defenseman sounded nostalgic recalling his life-changing day at Memorial Auditorium.

“To be drafted by Buffalo in Buffalo obviously added to that day,” Boucher said by phone.

Boucher watched the NHL Draft on Friday from the First Niagara Center stands as youngsters experienced the same emotions he felt when Sabres drafted him in the first round, …

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Jay McKee was recently promoted. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

The tweets are gone now, most likely casualties of Jay McKee’s budding new career.

In between gigs a few years ago, before McKee, 38, quickly ascended up the junior coaching ladder, the popular former Buffalo Sabres defenseman often eschewed the mundane words and pictures many ex-athletes tweet and utilized Twitter to showcase his lively personality.

It was all, of course, harmless fun for McKee, who on May 12 was named coach of the Kitchener Rangers. Still, tweets like the ones that poked …

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Daniel Briere retired in August. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Among the long-retired NHL talent and beer leaguers skating in the Corporate Challenge tournament the Sabres recently hosted, an undersized, boyish-looking 38-year-old with some slick moves and soft hands stood out.

The scene, in fact, looked pretty odd: former co-captain Daniel Briere, on the same ice he had once starred for the Sabres, playing in what amounted to an alumni game with some locals.

Six months after retiring, Briere is enjoying a new life his 17-year career NHL career never …

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Linus Ullmark allowed an early goal Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – As the 18,101 fans roared and celebrated a late Sabres comeback that seemed improbable just minutes earlier Tuesday, back on the bench, coach Dan Bylsma knew Sam Reinhart’s tying power-play goal wouldn’t count.

“I knew it was offside before the puck went in,” Bylsma said about the goal 13:53 into the third period following the Sabres’ 3-1 loss to the Dallas Stars inside the First Niagara Center.

For the third time in 18 games this season, an offside call reversed …

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Lindy Ruff's Stars lead the NHL with 15 wins. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – A scorching start buoyed by the NHL’s best offense. Young superstar talent. Terrific depth.

When did the Dallas Stars’ Lindy Ruff have all that before? Nine years ago, when Ruff coached a slick young Sabres team to the 2006-07 Eastern Conference final following a 113-point regular season.

Back then, Ruff had a stacked club led by co-captains Daniel Briere and Chris Drury and young talent like Brian Campbell, Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek.

These days, Ruff has reigning scoring …

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Linus Ullmark embraces a positive approach. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Linus Ullmark’s spirited celebration, which has quickly become a regular occurrence when the final horn signals another win for the Sabres goalie, wasn’t premeditated.

When Ullmark notched his first NHL victory Oct. 30, he excitedly got on one knee and pumped his arm low after a 27-save performance in a 3-1 win against Philadelphia. The Swede, 22, never really planned to do it again, but his next three wins were all one-goal triumphs.

The rookie couldn’t help himself.

“Every game has …

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Phil Housley electrified Buffalo fans in the 1980s. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

Doubt crept into Phil Housley’s head as the Hockey Hall of Fame passed him over year after year. Since 2006, three years after he ended an often spectacular 21-year career, the former Buffalo Sabres star defenseman patiently waited for a life-changing phone call.

Housley, who amassed 1,232 points in 1,495 games, was starting to think the call might never come.

Then on Monday, as Housley was about to eat lunch at a restaurant in Arizona, his phone rang. The Hall of Fame …

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Ryan O'Reilly spent six seasons in Colorado. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly’s ready to tackle a new challenge. During his first six NHL seasons, the 24-year-old wasn’t viewed as one of the Avalanche’s leaders. Colorado stars Matt Duchesne, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon often overshadowed him.

But O’Reilly, acquired in a blockbuster deal Friday at the NHL Draft, will have a new role next season. The Sabres want him to be one of the guys to shepherd a team filled with youngsters.

“I think it’s going to be …

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Joe Cecconi couldn't hide his excitement Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

SUNRISE, Fla. – Youngstown native Joe Cecconi said he started getting “a little bit scared” as the NHL Draft wore on Saturday. The defense prospect still hadn’t been picked almost halfway through the fifth round.

“I was like something might not happen, I might not get chosen,” a smiling Cecconi said after the Dallas Stars selected him 133rd overall inside the BB&T Center. “But seeing Dallas was up and they called my name, the dream has started.”

Cecconi, who spent last season …

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