STOCKHOLM – There was plenty of hooting and hollering, far more than a normal practice for the Buffalo Sabres. And with good reason. The Sabres made the roughly 4,000-mile trip to Sweden overnight Sunday and were on the ice at the Ericsson Globe for practice just five hours later Monday.
The monotony of practice was nowhere to be seen.
"It's a really cool experience for us to be here," captain Jack Eichel said after the 55-minute workout in the 14,000-seat arena. "... A little bit of jet lag and guys might be a little tired but I thought the energy was really good. Guys were enjoying themselves and we're all trying to soak in this experience as much as possible."
The Sabres play the Tampa Bay Lightning here but the games are not until Friday and Saturday so they will have three practices – but also plenty of time for sightseeing.
"The flight here was super exciting. I could barely sleep," said defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, one of six Swedes on the Buffalo roster. "We're finally here. It's unbelievable to be here with the team. It feels weird but it's really fun to see all the guys walking around on the streets to see Swedish stuff. It's fun for me and it's fun for them."
Coach Ralph Krueger has extensive experience overseas and said he was at first thinking back to his many international games in Sweden before he refocused on the practice.
"Once we got going, I was very happy to be coach of the Sabres here on the ice in the Globe," Krueger said. "The guys are feeling refreshed just to get a change of scenery and have a challenge that's rare and special in the National Hockey League. I believe it's going to be a really good week here."
Krueger said defenseman Marco Scandella (lower body) was close to being ready for this trip before he was put on injured reserve. Lawrence Pilut was called up from Rochester in his place and Krueger said he was looking forward to seeing Pilut work out live for the first time after the rookie had offseason shoulder surgery.
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) November 4, 2019