Friday night in Rochester was “Hometown Heroes Night” at the AHL Americans game versus the Toronto Marlies. The theme was fitting considering the situation: Brian Gionta, the hometown boy who hadn’t played a game since April 9, suited up for one night before heading off to captain the U.S. men’s team in the PyeongChang Olympics.
To make things even more perfect, the 39-year-old Gionta, who played for the Rochester Jr. Americans when he was 15, scored midway through the second period, causing the nearly 10,000 in attendance inside Blue Cross Arena at the Community War Memorial to erupt.
“It sends chills up your back when something like that happens,” said Gionta, who’s been skating with the Americans since October and signed a one-game tryout contract last week.
[Brian Gionta on NHL future, representing USA Hockey again (PHT Q&A)]
The Amerks would fall 4-2, but that was secondary to the moment Gionta provided to the fans in the building and the send-off they gave him after the game.
“The support was great tonight as we had close to a full building, but unfortunately we came up just short,” Gionta said. “I appreciate everything that the organization has done for me and providing me with this opportunity. Some guys had to sit out because of the veteran rule, so I cannot thank them enough.”
MORE: 2018 Olympic hockey schedule
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.
Matt Ellis will return to the Buffalo Sabres organization for an eighth season.
The 33-year-old has signed a one-year, American Hockey League contract with the Rochester Americans for the 2015-16 season.
The forward appeared in 39 games with the Buffalo Sabres last season scoring one goal and one assist while averaging 8:19 in time on ice.
Ellis also played 38 AHL games with the Americans scoring seven goals and six assists.
He has split the past three seasons between Buffalo and Rochester.
In 356 career NHL games split between the Sabres and Detroit Red Wings, Ellis has scored 21 goals 49 points.
Buffalo acquired Ellis off of waivers from the L.A. Kings during the 2008 preseason.
Buffalo Sabres property Mark Pysyk, who is currently with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, reportedly collapsed during a pickup basketball game at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.
According to Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the 23-year-old was taken to hospital in an ambulance, but he was “fairly alert and his vital signs were close to normal”.
Pysyk played in Friday night’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Toronto Marlies and was with the team this morning as they had a team breakfast and an off-ice workout.
Oklobzija added that Pysyk hasn’t had a similar issue in his three seasons with the Sabres.
Update: The Americans confirmed the Democrat and Chronicle story adding the defenseman is still being evaluated in hospital.
Originally the Sabres’ first-round selection (23rd overall in 2010), Pysyk has appeared in seven games with the Sabres this season registering two goals and an assist while averaging 18:11 in ice time.
He was reassigned to Rochester on Thursday following the Sabres 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Coach Ted Nolan expressed his desire to have the defenseman with the parent club this week.
“Last time he was up, he looked ready for prime time,” said Nolan on Monday.
Adding, “I know where he should be, but in the process we’re going through here, it’s out of our control.”
Pysyk has appeared in 51 AHL games this season registering three goals and 15 points to go along with 30 penalty minutes.
Anaheim Ducks forward, Dany Heatley, who was placed on waivers by the club Monday, has cleared.
The 33-year-old has appeared in six games for the Ducks this season in which he’s failed to register a point while carrying a minus-3 rating.
In 869 career NHL games with the Ducks, Wild, Sharks, Senators and Thrashers Heatley has 372 goals, 791 points and 620 penalty minutes.
Originally the the second overall selection at the 2000 NHL Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers, Heatley won the Calder Trophy has the league’s top rookie following the 2001-02 season where he scored 26 goals and 67 points in 82 games with Atlanta.
With the exception of a two-game conditioning assignment this season, Heatley has never played in the AHL.
Heatley is on a one-year, $1 million contract this season and becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.
Steve Pinizzotto remains with the Oilers and participated in the team’s morning skate today.
The Buffalo Sabres have assigned goaltender Matt Hackett to the Rochester Americans.
With Magnus Paajarvi clearing waivers, St. Louis is expected to recall a forward from the Chicago Wolves. Paajarvi has been assigned to the AHL club. Chris Porter was placed on IR today. St. Louis currently has 21 players on its’ active roster.
The Buffalo Sabres have recalled defenseman Mark Pysyk from the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League the club announced Sunday.
According to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News, the recall is a result of defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen falling ill on Saturday.
Pysyk, 22, is on his second recall with the Sabres this season. He was recalled by the Sabres on Dec. 21 and appeared in two games averaging over 20 minutes in ice time before being reassigned Dec. 24.
Pysyk has a goal and 10 assists in 30 AHL games this season.
Originally Buffalo’s first-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2010, Pysyk has appeared in 65 games for the Sabres scoring two goals and 10 assists.
The Sabres are back in action Monday when they visit the Ottawa Senators.