Reprinted with permission from hockeybuzz.com
Rochester Americans center Matt Ellis began his 14th season of pro hockey with a bang. The 34 yr. old undrafted free agent, whom the Buffalo Sabres acquired via waivers from the Los Angeles Kings just over seven years ago, finished off a superb night with an empty netter for the hat trick as the Amerks won their season opener 6-4 over the Lake Erie Monsters.
Ellis was his usual humble self post-game. He's consummate pro who's career path has seen him start in the ECHL (Toledo Storm) and bounce between the three AHL teams and three NHL teams. Being long in the tooth and well aware that every season could be his last as a player, Ellis took the hatty for what it was, gave credit to his linemates as well as the team reveled in the moment.
"It's special," said Ellis of the hat trick. "Year 14 [as a player]. You never know how many more opening night you're gonna get. One thing I've learned is that you try to make the most of each moment. Do what you can, live in the moment and enjoy it.
"It's always nice coming back to the bench seeing big smiles and a lot of high-fives and guys enjoying it with you. I understand what my role is here, but at the same time I like to show the young guys the old guy here can still play hockey."
Jean Dupuy, playing in his first pro season, had three assists. Dupuy was signed by the Sabres as an undrafted free agent last November and is in the first year of a three-year entry-level deal. The 21 yr. old who just celebrated is birthday on October 6th played for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds as an overager last season. He had 46 points (18+28) in 54 games for the 'Hounds.
Nate Lieuwen, who hasn't seen regular season action since December, stopped 35 of the 38 shots he faced seving notice that he's recovered from concussion symptoms.
The Rochester Americans celebrated the beginning of their 60th season in the AHL last night as 6,620 came to the Blue Cross Arena to celebrate the milestone and the victory as well. Banners with images of former Amerks like the late Al Arbour and Don Cherry greeted the fans as they headed towards the arena.
Inside five Amerks Hall of Famers were on the ice for the ceremonial puck drop: Joe Crozier, Dick Gamble, Doug Gibson, Jody Gage, and Chris Taylor.Wendy Charron was there for her late husband, Craig.
Thanks to Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle for those tidbits. You can read the full article here.
It was 45 yrs. ago today that the Buffalo Sabres played their first-ever NHL game. The new franchise beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in Pittsburgh.
Jim Watson scored the first-ever goal for Buffalo while Sabres legend and 1970 first overall pick Gilbert Perreault scored the game-winner at the 11:36 mark of the third period on assists from Kevin O'Shea and Gerry Meehan. Roger "the Dodger" Crozier was in net for the Sabres that night. He stopped 35 of 36 Penguins shots for the first victory in franchise history.
Thanks to werqa 123 we have some footage of that night and the Sabres franchise home-opener as well:
Thanks to Joe Pelltier's Greatest Hockey Legends for the links.
Buffalo hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning for a 1pm matinee, the first of 10 afternoon games on this season's schedule.
It's also the first of four meetings with the Lightning all of which will be played within the Sabres first 15 games. Their final matchup will be on November 10th.