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Sharpen Up: September 11, 2019

All the Sabres news you need to know on Wednesday

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The players report to training camp for testing and physicals tomorrow. 

Here's what you need to know.


Krueger's perspective

Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger, who is about to enter his first season behind the Buffalo bench, joined Andrew Peters and Craig Rivet on The Instigators presented by Seneca Resorts and Casinos at the Buffalo Sabres Foundation Golf Tournament yesterday. (And click here for a photo gallery from the golf tournament)

Here's their conversation in full:

Video: Krueger on The Instigators also spoke with Krueger and his assistant coaches about their collaboration techniques and how they want the team to play. 

You can read the full feature here. Check out a sample of what to expect from it:

From a technical standpoint, the Sabres' system will be a blend of the core principles Krueger has formed through nearly three decades of coaching and the input he receives from players and staff. 

Yes, Krueger was hired to bring a specific style of hockey to Buffalo, one he believes fits with the current state of the roster and falls in line with general manager Jason Botterill's vision. But he prides himself on being flexible to the viewpoints of those he surrounds himself with.

Krueger's staff consists of a trio of assistants in Don Granato, Steve Smith, and Mike Bales, along with a pair of video coaches in Myles Fee and Kyle Smith. If one of them raises an idea for, say, a new way to enter the offensive zone, it goes to the table for open consideration.

"There could be a specific input from an assistant coach or an angle that I've never heard before or seen before that I will open my mind up to, and maybe it will alter my course," Krueger said. "That's going to happen in discussion with players, that's going to happen once we experience games. 

"… We're evolving a brand-new way to package this. Now, within this package there's going to be a lot of root principles that I believe in as a head coach need to be in place. But there will be others that are new, refreshing. I think that's important. You're asking about philosophy. My philosophy is to have clear guidelines but also be flexible about the way you bring them into life."

Steve Smith, a member of Buffalo's coaching staff last season, worked with Krueger for three seasons in Edmonton and has followed his career ever since. He said the collaborative environment that's been fostered throughout the summer in Buffalo has been on par with his experience while Krueger was at the helm for the Oilers in 2012-13.

"Any time we talk about any of the areas - forecheck, neutral-zone forecheck, talking about defensive-zone systems - he wants everybody's input," Smith said. "He's laying out the skeleton of a system that he wants in place, but he wants everybody's input so that it's really clear that nothing has been missed amongst the group. 

"He ensures that we feel we have a lot of value to what he's doing. He takes the lead on it, but each and every guy gets their opinion heard and he makes the final decision on what he wants."

Again, the full article can be found here.

Roster moves

The Sabres made some transactions before camp opens. 

Yesterday, the team assigned Lukas Rousek (Sparta Praha - Czech) and Matthew Welsh (Charlottetown - QMJHL) to their respective clubs, and released Stephen Harper, Bobby MacIntyre and Sebastian Vidmar from their tryouts.

The team has also assigned Pascal Aquin, Justin Baudry, Tobie Bisson, Shaw Boomhower, Kurt Gosselin, Brett Murray and John Wiitala to Rochester for the Americans' training camp.

Rousek and Murray are the only Sabres draft picks among that group. And of the players assigned to Rochester's camp, Murray is the only one currently without a pro hockey contract at the moment.

Training camp information

Here's the schedule for the first few days of camp at KeyBank Center. All practice times subject to change.

Thursday, Sept. 12
Players report for testing and physicals

Friday, Sept. 13
Gold Group: 10 to 11:15 a.m.
Blue Group: 1 to 2:15 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 14
Blue Group: 10 to 11:15 a.m.
Gold Group: 1 to 2:15 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 15 (Open to public)
Gold Group: 10 to 11:15 a.m.
Blue Group: 1 to 2:15 p.m.

Stick with us for full coverage of camp. 

The first preseason game will be on Monday against Pittsburgh at Penn State's Pegula Ice Arena. The game will be streamed locally on

Click here for the full camp schedule.

Remembering 9/11

In 2001, the Sabres played the Rangers in the first regular season NHL game in Manhattan after 9/11. Sabres alumni reflect on that moment:

Video: Sabres alumni remember 9/11

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