Kukla's Korner Hockey
added 1:22pm, via John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
from Amy Moritz of the Buffalo News,
Twice in the first period he put on some vintage Jack Eichel moves – if an 18-year-old rookie can have the word “vintage” used to describe his play.
Eichel blew by veteran Montreal defender Jeff Petry to charge the net with the puck and create scoring opportunities.
They were fantastic moves and one included a sick toe-drag, but neither resulted in a goal....
“I think I’m getting frustrated at this point,” said Eichel who had four shots in the Sabres 7-2 loss to the Canadiens at First Niagara Center Friday night. “You feel like you’re getting a lot of chances and you’re playing well and you’re doing the right things and then it’s not going your way but it’s a long season. You’re going to start getting the bounces sooner or later if you keep doing the right things.”...
“Just trying to do too much,” Eichel said when asked how he knew he was getting frustrated on the ice. “You don’t want to stray away from what you’ve been doing that’s helped you get the chances. The way I’ve always looked at it – if you’re getting chances then you’re doing something right. I think you just need to bear down a little bit and once you get one I think it will open it up.”
via the CP at TSN,
Buffalo took control of the third period midway through and raised the Leafs' ire when Kane plowed through Dion Phaneuf near the blue line, dropping Toronto's captain to the ice with a high stick.
"I don't quite understand, we should have been on the power play four minutes in the third and we weren't at all," said Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock. "So that's disappointing, but it's also part of life."
Buffalo beat Toronto 2-1 in a shootout.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
There are all kinds of fresh faces around the Buffalo Sabres’ lineup and even behind the bench. Optimism is flowing about as much as it can be for a team coming off back-to-back visits to the netherworld of 30th place in the NHL standings.
After months of hype, the big unveiling is here. It’s the season opener Thursday night in First Niagara Center against the Ottawa Senators. And there’s no way for the team to downplay it: This one is all about Jack Eichel.
The likeness of the No. 2 overall pick is one of four giant posters erected this week in the FNC atrium with its “Next Chapter” marketing slogan plastered on it.
Connor McDavid and Eichel will be forever linked by going 1-2 in the 2015 draft and this is their night, with Eichel skating in Buffalo and McDavid officially suiting up for the Edmonton Oilers for the first time in their game at St. Louis.
“You don’t focus on that too much anymore but it was all part of the experience to get here,” Eichel said after practice Wednesday on the eve of Buffalo’s 45th NHL opener. “There were great times but they’re over with now and it’s time to play hockey.”
Eichel said he expects plenty of electricity in a building that’s been mostly devoid of any juice for several years.
“I think it will be pretty wild,” he said. “I know Buffalo has been looking forward to this one and so have we. It’s going to be a great experience.”
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
The hockey world is tilting on its axis as the puck drops on the 2015-16 NHL season, bringing about a collision of stars that comes around less than once in a generation.
Consider it a lunar eclipse even more rare than the blood moon.
You have generational talents in Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel — centres so enticing that teams were willing to lose for a year to get them — rocketing into orbit while the deities of the last decade, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, have neither burned out nor faded away.
There are obvious parallels to 2004-05 with a pair of future superstars arriving together, but the wider landscape is totally different. Back then Crosby and Ovechkin were desperately needed to inject excitement and sell a sport that was emerging from an ugly year-long lockout.
added 8:03am, from Victor Mather of the New York Times,
Every decade or so, hockey fans get excited over a “generational talent” coming into the N.H.L. Wayne Gretzky in 1978, Mario Lemieux in 1984, Eric Lindros in 1992 and Sidney Crosby in 2005 were all considered can’t-miss centers bound for immediate greatness and eventually the Hall of Fame.
This season there are two 18-year-old centers who are being heralded as the next great ones.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Here are some things to keep an eye on as the Sabres start a new era of watchable hockey.
1. Jack Eichel. The future (present?) superstar is the reward for years of suffering. He’s already shown he can be worth the price of admission.
The first time he wore a Buffalo uniform, in a prospects tournament, Eichel assisted on the tying goal in the closing minutes and scored the winner in overtime on a breakaway. In his first preseason game, Eichel scored the winner on a breakaway while short-handed. He has the ability to turn any game into a must-see event.
“I want to come in and find a role and make a difference for this team and help them win games,” Eichel said. “That’s why they drafted me, and that’s why they’re giving me this opportunity.”
2. Evander Kane. Flashy on and off the ice, Kane is an open book and an enigma at the same time. No one may ever know the whole story of what happened in Winnipeg, but anyone can see Kane lives a high-dollar lifestyle through his pictures of beaches, sports cars and model girlfriend.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Do you think the New York Rangers will re-sign Keith Yandle? If so, what does the new contract look like?
I'm 50-50 on this. A lot will depend on how the Rangers play this season, where they stand at the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline, the maturation of Brady Skjei, and the cap. The Rangers should be a contender, so they should be in buying mode come the deadline, so it stands to reason Yandle would be safe if he is still unsigned at that point. The maturation of Skjei matters more than anything here because he's a left-handed defenseman, like Yandle, and he would be a lot cheaper to have on the roster in Yandle's spot than Yandle would be....
Who stands out more for the Buffalo Sabres this year, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane or Jack Eichel?
They'll all stand out, but Eichel will make the biggest splash because he'll have the spotlight on him more than the other two guys and I'm fairly certain after seeing some of his preseason and reading all about him, quotes from everyone around the Sabres and media members who have seen them play, that he will be the real deal. I expect O'Reilly and Kane to have big impacts on the ice as well, but all eyes will be on Eichel and he will stand out. It will help him that the Sabres should have O'Reilly and Kane on the top line with Tyler Ennis, which means they will face the top defense pairs whereas Eichel, who could play with Matt Moulson and Zemgus Girgensons to start, will have it slightly easier.
more on the Yandle topic plus additional Q & A...
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Who knows how good this Sabres team can be. The Eastern Conference is pretty wide open. Could they be playing meaningful games in January or February, perhaps beyond?
For that to happen, Lehner has to be the real deal. Kane has to stay healthy. Eichel has to be as good as advertised. The defense has to come together under Bylsma. That's a lot of questions.
Still, for the first time in a long time, the questions are are colored by something akin to unabashed, unbridled optimism.
"You get a lot of pats on the back, and we haven't done anything yet," Murray told two reporters after the team's on-ice workout.
"Last I saw, we finished 30th and we're trying to improve and I think on paper we've improved. There's a lot of variables. New coaching staff. How quickly we gel with a lot of new guys. Two new goalies that didn't play here last year at all. I think there are a lot of question marks.
"We're excited about the questions, obviously, but we have to see what we do here. I'm confident we're going to get a lot better. I'm just not quite sure what that means."
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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