Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvistin Hähnchenführer 21.08.2018 09:57
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Rasmus Dahlin wasn’t kidding about how hockey has become his sole obsession.
No more than an hour after completing his introductory news conference in Buffalo on Monday Frank Ragnow Jersey , the NHL’s No. 1 overall draft pick had already changed into a yellow Sabres practice uniform and, with stick in hand, was on his way to hit the ice with a number of fellow prospects.
Finally, after a monthlong pre-draft process of interviews, testing and cross-country travel that culminated in hearing his name called first from the podium in Dallas on Friday, Dahlin was back in his element.
”I used to play some golf and hang out with friends, but, yeah, I love to play hockey and that’s my 100 percent thing I usually do,” the 18-year-old Swedish defenseman said. ”I’m a pretty boring guy.”
Off the ice, maybe.
On the ice, Dahlin is considered anything but boring with a heads-up, smooth-skating and play-making style that has already drawn comparisons to elite Swedish defensemen such as Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson and former Detroit Red Wings star Nicklas Lidstrom.
In Buffalo, he’s already captured the imagination of a win-starved base of fans Adidas Sidney Crosby Jersey , many of whom started submitting orders for Dahlin’s No. 26 Sabres jersey moments after he formally pulled one on to close the news conference.
And yet, amid the buzz Dahlin has generated since the Sabres won the NHL draft lottery in April, it’s unrealistic to presume one player alone can turn around a franchise that has finished last in three of the past five years, not made the playoffs since 2011 and not won a playoff series since 2007.
”I don’t actually think that way,” Dahlin said of whether he feels the weight of expectations on his 6-foot-2, 181-pound frame. ”I’ll bring everything I can to this team and, yeah, try to win hockey games. That’s what I think about.”
General manager Jason Botterill was quick to interject once Dahlin completed his answer.
”He doesn’t need to be the savior,” Botterill said, before listing the talented young group of players already on Buffalo’s roster, including forward Jack Eichel.
”Look, we certainly have to have better results on the ice,” he said. ”But we’re certainly excited to bring Rasmus into our core group here and how they can grow together.”
On a day dedicated to Dahlin, Botterill struck an upbeat tone in steering away most questions that featured any hint of negativity.
Concerns still abound for Botterill entering his second summer on the job.
The Sabres have no established depth in goal after last week’s decision to not re-sign third-year starter Robin Lehner.
Offense remains an issue on a team that’s not had a player score 30 goals or 70 points since Jason Pominville in 2011-12 Jordan Whitehead Jersey Buccaneers , during his first stint in Buffalo.
Their payroll structure is out of balance for a losing team, with six players set to make a base salary of $5 million or more, including Eichel, whose eight-year, $80 million contract kicks in this season.
Culture remains a question after center Ryan O’Reilly suggested the team adopted a losing mindset last season.
Rather than worry how a gloomy culture might affect newcomers such as Dahlin, Botterill is counting on Buffalo’s youngsters to begin changing the atmosphere.
”We’re not expecting them to lead the room, but we’re expecting them to bring their positive attributes, their competitiveness to that group,” Botterill said.
”It’s what we challenged our players at the end of the season. They had to change how they trained. They had to change how they approach the games,” he added. ”The beauty of the National Hockey League is that you can make adjustments, you can make jumps in the standings fairly quickly.”
Botterill chuckled when Dahlin said he was already looking forward to playing Buffalo’s cross-border rival Toronto next season.
”The question was asked to me before about changing the culture, changing our results on the ice,” Botterill said. ”That’s what we need to bring, players who are very competitive Authentic Anthony Averett Jersey , who want to make a difference.”
NOTES: The Sabres will open a four-day rookie development camp Wednesday. … Botterill says the Sabres won’t buy out the final year of Matt Moulson’s contract, but adds the veteran forward won’t play in Buffalo. Moulson spent most of last season on loan to AHL Ontario.
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NEW YORK — A loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday night dropped the Tampa Bay Lightning out of first place in the Atlantic Division for the first time in more than five months and immediately left the Lightning focused on a rematch with the Bruins next week.
But the best way for the Lighting to ensure that game remains pivotal is to begin snapping out of their week-long funk Friday night, when it visits the New York Rangers in the Rangers’ home finale at Madison Square Garden.
The Lightning and Rangers enter Friday mired in losing streaks. Tampa Bay fell for the third straight game Thursday, when it lost 4-2 to the host Bruins. Visiting New York suffered a second consecutive loss Wednesday, when it was beaten by the Washington Capitals 3-2 in overtime.
The three-game skid has come at an inopportune time for the Lightning (51-22-4), who fell out of first place in the Atlantic Division for the first time since Oct. 19. The Bruins, who took a one-point lead in the race for the Atlantic crown and the top overall seed in the Eastern Conference, visit Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
The Lightning have been outscored 10-4 during the losing streak but took some solace in climbing back into Thursday’s game after falling behind 2-0 in the first period. The Bruins did not close out the victory until Brad Marchand scored an empty-netter in the final minute of the third period.
“We know we play them again,” said Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who scored a goal. “We were more focused on our game and how we played. I think we have two good periods, not three. We need to be better in the first, so we don’t dig ourselves a two-goal hole. Those last two periods were something to build on. We get right back into it tomorrow.”
The Rangers (33-35-9) have been in “something to build on” mode since beginning a rebuilding project before the February trade deadline, though they weren’t eliminated from playoff contention until Tuesday.
The game against the Capitals on Wednesday marked the first time the Rangers took the ice officially out of playoff contention since the final days of the 2003-04 season. New York made the playoffs in 11 of the subsequent 12 seasons and missed out on the postseason in 2009-10 via a shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on the final day of the regular season.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has been a mainstay in net for New York since the 2005-06 season Youth Kerryon Johnson Jersey , said he’s trying not to think too much about what he’ll be missing out on when the playoffs begin next month or what lies ahead for a rebuilt roster.
“For me, right now, I just want to focus on these last games,” Lundqvist told reporters prior to Wednesday’s game. “Compete, and feel as good as you can, personally, and as a group. And then it’s time for what’s ahead. But right now, you’ve got to focus on the game. Otherwise, you’re not going to make the most of this. We still have a job to do here.”