An injury to defenseman Michael Campoli halted the three-on-three tournament Monday. He took a heavy hit from left winger Will Carrier on the boards and was unable to get up under his own power.
The Sabres medical staff and the Buffalo Fire Department worked together to stabilize Campoli’s neck, cut off his equipment and stretcher him to a nearby hospital.
Campoli was sitting up when he was taken off the ice and was responsive, according to Sabres general manager Tim Murray.
“You take every precaution on a play like that,” Murray said. “He was obviously speaking and joking a little bit. He was moving his extremities. I’m sure I’ll hear back shortly.”
Campoli tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he had been released from the hospital and was “feeling good.”
The hit came in the closing seconds of a quarterfinal game between Team Teal and Team Gray.
“I just finished my check,” Carrier said. “I didn’t really know what happened. I think he banged his head on the ice. … I think he lost his balance and fell backwards. He hit his head, tried to get up and hit his head again.”
“I didn’t feel it was a dirty hit,” Rochester Americans head coach Dan Lambert said. “I just thought Will Carrier is a big heavy guy. He put his body into it, and it was unfortunate.”
The rest of the Sabres prospects were sent back to the locker room while the trainers stabilized Campoli’s neck and prepared him to be stretchered off. Many stayed in the hallway to check in on their teammate, including Carrier.
The players returned to the ice 20 minutes later to finish the tournament, but there was a definite loss of energy right out of the gate.
“I think it’s hard for everyone when you see that happen,” Carrier said. “It could be anyone. It was me last year taking a big check and losing it. You never want to see that.”
Campoli, a camp invite, played 25 games last season with the U.S. Development Program. He’s headed to Boston College in the fall.
Victor Olofsson also left the scrimmage when Hudson Fasching caught him on the leg with an open-ice hit. The collision sent Olofsson to the locker room for the rest of the day, but both Murray and Lambert called the injury a Charley horse and said it was not serious.
Fasching’s hit came just a few minutes before Carrier’s hit on Campoli. He said he was playing a little angry since his gray team was losing, but said the injury was an unfortunate side effect of his typical style of play.
“I was playing physical, obviously not trying to hurt him,” Fasching said. “There were no hard feelings there.”
Fasching replaced Olofsson on the teal team once teal eliminated his gray squad from the tournament. Teal would go on to defeat Gold in the finals.
Alex Nylander had an impressive development camp, finishing the festivities with a runner-up performance with Team Gold at the three-on-three tournament.
He flew back to Sweden on Tuesday, where he’ll be working out until training camp. That’s when his real test begins.
“I think I can make the team,” Nylander said. “I’m going to do everything it takes in the summer to get ready for it.”
The Sabres have options for Nylander for the coming season. He could play in the NHL, AHL, juniors or Europe.
“If you ask me could I see him going back to junior, I guess there’s a scenario,” Murray said. “If you ask me, ‘Could I see him playing wing with Jack and Sam?’ I think there’s a scenario. … He’s just high-end talent, high-end skill. He’s going to be a real good NHL player. It’s a matter of time.”
Murray was happy with the performance of the older players at camp, including winger Justin Bailey. The way he played in the scrimmage and 3-on-3 tournament this week showed he was one of the most NHL-ready players at camp.
“I think today Justin Bailey was a man,” Murray said. “He showed that in the three-on-three. His team didn’t win, but I think you saw some strength stuff, some power moves to the net.”
There were a handful of players at camp that have an opportunity to jump from the AHL to the NHL this season, including Bailey, Nick Baptiste, Carrier and Evan Rodrigues.
“On a consistent basis, I think they’re ahead of the kids because their attitude is that ‘I’m a pro player. I have been a pro player. I’m going to make management and coaches take a long look at me at camp,’ ” Murray said.
Vasily Glotov added to his popularity in Buffalo when he tweeted a photo on Monday of him donning a black and white Sabres jersey as a child.
“When my dad bought this jersey, he knew that in the future I would be a Sabre! He sees the future!” Glotov tweeted.
The Sabres’ seventh-round pick played well Tuesday, as his shifty nature translated well to the style of play. He scored three goals in a matchup with Team Gold on Tuesday.
“I thought every single time on the ice he got better,” Lambert said. “His first period in the scrimmage he came up to me and said, ‘That was my first time on the small ice. I’ll get better, I’ll get better.’ He’s such a lovable young man and he did get better.”
Glotov will play for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the QMJHL this season.