Best wishes to RJ

Patrick Kaleta tore his ACL last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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TORONTO – Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan had no updates on Patrick Kaleta and Johan Larsson. The forwards left Sunday’s 3-2 preseason shootout loss to the Maple Leafs with apparent head injuries.

The players will be re-evaluated when the Sabres return to Buffalo, Nolan said.

The oft-injured Kaleta left the game just minutes in when Morgan Rielly’s slap shot hit the winger in the cheekbone area. Kaleta immediately skated off the ice to the dressing room.

Later in the period, Petter Granberg elbowed …

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Andrey Makarov hasn't played this preseason. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres aren’t bringing their ‘A’ squad to Toronto for tonight’s preseason contest against the Maple Leafs, but the lineup features a lot of youngsters and bubble players “that deserve to play,” coach Ted Nolan said.

“Camp’s far from over,” Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

First, here are forward lines: Cody Hodgson, Mikhail Grigorenko, Chris Stewart; Zac Dalpe, Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn; Joel Armia, Johan Larsson, Nick Deslauriers; Matt Ellis, Tim Schaller, Patrick Kaleta.

“You look at …

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Zac Dalpe signed with the Sabres on July 13. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Today, Sabres forward Zac Dalpe stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 195 pounds. The 24-year-old’s a former second-round pick who earned a hockey scholarship to Ohio State University.

But less than 10 years ago, Dalpe was a 5-foot-5, 110-pound teenager so desperate to get drafted into the Ontario Hockey League he hatched a plan at a weigh-in.

“I put these rocks in my pocket, and I weighed in at like 114,” Dalpe recalled Saturday inside the First Niagara Center. “I thought I …

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Sam Reinhart has played all three preseason games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – After playing three games in a five-day stretch to open the preseason, top Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart will likely sit out Sunday’s exhibition tilt in Toronto, coach Ted Nolan said.

Reinhart agreed with Nolan’s assessment he enjoyed his best outing in Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Maple Leafs. The center had zero points and one shot in 16 minutes, 46 seconds of ice time, mostly between Cody Hodgson and Brian Gionta.

“I think that was probably the toughest matchup for …

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Chris Stewart zooms toward the net Friday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – If this keeps up, the battle to become the Sabres’ No. 1 goalie could be over soon.

Michal Neuvirth performed poorly in his first preseason action, making only 16 saves in the Sabres’ 6-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday inside the First Niagara Center.

The Leafs scored on four of their first seven shots and five of the first 12.

“A tough game, not a lot of shots,” Neuvirth said. “It seemed like every time they had a …

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Luke Adam has dominated in the AHL. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The Sabres sent 11 players to the Rochester Americans today, including forward Luke Adam, who must clear waivers.

The Sabres also sent forwards William Carrier, Dan Catenacci, Colin Jacobs, Justin Kea, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Kevin Sundher and Phil Varone and defensemen Brady Austin, Jerome Leduc and Chad Ruhwedel to the AHL.

In addition, the Sabres assigned forwards Justin Bailey and Brendan Lemieux back to their junior clubs.

Adam, who has 11 goals and 26 points in 87 NHL games, dominated with the …

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Tim Schaller has looked impressive this training camp. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Ted Nolan knew very little about Sabres prospect Tim Schaller prior to training camp. The center hasn’t dazzled the coach, but his play away from the puck has been catching Nolan’s eye.

“I just thought his hockey intelligence was evident to a few of us,” Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “He kept doing it day after day after day. We just felt that he deserves an opportunity.”

Schaller, an undrafted free agent from Providence College, will …

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Joe Cecconi was smiling Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – About 100 family and friends watched No. 5 in white closely all night. Thirty sported neon green “Cecconi Fan Club” shirts, making them impossible to miss in the crowd. They brought spray-painted signs and three large cutouts of the defenseman’s head.

Forty-two youngsters skated in Thursday’s All-American Prospects Game, a showcase of the top U.S. talent eligible for the 2015 draft. Only one, Youngstown’s Joe Cecconi, who represented Team Olczyk, hailed from Western New York.

“I’m pumped up,” Cecconi said …

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Mike Grier instructs his players this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Retirement has been good for Mike Grier. Since leaving the NHL, the popular former Sabres winger has enjoyed the family life he couldn’t experience during his playing days.

But after almost three years of helping out his wife, “I think now she’s ready for me to get out of the house,” Grier joked this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

Grier’s beginning to get more involved in hockey again. He’s about to begin a job as a Chicago Blackhawks pro …

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Jack Eichel talks to the media Wednesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – NHL.com recently asked nine scouts which 2015 NHL draft prospect they preferred: Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. McDavid, the more recognizable name, won by the slimmest of margins, 5-4.

The informal poll proved what many hockey observers have been saying for years: 2015 could have two once-in-a-generation, franchise-changing talents at the top of the class.

Eichel, an ultra-slick Boston University freshman, will be the marquee attraction at tonight’s All-American Prospects Game inside the First Niagara Center.

Don’t be surprised if someone’s …

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