Eric Comrie is accustomed to ready.
As the backup to one-time Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck in Winnipeg, Comrie had a median of 13 days between his 19 begins for the Jets closing season. There used to be a 50-day span from Dec. 10 to Jan. 29 when Hellebuyck performed 13 consecutive video games and Comrie sat.
In addition to spending extra time at the ice ahead of and after observe, Comrie would watch video of Hellebuyck’s begins and, at the side of Winnipeg goalie trainer Wade Flaherty, the trio would dissect particular scenarios inside the ones video games. Anything to keep able.
“I like to think of myself as a student of the game,” mentioned Comrie, who, at 27, has been in objective for 28 profession NHL video games. “I like to think about the game, I watch the game of hockey. So, you watch different guys and you can kind of say, ‘OK, this is what this guy does well here. This is what Connor does well here, this is what (Craig Anderson) does well here.’ ”
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So, Comrie is aware of how to navigate the problem of the eight-day spoil between his ultimate exhibition recreation and his first regular-season look with the Sabres, which is anticipated to happen Saturday when Buffalo hosts the Florida Panthers in KeyBank Center at 1 p.m.
The Sabres’ season-opening 4-1 win over the remodeled Ottawa Senators on Thursday evening showcased how the youngest roster within the NHL needs to use its aggregate of pace, ability and competitiveness to wonder in 2022-23.
His function in Buffalo shall be some distance other from the only he left in Winnipeg. Though Anderson began the Sabres’ season opener and can maintain key video games during the season, Comrie is anticipated to maintain the majority of the workload after becoming a member of the membership on a two-year contract in July.
Comrie hasn’t been ready to correctly exhibit his skill in a Sabres uniform. Per his request, either one of Comrie’s preseason video games befell at the street with Buffalo the usage of a prospect-laden lineup towards a extra skilled crew, maximum particularly the exhibition finale in Pittsburgh when the Penguins’ star-studded lineup scored seven objectives on 27 photographs.
There have been exceptional saves for Comrie in each begins, specifically in Columbus when he stymied a number of odd-man rushes to stay the rating inside achieve for a gaggle of possibilities who seemed beaten through the Blue Jackets’ fast moving assault. But Comrie used to be thrown into two chaotic scenarios that might spoil the boldness of much less skilled goalies. Comrie, regardless that, performed 207 video games within the American Hockey League after his variety within the 2013 draft, and he is aware of how to get ready.
“I think it’s just best to play those games and, once again, I’ll play no matter what the circumstance is,” he mentioned. “I’m just excited to get out there and get on the ice. For myself, playing those road games, sometimes they’re better because you get better competition.”
This is Comrie’s first alternative to display he’s able to take hold of a beginning function within the NHL. Last season used to be his first prolonged keep at the Jets’ roster, and he delivered an outstanding .920 save proportion and 16-10-5 report. After ready 50 days for his flip within the crease, Comrie received 5 begins in a row. He’s respected through previous coaches and teammates for his paintings ethic and urge for food to give a boost to.
The Sabres handed pass in the second one duration and picked up their $200 – OK, avid gamers at the moment make much more however you get the purpose – on their approach to a 4-1 win over the Senators.
Comrie is usually the primary Sabre at the ice for practices and morning skates, and he’s glad to keep out so long as conceivable to face extra photographs, together with Wednesday afternoon when a gaggle of younger avid gamers grew to become their ability paintings into a contest.
“His reputation preceded himself in a very, very good way,” Sabres trainer Don Granato mentioned. “When we did sign him, I had a player that I coached on another NHL team call and another coach of an NHL team call and tell me what a great person and what a great worker he is.”
Comrie’s first get started in a Sabres uniform received’t be the one storyline to watch when the Panthers are on the town Saturday.
As anticipated, there have been no adjustments to the ahead strains and protection pairs at observe Friday. Most of the Sabres’ avid gamers struggled to get right into a rhythm all over the season-opening 4-1 win over Ottawa. Their best line of Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson and Victor Olofsson blended for most effective seven shot makes an attempt at 5-on-5, they usually allowed 13.
Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power dedicated uncharacteristic turnovers, regardless that each helped the Sabres win with some spectacular performs. First-game jitters are commonplace, particularly for younger avid gamers. Forwards and defensemen want time to get again right into a rhythm. But Granato has shaped some attention-grabbing mixtures that shall be ready to broaden chemistry within the coming days.
Buffalo’s best line Thursday used to be Peyton Krebs, Dylan Cozens and rookie JJ Peterka. The crew blended for a objective and two assists. The Sabres had 64.71% of the 5-on-5 shot makes an attempt when that line used to be at the ice.
The Sabres’ energy play struggled with turnovers and did not earn sufficient second-chance alternatives whilst going 0-for-4 towards the Senators, whose goalie, Anders Forsberg, had to make most effective 3 saves when shorthanded. It’s commonplace for this space of particular groups to take extra time to broaden for the reason that high-end forwards and defensemen are not at the ice in combination in exhibition video games. On Saturday, Buffalo will face a Florida penalty kill that ranked 9th within the NHL closing season.
Anderson, the NHL’s oldest present participant at 41 years, 144 days, stopped 35 photographs to give a boost to his profession opening-night report to 8-3-2.
The Sabres’ penalty kill could also be an enchanting space to track. Thirteen other avid gamers noticed no less than one minute of shorthanded ice time Thursday when Buffalo dedicated 4 consequences, together with two inside 1:12 of one another in the second one duration. While maximum coaches across the NHL determine two penalty-killing devices with the similar 4 forwards and 4 defensemen, Granato needs to see which younger avid gamers will thrive in that function and will give a contribution offensively. Eventually, Granato needs to determine two constant teams.
“I would love to have the penalty kill be a scoring threat to score,” he added. “You saw last night we gave up scoring chances on our power play. Typically, power plays in the NHL, you’ve got one defenseman out there and you’ve got teams overextending themselves defensively, and you can take advantage of that opportunity to create some offense here and there.”
Cozens, Anderson, defenseman Jacob Bryson and winger Peterka have been among the Sabres’ standouts in recreation one. Cozens carried out like a “seasoned NHL vet,” Peterka scored his first profession objective and Bryson stabilized the 3rd protection pair subsequent to Ilya Lyubushkin.
The Sabres want extra avid gamers contributing towards the 2021-22 Presidents’ Trophy winners. The Panthers (1-0) have a brand new trainer and traded two cornerstone avid gamers to gain Matthew Tkachuk, however they nonetheless have Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad and previous Sabre Sam Reinhart.
“When you look at our game last night, we had a lot of guys who hadn’t played in 10 days so they felt a little off by virtue of that as well,” Granato mentioned. “It’s nice to get a game in the next, whatever, 48 hours or less and there’s things we talked [about] and then showed on video that really we need to do. We need to focus on us.”