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ROOKIES MOVE INTO VETERAN ROLES

Wednesday, 07.11.2007 / 9:41 AM / Features
By Brian Wheeler  - Sabres.com
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ROOKIES MOVE INTO VETERAN ROLES
Defenseman Mike Card
Talk about a role reversal.

A year ago, forward Pat Kaleta and defenseman Mike Card were the wide-eyed prospects entering their first rookie camp.

Both are on the opposite end of the spectrum after a season of AHL hockey with the Rochester Americans.  The duo is part of a "veteran" core at the Sabres 2007 Rookie Camp that concludes today.

Oh what a difference 365 days can make.

"Last year, I was a rookie in Rochester," said Card, who scored a goal and added eight assists in 50 games for the Amerks last season.  "When I came up here, I was pretty young, but it's different now that the veterans are not around.    There are a few of us that has been around for two or three years.  I guess you could say that we're the older guys. 

"But when you look at some of the younger guys that are 18 and just out of high school last year, they probably have a few nerves coming in.  I know I did."

It's a popular topic among the vets at the camp; how they've changed and how it's strange to be the ones answering the questions.

NHL experience - going to the show - is a big deal to junior players.

Forward Patrick Kaleta
"I guess if I have to be a leader, I'll be a leader," laughed Kaleta, who recorded 15 points (5+10) with Rochester in 58 games and two assists in seven with Buffalo.  "I'm not afraid to shy away from anything."

Daniel Paille acted as the ambassador last season.  Andrew Peters picked up the ax two years ago.  Each season the team's new prospects are greeted by local members of the Sabres.  Dinners, car rides and stories are exchanged.

It's a tradition that has helps foster the cohesion of the locker room, smooths the transition process for the youngsters and speaks volumes for the caliber of players on the team.

"The first time through I was kind of clueless," said Card.  "I didn't know anyone here or anything about the program.  After you get done with your first camp, you know everyone, you know your way around and what the program is about.   It's a lot easier now.

"I feel like I'm getting old.  I just turned 21 but I feel a little older now."

"We should give credit to the guys we draft here in Buffalo," said Kaleta.  "All the guys here are character guys.  They're really good guys on the ice and off the ice, and will help you out whenever.   For the younger guys coming in, I'm just trying to make them feel comfortable because that's a big part of being here. 

"That wore off on me a little bit [when he came to his first camp].  Hopefully, it will continue to do that with them."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82