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Dahlin on Day 1: 'It's for real now, it's serious'

On one hand, Rasmus Dahlin was just another guy on the opening day of Buffalo Sabres training camp. He skated with 24 other players in the first two of the four sessions Friday in HarborCenter.

That's how Dahlin wants you to think. Of course, he's not like any other guy. Dahlin was the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Draft in June and the Swede's selection drew worldwide attention.

So virtually all eyes of the media and the couple hundred fans on hand were on Dahlin as he took the ice in the small New Wave Energy Rink downtown for his first training camp sessions as an NHL player. Dahlin skated with veteran Jake McCabe on defense and the 18-year-old will likely start his career on Buffalo's No. 2 defensive pair.

"Finally. It's for real now, it's serious," Dahlin said of breaking away from all the hype that surrounded his draft selection. "The pace is higher. It feels good. ... I expected that kind of pace. It was fun. It was high tempo. It's hard but that's the fun thing about it."

"The guy is an incredible talent as we all know," said McCabe, entering his fourth full season in the NHL and completely healthy from January shoulder surgery. "He's one of those guys that's going to push me and make me a lot better player. I'm going to try to help him along with the North American game, talk to him as much as I can to help develop his game on both ends of the rink."

Dahlin said he enjoyed the pairing.

"He was great to play with," Dahlin said. "He talked a lot out there and he's going to teach me a lot. I'm enjoying playing with him. I probably need a lot of help on the ice and in the locker room so it helps me a lot. The vets know a lot of things. They've played here a while. I'm going to listen to them and learn a lot."

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