Jochen Hecht

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NBCSN’s Hockey Happy Hour: Hecht, Briere lead Sabres in most recent playoff win

This week’s Hockey Happy Hour on NBCSN (5-7 p.m. ET) will feature memorable “on this date” games in playoff history.

The Sabres and Rangers clashed in a high-scoring affair combining for nine goals in the contest. Led by Jochen Hecht’s two goals and Daniel Briere’s three assists, the Sabres emerged with a 5-4 victory to claim what remains their most recent playoff series win, 13 years to the day.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire called Game 6 from Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y.

Emrick reflects on significant hockey moments that have taken place on May 6 over the years throughout the broadcast.

Wednesday, May 6 on NBCSN
#HockeyAtHome: Wayne Gretzky Interviews Top 2020 Draft Prospects – 5 p.m. ET (Live stream)
• Buffalo vs. New York Rangers (2007 Round 2, Game 6) – 5:30 p.m. ET (Live stream)

Thursday, May 7 on NBCSN
NHL Player Gaming Challenge – 5 p.m. ET (Live stream)
• Boston vs. Philadelphia (2010 Round 2, Game 4) – 6 p.m. ET (Live stream)

Sunday, May 10 on NBC
• 2018 Olympics Women’s Gold Medal game: USA vs. Canada – 3 p.m. ET

#HOCKEYATHOME: WAYNE GRETZKY INTERVIEW WITH TOP 2020 DRAFT PROSPECTS – WED. 5 P.M. ET,  NBCSN
The hockey legend will interview five of the top prospects in the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft – Alexis Lafreniere, Quinton Byfield, Jamie Drysdale, Jake Sanderson and Tim Stuetzle – as part of the NHL’s #HockeyAtHome series.

NHL PLAYER GAMING CHALLENGE – THUR., 5 P.M. ET, NBCSN
NBCSN will present the NHL Player Gaming Challenge at 5 p.m. ET, between Arizona vs. Boston. The competition features Clayton Keller and Conor Garland representing the Coyotes against Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk of the Bruins. The month-long initiative will pit NHL players from all 31 clubs facing off against each other in EA Sports NHL 20.

Following the hour-long broadcast at 5 p.m. ET, a matchup between Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers and Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals will be available on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and the NBC Sports YouTube channel.

USA-CANADA (2018 OLYMPICS WOMEN’S GOLD MEDAL GAME) – SUN., 3 P.M. ET, NBC
Team USA and Canada faced off in the gold medal game at the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018. Behind the game-winning shootout goal by Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, the Americans won, 3-2, to claim their second-ever Olympic gold medal. The win also snapped the Canadians’ streak of four straight Olympic titles.

Airing on Mother’s Day, the broadcast will have numerous new elements, including NBC Sports’ NHL host Kathryn Tappen interviewing Team USA captain Meghan Duggan on her memories about the gold medal game and celebrating Mother’s Day as both a mother and as a daughter. NBC’s broadcast will also feature a Mother’s Day tribute essay penned by Mike Emrick, as well as a profile on American forward Hilary Knight, who scored the opening goal for Team USA in the 2018 gold medal game.

Programming will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Happy Hour can be found here.

Video: Sabres’ Hecht announces retirement

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Buffalo Sabres forward Jochen Hecht has concluded his National Hockey League playing career.

The Sabres, via the team’s official Twitter account, stated that Hecht announced Friday’s 2-1 shootout win over the New York Islanders was his last NHL game.

Hecht, 35, began his NHL career with the St. Louis Blues during the 1998-99 season. He joined the Sabres during the 2002-03 season.

He played 833 regular season games in the league, scoring 186 goals and contributing 463 points.

He also represented his home country of Germany in the last four Winter Olympics.

 

 

Pekka Rinne, once pepper-sprayed by Finnish pizzeria owner, highlights ’13 Masterton nominee list

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The official nominees list is in for the 2013 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy and, if voting is based purely on entertaining anecdotes, Pekka Rinne will be the runaway winner.

Nashville’s Masterton nominee for this season, Rinne had this story attached to his nomination bio:

In the summer of 2006, after Rinne’s first year in North America with the Milwaukee Admirals, he was at a bachelor party in Finland when he was a victim of an assault by a pizzeria owner.

The assailant fired pepper spray into Rinne’s eyes and tackled him. Rinne had to undergo shoulder surgery, which kept him out four months.

“I was still young and right away you’re thinking ‘this is it,’ ” Rinne said in a 2011 article about the incident. “It’s a scary feeling.”

Kudos to whoever wrote this for going into such detail, though now we’re left to wonder why a Finnish pizza joint owner was packing pepper spray. Is this, like, a thing?

