As Mark Pysyk
went through the first few days of Buffalo Sabres rookie camp, he admittedly had to do some adapting. The players are faster, the drills are harder and the nerves are even stronger.
But for the unassuming 18 year old, readjusting is no problem. In fact, it’s actually been one of his strengths.
Spending the last three seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League, he’s almost had to. The franchise has missed the playoffs twice since Pysyk signed on, including more recently when the Oil Kings had the second-worst finish in the in the 2009-10 campaign.
It’s forced him to step up, block out the adversity and ultimately rise above it – which he has. Prior to being drafted 23rd overall by the Sabres in 2010, Pysyk was being praised for his performance on an otherwise lackluster team. He accumulated more than 20 minutes of ice time each night and provided the leadership, scoring 24 points in 48 games before being sidelined with a broken foot.
But the injury hasn’t seemed to bother him either. Taking things in stride is steadily reflected in his demeanor, even as he fields questions from the media.
When asked if his life had changed since being a first-round draft pick in the NHL, Pysyk simply shrugged and said, no. And when discussing the honor of having his own bobble head night at a minor league Edmonton Capitals game, his response was a smile and admission that ‘it was pretty cool.’
He’s taking the same modest approach this week, as rookie camp winds down and the veterans report to HSBC Arena for training camp.
He’s ready to go out, play his game and continue to adapt to whatever comes his way.
Pysyk is hoping that will include a second trip to HSBC Arena in the coming months. It’s not so much that he’s not anticipating making Sabres right off the bat, but he could play for Team Canada in the 2011 World Junior Championships this winter, hosted by the city of Buffalo, after taking part in the team’s selection camp in August.
“That would be incredible playing in [the building] of what will hopefully be my team someday,” Pysyk said.
Until then, he’ll continue to go with the flow.