ADAM, McNABB RECALLED, EXCITED TO BE BACK
The Buffalo Sabres recalled them from the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League on Wednesday and interim coach Ted Nolan said both will play Thursday night in Philadelphia.
Adam, 23, currently leads the Americans with 18 points through 15 games. The left wing has 13 goals with Rochester this season, which is tied for most in the AHL.
“The kid’s having a great year and when kids do that, they have to be rewarded. That’s what the American Hockey League’s all about. It’s not just going down there and seeing what happens. They have to be rewarded and he was rewarded by his play,” Nolan said after practice at First Niagara Center. “McNabb’s the same way. He’s playing pretty well in a different way. We want to reward guys down there and keep guys up here on their toes because there’s always someone coming in the back door. You never know where they come from.”
Adam said that the coaching staff in Rochester, particularly head coach Chadd Cassidy and assistant coach Chris Taylor put a lot of trust in him to play in all different situations and eat up a lot of minutes.
“I think I was just focused on what I could control and I wasn’t focused a whole lot on coming back here or getting back to Buffalo or how Buffalo’s doing,” he said. “I just focused on my game and focused on Rochester.”
Adam was last called up by the Sabres on April 1, 2013, scoring one goal in his four-game stint in Buffalo.
He said he isn’t going to try to change his game much, if at all, and will try to continue to do the same things that have made him successful in the AHL so far this season.
“I’m just going to try to keep playing the same way I’ve been playing down there. Hopefully I’ll be able to help this team win a few games,” Adam said. “I’m not going to come in here and expect anything to be given to me or expect to be put in situations that I’m not earning and not deserving.”
McNabb, a 6-foot-4, 207-pound defenseman, hasn’t played in Buffalo since 2011-12. He finished that season in Buffalo, but started the next season in Rochester because of the lockout. A logjam of defensemen kept him in Rochester when the NHL season resumed and by the time the Sabres were ready to make a call-up for the blueline, McNabb was sidelined with a knee injury.
In 25 career NHL games, all with Buffalo in 2011-12, McNabb has recorded eight points (1+7) and 15 penalty minutes.
McNabb set career-highs in all offensive categories, including goals (5), assists (31), points (36) and penalty minutes (50) while appearing in 62 games for the Amerks in 2012-13. He’s looking forward to being back in the NHL after such a long time away.
“It was tough. Especially when you get a taste, you want to be there,” he said. “It was unfortunate and a learning curve for my career and I think it’s helped me throughout this year and hopefully further on in my career.”
Drafted by the Sabres in the third round of the 2009 NHL Draft, he is in the last year of his three-year entry-level contract.
After three games at center, rookie Zemgus Girgensons skated on the wing at practice. Organizationally, there’s a consensus according to Nolan that Girgensons may project out to be more successful at wing so they’re going to work him there now. Steve Ott centered his line with Adam. Despite the move, Nolan was very impressed with Girgensons’ play down the middle.
“He looked good to me. He looked really good to me,” Nolan said. “I think that could be an option when situations present itself that we could always do that, but right now, we want to make sure we put him in a good situation where he’s going to flourish. Playing with a guy like Steve Ott could help that process that much quicker.”
Forward Tyler Ennis missed practice. Nolan said Ennis “tweaked a little something” Tuesday night against the Blues, but will be ready to go against the Flyers.
Rookie center Mikhail Grigorenko was returned to the club. He was to be sent down to the Amerks on a conditioning stint. However, after complying with all guidelines in the Collective Bargaining Agreement as they relate to player conditioning assignments, the Sabres’ assignment for Grigorenko was ruled against by the NHL and the team said in a release that they respect the League’s decision.
Grigorenko said he had been feeling under the weather and had lost some of his conditioning. He was in a hotel in Rochester when he received a call at 10 p.m. Wednesday night that he had to return to Buffalo for practice the next morning.
“Last week I was a little bit sick, so we decided I’m going to go to Rochester for a conditioning basis, but something happened,” he said. “They just told me to come back, so I’m here now.”
Nolan said he would meet with President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine to figure out what the next step for Grigorenko should be.
“Now we have to go back to the drawing board and see what else might work and what’s the best situation for him to develop his skill and be a dominant player that we all think he could be in this organization,” Nolan said.
26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
72 Luke Adam – 9 Steve Ott – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
82 Marcus Foligno – 23 Ville Leino – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko
65 Brian Flynn – 8 Cody McCormick – 78 Corey Tropp
32 John Scott