With the NHL season still in a conference room, the AHL season has begun where it should, on the ice.
The Buffalo Sabres’ AHL affiliate Rochester Americans opened up training camp today at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. Among those skating with the Amerks at the home of the Sabres are Marcus Foligno, Corey Tropp, first-round pick Zemgus Girgensons, Cody Hodgson, Brayden McNabb, TJ Brennan, and Mark Pysyk.
Foligno won the hearts of many Buffalo fans last season with his strong play on a line with Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford.
Tropp, McNabb and Brennan all spent significant time with the Sabres last season, and will compete for jobs on that roster once the lockout is lifted.
Hodgson is looking to start his first full training camp in the Buffalo system. Acquired from the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline last season, Hodgson had trouble adjusting to the Sabres’ system, but should get ample time to learn it now. It was tweeted earlier today that Hodgson was in the best shape he’s ever been coming into a season:
Spoke with Cody Hodgson who said this is as good as he’s ever physically felt. Best offseason he’s ever had. Eager to get going.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) September 28, 2012
Girgensons was drafted number 14 in this year’s draft and turned down an opportunity to play with the University of Vermont to sign a pro deal with the Sabres.
Pysyk was a former first-round pick who just came off of his final season with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. The Oil Kings won the WHL Championship last season and played in the Memorial Cup.
The first practice featured a lot of skating, led by Amerks head coach Ron Rolston. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was also on the ice with the team.
The Amerks will take the in Buffalo again tomorrow morning, and will move back to Rochester Sunday. The Amerks’ first regular season game is October 12 against the Syracuse Crunch.