With the Sabres front office making big news off the ice, it’s finally time for the future Sabres to get down to business on it. The Buffalo Sabres officially opened their 2011 Development Camp this morning at Dwyer Arena on the campus of Niagara University in Lewiston, NY. A total of 42 players are scheduled to attend the six-day camp: 24 forwards, 13 defensemen and five goaltenders. Camp runs through Sunday, with scrimmages scheduled for the last two days beginning at 10:30 a.m. All on-ice sessions are open to the public.
The only absentee so far is Joel Armia, Buffalo’s first-round selection (16th overall) in this year’s draft. It’s still unclear if the native of Pori, Finland, will be attending camp at any point this week. Goaltender Nathan Lieuwen and forward Colin Jacobs are in camp, but both missed the first day of workouts with undisclosed injuries.
On-ice workouts continue Wednesday from 9:45-11:45 a.m.
The 42-man roster includes nine invitees, three of whom come from Western New York. Forward Matt Zarbo (Grand Island, NY) had 14 points in 28 games for Clarkson University last season, after spending the previous two years in the USHL; 22-year-old blueliner Nick Bailen (Fredonia, NY) played for RPI last year, and finished with 36 points in 38 games; and goaltender John Cullen (Hamburg, NY) who posted a record of 15-14-2, while splitting his time in the OHL last year with Windsor and Sarnia.
Another notable camp invitee is 6-foot-4, 214 pound left winger Geordie Wudrick. A third-round pick (88th overall) of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2008 Entry Draft, Wudrick was among the WHL leaders with 43 goals in 71 games for the Kelowna Rockets last season.
This won’t be the only development camp that defensemen Mark Pysyk and Jerome Gauthier-Leduc will attend this summer. They’ve both been invited to Team Canada’s National Junior Team Development Camp next month in Calgary, in advance of the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship that will take place Edmonton and Calgary starting December 26. For Pysyk, it will not only be a chance to make the team he was cut from last year, but to play in front of his hometown fans in Edmonton.
“It was in Buffalo last year, and that would’ve been neat to be a part of. But having it my hometown will be really something if I’m able to get there. It was great to get the call and I’m really looking forward to that opportunity.”
I don’t think it’s really possible to want it anymore than you do. It’s the national junior team – Team Canada – it’s what we watch every Christmas growing up. I don’t think there’s any extra need for extra motivation. - Defenseman Mark Pysyk
Pysyk, who plays for the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, says it’s just a thrill to even have the opportunity to represent Canada in international competition.
“I don’t think it’s really possible to want it anymore than you do. It’s the national junior team – Team Canada – it’s what we watch every Christmas growing up. I don’t think there’s any extra need for extra motivation."
But despite Pysyk’s success on the ice, he continues to be denied his goal of connecting with singer Taylor Swift via Twitter. Several times last season, Pysyk would post updates on his personal account in the hopes of catching the eye of the world famous singer by including her name (@taylorswift13) in his messages.
“It was something that started when me and a couple of buddies on the team were bored on a road trip,” explains Pysyk. “We were trying to get some celebrities to tweet us back, and I chose her. But nothing has happened yet, so I’ll keep trying.”