Eichel’s coming to town

Tim Murray said he expects the Sabres to lose the NHL draft lottery. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Tim Murray’s thoughts on the NHL Draft Lottery haven’t been conveyed in a regular forum since the Sabres general manager never had a season-ending media session.

The Sabres turned down requests from The Times Herald and other outlets to make Murray available this week. Murray won’t speak until after the lottery Saturday night in Toronto.

The team’s Web site released two comments from Murray today. Of course, they’re mostly the canned comments you would expect.

The Sabres, thanks to a 30th-place …

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Cody Hodgson scored only six goals in 2014-15. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Nothing could ignite Sabres enigma Cody Hodgson. Not moving from wing to center and back. Not switching lines. Not getting scratched.

In the worst season by a Sabres forward not named Ville Leino in recent memory, Hodgson mustered only six goals and 13 points in 78 games, a stunning 14-goal, 31-point drop in six more appearances.

Hodgson scored one goal in a 47-game stretch from Oct. 28 to Feb. 22. He endured goal droughts of 27 and 19 games and …

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Anders Lindback went from a spare part to a strong starting goalie. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Many figured goalie Anders Lindback would play a few games, contribute to the Sabres’ push for the No. 1 draft pick and quietly leave following the season.

Lindback, after all, was just a body the Sabres received from the Dallas Stars when they dealt goalie Jhonas Enroth. They needed someone for practice and to dress for games, right?

Statistically, the 26-year-old Lindback was perhaps the NHL’s worst goalie upon his arrival Feb. 11. The tank brigade saw his awful .875 …

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Nikita Zadorov's rookie season was rough at times. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Tim Murray called his end-of-season meeting with 19-year-old Sabres rookie Nikita Zadorov, whose maturity was an issue all year, an “interview.” In reality, the general manager’s chat with the defenseman was probably more of a lecture.

“A big part of … our talk today was me putting the onus on him to grow, to get better to get fitter and become a man,” Murray said Sunday inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll see how that goes.”

Zadorov, the No. 16 …

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Tim Murray speaks Sunday after firing Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
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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Josh Gorges' first season with the Sabres ended Feb. 10. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – A player’s mind stays focused on the current season, Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges said. Athletes live in the present. They don’t think a year ahead like their team’s brass.

“You come in with a mindset of we’re going to win, we’re going to try to win,” the veteran said Sunday morning as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers following a 30th-place finish. “As players, our job is not to play for the future and play for development of players. …

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Ted Nolan was fired Sunday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The odds, of course, were stacked against Ted Nolan succeeding in his second run as Sabres coach, which ended with his firing Sunday night, less than a day after a 30th-place finish.

Nolan wasn’t truly Tim Murray’s guy. Sure, the general manager awarded him a three-year contract late last season. But old friend Pat LaFontaine hired Nolan as interim coach early in 2013-14 before leaving months later.

Perhaps Murray felt obligated to keep the popular coach for a trial or …

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Patrick Kaleta had another injury-filled season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Following the end of another injury-filled season in which he played only 42 games, Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta received some good news.

“I passed my physical for the first time in five years, so that was a positive this morning,” Kaleta said Sunday as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers inside the First Niagara Center.

That’s how banged up the passionate Kaleta has been over the years.

This season, a year after tearing his ACL, the Angola native broke his face …

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Ted Nolan signed a three-year contract last year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – In a not-so-surprising move, the Sabres fired Ted Nolan tonight, ending the popular coach’s second run here.

The rebuilding Sabres just finished the season 30th overall.

In addition, the team also fired assistant coach Danny Flynn and won’t renew the contracts of assistants Bryan Trottier and Tom Coolen.

Stay tuned for more details.

Update: General manager Tim Murray said he decided to fire Nolan today after six hours of interviews with players.

“I’ve said all along I want to improve this team every …

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Josh Gorges' season ended Feb. 10. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The mindset of a player at the start of the season is never focused on building for the next one, Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges said.

“You come in with a mindset of we’re going to win, we’re going to try to win,” the veteran said this morning as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers following a 30th-place finish. “As players, our job is not to play for the future and play for development of players. It’s just to compete …

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