The talk is over. Time to play.
Friday morning the Buffalo Sabres hit the ice at HarborCenter for the first time in the 2018-19 training camp.
As expected all eyes were on defenseman Rasmas Dahlin.
The first overall pick in the 2018 draft was part of the first grouping of players that also includes Jack Eichel, Linus Ullmark and Marco Scandella.
“It’s for real now. It’s serious,” said Dahlin.
Jake McCabe was also part of the first group as he was paired with Dahlin.
Like everyone, McCabe marveled at the young Swedish D-man’s skill set.
“The guys an incredible talent as we all know by this point,” said McCabe.
“He’s one of those guys that’s gonna push me and make me a lot better. And I’m gonna try and help him along with the North American game and do as much as I can to just help him develop his game on both ends of the rink.”
McCabe continued by saying that Dahlin isn’t just an offensive gem. That he is more of an all-around player than most people think.
For Dahlin, after taking part in development camp, summer skates and the prospects challenge it felt good to get on the ice in an NHL setting. As he did in those settings Dahlin made a strong accounting of himself.
From one on one drills that pitted forwards against forwards and defensemen against defenseman to mini scrimmages the day appeared to live up to coach Phil Housley’s desire to be a hard camp.
“Yeah I expected that kind of pace,” said Dahlin. “It was fun.”
Linus Ullmark also spoke to the media about the projected plan of sharing the crease with the newly arrived Carter Hutton, and his goals for the year.
“I always want to go out there and win every game. That’s always been my goal,” said Ullmark.
Group B featured Jason Pomimville, Casey Mittlestadt, Conor Sheary and Carter Hutton.
Saturday’s sessions will once again be open to the public. As will Sunday’s.
The first home preseason game will take place next Tuesday at 7:05p.m.