Sabres end first weekend of training camp with a strong outing in the scrimmage

September 16, 2018 - 2:32 pm

The Buffalo Bills wrapped up the first weekend of training camp on Sunday with an intrasquad scrimmage at HarborCenter.

The group of 48 players were split into two teams with Team Blue, consisting of players like Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Rasmus Dahlin, taking on Team Gold, with players like Casey Mittelstadt, Tage Thompson, Rasmus Asplund, and Brendan Guhle.

In the end, it was Team Blue coming away with a 7-1 win over Team Gold as the Sabres now get ready for their first preseason game of the season on Monday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I just like the competition," Housley said following the scrimmage. "Obviously it's the third day of camp - it's almost like that hump day, they've had really two tough practices. I think you can see they're a little tired at times, but [we're] just mainly getting them into game condition. You can prepare yourself, but once you get into the bump and grind it's just a different situation. I was really pleased with their effort. It was good to see that the fans came out, and the guys saluted them at the end of the scrimmage. It was great."

It was a good showing for Dahlin, as the 2018 first overall pick scored twice for Team Blue in the win. Aside from his two goals, the 18-year-old rookie continued to display his excellent tape-to-tape passing skills, his reliable play in his own end, while also skating well with the puck and creating some good offensive possession.

"I think his timing has been impeccable," Housley said of his young defenseman. "He jumps into the play at the right time. When he beats a guy, he moves the puck right away and gets it up ice. Overall, I like the way he's developed so far in this camp."

So far in the three days of training camp, Dahlin has fully displayed his abilities in all three zones of the ice, as well as his puck skills and vision on the ice.

"He's an amazing player. He's gonna be great," said Sabres defenseman Lawrence Pilut on Dahlin after practice. "Just watching him out there today, he does some stuff [where] you have to blink twice. But it's real. He's gonna grow up to be a great player, and playing against his is always hard because you never know where he's gonna go. He's just an amazing player."

With the Sabres set to play two preseason games in as many days, Dahlin will get his chance to suit up in, at least, one of the two games. However, it's unclear, at this point, which game he will play.

"We're going to evaluate that shortly," Housley said. "We'll have a roster coming out... We'll make that decision some time this afternoon."

The Sabres also got goals on the afternoon from forwards Jeff Skinner, Kyle Criscuolo, Scott Wilson, Eric Cornel, and defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Brandon Hickey.

Zach Bogosian and Conor Sheary did not take part in the scrimmage, but Housley said afterwards that they were given maintenance days.

"Those two practices, the guys [got] a lot of bumps and bruises," Housley said. "We wanted to slow it down a bit today in practice and give them some game condition. For [Bogosian and Sheary], it was just precautionary.

Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was not listed as part of the roster for the scrimmage on Sunday. It was announced after the scrimmage that the team had assigned him back to the Sudbury Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League.

One other note from the Sabres as they have added goalie Michael Houser to the training camp roster after he signed an AHL contract with the Amerks on Tuesday.

The Sabres will travel to Columbus on Monday afternoon before their 7 p.m. faceoff at Nationwide Arena. Catch all of the action on WGR with Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray on the call.

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