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Sharpen Up: September 15, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

"We've talked about playing aggressive offensively, but we need to play aggressive defensively. Defense gives you a chance to win every night," Phil Housley said yesterday. "They'll understand, but we want to be fast and aggressive. The days are gone where a guy makes a breakout pass and the D just watches the rush go up and play."

And with those thoughts in mind, the Sabres will practice together for the first time this season. Fifty-one players are in town for training camp. Catch them from 9:45-10:30 and 11:45-12:30 today at HarborCenter.

Here's what you need to know. 


Players are checked in

A few players were available to speak with the media yesterday and we were able to pick their brains about what they're looking forward to this season. For the big takeaways, check out Jourdon LaBarber's story. 

Here's Brian Duff with the all-new Sabres Now report:

Video: Sabres Now (9/14/17)

For Jack Eichel, it's about showing that he can be a dominant force in the NHL and be a big contributor on a winning team. 

"I think I've proven nothing," Eichel, who led the team in scoring last season at a nearly point-per-game clip, said. "It's a huge year for me personally and as a team. We want to take the next step as a team. I think for us to do that, we need some guys to take the next step as players and I need to be one of them."


His entry-level contract is up after this season, but he's confident a deal will get done before next summer. He's made it clear that he wants to stay in Buffalo, and Sabres management has stated that they also want Eichel to remain in blue and gold for many years to come. 

The revamped blue line

Housley made a name for himself as an assistant coach in Nashville, where he ran the defense and helped them become a dynamic unit. 

He hopes to make the most out of a deeper corps that includes Rasmus Ristolainen, Jake McCabe, Marco Scandella, Nathan Beaulieu, Victor Antipin, Josh Gorges, Zach Bogosian and Brendan Guhle to name a few.


"The acquisitions that Jason Botterill made over the summer really gave our D core depth right out of the gate," Housley said. "You add a player like Marco Scandella, who's been a proven NHL player, had a great playoff against St. Louis. Nathan Beaulieu is an up-and-coming player, he's a first-round pick. That right there we've secured depth at our blue line which is really important in today's game."

New players like Scandella and Beaulieu will be the focus of our coverage today.


More video!

Hear from Kyle Okposo, who is back to full health:


We talked to Evander Kane, who brought the house down with some jokes:


Robin Lehner also spoke and he's committed to not trying to impress anyone, but just continuing to play well:


Today's groupings

Group One
Forwards: 21 Kyle Okposo, 22 Johan Larsson, 24 Hudson Fasching, 26 Matt Moulson, 28 Zemgus Girgensons, 37 Sean Malone, 46 Eric Cornel, 49 C.J. Smith, 51 Kyle Criscuolo, 59 Cliff Pu, 64 Vaclav Karabacek, 71 Evan Rodrigues, 90 Ryan O'Reilly, 92 Alexander Nylander
Defensemen: 4 Josh Gorges, 8 Casey Nelson, 19 Jake McCabe, 27 Taylor Fedun, 38 Cody Goloubef, 45 Brendan Guhle, 53 Devante Stephens, 55 Rasmus Ristolainen, 58 Austin Osmanski

Goaltenders: 34 Jonas Johansson, 35 Linus Ullmark, 40 Robin Lehner

Group Two
Forwards: 9 Evander Kane, 10 Jacob Josefson, 12 Kevin Porter, 13 Nicholas Baptiste, 15 Jack Eichel, 23 Sam Reinhart, 25 Seth Griffith, 29 Jason Pominville, 44 Nicolas Deslauriers, 52 Steve Moses, 62 Brandon Hagel, 67 Benoit Pouliot, 83 Vasily Glotov, 95 Justin Bailey

Defensemen: 5 Matt Tennyson, 6 Marco Scandella, 41 Justin Falk, 47 Zach Bogosian, 54 Brycen Martin, 79 Vojtech Budik, 82 Nathan Beaulieu, 93 Victor Antipin

Goaltenders: 31 Chad Johnson, 32 Adam Wilcox, 33 Jason Kasdorf

Click here for a printable version.

Line combinations and defensive pairings coming once they hit the ice. 


This weekend's camp schedule

Friday, Sept. 15

Session one: 9:45 - 10:30 a.m. (KeyBank Rink at HarborCenter)

Session two: 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (KeyBank Rink at HarborCenter)


Saturday, Sept. 16

Session one: 9:45 - 10:20 a.m. (New Wave Energy Rink at HarborCenter) / 10:25 - 11:15 a.m. (KeyBank Rink at HarborCenter)

Session two: 11:45 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. (New Wave Energy Rink at HarborCenter) / 12:25 - 1:15 p.m. (KeyBank Rink at HarborCenter)


Sunday, Sept. 17

Session one: 9:45 - 10:20 a.m. (New Wave Energy Rink at HarborCenter) / 10:25 - 11:15 a.m. (KeyBank Rink at HarborCenter)

Session two: 11:45 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. (New Wave Energy Rink at HarborCenter) / 12:25 - 1:15 p.m. (KeyBank Rink at HarborCenter)


Tickets on sale tomorrow

Lots of great ticket packages will be available starting at 10 a.m. From individual games to Family Packs to Kids Day offers to the all-new Sabres Flex Pass, you can choose the option that's best for you. 

Preseason tickets and Mini-Packs are already on sale and if you're a My One Buffalo or Sabres Insider, there's a special presale for you today.

Click here to check out all of our ticket packages. 

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