A hit on ice, Kassian owns bench as well

The Sabres set a proper tone for their future by selecting bruising forward Zack Kassian at #13 last June, and it appears the prized pupil is primed to produce. The 6'3 ox arrived in Peterborough this week, giving every young player a lesson in fitness training by pressing 155 pounds a whopping 38 times. His performance, a new Petes record, is an extension of his impressive 16-rep output of 150 pounds back at May's NHL combine. Last season, the intimidating Kassian scored 24 goals while spending over two-and-a half hours in the Petes penalty box. His demeanor and ability in tight fills a dire need in the upper ranks of the Sabres prospect stable. A productive start this fall will better his candidacy to crack the Canadian World Jr. roster, but for now consider him on track. The Petes open their 2009 pre-season on Sunday against Oshawa. Also from the OHL, Sudbury's Marcus Foligno scored a goal and an assist as Team Blue lost the annual Blue/White scrimmage, 3-2. The gritty Foligno, expected to contribute among names like Eric O'Dell (STL), John McFarland ('10), and Jared Staal (PHX), showed some offensive flair by flashing a no-look, behind-the-back pass to set-up his club's second goal. Foligno has come out flying in a week when his father and former Sabre, Mike, announced that he is stepping down from the Wolves bench. The elder Foligno will remain GM, but will be attending to family duties a months after losing his wife Janis to cancer. Nick Crawford sat out as Saginaw lost their pre-season opener to Plymouth, 7-2. The veteran scored a goal in the first Blue/White scrimmage on Thursday. In the QMJHL, Maxime Legault saw his first pre-season action on Friday as Shawinigan lost a 4-1 decision to Lewiston. The 6'2 right wing dropped the gloves with Eric Bonawitz in the bumpy second period, earning the extra misconduct along the way. Cape Breton forward Luke Adam has yet to see exhibition ice with his new team, while Chicoutimi's Jacob Lagacé did not dress in any games last week. In the WHL, Tyler Ennis is not on the Medicine Hat's training camp roster. While he is eligible to return to the Dub, the Tigers don't expect him back. Turning 20 in October, Ennis should be signed and lined for Portland by the start of training camp. Kelowna's Tyler Myers continues to practice as he readies himself for a second pro run. He did not play in either of Kelowna's weekend losses to Chilliwack. Kootenay defenseman Brayden McNabb will skate in the club's annual Intrasquad game for charity Sunday at 3:00. The Ice won't engage with another club until Friday (vs. Calgary).
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