Mike Halford

HKN Sabres Senators

Sabres waive d-man Donovan

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Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.

Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.

The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.

The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.

Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

Craig Anderson
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Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.

Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.

Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.

Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.

“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.

“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”

The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.

He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.

Winless ‘Canes aren’t panicking as lengthy road trip looms

James Wisniewski, John-Michael Liles, Elias Lindholm
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So, let’s recap the start of Carolina’s ’15-16 campaign:

No wins and two losses, including their home opener against Detroit on Saturday. A torn ACL for veteran d-man James Wisniewski, and a shoulder injury for third-line center Riley Nash.

Oh, and Tuesday night’s game against Florida will the last time the ‘Canes play at PNC Arena until Oct. 30 — because after tonight, they embark on a seven-game, 13-day road trip through Detroit, Washington, Colorado, Los Angeles, San Jose, Detroit (again) and Brooklyn.

Tough times, but the ‘Canes aren’t ready to panic.

Yet.

“There are 80 games left,” Jordan Staal explained, per the Raleigh News and Observer. “It’s a long season. Our philosophy all season will be moving on to the next shift, next game, next practice. We’re always trying to get better and I think we improved on our game from the Nashville game.

“We had a tough ending last game but had a lot of good things, as well. We just want to get that first win and build on that.”

It’s pretty obvious Carolina wants to avoid a repeat of last season, when it went 0-6-2 to start the year and didn’t register a victory until Nov. 1 (yeah, the ‘Canes didn’t win a single game in October).

It was a tough start to Bill Peters’ head coaching tenure and essentially derailed the entire season; the ‘Canes played well in stretches — including a 7-3-2 record in January — but were pretty much hamstrung by that disastrous start.

Video: Jack Eichel has a pretty nice wrister

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NHL clubs are starting to see what the Jack Eichel hype’s all about.

Eichel, the No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft, scored his second goal in three games to start his rookie campaign, giving the Sabres a (brief) 3-1 lead over the Blue Jackets in Columbus Day action on Monday.

The goal, a quick snipe over the shoulder of Sergei Bobrovsky, came just two minutes after Brandon Saad scored Columbus’ first goal of the day, cutting Buffalo’s lead in half.

Though it’s still early, Eichel has been as good as advertised through the first few games of his professional career. He played a whopping 21:58 in his NHL debut against Ottawa — scoring his first NHL marker in the process — and has been a constant presence in Buffalo’s last two contests as well.

Wild assistant coach Sydor gets jail time for DWI

Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild
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Minnesota assistant coach Darryl Sydor was sentenced to 60 days in jail after pleading guilty to second-degree DWI on Monday, per KSTP.com.

Sydor, 43, was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving in late August with his 12-year-old son in the vehicle, according to the Fridley Police Department.

Sydor reportedly failed field sobriety tests and had a blood-alcohol level of .30. Second-degree DWI is considered a gross misdemeanor under Minnesota law.

More on today’s plea:

Sydor was sentenced to serve 60 [non-consecutive] days in Anoka County Jail. The time will be scheduled around the NHL season and will be in intervals from 2015 to 2018. He will still have to miss some hockey games at the beginning of the season, according to court records.

He will also be on probation until 2019.

Shortly after today’s news, the Wild released the following statement:

The Minnesota Wild is aware of the plea agreement reached today by Assistant Coach Darryl Sydor and respects the decision made by the Anoka County District Court. The team will continue to support Darryl, and his family, as he continues with his recovery. His return to the organization will be addressed at a later date.

Sydor then released his own statement, through the club:

I apologize to my family, friends, the Minnesota Wild and the fans. I am deeply saddened and humbled by my actions. Recovery is giving me the opportunity to redeem myself to all I have hurt. The support I have received has been overwhelming and I couldn’t be more thankful.

The entire Minnesota Wild organization has stood by me and supported my family through this very difficult time. I can’t thank them enough for that. I am putting recovery first for myself and my family, and with that, everything else will fall into place.

Sydor has been an assistant with the Wild for the past four years, but away from the team since his arrest. Prior to his transition into coaching, Sydor had a lengthy NHL playing career that included Stanley Cup wins in Dallas and Tampa Bay.