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A hit on ice, Kassian owns bench as well

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, August 30, 2009 | 8/30/2009

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).
8/30/2009 | 10 comments | Read More

Southorn reacts to suspension

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 | 8/26/2009

Here is a follow-up from Charlottetown's The Guardian regarding the recent suspension of 2008 4th round pick, Jordon Southorn of the PEI Rocket. “I broke a rule. I’m not going to get into details. It’s being dealt with privately with the team,” Southorn told The Guardian. “Everyone knew (about the rule). I skipped the rule in the rule book. It was a bad move on my part (and) I would take it all back if I could.” Southorn, who flies out of P.E.I. on Sept. 7 for the Buffalo Sabres’ training camp, hasn’t signed with the NHL team yet, and so far hasn’t talked to the organization. It’s probable Southorn would have missed P.E.I. home opener Sept. 11 versus Moncton and the next game against Halifax on Sept. 13 anyway. Chouinard said the suspension will be re-visited after the Sabres camp, but Southorn could return to Rocket practice earlier. Southorn, who’s limited to gym workouts, said he’s happy with the Rocket, just prone to bad judgment. “Everyone knew (about the rule). I skipped the rule in the rule book,” he said. “I feel fine about the organization. It’s not them, it’s not Guy, it’s on Jordon Southorn. I started my junior career here, I’m hoping to end it here. I’ll come back whenever they let me.”
8/26/2009 | 0 comments | Read More

Orpik goes to Rampage

Written By Kris Baker on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 | 8/25/2009

Unsigned by the Sabres at the August 15th deadline, former Boston College forward Andrew Orpik has inked an AHL deal with the San Antonio Rampage.
Orpik, a native of East Amherst, NY, joins the Rampage from Boston College (NCAA) where he amassed 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists) in 155 games and tacked on 145 penalty minutes over his four-year collegiate career as an Eagle. During his senior year, he posted five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in 36 games, his collegiate-best. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound rookie was a member of Boston College’s 2008 NCAA National Championship team. “Andrew is a young player who has played the past four seasons in an excellent program at Boston College,” said Rampage General Manager Brad Treliving. “He is a big body who brings an element of physicality and grit and we look forward to continuing his development as a pro within our organization.”
8/25/2009 | 2 comments | Read More

Tylers prepping with Jr. mates

So I conveniently forgot to mention Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis when noting Sabres properties in CHL camps. Yes, Myers is in Kelowna today for the start of Rockets camp. It is unlikely that he'll see the ice in either of the Rockets exhibition games with Chilliwack on Friday or Saturday before gearing up for Buffalo. Waiting for an NHL deal, Ennis is also expected to skate in drills and scrimmages when Medicine Hat opens camp on Wednesday morning. The shifty forward has very little to gain by going to back to the Dub, so he'll continue to be penciled in for a spot in Portland. Rounding out camp notes, Mark Adams is set to fire up his first USHL season in Chicago. The 2009 pick will get moving on September 4th as the Steel ramps up to their back-to-back preseason tilts with Youngstown on the 11th and 12th.
8/25/2009 | 9 comments | Read More

Southorn suspended...again

For the second time in as many seasons, PEI defenseman Jordon Southorn has been suspended by the team.
Rocket head coach Guy Chouinard wouldn’t be specific about Southorn’s offence expect to say the player violated team policies set early in camp. “We have rules on this team and he crossed over those rules,” Chouinard told The Guardian. “He should take that time, go to Buffalo and come back with a better attitude.”
The disciplinary action is in response to a violation of team rules - presumably a curfew issue - and will land the 6'2 blueliner in the Rocket sin bin until the close of Sabres training camp in September. Last season, head coach Guy Chouinard suspended the defender after a verbal spat on the bench during a game. Chosen in the 4th round of the 2008 draft, Southorn, 19, is being counted on to lead the Rockets attack from the backend and provide veteran leadership in the room. With the Sabres forced to make a few defensive decisions next offseason in terms of their prospects, this latest development does not bode well for the talented yet maligned rearguard.
8/25/2009 | 1 comments | Read More

Pistol sounds as CHL camps begin

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, August 24, 2009 | 8/24/2009

