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Bill Hoppe


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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…

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Longtime Sabres beat writer Bill Hoppe of BuffaloHockeyBeat.com, will be writing about Buffalo Sabres prospects, the Rochester Americans and related topics this season.Sabres prospect Casey Fitzgerald said he never considered free agency. After finishing his career at Boston College last month, Fitzgerald, 22, could have waited until August and hit the open market inste…

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ROCHESTER – Early in Tage Thompson’s first American Hockey League appearance in more than a year, the newcomer looked determined to make an immediate impact. Instead of simply clearing the puck during a kill, the Americans newcomer sent it sailing 130 feet down the ice and over the glass, earning a delay of game penalty. The Laval Rocket tied the game during the ensu…

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Longtime Sabres beat writer Bill Hoppe of BuffaloHockeyBeat.com, will be writing about Sabres prospects, the Rochester Americans and related topics this season.ROCHESTER – Instead of building on a strong rookie season and working his name into the mix for a recall, Sabres prospect Sean Malone has spent the last seven months battling injuries. Malone, of course, is frust…

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ROCHESTER – At first, Sabres prospect Matej Pekar thought he was just being soft when he skated off the ice after getting leveled Jan. 10. “It was just a bad angle of a hit, not even a dirty hit, I’d say,” Pekar said last week in Blue Cross Arena. “I basically took the puck into two, three guys and one guy lifted my stick.” Then Pekar, who was in the midst of a stand…

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Longtime Sabres beat writer Bill Hoppe of BuffaloHockeyBeat.com, will be writing about Sabres prospects, the Rochester Americans and related topics this season.ROCHESTER – After spending his entire career in the Philadelphia Flyers organization, Taylor Leier has quickly acclimated to the Americans and his new surroundings. On the ice, Leier has scored nine goals and 16 …

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Longtime Sabres beat writer Bill Hoppe of BuffaloHockeyBeat.com, will be writing about Sabres prospects, the Rochester Americans and related topics this season. ROCHESTER – Chris Taylor wasn’t exactly sure what Rasmus Asplund meant by saying he has started playing more like a man. “Maybe he’s got more facial hair?” the Americans coach joked. “I don’t know.” Well, …

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ROCHESTER – In Zach Redmond’s mind, Sabres defense prospect Lawrence Pilut possesses the talent to play in the NHL right now. Of course, after sending Pilut back to the Rochester Americans and trading Nathan Beaulieu late last month, the Sabres still have eight healthy defensemen. They’ve been scratching two every game. “It’s a question of when there’s room for him,”…

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ROCHESTER — C.J. Smith said he kept telling Rochester defenseman Will Borgen he should get into a fight. After nearly a year in the AHL, Borgen had not yet been in a scrap. Smith knew his 6-foot-2, 187-pound teammate would hold his own. “I kind of pushed him to get in one,” joked Smith, Borgen’s friend and roommate. On Feb. 20 against the Cleveland Monsters, Borge…

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Longtime Sabres beat writer Bill Hoppe of BuffaloHockeyBeat.com, will be writing about Sabres prospects, the Rochester Americans and related topics this season.Liz Smith said her gut told her it was the right decision. Her son, C.J., had outgrown the competition around Des Moines, Iowa. The family wanted to find out if he had a future in hockey. So to test C.J.’s talent…

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ROCHESTER – On a blue line featuring some of the American Hockey League’s most dynamic stars, Jack Dougherty’s talents can easily be overlooked. Americans star Zach Redmond has scored 21 times in only 44 games and could break the AHL’s single-season record for most goals by a defenseman. Redmond’s partner, Lawrence Pilut, has established himself as one of the league’…

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Once Andrew Poturalski grew a little bigger, the mini-stick games or table-tennis matches in the family’s basement in Williamsville developed a greater intensity. “We have battles … it’s just in our blood,” said his mother, Diane, a former softball player at Iowa and Erie Community College. Early on, like most parents, Diane would let Andrew win. But then she sensed …

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Earlier this season, Buffalo Sabres prospect Vasily Glotov informed his coaches he planned to utilize his slick talents to score a tricky lacrosse-style goal. Having successfully pulled it off once last season in junior hockey, the affable Glotov, 21, possessed the confidence he could do it again as an ECHL rookie with the Cincinnati Cyclones. “I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m go…

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Longtime Buffalo Sabres beat writer Bill Hoppe of BuffaloHockeyBeat.com will be writing about Sabres prospects, the Rochester Americans and related topics this season.ROCHESTER – It took Remi Elie a few outings to find a groove and generate confidence after the Sabres recently assigned the seldom-used winger to the Americans. Elie, 23, hadn’t earned regular action since…

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Sometimes, Stephen Dhillon said, he looks at goalies NHL teams have drafted or signed and wonders why he has consistently been overlooked. “You sort of scratch your head sometimes,” said Dillon, a Buffalo native in his fifth season tending goal for the Niagara IceDogs. “How did they get it or what have you not done that they have?” Dhillon, 20, has morphed into one o…