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Bill Hoppe


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ROCHESTER – With Friday’s game tied at 2 in the third period, Rochester Americans winger Tage Thompson grabbed a pass from Scott Wilson at center ice and zoomed past a helpless defender into the Binghamton Devils zone. “I had a couple of good chances earlier in the game from shooting and felt one was bound to go in if I kept testing him,” the Buffalo Sabres prospect sai…

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ROCHESTER – When Sean Malone’s injury-plagued, career-worst season ended in April, the West Seneca native needed a mental break from hockey. So for about a month, Malone, a Rochester Americans forward, said he got away from the sport and “talked to a lot of people.” “I was able to mentally step away from everything, get my mind right,” Malone said. These days, Mal…

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ROCHESTER – Sometimes Matt Moulson hears the words and tears fill his eyes. When the former Buffalo Sabres winger left his home in Connecticut last month to begin his 14th, and possibly final pro season, his wife and two children stayed home. After spending nearly two seasons living in Ontario, Calif., a city about 45 minutes east of Los Angeles, Moulson and his wife…

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ROCHESTER – Sabres prospect Rasmus Asplund practiced with the Rochester Americans on Monday after an upper-body injury sidelined him one game. “He was feeling good, so we’re looking forward to having him back,” interim Amerks coach Gord Dineen said. Asplund, 21, was killing a penalty and crouched down when the puck hit him about 2:15 into Friday’s 4-3 shootout loss t…

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ROCHESTER -- Sabres prospect Rasmus Asplund suffered an upper body injury on a blocked shot in the opening minutes of Friday night for the Rochester Americans. Asplund, 21, was killing a penalty and crouched down when the puck hit him about 2:15 into the game. He quickly skated off and did not return. Interim Americans coach Gord Dineen said Asplund had X-rays, but h…

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Buffalo Sabres prospect Tage Thompson has roared out of the gate for the Rochester Americans, scoring two goals and five points in the first four games. After registering two assists in regulation Sunday afternoon in Hartford, Thompson, 21, scored the shootout’s only goal to clinch a 3-2 win. Interim coach Gord Dineen attributes Thompson’s hot to start to playing a “…

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ROCHESTER – Forget about Rasmus Asplund’s late-season scoring binge or that he centered one of the American Hockey League’s top lines as a rookie. Asplund’s maturity has impressed Americans general manager Randy Sexton more than anything else. “He’s still very young but he’s extremely mature," Sexton said of the Sabres prospect. "He’s very focused, he’s very coachabl…

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ROCHESTER – Among the 25 red, white and blue jerseys on the ice for Americans practices over the past week, defenseman Lawrence Pilut has been easy to spot. Just look for the only orange sweater. Five months after the Sabres prospect injured his left shoulder and underwent surgery, he has started skating with his teammates in a non-contact role. While Pilut hasn’t…

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This could be Sabres prospect Tage Thompson’s final stint in the American Hockey League. Thompson, 21, nearly earned an NHL roster spot out of training camp, sticking with the Sabres until their final roster cuts Monday. At some point this season, they could summon the 6-foot-7, 215-pound winger for good. “When he gets his chance, it’s possible he never comes back to…

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Joe Cecconi laughed and acknowledged he had never thought much about the mileage he racked up driving from Youngstown to the University of Michigan to watch his grandson, former Wolverines captain Joseph Cecconi, play hockey. So he did some quick math in his head. Before playing four years in Ann Arbor, Joseph spent almost two seasons with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, a ju…

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Longtime Sabres beat writer Bill Hoppe of BuffaloHockeyBeat.com, is writing about Sabres prospects, the Rochester Americans and related topics this season. ROCHESTER — After earning his first regular NHL duty last season, a confident Nick Baptiste signed a new contract and expected he would stay in the Sabres organization. Not only did Baptiste, 23, play a career-hig…

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Had Zach Redmond stayed healthy, he likely would’ve made a run at the American Hockey League’s single-season record for most goals by a defenseman. The Rochester Americans' star scored a whopping 13 goals in the first 19 games. Redmond, of course, couldn’t keep up that torrid pace, but he kept producing at an elite level well into the winter. The mark of 30 goals set…

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Rochester Americans coach Chris Taylor, whose name has been mentioned as a possible replacement for former Sabres coach Phil Housley, said he hasn’t interviewed or talked with the team about the opening. “I’m just concentrating on this year and our players and our team right now,” Taylor said Thursday. The Sabres fired Housley on Sunday following a disappointing 76-p…

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For three seasons, winger Justin Bailey often shuttled between Buffalo and Rochester, earning some NHL action while establishing himself as one of the Rochester Americans’ top scorers. Bailey, 23, was used to the grind of being a prospect. But the Buffalo Sabres never yo-yo'd the Williamsville native back and forth almost daily. After the Sabres traded Bailey to Phil…

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ROCHESTER – Nathan Paetsch figured sooner or later his services would be needed. Defensemen are usually a precious commodity this time of year. After six months and nearly a full season of games, injuries, recalls and trades weaken American Hockey League blue lines. Earlier this season, Paetsch, 36, ranked 10th on the Americans’ depth chart. The affable veteran sat o…