Anyway, back to the Masterton…

The award is given annually to the National Hockey League player that “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication” to hockey.

Last year’s winner, Montreal’s Max Pacioretty, captured the award after suffering a concussion and fractured vertebrae (on this hit from Zdeno Chara) to record career-highs in goals (33), assists (32) and points (65).

Each team was asked to submit one player for consideration for this year’s award.

They are:

Western Conference

Andrew Cogliano (Anaheim), Steve Begin (Calgary), Marian Hossa (Chicago), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Colorado), Vinny Prospal (Columbus), Ray Whitney (Dallas), Patrick Eaves (Detroit), Ryan Smyth (Edmonton), Jonathan Bernier (Los Angeles), Josh Harding (Minnesota), Pekka Rinne (Nashville), James Sheppard (San Jose), Brian Elliott (St. Louis), Shane Doan (Phoenix), Kevin Bieksa (Vancouver).

Eastern Conference

Adam McQuaid (Boston), Jochen Hecht (Buffalo), Dan Ellis (Carolina), Peter Mueller (Florida), Andrei Markov (Montreal), Stephen Gionta (New Jersey), Radek Martinek (New York Islanders), Marc Staal (New York Rangers), Andre Benoit (Ottawa), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Kimmo Timonen (Philadelphia), B.J. Crombeen (Tampa Bay), James Reimer (Toronto), Tom Poti (Washington), Ron Hainsey (Winnipeg).

Sabres keep playoff hopes alive

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The Buffalo Sabres are still long shots to make the playoffs, but they did all they could this weekend.

After defeating the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, Buffalo earned a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay tonight.

Once again Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth was a big factor, stopping 32 of 33 shots. Buffalo decided to go with its backup netminder following his 29-save shutout on Saturday.

That might not seem like a big deal but, as the Buffalo News pointed out, Ryan Miller almost never goes back-to-back games without a start when he’s healthy.

Tyler Ennis got the Sabres on the board first with a power-play goal just 4:09 into the game. The 23-year-old had struggled recently with no points and a minus-seven rating in his previous seven contests. Jochen Hecht accounted for the game-winner.

On the Lightning’s side, this game was unfortunately more than just a loss. A mere day after his three-assist night against the Washington Capitals, forward Tom Pyatt suffered an upper-body injury, according to the Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson.

With this win, Buffalo is still four points shy of eighth place with just five games left to play. Even if the Sabres win all of their remaining matches, they still might miss the playoffs, but at least with tonight’s victory they get to wonder “what if” for a little bit longer.

Vanek, Miller want to know if they’re part of Buffalo’s future

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Winds of uncertainty are blowing through Buffalo right now, and have hit two of the team’s biggest stars.

Leading scorer Thomas Vanek and starting netminder Ryan Miller — two of the club’s longest-tenured players — say they need to speak with GM Darcy Regier to figure out what the plan is moving forward.

In the past six weeks, Regier fired longtime head coach Lindy Ruff and traded away T.J. Brennan, Robyn Regehr, Jordan Leopold and captain Jason Pominville.

So, what’s next?

“You just regroup and figure out what the plan is moving forward, if you’re part of it or not,” Miller told the Buffalo News. “It’s something I haven’t had a chance to talk to [Regier] about and certainly something I can’t speculate on because I’ve never known what Darcy’s going to do.”

Vanek sounded equally confused as to whether he’ll be a Sabre after this year.

“I haven’t talked to them about anything,” he explained. “It’s hard to say yes or no because no one has let me know what direction this is heading.

“Again, we’ll finish the year out and I’m sure at least I would expect them to let me know what the future is with myself.”

Few teams are more in flux than Buffalo.

The Sabres are playing under an interim head coach — Ron Rolston has no guarantees beyond this season — and are heading into an offseason filled with tough decisions.

The club’s pending UFAs aren’t a big deal (Jochen Hecht, John Scott, Adam Pardy, Alex Sulzer) but the restricted free agents are key.

New deals are needed for Cody Hodgson, Luke Adam and goalie Matt Hackett, acquired in the Pominville trade and believed to be Miller’s possible heir apparent.

There’s also the issue of the draft.

Buffalo’s armed to the teeth with picks — they’ll have two first- and two second-rounders — and could make a push for one of the Big Three: WHL Portland defenseman Seth Jones or one of the two QMHJL Halifax stars, Nathan MacKinnon or Jonathan Drouin.

If that happens, the youth movement will certainly be in effect.

Which really makes you wonder what’ll happen with Vanek, who turns 30 next year, and Miller, who’s 33 in July.