Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

July 12, 2009

SABRES CAMP REVIEW: Highs and lows from development camp

A week’s worth of Sabres development camp didn’t open a direct window into the upcoming season, but watching the team’s prospects at Niagara University — and getting a chance to talk with coach Lindy Ruff at the camp’s conclusion — did offer a little insight.

Here are some random notes and thoughts after a week spent watching the team before decent crowds at Dwyer Arena:

• GERBE GETTING CLOSE: Nathan Gerbe insists his struggles last season with the Sabres — he registered just a single point in Buffalo through 10 games — came because he played a more defensive style trying to conform to the NHL game.

This year, Gerbe plans on using the gifts that have brought him success first at the college, then at the American Hockey League level.

That means the jitterbug will be at full throttle.

“Maybe last year I tried to be too safe or too defensive,” Gerbe said.

If camp was any indication, Gerbe is ready to make a run at a roster spot. He consistently stood out among his peers, and offensive contributions came as often as they did in Portland last year.

Don’t be surprised if he’s this year’s breakout Sabre.

• MYERS NEEDS WORK: The signing of Steve Montador means 2008 first-round pick Tyler Myers doesn’t have to be ready to step into the Sabres lineup just yet — and that’s probably a good thing.

Myers has all the tools, and the 6-foot-6 rearguard has great wheels with a reach that makes coaches drool. He emerged as the season played out in the Western Hockey League, leading Kelowna to a Memorial Cup appearance.

That said, his camp was average. Myers found himself off-balance against forwards who probably won’t ever sniff an NHL locker room. He is quick and has the skills to play in the league, but he didn’t look NHL-ready through many of the sessions.

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