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Sabres Notebook: Eichel on Tom Brady; Moulson producing; Larsson surprised

It's Super Bowl weekend, which means Jack Eichel will be in the usual spot.

In front of a television rooting for Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

The Buffalo Sabres center is a well-known admirer of Brady, and he'll once again be rooting for the Pats as they play the Philadelphia Eagles and quarterback Nick Foles on Sunday.

"Obviously, I've got to go with the Patriots, but I imagine it'll be a tight game," Eichel said Saturday. "Philly's got a good D. They're a good team. They don't beat themselves. Foles is pretty smart. They've got a good running game."

They don't have Brady, however. Eichel, a Boston-area native, is still amazed by the 40-year-old quarterback and his ability to maintain greatness.

"It's super impressive," Eichel said in KeyBank Center. "It starts with him and Belichick and the winning attitude and culture they have around there. It's not even like he enjoys the Super Bowls anymore. He kind of just moves on, and he's trying to win the next one.

"I think that's the most impressive thing is his commitment to winning and his commitment to himself. I think it's on display pretty good in his show, 'Tom vs Time.' It's pretty cool. I've watched it. I'm a huge fan of him. I think he's somebody that you can learn a lot from in the way that he approaches life and his craft."

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Even a three-game slump hasn't stopped Matt Moulson from being one of the most productive players in the American Hockey League.

The former Sabres forward has 26 points in 23 games with the Ontario Reign. Moulson has six goals and 20 assists since being loaned to Los Angeles' minor-league club Dec. 5.

The 34-year-old hasn't reached the score sheet in the last three outings, but his average of 1.13 points per game was tied for seventh in the AHL heading into Saturday's home game against the Iowa Wild.

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Moulson had no points in 14 games with the Sabres, who attempted to trade Moulson before waiving him in December. While his production is impressive, it would still be a chore for Buffalo to move him by the NHL trade deadline of Feb. 26 because of his contract.

Moulson's deal includes the 2018-19 season with a cap hit of $5 million, though his actual salary dips to $3 million, including a $1 million signing bonus.

Buffalo can buy him out in June for $1.33 million. He would count $3.67 million toward the Sabres' 2018-19 salary cap and $666,667 million toward the cap in 2019-20.

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Once the NHL announced a disciplinary hearing for Johan Larsson, a suspension was all but assured. The announcement of two games caught the Sabres center off-guard.

"I was kind of surprised I got two games," Larsson said after the morning skate. "The guy didn't get hurt or anything. I was a little surprised, but you can't do anything."

Larsson cross-checked Florida's Vincent Trocheck in the face in the closing minutes of Thursday night's game, and the NHL Department of Player Safety handed down the suspension Friday. Larsson missed Saturday's visit by the St. Louis Blues and will sit out Tuesday's home game against Anaheim.

After Trocheck pushed and shoved with Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe, he absorbed a blow to the jaw by Larsson.

"My intention was not to cross-check him in the head," Larsson said. "I was trying to go for cross-checking him in the shoulder, chest, and the stick got up in his face."

The NHL didn't care. Although it acknowledged the blow was inadvertent, it still was not a hockey play.

"I was a little surprised," Sabres coach Phil Housley said of the suspension length. "Just the way the game played out, tempers were high and there was some chippy play on both parts and being in the heat of the battle, but they make decisions and we have to live by it."

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The absence of Larsson allowed Evan Rodrigues to return to the lineup. He slid into Larsson's spot between left wing Zemgus Girgensons and right wing Jason Pominville and had two shots in 14:49 of ice time.

Rodrigues was scratched against the Panthers after no goals and four assists in his previous 19 games. He had two goals and three points in his opening three games after debuting in December.

"Once you take a step back, sometimes it's good just to realize what got you up here and what got you in the lineup," Housley said. "When he did get in the lineup back in Colorado, he provided some good urgency in his game. He had a couple goals there in St. Louis, and I think he's just got to get back to that.

"His game slipped a little bit. He realized that, and I think he's just got to have some attitude and bring some urgency to his game."

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