BUFFALO – Hey, it’s never too early for line and defense combinations, right? Clearly, coach Ted Nolan has formed trios and pairs he believes could be used in the regular season.
Here are some notable ones the Sabres are using today during the opening session of training camp (left to right):
– Marcus Foligno, Sam Reinhart and Chris Stewart.
– Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford.
– Cody Hodgson, Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Gionta.
Following his first camp practice, Reinhart, the No. 2 pick in June, said his big wingers get “me adjusted to the speed of this level that much more.”
Update: Nolan said he wanted to make Reinhart “comfortable between two big wingers with character.”
“Marcus is one of the finer gentlemen you want to meet and welcomed Sam into the organization the way pros should,” he said. “And Stewart, the way he plays, I thought it would just be a good compliment for a young player the first day.”
On defense, Nolan has paired newcomer Josh Gorges and Tyler Myers. The two have been friends for years.
“My first instinct was I wanted to be paired up with him, I wanted to see what I could do with him,” Myers said.
Reinhart, meanwhile, said he felt “comfortable” today.
“It’s been something I’ve been prepared for, looking forward to for a long time,” he said. “To officially start today with these guys, it’s exciting. I felt comfortable out there. So that’s a good start.”
Reinhart, whose every move will be dissected as he battles to crack the NHL out of junior, feels OK under the microscope.
“It’s nothing I’m not used to,” he said. “When I’m on the ice, I’m not thinking about that at all. So it’s kind of nice to have. … I’ve handled it well in the past, and I’m going to handle it the same way here.”
The Sabres open their exhibition schedule Sunday in Washington. Expect Reinhart to play most of the preseason games.
Reinhart, by the way, has already experienced some Buffalo hospitality on trip to buy some food.
“I actually got offered ride home (from) a grocery store one time,” Reinhart said as he burst into laughter. “I didn’t take, but it was a nice offer. The guy was pretty nice.”
Reinhart took a cab home.