Tag: Zemgus Girgensons


Bylsma praises ‘elite’ Eichel, cites experience of coaching star players


Sidney Crosby is a star. So is Evgeni Malkin.

Jack Eichel might become one too and, if he does, there’s a chance it’ll be under the tutelage of new Sabres bench boss Dan Bylsma — the same guy Crosby and Malkin called coach for six years.

“You understand immediately the spotlight that is on those types of players, the star quality players,” Bylsma said on Thursday of his experience coaching elite talent. “I think you understand the pressure they’ll be going through, the analysis and the little eyes on them from just about everybody.

“I probably learned as much from working with those players — Sidney and Evgeni — as they learned from me. I think it’s going to be applicable to the likes of Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel, who are going to be viewed in that same light, that same scope that star players are put into.”

Eichel, barring a remarkable turn of events, will become Sabres property when they select second overall at this June’s entry draft. Dubbed a generational talent, Eichel is one of the most ballyhooed prospects in recent memory and while Bylsma’s experience coaching young stars (Crosby was 21 when they won a Cup together in Pittsburgh, Malkin was 22) is important, so too is his experience with the Boston University phenom — Bylsma was Eichel’s assistant coach at the recently-wrapped World Hockey Championships, where the two combined to capture bronze with Team USA.

“Having coached [Eichel] at the World Championships, you have a chance to see a guy who’s going to be an elite player,” Bylsma explained. “He’s got outstanding skill.

“You see him play against men, a lot of NHL players he matched up against — Malkin when we played against Russia, Tomas Plekanec when we played against the Czechs. He’s playing against NHL players and he stacked right up there with his skill, his size and his ability to play the game.”

Bylsma then broke into a smile.

“Jack’s going to be a good pick for anybody who does take him.”

Aside from Eichel, Buffalo has other talented youngsters for Bylsma to teach, like Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov, Zemgus Girgensons and Mikhail Grigorenko. “Teach” really is the key word here; in explaining why he hired Bylsma, Sabres GM Tim Murray said the 44-year-old had all the necessary skills to educate the kids through the ongoing rebuild.

“[He’s a] great communicator,” Murray explained. “Obviously we’re going to be a young team, and we need somebody that knows how to teach, knows how to communicate. It’s not just telling someone what to do — it’s why they have to do that. There aren’t a lot of coaches that can do that, and I think Dan is one that can.

“We can talk about Xs and Os and all that later. It’s communication, it’s teaching, it’s understanding young people, understanding what they’re going through. I think he’s very good at those aspects of the game.”

U.S., Canada open with big wins at Worlds

Matt Hendricks

It was smooth sailing for the Americans and Canadians in their respective opening contests at the 2015 World Hockey Championships.

The Americans were led by a pair of goals from captain Matt Hendricks to cruise to a 5-1 win over Finland, while Canada got three point efforts from Nathan MacKinnon and Jason Spezza to beat Latvia 6-1.

Highlights from the U.S. romp:

New Nashville signee Steve Moses opened the scoring for the Americans with a great solo effort late in the first period. Nick Bonino and Dan Sexton had the other goals, while Connor Hellebuyck stopped 29 of 30 shots for the win.

Canada had five different goalscorers in its romp: MacKinnon, Spezza, Tyler Toffoli, Matt Duchene and captain Sidney Crosby, who converted on a penalty shot. It was an easy victory over a Latvian team that was woefully overmatched; the country’s lone NHLers, Zemgus Girgensons and Ronalds Kenins, aren’t participating in the tournament.

Get your game notes: Sabres at Bruins

Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Boston Bruins hosting the Buffalo Sabres at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:


• Last game (Sunday): WSH def. BOS 2-0 – BOS shut out for just the 4th time this season, second time vs. WSH.

• Both season-high 5-game winning streak and 11 straight games scoring first streak snapped.

• Despite the loss, the Bruins have been playing better hockey since Feb. 22. They are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games, and have closed the gap between themselves and teams just ahead.

• Bruins need this game: Of the Bruins 13 remaining games, 6 are against teams currently in playoff position. Another 4 are against teams in the playoff hunt, including Thursday’s matchup at OTT.

• Sabres slumping continues: Last game (Monday): WSH def. BUF 4-3 SO.

• Surrendered two 1-goal leads; allowed 2 PP goals.

• BUF has lost 7 straight games (0-5-2 record), while scoring 9 goals in their 6 games this month.

• If BUF finishes last overall, they will have a 20.0% chance of landing the first pick in the NHL draft.

• Scoring woes continue: Last season, BUF set an NHL record for the fewest goals in the expansion era of hockey dating to back to 1967 (150 goals; 1.83 g/gm). This season, Buffalo’s scoring is occurring at an even worse rate: 1.81 goals/gm (last in NHL).


• Lone All-Star and number-one center Zemgus Girgensons was placed on IR on February 26 after blocking a shot by CBJ defenseman James Wisniewski (since traded to ANA) off his right foot two days prior. Whether or not he will return this season is still to be determined.

• Girgensons’ injury, combined with the trade of veteran center Torrey Mitchell (to MTL), have left Buffalo without much depth (or production) amongst its 4 centers, though both Larsson (5 points in last 4 games) and Hodgson scored last night. With a PP goal Monday vs. WSH, Tyler Ennis now has 5 points (3G-2A) in his last 6 games since returning from a groin injury. He leads the team in goals (18), power-play goals (6), and points (38).

