Pysyk looking to impress the Sabres

The Sherwood Park News is running a spotlight story on Edmonton Oil Kings captain Mark Pysyk, who recently was named the team's MVP for the second consecutive season. Pysyk's game matured in both ends in 2010-11, including a jump in his physical play which is needed in the highly competitive WHL.

While Pysyk said there are areas for him to improve upon, he was happy with his progression, and believes certain changes he made heading into the season gave him a leg up in winning the designation of MVP.

"I think I added a little bit more of a physical aspect to my game," he said. "It's tough sometimes, because I'm not a really vocal leader. I try to step out of my comfort zone that way as well."

It was a breakout year offensively as well. The 6'1 Pysyk scored 40 points for the OK's this past season, and now has his sights set clearly on Buffalo as next season approaches.

With the Oil Kings eliminated from playoffs in the first round, losing to the Red Deer Rebels, Pysyk is now gearing up for the Buffalo Sabres' upcoming training camp.

"I went last year, and it's just about a hard week of hockey and workouts," he said. "That's about it, so we get good experience again and it will be a big step in my training process as well."

Pysyk said he hopes this year is the one he'll be taken onto the NHL roster, but with Buffalo currently battling it out in playoffs, he hasn't had much of a chance to speak with them lately.

Still, he has plans in case it takes another year before making his way down to the United States.

"Hopefully I'll be in Buffalo soon, but if not next year, I'm hoping to play in the World Juniors," Pysyk said. "It would be an incredible honour to represent your country at the biggest stage besides the Olympics. That would be pretty cool."

For now, making the Sabres in the fall seems more of a longshot but that's not a bad thing. The Oil Kings should be one of the top guns next season in the WHL and big minutes will await their captain if the Sabres deem him not ready.

Regardless of where he lands, part of Pysyk's offseason training will involve a 200 km ride on June 25-26 in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Sabres fans are encouraged to donate to his ride at
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