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Sabres Notebook: Cutting 11 brings roster to 36 players; Bailey embraces penalty-kill work

The Sabres' avalanche of assignments has begun. The team isn't done yet.

Buffalo cut 11 players from training camp Saturday, moves that got the team down to 36 players. They need to be at 23 by the start of the season Oct. 5.

"We're looking at all options," coach Phil Housley said in KeyBank Center. "It's going to require some tough decisions coming here shortly."

While there were plenty of moves, none were unexpected.

The Sabres assigned 10 players to the Rochester Americans: forwards Kevin Porter (subject to waivers), Stevie Moses, Eric Cornel and Vaclav Karabacek; defensemen Casey Nelson, Brycen Martin and Devante Stephens; and goaltenders Adam Wilcox, Jonas Johansson and Jason Kasdorf.

The Sabres also sent Cliff Pu back to London of the Ontario Hockey League.

The Amerks start training camp Sunday with physicals. They'll hold their first on-ice session Monday.

"The biggest thing for us is getting back to Rochester and settling in and knowing the players we're going to have," Amerks coach Chris Taylor said.

The Sabres have 36 players left on their camp roster. The remaining players are:

Forwards (21) – Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste, Kyle Criscuolo, Nicolas Deslauriers, Jack Eichel, Hudson Fasching, Zemgus Girgensons, Seth Griffith, Jacob Josefson, Evander Kane, Johan Larsson, Sean Malone, Matt Moulson, Alex Nylander, Ryan O'Reilly, Kyle Okposo, Jason Pominville, Benoit Pouliot, Sam Reinhart, Evan Rodrigues, C.J. Smith.

Defensemen (12) – Victor Antipin, Nathan Beaulieu, Zach Bogosian, Justin Falk, Taylor Fedun, Cody Goloubef, Josh Gorges, Brendan Guhle, Jake McCabe, Rasmus Ristolainen, Marco Scandella, Matt Tennyson.

Goalies (3) – Chad Johnson, Robin Lehner, Linus Ullmark.

After hosting Toronto on Saturday night, the Sabres have two preseason games remaining. They visit Pittsburgh on Wednesday and host the New York Islanders on Friday. The bubble players need to stand out.

"They're trying to buy in to what we're doing, and they're working hard at it," Housley said. "But if you want to separate yourself from other people on the team or the totem pole, you've got to do things that require hard work ethic. Maybe it's blocking shots. Maybe it's taking hits to make plays. Maybe you're first on the forecheck and you're playing the game fast, especially the way we want to play.

"We take all those things as factors in our evaluation."

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Bailey was in the lineup Saturday night. It was his third game as a fourth-line penalty-killer, a path the right winger could ride to opening night.

"It's been a weird preseason," he said. "There have been a lot of penalties, but for me I've found a little success on the penalty kill, and that's something that I'm trying to add to my game. If I'm going to play here, that's something that I want to do. I'm just trying to improve."

Bailey was one of the key members of the short-handed unit Tuesday when Buffalo killed seven of Pittsburgh's nine power plays.

"I'm obviously a big guy, and I have a long reach with my stick," said the 6-foot-3, 214-pounder. "One of my best assets is my legs, so when there's a loose puck or a rebound or anything like that, they want us to be going hard, physical at the guy. That's just what I do.

"Penalty-killing is something that I did a lot in junior, a little bit my first two years pro. It's something that is going to help me make this team, in my eyes, so the more penalties the more opportunities for me to succeed on the penalty kill.

"As much as I want to play five-on-five and show things that way, doing the little things like that are going to help me."

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Housley had no update on Rodrigues, who left Friday's game after absorbing a hard hit from Toronto's Andreas Borgman. McCabe and Griffith skipped practice for maintenance days.

The Sabres are scheduled to take Sunday off, their first break since reporting for training camp Sept. 14.

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