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Enthusiastic About Hitting

by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
Mark Mancari wants to be wearing a Sabres sweater when the regular season begins and he's willing to do pretty much anything to make that happen.

His enthusiasm and desire was evident when he dropped the gloves against agitator Darcy Tucker during Buffalo's 4-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

The six-foot-three, 225 lb. center tussled with the more-experienced Tucker and even landed a booming left hook which cut the left winger on his forehead.

"I don't think he was expecting the left," said Mancari of the punch that bloodied Tucker. "Really though, I saw the replay and don’t even remember that happening. I guess it was just adrenaline."

Having the adrenaline flowing in your first career NHL game is understandable. Mancari appeared in 71 games for the Rochester Americans last season but never broke into Buffalo's lineup. He admitted Tuesday morning that first few shifts against the Leafs were more of an adjustment period than quality time on the ice.

"The speed [of the game] was a little different [than the AHL]," said Mancari. "I started getting comfortable in the second and third periods."

Mancari is aware that his style of play and services could be in demand by the time October 4th rolls around. Losing both forward Mike Grier and defenseman Jay McKee via free agency over the summer has extracted some of the toughness out of Buffalo's lineup.

Mancari is open to any scenario that would have him wearing a blue and gold sweater.

Said Mancari: "I'm more of a crash-and-bang winger and that's a part of the game that I think I can help this team with. If I have to fight, I have to fight. If I have to hit, I have to hit. Hopefully, I can just crash in some goals along the way."

Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff was pleased with Mancari's effort and the physical nature of his game on Monday night.

"He tried to finish all his checks and actually made a really good play on the two-on-one rush that kicked off Dan [Paille's] stick," said Ruff. "From an enthusiasm standpoint, I thought he let it all hang out."

"I've got to do whatever it takes to make the team, whether it's fighting, hitting or sitting in front of the net for traffic," Mancari said. "Right now, I'm just going out and working hard to stay here."

Fans can listen to all the action of Buffalo's second preseason game tonight at Columbus on WGR 550-AM, the official radio partner of the Buffalo Sabres, or on the web at Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.


Ales Kotalik -- Chris Drury -- Jiri Novotny
Thomas Vanek -- Derek Roy -- Max Afinogenov
Jochen Hecht -- Chris Thorburn -- Drew Stafford
Clarke MacArthur -- Adam Mair -- Daniel Paille

Dmitri Kalinin -- Jaroslav Spacek
Nathan Paetsch -- Mike Card
Michael Funk -- Jeff Jillson

Ryan Miller
Adam Berkhoel
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