It's late August, and cuts are already being made in junior hockey. QMJHL camps have opened, and four Sabres hopefuls saw their exhibition schedules get underway over the weekend before Hurricane Bill put a damper on the north Atlantic coast. Chicoutimi's Jacob Lagacé kicked the pre-season off on Friday, scoring an early power play goal as the Sags blanked Baie-Comeau, 4-0. The 19-year old forward, who last season led the Sags with 32 goals and 69 points, gave way to younger players in a pair of weekend contests. On Saturday, fourth-year blueliner Jordon Southorn had a goal and three shots on net as PEI took a 6-5 shootout win over Halifax. Southourn's marker midway through the second period launched a three-goal outburst in a span of 2:14 for the Rocket. The 6'2 defender had looked strong and sharp through a pair intrasquad scrimmages heading into the weekend. Cape Breton's Luke Adam practiced with his new team for the first time on Tuesday, but did not play in Friday's 7-2 loss at Moncton. The 6'2, 210-pounder has been skating on a top line with fellow newcomer Ashton Bernard (NJ). The early favorite to wear the "C" in Shawinigan, Maxime Legault, 20, did not play in pair of weekend home games for the Cats. It's worth noting that former Sabres prospect Jean-Simon Allard decided to not return to the QMJHL for his 20-year old season. After four years in the Q, the unsigned Allard instead had planned on playing for Alma College (QC) before his transfer was denied by the AAA league offices. It is unknown where or if Allard will be playing this season. -------------------------------------------------------------- OHL and WHL clubs will follow by opening training camps on Wednesday and Thursday. Nick Crawford, 19, will head to Saginaw on Wednesday, where the Spirit will conduct three Blue/White scrimmages on Thursday and and Friday before opening their exhibition schedule against Plymouth on Saturday. Fresh off the heels of a Team Canada Evaluation Camp, 2009 first rounder Zack Kassian will get things underway in Peterborough on Thursday. The Petes will skate in their first tune-up on Sunday the 30th at Oshawa. Marcus Foligno and the Sudbury Wolves will also begin camp on Thursday, with their annual Blue/White scrimmage set for Friday. The Wolves will begin their pre-season schedule at Soo on Tuesday, September 1st. In the WHL, Kootenay's Brayden McNabb, 18, will join his teammates for the start of camp on Thursday. The 6'4 rearguard recorded 10 goals, 36 points, and 140 PIM last season for the Ice, who won't hold their first preseason game until Friday, September 4th against Calgary. Also of western note, development camp invite Burke Gallimore of the Saskatoon Blades will be attending the rookie portion of the Edmonton Oilers training camp.
8/24/2009 | 1 comments | Read More

Knapp to miss start; Nats wrap up

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, August 15, 2009 | 8/15/2009

Miami RedHawks netminder Connor Knapp will miss his turn in the starting rotation as Team USA closes its four-game exhibition with Russia on Saturday at the U20 Evaluation. Knapp, the Sabres 6th round pick this past June, injured his right knee on the opening day of camp and was deemed 'not ready' by coach Dean Blais after seeing light work 0n Thursday. Each of the four goaltenders in camp were expected to see a full 60-minute contest. The circumstances are undoubtedly disappointing for the 6'5 sophomore, as a sharp start could have made for a strong closing impression just one night after Brandon Maxwell (COL) allowed six goals on 17 shots in a 6-4 loss. The injury and poor showing by Maxwell seem to have created some space for the other two camp goalies, Mike Lee (PHX) and Jack Campbell, heading into the 2009-10 season. St. Cloud bound Lee manned the 8-1 opening night victory, while Michigan recruit Campbell played well in Wednesday's 6-1 win. It is unclear who will assume Knapp's slot in the finale. When things were heating up for the Americans in Lake Placid, teams Red and White split a pair of games in Saskatoon as Canada wrapped up their U20 camp last weekend. Throughout the two games, White's Luke Adam did what he does best by producing offense. The 6'2 forward deftly backhanded a pass to a streaking Louis Leblanc to set up a goal in Saturday's 5-2 win. The next night, he awed those in attendance by freezing a defender and roofing a quick wrister over Matt Hackett's shoulder. Adam gave it his best amongst a talented group of forwards and is no doubt better from the experience. Returning blueliner Tyler Myers was controlling in both ends for Team White and is essentially a lock to be part of Canada's leadership core if not on the Sabres roster. The 6'8 defenseman pointed in Sunday's 5-3 loss when a rebound of his power-play point shot was buried by Ryan O'Reilly (COL) to open scoring. Sabres' 2009 blue-chipper Zack Kassian did not register a point all weekend for the Reds, but was a tone-setter with his physical style and willingness to battle. Canada brought lots of beef to camp, and Kassian did not disappoint. After previously lining up with Philippe Cornet (EDM) and Adam Henrique (NJ), the 6'3 Kassian skated third-line minutes with 6'4 Josh Brittain (ANA) and 6'5 Joe Colborne (BOS) in Sunday's win. The Pete's banger made a solid impression, teeing up fellow OHLer Matt Clark with attitude while seeming to be in general disagreement with young gun Evander Kane (ATL) as the game progressed. Kassian did have a role in the biggest camp dust up, as it was his feed to Jordan Caron (BOS) on Saturday that gave Colten Tuebert (LA) the space to knock the QMJHL forward out of commission for 6-8 weeks with a blindside open-ice hit. Per the video, Kassian opted for discipline over natural instinct when considering a retort.
8/15/2009 | 1 comments | Read More

