5 Observations: Day 2 - Sabres training camp

Posted at 1:25 PM, Sep 15, 2017

Friday was a day of firsts for the Buffalo Sabres. It was the first time Phil Housley ran a practice as the teams newest head coach. The first time we got to see some of the new players acquired in the offseason. And quite simply, it was the first practice of training camp, a sure reminder that the regular season is right around the corner. 

5 Observations from Friday's day of firsts:

Playing with pace

It was only one practice, but my goodness, it was obvious that Housley wants to see his defensemen involved in all aspects of the game. Just minutes into his first practice he lined his defenders up and told them that they need to focus on timing when they jump into the offensive zone. As the next drill followed Housley yelled "Go, go, go" as the defensemen followed the rush. 

In the second session, Housley continued to send his message and stopped play in the middle of a drill to tell players they need to break out of their own end with more speed. 

"We want to play fast," Housley said after practice. "If you don't execute you won't be able to play fast. I thought they did a great job and responded. Both groups worked really well and hard today because on-ice testing, you guys know, it's tough on the legs but they mentally fought through it and did a great job." 

No Nylander 

According to Housley, 2016 first round pick Alex Nylander, who many believed would fight for a roster spot this year, is dealing with a lower-body injury and is considered week-to-week. 

"It's unfortunate that in the first game of the Prospects he had a lower-body injury, so he'll be assessed," Housley said. "[We're] guarding on the side of caution because it's so early in the season for him and we'll reevaluate that on a day to day basis as well."

Sean Malone is also dealing with a week-to-week injury

Reinhart testing the waters at center

You've probably heard this before, but yet again Sam Reinhart is getting a look down the middle. Will it stick? Who knows, but he wants his play to do the talking. 

"I think you guys know more than anybody that I've spent my whole career going back and forth," Reinhart told reporters. "I'm excited to get started here, get my legs under me, get skating, feel the puck a little more and whatever happens happens." 

Reinhart was asked if he was happier at center and he said happy wasn't the right way to explain it,  he says it's just different. 

"I have no idea [if it will happen]," Reinhart added. "You know as much as I do but like I've said in the past I'm ready for every challenge thrown at me and I'm going to work with it the best way I can." 

Plenty of new faces

Oh hey, Marco Scandella, Nathan Beaulieu, Victor Antipin, Jason Pominville, Benoit Pouliot, Chad Johnson and Jacob Josefson. 

Chances are, I left somebody off that list but on Friday we got our first look at several of the Sabres' big-name offseason additions. 

Take this with a grain of a salt because it's the first practice of camp but I thought Scandella really was impressive. The 27-year-old defenseman moves well for someone his size and isn't afraid to throw his body around, even in practice. He's got a cannon of a shot and will likely be featured a lot once the regular season begins. 

As for the other guys, Beaulieu and Antipin both move well and have a quick first pass out of the zone. Admittedly, I didn't keep a close eye on the forwards, but nobody stood out for the wrong reasons. Remember, it was just one day. 

Line-shuffling galore

We saw some very interesting line combinations during the first two sessions of training camp. That said, some of the combinations have a lot to do with how the players are split into two different groups. 

For example, Reinhart took reps down the middle with Benoit Pouliot and Stevie Moses. I'd bet all the money in my wallet that line doesn't stick together into the regular season. 

Housley said on Friday he would like to start building some chemistry with certain combinations but I'm sure we'll see plenty of weird groups as camp and the preseason shuffle along.