The Eichel Era

Archive:
Varone

Tim Schaller has played 17 NHL games this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres sent forwards Cal O’Reilly, Tim Schaller and Phil Varone to the Rochester Americans today, the start of the NHL All-Star break.

The Amerks host the Syracuse Crunch tonight.

O’Reilly, 29, has one assist in five NHL games this season. Schaller, 25, has one goal and three points in 17 appearances. Varone, 25, has one goal in four games.

O’Reilly is eligible again to play in the AHL All-Star Game on Monday.

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Tim Schaller scores his first-period short-handed goal Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Count the Sabres’ exciting 4-1 shellacking of the high-powered Washington Capitals on Saturday as perhaps the most impressive victory felt in these parts in years.

The 29th-ranked Sabres ended a five-game home losing streak while manhandling the league-leading Capitals, who roared into the First Niagara Center having won five straight contests and 14 of the last 16.

This one was never in doubt and had a little bit of everything. First-period goals from Phil Varone and Tim Schaller, two recent …

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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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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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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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Matt Moulson scored a career-low 13 goals last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – After his family, the most important thing in his life, Sabres winger Matt Moulson has two other loves.

“Scoring is my second love after winning,” Moulson said Sunday inside the First Niagara Center.

Moulson, 31, did little of either throughout a brutal 2014-15 season in which the Sabres won only 23 times and he scored a career-low 13 goals.

He struggled from the get-go beside some pedestrian centers, only occasionally showcasing the talents that once helped him score 30 goals three …

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Johan Larsson finished last season as the Sabres' top center. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Dan Bylsma wanted to count them all first. So before the coach talked about the impressive center depth the Sabres have quickly assembled, he rattled off each one on the roster.

When Bylsma stopped, he had named eight: Ryan O’Reilly, No. 2 overall pick Jack Eichel, Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson, David Legwand, Sam Reinhart and Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno, two wingers with experience down the middle.

“You’re usually fighting to find two or three in an organization,” Bylsma said …

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Justin Bailey was a 2013 second-round pick. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have sent 10 players to the Rochester Americans, including Williamsville native Justin Bailey, a wing prospect beginning his first professional season.

The Sabres also sent forwards Nick Baptiste, William Carrier, Dan Catenacci, Jerry D’Amigo, Jean Dupuy Justin Kea, Jack Nevins and Phil Varone and goalie Andrey Makarov to the AHL club. D’Amigo and Varone must clear waivers.

In addition, the Sabres released forward Matt Garbowsky and defenseman Matt Prapavessis from their tryouts.

The Sabres have 38 players – 20 …

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Phil Varone (84) chases after the puck last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres re-signed Phil Varone to a one-year, two-way contract today, avoiding arbitration with the forward.

Varone would’ve gone to an arbiter July 27. He’ll earn $600,000 in the NHL next season, according to CBC’s Tim Wharnsby, a $5,000 raise.

The 24-year-old, who had three goals and five points in 28 NHL games last season, likely wanted an AHL raise as a restricted free agent. He only had a $62,500 deal with the Rochester Americans last season.

Varone has led Rochester …

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