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Darling doesn't slow down after Sabers record season start

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Rasmus Darling was talking about the Buffalo Sabers as a group, but used one word to best describe their record start to the season.


Darling scored a goal in the first period of the Sabers’ 6-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday, becoming the first NHL defenseman to start the season with a four-game scoring streak.

It was a simple play, the defense pinched down in the middle of the offensive zone to support the forwards and he beat them. Jacob Markstrom With a shot from the middle of the slot.

Video: BUF@CGY: Darling scores in 4th straight game

Unlike his Day 1 goal against the Ottawa Senators, he made a bold move to carry the puck out of the defensive zone, slide across the middle of the ice and find an open space in the low slot to score.

Video: OTT@BUF: Darling Chips Krebs Pass

Both plays showed fearlessness to attack the game. This is a relatively new approach for Darling, whose origins he traces back to March 17, 2021, when Don His Granert replaced Ralf His Krueger as coach.

“The way he came in, the way he spoke to us and made us play fearless,” Darling said. “And don’t think about it. Those are his two keywords. Just go ahead and do your thing.” [stuff] happen. But as long as you keep trying, things will get better.

“I was afraid of making mistakes. I was afraid of going negative. [Granato] Just going there and doing my own thing helped me a lot. ”

Granert has seen Darling up close since joining the Sabers as an assistant in the 2019-20 season and isn’t shocked by his supercharged play.

“I don’t think you’ll be surprised by Darling’s actions,” Granert said Thursday. “He’s fighting very well. He’s working between games. He’ll work hard tomorrow morning. He’s relentless in his work ethic. I am ready to use it.”

Sabers general manager Kevin Adams said Darling was a player who was always on the quest for success. Now he has the advantage of playing under a coach who trusts him.

“The message to him was, ‘Be fearless, play the game the way you need to be successful, and we’re all in this together.’ To do so, any player, especially Rasmus, goes into the game for fear of making a mistake or that if he does something wrong, he may not be on the next shift. This was Donny’s quick message right after he took over that helped Rasmus calm down a bit and say, “OK, I’m going to try my best every day.” His talent and work ethic, it’s a pretty good package.”

Darling not only scores, but keeps other teams off the scoreboard. He has scored his two tie-breaking goals on the ice, and his plus-6 rating puts him tied for second in the NHL for second place. Shay Theodore of Vegas Golden Nights (Plus 7). Darling averages 18:56 ice time per game while Theodore averages 17:57.

Darling will head to Game 3 of four games as the Sabers start the season 3-1-0 through the Pacific Northwest at the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SNO, SNP, MSG). -B, ESPN+), SN NOW).

“He’s been playing as hard as he can offensively as well as defensively these days,” Sabers stepped forward. alex touch Said. “He’s not scoring there at all. He’s locking it down. He’s playing against their top line and scoring against their top line and top. [defense] pair. He’s diving in, but not allowing his two-on-one matchups on the ice either. He’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever played with. I doubt he’s anywhere near as good as he can be. ”

Darling has been pretty good since the Sabers picked him with the #1 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. He scored 166 points (35 goals, 131 assists) in his 281 games and was named an NHL All-Star in his game last season.

But that fearlessness allows him to get the most out of his skill set.

“Rasmus is an incredibly driven and determined person,” Adams said. “He pushes himself so hard in every way to be the best player. He lives it every day and it ultimately helps him and the players around him. I’m not just talking about the game…his mindset and maturity and how he practices and how hard he’s competing on every drill and every rep in practice. …everything matters, every day matters, everything he does matters to him.

“He’s also very good at just being there and being there in the day and saying, ‘OK, this is where I am and this is what I’m going to do,’ and he’s very good at just being there and being there in the day and saying, ‘OK, this is where I am and this is what I’m going to do.’ “That’s sometimes a lesson that has to be learned, especially when you’re entering a league with a lot of attention, attention, and such a young player. He’s in his fifth year now.” Starting five seasons, but he’s 22. It’s very exciting.” Senior Writer Dan Rosen and Independent Correspondent Aaron Vickers contributed to this report.