• Since Feb. 19, Matt Moulson has been the team’s most consistent scorer. He logged an assist vs. WSH, giving him 11 points (2G-9A) in the last 12 games.

• Chad Johnson (lower-body) was injured before he could make an appearance with the Sabres after being acquired at the trade deadline from NYI.

• This has made Anders Lindback the everyday goalie – he has started 5 of the 6 games in March, posting an 0-3-2 record, 2.70 GAA, and a .924 SV% in the month.

• Lindback has not won a game in which he has started this season (b/w DAL and BUF). In those 12 starts, he has a record of 0-10-2.

• His two wins this season both came in relief appearances with the Stars.

• In his last 2 starts combined, Lindback has stopped 66 of 70 shots faced (vs. NYR & vs. WSH).

• Should Matt Hackett be named the starter of this 2nd game of a back-to-back, he would be making just his 3rd start of the season.

• He was pulled after allowing 4 goals on 23 shots at WSH on March 7.

• This season: 0-2-0 record, 5.19 GAA, and a .867 SV%.

• In his only career start vs. BOS last season, he allowed 3 goals on 23 shots in the 4-1 loss.


• David Krejci took part in the team’s morning skate today. This is the first time he has skated with the team since suffering a partially torn MCL at STL on Feb. 20. Krejci is in the 4th week of a 4-6 week timetable that was originally given.

• Boston’s recent winning ways can be attributed to the team’s newfound production out of young forwards Ryan Spooner (3rd-year) and David Pastrnak (rookie).

• After being recalled on Feb. 21, Spooner has 9 points (3G-6A) in the last 11 games.

• Pastrnak now has 8 points (3G-5A) in the last 9 games. See chart below that shows his scoring outburst.

• 2014 1st-round pick (25th overall) and the youngest player in the NHL (May, 25, 1996 – 18 years old).

• Team-leading scorer Patrice Bergeron has also picked up the scoring load for BOS during this surge, logging 9 points (3G-6A), +4 rating in the last 11 games.

• Career vs. BUF: 32 points (9G, 23A) in 54 games.

• 3rd- year defenseman Dougie Hamilton is enjoying a career-year for BOS. For the second consecutive season, he has topped his previous amount of goals, assists, and points.

• Leads all BOS defensemen in points this season (40).

• Career vs. BUF: 9 points (5G-4A) in 11 games.

• Tuukka Rask’s strong goaltending of late has helped the Bruins stay in playoff position. In his last 9 starts, he has gone 6-2-1, with a 1.64 GAA, and a .949 SV%.

• Niklas Svedberg is expected to get the start in net vs. BUF.

• This season: 7-5-0 record, 2.43 GAA, and a .918 SV%.

• He’s won his last 2 starts (2.44 GAA, .929 SV%) at NJ (Feb. 27) and vs. DET (March 8).

Filling the void: Sabres recall Grigorenko

Mikhail Grigorenko

Mikhail Grigorenko is back on his way to the bigs.

The Russian forward, Buffalo’s first-round pick (12th overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has been recalled to the Sabres from AHL Rochester, the club announced on Tuesday.

Also headed up from the Amerks are forwards Tim Schaller and Jerry D’Amigo.

The trio has been brought up to replace Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell and Chris Stewart, all three of whom were traded at Monday’s deadline. Between those departures and the injuries to Josh Gorges, Zemgus Girgensons and Patrick Kaleta (Evander Kane too, lest we forget), Buffalo will be icing a forward group that projects to look like this:

Matt Moulson-Tyler Ennis-Brian Gionta

Marcus Foligno-Mikhail Grigorenko-Cody Hodgson

Johan Larsson-Phil Varone-Zac Dalpe

Nicolas Deslauriers-Schaller-Matt Ellis

D’Amigo would be the 13th forward, presumably.

As for Grigorenko, most eyes will likely be on him as he gets another stint with the parent club. He’s been good in Rochester this year, scoring 31 points in 38 games, but only had one goal and one assist in 12 games with the Sabres earlier this year. His last NHL game came on Jan. 9.

Lack, not Markstrom, to start for Canucks in Buffalo

Eddie Lack, Jacob Markstrom

Willie Desjardins is playing it safe. Instead of giving Jacob Markstrom his first NHL start of the season tonight in Buffalo, the Canucks’ coach is sticking with Eddie Lack.

From play-by-play man Jon Abbott:

Lack is coming off a 40-save win Tuesday in Boston.

Markstrom, recalled from the AHL in the wake of Ryan Miller’s injury, has been enjoying an excellent season with the Utica Comets. As such, Vancouver hockey fans are curious to see what he can do at the NHL level.

And tonight is only Buffalo, right?

But the Canucks can’t take the Sabres, even without Zemgus Girgensons and Tyler Ennis, lightly. Vancouver has some significant injuries as well, and losing to the worst team in the NHL would be a disappointing end to what’s been a successful road trip.

At any rate, with Miller expected to miss 4-6 weeks, Markstrom should get his opportunity eventually. The Canucks’ next back-to-back set is March 21-22 in Los Angeles and Arizona, respectively.

Related: Canucks ‘confident’ in Lack