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Practice Report | Sabers Prepare for Longest Trip of Season

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Don Granato said the Sabers’ focus early in the season was primarily on their game, with videos and practices aimed at reestablishing the aggressive, uptempo identity they built during last season.

Granat admitted that Tuesday’s opponents steered the conversation, but that was true on Monday as they prepared for their first and longest road trip of the season.

Buffalo will face the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. That lineup includes his two of his top four scorers in the NHL last season, center Conor his McDavid and Leon his Dry Saitle.

McDavid and Drysitel have each scored five points in two games this season. The Oilers are 1-1-0 after falling in Calgary on Saturday.

“The top players in the league definitely have a lot of respect as managers and as a team,” Granert said. “You want to minimize the amount of talking about them, and you do.

“And they’re not just McDavid. Dry Saitle is respected as well. So yeah, that’s a big challenge. Normally when you shut down the top players, your chances of winning go up significantly. Tomorrow is definitely true..”

Here’s what we learned from practice before the Sabers hit the road.

Video: Don Granato after practice on Monday

1. Tage Thompson Likely against McDavid and Draisaitl, he enjoys his responsibilities as the Sabers’ top-line center.

He was asked how the Sabers would balance creating their own offense while limiting the Oilers’ stars.

“Don’t miss your chance,” Thompson said.

“They will try to play every time they get the puck, they will wait patiently for their chances, they will face them head-on, try to torment them, try to frustrate them, try to turn them over. To do.”

2. The Sabers expedition will feature four games over eight days on the West Coast. After meeting with the Oilers, the Sabers will stay in Alberta to play for the Flames on Thursday before completing their Western Canada trip in Vancouver on Saturday. You will then cross the border back to end your trip in Seattle on Tuesday.

The first long trip of the season is an annual opportunity to bond over team dinners, hotel stays and the occasional road trip.

“I think it’s great,” Thompson said. “I think you do most of the team cohesion on the road, so I think that’s a good thing.

3. Even on the ice, which was Granat’s focus on Monday, the journey is going to be very demanding.

The Sabers shared the first two games at home, beating the Senators in the season opener, but lost to a talented and attacking Panthers team on Saturday.

Granert praised the Sabers’ pushback in the second half – they survived an early push with the help of their goaltender Eric Comrie Having bounced back to within one goal of the 4-3 defeat, he added that the group had work to do to regain the identity they played in the final two months of last season.

“We enter four different buildings, which are difficult buildings to play. said.

“But from a camaraderie standpoint, it’s always great to bring people down the road, even a coach. It’s just you, nobody else. It’s your 23 guys and your staff.” And being with them all day is a real bonus.”

Video: Tage Thompson after practice on Monday

Four. Speaking of camaraderie, Thompson walked into the dressing room for a media session at around 12:30pm, more than 40 minutes after practice at LECOM Harbor Center.

He and some of his teammates, including Comrie, spent the extra time playing games and working on their skills on the ice.

“I think it just shows that we love the game,” Thompson said. “I think there are a lot of people here who are hockey geeks, who love hockey, and who want to get better every day, and I think that’s pretty special.

“It’s very cool to have a lot of guys standing there and working on things and having fun and playing games. Like I said before, I think it has to do with culture too. Guys. wants to be here, everyone wants to hang out. And I think that’s how you look at it after practice.