On with the summer

Archive:
Vanek

Randy Cunneyworth talks Wednesday. ©2015, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans
By 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 …

Read More --->
Randy Cunneyworth was Montreal's interim coach for 50 games in 2011-12. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By 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 …

Read More --->
Ryan O'Reilly's contract kicks in for 2016-17. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – That didn’t take long. A week after the Sabres acquired Ryan O’Reilly in a blockbuster trade with the Colorado Avalanche, they locked up their new No. 1 center with a max deal Friday, a whopping seven-year, $52.5 million contract extension.

It’s the biggest contract in franchise history, surpassing the seven-year, $50 million deal the Sabres gave winger Thomas Vanek in 2007 when they matched the Edmonton Oilers’ offer sheet.

The contract has a creative breakdown. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, …

Read More --->
Picking Jack Eichel will be the easy part for Tim Murray. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Tim Murray has joked he’ll make the easiest decision of his career before he walks to the NHL Draft podium Friday night inside the BB&T Center and, in his typical straightforward delivery, utters six words into the microphone: “The Buffalo Sabres select Jack Eichel.”

But after securing a potentially franchise-changing talent, the general manager might have an arduous two days ahead of him in Sunrise, Fla.

The Sabres have eight picks – 2, 21, 31, 51, 92, 122, 152, and …

Read More --->
Phil Varone celebrates his first NHL goal last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – Buffalo Sabres center Phil Varone didn’t want to leave the Air Canada Centre ice this afternoon. The native of nearby Vaughn, Ontario, a town about 30 minutes north of here, wanted to soak everything in prior to his first game against the Maple Leafs.

“I was just saying I think this is one rink that you come into and you’re like, ‘I’m in the NHL,’” Varone said after leaving the ice after most of his teammates.

Tonight will be a …

Read More --->
Josh Gorges looks dejected as Minnesota celebrates another goal Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By 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 …

Read More --->
Thomas Vanek scored his eighth goal Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By 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 …

Read More --->
Jason Pomiville knows the Wild must start winning soon. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By 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 …

Read More --->
Jaroslav Halak spent five days with the Sabres last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Since creeping to within four points of the final playoff spot Dec. 15, the Sabres have lost four straight games, earning just a single point for Sunday’s 4-3 overtime loss in Boston.

Are the Sabres swooning again? Opponents have scored a whopping 20 goals during their skid.

Or is this just a normal part of a young club’s growth? A team battered by injuries and illness had the lead in two straight road games earlier this week before imploding late.

The …

Read More --->
Luke Adam scored 15 goals in 86 games with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – As a rookie three years ago, Luke Adam was a top prospect and budding star for the Sabres. The forward quickly became a Calder Trophy candidate, scoring three goals and six points in his first four games.

Adam, who often centered stars Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek, scored his 10th goal and 20th point in his 32nd game in 2011-12.

He never recorded another point that season.

By early that February, when Adam’s point drought hit 20 games, the Sabres demoted …

Read More --->