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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on October 3, 2019

The Sabres open the season tonight in Pittsburgh

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

It's only fitting that The Golden Season begins in Pittsburgh.

After all, the Sabres opened their inaugural season in Pittsburgh on Oct. 10, 1970, a 2-1 victory over the Penguins at "The Igloo." Defenseman Jim Watson tallied the first goal in franchise history, Roger Crozier made 35 saves, and a young rookie named Gilbert Perreault scored the winner with 8:34 remaining. 

They open their 50th season tonight against the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. It will be the first regular-season game behind the bench for Sabres coach Ralph Krueger, as well as the team debuts for forwards Marcus Johansson and Jimmy Vesey and defenseman Colin Miller.

Pregame coverage on MSG begins at 6:30 p.m., with puck drop set for 7. 

Here's what you need to know. 


Roster moves

The Sabres have recalled forward Victor Olofsson and defenseman Henri Jokiharju from the Rochester Americans. Forwards Curtis Lazar and Jean-Sebastien Dea, and defenseman Lawrence Pilut have been assigned to Rochester. 

Olofsson spent the final phases of camp skating on a line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, where he practiced prior to being assigned to Rochester on Tuesday. Jokiharju practiced that afternoon on a defense pair with Marco Scandella. 


Johansson, McCabe named alternate captains

Krueger announced that Johansson and Jake McCabe will each wear an "A" as alternate captains in Pittsburgh tonight. 

"We have with Jack Eichel a very strong captain going into his second season," he said. "I feel the maturity and the ability to lead from that position. Our room is filled with people that will be leading and will be helping us lead. We've decided to begin with As on Jake McCabe and Marcus Johansson. 

"We feel that that's a strong group for the ice. But I have to say that whether it's [Kyle] Okposo, [Zach] Bogosian, the veterans, [Carter] Hutton, or a younger player like Sam Reinhart - everybody has been showing signs and moments of leadership here in training camp."

Johansson, meanwhile, expressed confidence that the Sabres are ready for opening night. 

"Yeah, absolutely," he. "It feels like we're - just looking at practice - it feels like guys are ready. I mean, there's high intensity, guys look hungry. This is when the fun starts. Yeah, we're ready. This is what we worked for all summer. It's finally here."

Read more about Johansson's and Krueger's expectations in yesterday's Ice Level Practice Report.


Catching up with the captain

We checked in with Eichel in yesterday's edition of Sabres in :50, which you can watch below.

Video: Sabres in 50: Eichel's ready for the new season

Speaking of captains … 


Saturday is Captains Night

For Saturday's Home Opener presented by KeyBank, the Sabres will welcome back 14 former captains to participate in pregame festivities. 

There will be a Party in the Plaza outside of KeyBank Center starting at 5 p.m. where fans can enjoy sponsor activations, kid-friendly activities and a musical performance by The Strictly Hip (all outdoor activities are weather permitting). 

Then at 5:30, Northtown Automotive will drop alumni off at the Blue and Gold Carpet. Fans will have the opportunity to greet the former captains and take photos as they make their way through Alumni Plaza. 

Former captains attending include:

Floyd Smith (Captain: 1970-71)
Gerry Meehan (Captain: 1971-72 - Oct. 1974)
Don Luce (Captain: Jan. 1976)
Danny Gare (Captain: 1977-78 - 1980-81)
Gilbert Perreault (Captain: 1981-82 - Nov. 1986)
Mike Foligno (Captain: Feb. 1989 - Dec. 1990)
Michael Peca (Captain: 1997-98 - 1999-2000)
Donald Audette (Captain: April 1998)
Stu Barnes (Captain: 2001-02 - March 2003)
Jochen Hecht (Captain: Oct. 2007, Feb. 2008)
Toni Lydman (Captain: Nov. 2007)
Brian Campbell (Captain: Dec. 2007)
Craig Rivet (Captain: 2008-09 - 2010-11)
Brian Gionta (Captain: 2014-15 - 2016-17)

Tickets are still available. Click here for more information.

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