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Sharpen Up: September 19, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

One half of the Buffalo Sabres training camp roster got their feet wet last night in a 3-2 overtime preseason loss to Carolina last night at HarborCenter. Evan Rodrgiues led the way with two assists while Jake McCabe and Seth Griffith tallied.
Those that did not play will likely take the ice tonight when Buffalo travels to Penn State to take on the Penguins. Listen live on WGR 550 starting at 7 p.m. Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray have the call. Stick around to all day and all night for news, notes, recaps and more.

Here's what you need to know. 


About last night

Here are the highlights:


The game started off a little slow as Buffalo worked to shake some rust off. However, the Sabres' play became crisper as the game progressed.

"I thought as the game went on we got better and better," Sabres coach Housley said. "I liked the way the fellas played."


Housley's philosophy of an active defensive corps jumping into the rush was on display, particularly on Jake McCabe's game-tying goal in the second period. 

From the game recap:

McCabe's goal, which evened the score at 2-2 late in the second period, was perhaps the best example of the difference in the Sabres style under Housley. The coach told his defensemen to play loose and join the rush when possible, and McCabe jumped on an opportunity with the Sabres shorthanded. 

McCabe caught a pass on the rush from another defenseman in Taylor Fedun and went far side with a shot from the left circle. 

"It's one of those things where you want to have a 5-man attack," McCabe said. "When we get the green light to jump in and you feel it's the right time to jump in, you for sure should. They're barking at us on the bench to make sure we're in the offensive zone [and] defensive zone."

"I thought our D's timing up the ice was really good," Housley said. "They got involved with the play, they got involved with the rush, you could see the weak side was open on a break out and the guys joined the rush. Jake McCabe's goal was a perfect example of that."

As fun as that style may be, it also puts responsibility on the defensemen to make the correct reads as to when to jump into the play and on forwards to recognize when they need to drop back and assume a defensive role. McCabe said it's a matter of forming the right habits, and the Sabres seemed to get better at it as the game went on.

"Going forward, we'll get more comfortable with it," he said. "I think you saw at times in the offensive zone we did a really good job with it. Other times there were times where we could've done it and we didn't do it, maybe we were hesitant. It's all a comfort thing."


And what about Rodrigues?

"I think he's been terrific," Housley said. "Not only in this game, I think his work ethic has been really, really good and you could see tonight his great poise with the puck. His lateral movements are really good and he had a couple of quality chances, made a heck of a play on that first goal. It'll be nice to look at him as we move through training camp."


Now in his third year as a pro, Rodrigues is looking forward to continuing a strong training camp and make a push for an opening-night roster spot with the Sabres. 

"I feel like I've always been an underdog my whole life," Rodrigues said. "(I) didn't really get drafted, I'm a smaller guy. I'm starting to catch up. My pace is there, my speed's there, my speed's there. I've always felt like I had a brain for the game, so I'm just trying to show that to the people in the stands."


More video!



Scrimmage today

Join us at around 9:45 this morning for another intra-squad scrimmage between players not in tonight's game. We'll be streaming the match from HarborCenter on this morning, and Brian Duff and Martin Biron will provide commentary throughout. 

Click here to watch it live!

Team Gold
Forwards: 21 Kyle Okposo, 28 Zemgus Girgensons, 46 Eric Cornel, 49, C.J. Smith, 51 Kyle Criscuolo, 64 Vaclav Karabacek, 90 Ryan O'Reilly

Defensemen: 6 Marco Scandella, 27 Taylor Fedun, 38 Cody Goloubef, 58 Austin Osmanski

Goaltenders: 34 Jonas Johansson, 40 Robin Lehner

Team Blue
Forwards: 23 Sam Reinhart, 52 Stevie Moses, 59 Cliff Pu, 62 Brandon Hagel, 67 Benoit Pouilot, 71 Evan Rodrigues, 83 Vasily Glotov

Defensemen: 8 Casey Nelson, 19 Jake McCabe, 53 Devante Stephens, 54 Brycen Martin, 55 Rasmus Ristolainen, 79 Vojtech Budik

Goaltenders: 33 Jason Kasdorf, 35 Linus Ullmark


Game day updates on the way

After the scrimmage, the game-day group will take the ice for the morning skate at KeyBank Center. Dan Dunleavy and Jourdon LaBarber will be there to give you all the updates you need. Written and video coverage on the way!


Summer's over

Lauren Hall picked the guys' brains at the Sabres Foundation Golf Tournament last week to see how they spent their summer vacations. Seems like Evander Kane won the summer, but Jack and Sam are close runners-up.

Video: How The Sabres Spent Their Summer Vacations


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