The players were sweaty and tired, but they smiled nonetheless. It’s easy for the Sabres to be happy now that things are different in Buffalo.
The Sabres’ first day of training camp Friday was a fast-paced, joyous affair as more than 1,000 fans watched new coach Dan Bylsma put his players through a tough workout and lively scrimmage. Folks can expect more of the same every day.
“It was an excellent day,” Bylsma said in First Niagara Center. “We wanted to go on the ice and practice with pace and speed and push it up the ice, which I think they did a real good job of. We got right to how we wanted to play. We want to be a good defensive team and a hard team to play against. We went and did that.
“It’s the first day, but it’s a good day.”
The players enjoyed the structure put in place by the coaching staff, and they were thrilled to see a dramatic increase in talent on the ice.
“I’m pretty tired today, and that’s a good sign,” right wing Tyler Ennis said. “It was a great skate, a lot of really good drills where you’re working hard but you’re learning, too, at the same time. I assume that’s how high-level and intense the practices are going to be throughout the year. There’s a lot of structure within the effort in those practices, so that’s a good thing.
“Throughout the whole organization, there’s been a lot of changes. It’s a fresh start for everyone. It’s exciting. There’s things we’re optimistic about, excited about, but at the same time there’s a lot of stuff we need to improve on and get better at. It’s going to be a learning curve for everyone, and it’s going to be fun.”
Catch up on earlier posts about the scrimmage, the line combinations and the absence of Rasmus Ristolainen (upper body) and Cody McCormick, who is still out with blood clots.