Adam amped at camp

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, August 8, 2009 | 8/08/2009

Saturday's edition of The Telegram (St. John's, NL) included an item on local product Luke Adam, who has been grinding through Team Canada's U20 Camp in Saskatoon.
"It's a real honour to be here," he said earlier this week after his second day of the camp. "I knew that coming in, but when you get here with all these great players, you really know how special it is" But he also know he can't afford to be awestruck, a fact reinforced during a meeting with national team head coach Willie Desjardins at the start of camp. "He said you won't make the team based on what you do this week, but you can sure work your way off it," said Adam, who is one of more than 30 players in camp who have been selected in the first or second round of the NHL draft. Adam, a Buffalo Sabres' 2008 second-round pick, had 22 goals and 27 assists in 47 games with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Montreal Junior last season before a ruptured spleen ended his season. He's fully recovered from the resulting splenectomy and says he got positive confirmation of his health status last month at a Sabres' prospects camp. "Everything's great. I'm 100 percent. No problems," said Adam, who is being practising on a line with a couple of Colorado Avalanche draft picks - Ryan O'Reilly of the OHL's Erie Otters and Kelsey Tessier of the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts.
So with his health no longer an issue, pundits can re-hash the debate of what lane Adam will fill this season and beyond. Last season saw him float between left wing and center with the Montreal Juniors, and it seems like his versatile ways will continue as the 2009-10 campaign creeps up.
He's being used as a left-winger this week, even though he's slotted as the No. 1 centre for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, who acquired him in a June trade with Montreal. "When you get to here to this level and a chance to make this team, I'll do whatever they want me to do," said Adam. "It doesn't matter where I play. I just want to play."
8/08/2009 | 0 comments | Read More

Sabres trio enjoys summer 'Toon up

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, August 6, 2009 | 8/06/2009

Three Sabres prospects are in Saskatoon this week for Canada's U20 Summer Development Camp. A group of 45 players will showcase their talents for Hockey Canada brass, highlighted by the annual Red/White scrimmages on Saturday and Sunday. 6'8 blueliner Tyler Myers will skate for Team White, getting paired with fellow Albertan Dylan Olsen. One of two Junior A players in camp, the Duluth-bound Olsen is like Myers in that he was born in the United States (Salt Lake City, UT), but represents Canada in international competition. Meanwhile, Myers remains humble despite the possibility that the camp may be null and void if he sticks with the Sabres this fall.
“Having played last year, I have a pretty good idea what to expect at camp, but I’m not looking at it as though I’ve got it made and I’m a shoo-in,” said Myers, 19, who scored a goal and posted a plus-5 rating at last year’s WJC. “It’s going to be an intense camp again. The experience last year was nice, but I still want to go make sure the coaches know I deserve to be there.”
Cape Breton left wing Luke Adam, 19, joins Myers on the White roster. The 6'2 left wing will team with center Ryan O'Reilly of the Erie Otters, and Quebec Remparts speedster Kelsey Tessier. Adam was the Sabres 2nd round pick (44th overall) in 2008. Zack Kassian, 18, will bang his drum as a Team Red right wing. One month removed from a turf toe injury that the kept him off the ice at Niagara U, the Windsor, Ontario product skated opposite Philippe Cornet (Rimouski) and center Adam Henrique (Windsor) in Wednesday's opening practice. Kassian, 6'3, 215 pounds, had two goals and three assists for Canada at the U18s back in April.
8/06/2009 | 1 comments | Read More

Enroth an Olympic candidate

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, August 1, 2009 | 8/01/2009

Buffalo Sabres prospect Jhonas Enroth has been named as one of five goaltending candidates for Sweden's entry in to the 2010 Olympics. Thursday's preliminary list has many notable omissions, as those not in Sweden at the time of the announcement have yet to be included.
Goaltenders (5): Jhonas Enroth, Erik Ersberg, Jonas Gustavsson, Daniel Larsson, Henrik Lundqvist Forwards (16): Daniel Alfredsson, P.J. Axelsson, Fabian Brunnstrom, Loui Eriksson, Tomas Holmstrom, Kristian Huselius, Patric Hornqvist, Joel Lundqvist, Fredrik Modin, Robert Nilsson, Michael Nylander, Samuel Pahlsson, Alexander Steen, Rickard Wallin, Tom Wandell, Henrik Zetterberg Defensemen (13): Alexander Edler, Tobias Enstrom, Jonathan Ericsson, Jonas Frogren, Nicklas Grossman, Carl Gunnarsson, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Niklas Kronwall, Nicklas Lidstrom, Douglas Murray, Johnny Oduya, Mattias Ohlund, Anton Stralman
A hot start this fall could see Enroth at best challenge for the third spot behind Lundqvist and perhaps Gustavsson. There currently are no plans for the defending gold medalists to hold a selection camp.
8/01/2009 | 0 comments | Read More