Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

June 26, 2008

SABRES: Gerbe back in camp, this time as a known commodity

LEWISTON — Enough already, OK? Yes, Nathan Gerbe knows he’s not the biggest guy in the lineup. In fact, he’s grown comfortable with his position at the opposite end of the spectrum.

But while there is a healthy dose of scrimmaging at the Buffalo Sabres’ developmental camp — which drew another nice crowd to Niagara University’s Dwyer Arena on Thursday — the week-long event isn’t about proving that a 5-foot-5 frame is ample enough to play in the National Hockey League.

Gerbe, who’s had to answer questions about his small stature throughout his storied college career at Boston College and now as a top Sabres prospect, said things will be more cut-throat when the team opens training camp this fall.

But for now, he’s enjoying the pure education that accompanies rookie camp.

“I don’t think this camp is where you’ll see that,” he said. “This is for development. It’s a good time because even though we’re only together for a week or so, the guys here can build a little chemistry.

“It’ll be different when we open training camp, though.”

This camp is Gerbe’s second, and the move from Amherst’s Pepsi Center to Lewiston is hardly the only change. Last year, the few that recognized his name were skeptical he’d ever become a legitimate pro prospect. But after a scintillating junior year at Boston College where he led the Eagles to a national championship, Gerbe is suddenly one of the players that Sabres fans are singling out at camp.

After Gerbe’s Eagles won the national title, Notre Dame’s Kyle Larson said, “I don’t know if there’s a kid in the country that works harder than he does, and he was finally rewarded tonight. He’s a catalyst for that team and he stepped up in the big moments. I think that second goal epitomized what he is: sprawling out, diving and putting it away.

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