Pominville says Sabres should sign Hecht; Regier says he’s considering it


Will Jochen Hecht be back for a 10th season in Buffalo?

It sounds like things might play out that way.

The 35-year-old has received a vote of confidence from Sabres captain Jason Pominville — “He looks great. He’s healthy. He’s the same Jochen that he’s always been,” — and is now on GM Darcy Regier’s radar.

Regier is considering bringing back Hecht for another tour of duty, according to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News. The German forward spent the lockout playing on a line with Pominville at Adler Mannheim, and appears to be over concussion issues that plagued him during the last two years.

Hecht’s four-year, $14.1 million deal with Buffalo expired in June.

A former team captain, Hecht spent the last nine seasons with the Sabres organization and was the active leader in games played, with 566.

He only appeared in 22 games in 2011-12, but is also only two years removed from a 21-goal, 42-point campaign.

The Sabres are thin at center — Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis project to be the top two — and could use a veteran presence like Hecht, who looked sharp playing in Germany.

“Just one of those guys who is so solid at every area of the ice and was playing really well. No health issues. Everything is fine,” Pominville explained. “He’s just staying there patiently and waiting for an opportunity to play.

“Whatever teams gets him — hopefully it’s us — they’re going to have a good player, that’s for sure.”

Related: Grigorenko will attend Sabres’ training camp

Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

Patrick Kane
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On paper, it’s the perfect way to kick off meaningful hockey in Brooklyn, as the New York Islanders faced the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

In reality, there were some highs and lows, culminating with Patrick Kane scoring a power-play overtime-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 (OT) win.

The Barclays Center crowd was going to be a big part of the story one way or another, but even by building-opening standards, the audience made some waves.

Indeed, Kane was greeted with some jeers during his first road appearance of the 2015-16 season, though he didn’t sound surprised.

(There were other controversial chants, apparently.)

Speaking of the crowd, it may not have been the greatest turnout:

ESPN goes way, way in depth on how the change of locale was received, by the way.

It wasn’t a perfect night inside the rink, either, as there weren’t exactly rave reviews about ice quality. New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple compared the ice to a “slushy” and “soup,” with an anonymous Islander (or Islanders) describing the conditions as “awful.”

Kane was pretty diplomatic about it, for what it’s worth.


So, no, it was not a perfect night for the Islanders.

They probably envisioned a teeming, perfectly mannered crowd. Management likely expected Jaroslav Halak to be in net, too.

Sometimes breaking ground is often about overcoming those early stumbles, though, and maybe the best review is to parallel the on-ice results: the Isles at least got a point out of it.

Let’s not forget that there are some cool perks that come with this situation, even if the specifics may vary.

If you want even more information/photos/etc., you’d probably do well to check out #IslesOpeningNight.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.