I thought about going through individual players and giving them individual report card grades...but some of them I was so indifferent about I had no idea how to judge them. I'll break them up by ones I loved, liked, and hyped players that disappointed:
Zem-GOOSE Girgensons- Extremely vocal leader, leads by example, hit with a purpose during the scrimmage, has offensive skill...and has the best freakin' name on the Sabres. Okay, maybe the last part doesn't matter to some of you. Fun fact about him though: at the end of the Development Camp Day 3 Girgensons and Foligno were the last two on the ice doing puck tricks. Foligno was juggling the puck and trying to catch it on his back, when Girgensons flipped a puck over his back and caught it in the back of his uniform pants. Foligno promptly untucked his jersey, loosened the back of his pants, and tried the trick. It was one of those "I wish I had this on video..." moments. This kid is the real deal...'nough said.
Foligno-Troop-Adam: Everytime one of these three touched the puck something good seemed to happen. They all were physical, Adam looks to have really improved his skating (in Day 3 he put a little spin-o-rama on Matt Mackenzie that made him fall and then scored...believe me if I wasn't there I wouldn't believed it even if Jesus himself came down and tweeted about it), and Tropp showed a nice scoring touch. Foligno looked to be on a different talent level then everyone at the camp.
Fredrick Roy- He played his butt off this week and left it all out on the ice. The only similarity to the Ol' Roy is high. Fredrick was made of pure sandpaper: he hit anything and everything, showed extreme effort on every shift, and even bull-rushed the net on more than one occasion. He deserves a contract...no doubt in my mind about that.
Cory Fienhage- There is no nice way to put this: he is a d-bag. A giant a-hole. But he's OUR d-bag...and he was extremely physical. Day 3 of camp he was hit in the leg by a puck during a 1-on-1 drill by Isackson. Fienhage promply yelled out a curse and turned like he was going to baseball-swing his stick at Isackson. Lindy stopped the drill, and yelled for all to hear, "Hey Cory...think you're not going to get hit in hockey?" This prompted Cory to punish any single person that got in his way the rest of the day. Maybe he doesn't have the skill to be in the NHL...but he's definitely the kind of player who plays with an edge on the defensive side of the puck...so maybe at best he's a Reghier? He's also the kind of person who if you cut off on Main Street he'll follow you home and beat you with what ever club is in his car....on second thought....maybe we should get rid of him for the saftey of the city's sake...
Players That I Liked to Watch...But Left Me Wanting More:
Mikhail Grigorenko/Cody Hodgson- For all this clamor of "Hodgson is our #1" and "Grigorenko is our #1" neither guy made a name for themselves the final two days of camp. Grigorenko impressed me in open ice drills, shootouts, and the 4-on-4 at the end of the Blue/Gold. Cody looks like he's extremely fast but he all but disappeared (at least to me) during the scrimmage. The #1 center is wide open going into Training Camp....should be fun to watch.
Jerome Gauthier-Leduc: High risk-high reward playing style. LOVED watching him carry the puck, and in the offensive zone (Catenacci's goal was due to JGL's cannon of a point shot), but he needs to get more physical in front of the net.
Kevin Sundher- He looked so good sometimes...but just disappears too much.
Top 5 guys I liked That I haven't Mentioned:
2.) Pysk- Just one sound defensive defenseman. I really can't complain about anything he did. He may not have great puck-carrying ability or a booming shot but he's above average...and he's excellent in his own zone
5.) Knapp- I watched him exclusively Day 3 (he was sensational). A little slow reaction time...but great positional goalie.
- Brian Flynn wins the award for "Player to Cause the Most Indifferent Feelings While Watching Him Play". I went to Days 2, 3, and the B/G...still don't know how I feel about this guy.
- Really liked the play of Riley Boychuck, Jon Parker, and Justin Jokinen. I think the latter two warrant full time gigs in Rochester.
- Joel Armia needs a year to develop...but I liked how hard he worked in the zone, his attitude (his celebration after the empty netter in the B/G had me laughing...as did his reaction when he was robbed in Day 3 on a breakaway...seems like a good guy and definitely one I was rooting for), and his skill set was high-end. Just needs some polishing.
- Lindy said Jamie Wise either "had the game of his life, or we just found something" (paraphrased)...I'm going with game of his life. He didn't look impressive all week to me...maybe some of you may disagree
- Puck Bunnies are hysterical. For extreme entertainment go to the rear entrance before and after Sabres games and watch them. Great people watching.
- When did jorts become popular again?
- Everyone should be following Paul Bissonette on Twitter...just got Twitter and have been dying laughing at his "tweets". Last one I saw: "If I knew 50 Shades was going to be so popular I would've just written an autobiography..."