The Eichel Era

Cody McCormick has still been around the rink. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – The blood clots Cody McCormick developed halfway through 2014-15 will force the rugged Sabres forward to retire, general manager Tim Murray said Monday.

“Cody McCormick is not going to jeopardize his life or his family by trying to play again,” Murray said inside the First Niagara Center. “We support him in that. He was around this winter and did some other things when players were rehabbing. So I don’t know if that’s going to be a future thing or …

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Tim Murray smiles this afternoon. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Following a 27-point improvement in 2015-16, a season in which the Sabres morphed from the NHL’s laughingstock into a legitimate team again, the playoffs “may actually be a realistic goal” next year, general manager Tim Murray said.

“So that will be our statement to the players, that yes, the goal is to reach the playoffs, and that we actually do expect that we can do that,” Murray said this afternoon during an end-of-season news conference with coach Dan Bylsma …

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Ryan O'Reilly can smile about the Sabres' future. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – When center Ryan O’Reilly joined his new teammates seven months ago, the stench leftover from consecutive 30th-place finishes – the culture of losing, it could be called – still lingered around the Sabres.

“I think you could sense it a bit, for sure,” O’Reilly said Sunday as the Sabres held their end-of-season meetings inside the First Niagara Center following a 35-36-11 finish. “I think there’s a lot of habits, when you look at winning teams, they do that make …

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Robin Lehner recently underwent ankle surgery. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Robin Lehner knew his pain threshold would be tested when he returned in mid-January from the high right ankle sprain he suffered opening night.

“Since that day it’s been pain, it’s been swelling after every practice, every game,” Lehner said Sunday as the Sabres held their end-of-season meetings inside the First Niagara Center.

After missing more than three months, Lehner started 20 times, often performing like the No. 1 goalie the Sabres sorely wanted. Still, his tender ankle …

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Jack Eichel wants to rest a bit this offseason.©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – When center Ryan O’Reilly joined his new teammates seven months ago, the stench leftover from consecutive 30th-place finishes – the culture of losing, you might call it – still surrounded the Sabres.

“I think you could sense it a bit, for sure,” O’Reilly said this morning as the Sabres held their end-of-season meetings inside the First Niagara Center. “I think there’s a lot of habits, when you look at winning teams, they do that make them successful. I think …

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Sabres goalie Jason Kasdorf makes a first-period save in his NHL debut Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – In the big picture, failing to hit a .500 points percentage, a notable mark the Sabres sorely wanted, shouldn’t matter much.

The Sabres’ 4-1 loss in Friday’s home finale to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets secured their third straight losing season (34-36-11), and like so many other home games recently, they let a weak opponent exploit them.

Still, the Sabres’ recent 7-2-2 run thrust them up the standings, giving them a real goal – they haven’t finished .500 since 2012-13 …

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Ryan O'Reilly was named team MVP Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In his first season as coach, Dan Bylsma has experienced so much excitement surrounding the Sabres he wonders how crazy it would feel if his team becomes a contender again.

The Sabres, of course, will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Still, to a rabid fan base yearning for postseason hockey, the progress the Sabres have made this season – they’ve improved 25 points with newcomers Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly and others – offers strong hope for …

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Jason Kasdorf turned pro last month. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – To Sabres goalie Jason Kasdorf, who will make his NHL debut in tonight’s home finale against the Columbus Blue Jackets, experiencing some nerves before games feels good.

“I’m just kind of naturally that way,” an excited Kasdorf said this morning. “Even for college games, I’d get nervous for them. It’s just who I am.”

Kasdorf, who said he slept well last night, will likely feel some extra nerves tonight, when he becomes the fourth goalie to start for the Sabres …

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Tyler Ennis is felt good on the ice Thursday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – After experiencing a “strange few months” recovering from a scary concussion, Tyler Ennis can smile now. But at times throughout the past 13 weeks, as his health constantly changed and the emotional toll wore on him, the speedy Sabres winger feared for his future.

“There’s days where you feel great and days where it’s tough,” Ennis said Thursday following his first practice since he was injured Dec. 30. “To say I wasn’t scared at some point would probably be …

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Cole Schneider has strong AHL numbers. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – When Williamsville native Cole Schneider walked into the First Niagara Center on Thursday morning, it marked the first time the new Sabres winger had been in the building since he competed in a showcase of local high school players in 2008.

A lot happened to Schneider, 25, in between his trips to rink.

Schneider, who grew up cheering for the Sabres, will make his NHL debut in tonight’s home finale against the Columbus Blue Jackets after playing 287 AHL games.

“He’s …

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