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Sabres Training Camp: Day One Notes and Observations

The Sabres kicked off the on-ice portions of training camp today at HARBORCENTER

NHL: Nashville Predators at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres kicked off their on-ice portion of training camp today wit two sessions. It was a fast-paced practice that emphasized skating and playing with speed.

“I think the guys really worked hard today, I mean it was a tough...tough go in both sessions, a lot of skating after the play, which we’re trying to encourage our guys and part of our identity is back pressure...” said second year head coach Phil Housley after practice.

Right from the start you could feel that Housley wanted everything done with pace. During the drills and once the drill were completed. Numerous times throughout the day he barked at his club to pick up the pace.

The players seemed to embrace tempo and looked up to the challenge of a hard training camp on day one.

One bit of news we did get out of the day was that newly acquired defenseman, Matt Hunwick will miss the start of camp with an upper-body injury.

Here are my notes and observations from attending day one of camp:

Group A

  • Lines and defense pairings:
  • Kyle Okposo and Patrik Berglund stood out in Group A. Okposo was very vocal on the ice throughout and looked to be in great shape. Berglund was very good during the tip drills in front of the net and had two back to back nice goals during the 3 on 3 session.
  • Jeff Skinner is getting the first opportunity to play on Eichel’s left wing.
  • Johan Larsson may be in tough to earn a roster spot. He started camp playing with two players likely destined for the AHL in Olofsson and Oglevie.
  • Jake McCabe gets the first opportunity to play with Rasmus Dahlin. The duo looked good together on day one.

Group B

  • Lines and defense pairings:
  • Like Larsson, Zemgus Girgensons may have a tough time making the roster this season He also played with likely AHL players in Sean Malone, Danny O’Regan and Tyler Randell. Having said that, I believe Girgensons stood out the most in Group B. He looked to add some speed to his game, played with determination and was strong on the puck.
  • C.J. Smith looks to be getting an early opportunity playing with Vladimir Sobotka and Tage Thompson.
  • Thompson is a large human and not afraid to shoot the puck.
  • Zach Bogosian appears to be in good shape and closed out the 3 on 3 session with a nice goal.
  • Casey Nelson and Brendan Guhle were a solid pair throughout the day.
  • Didn’t love Jason Pominville on the wing with Conor Sheary and Casey Mittelstadt. He could be hold Sam Reinhart’s position until he signs a new contract.

Day two of camp gets underway tomorrow at 9:45 AM with two sessions and is open to the public.