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BEYOND THE BOARDS: WE'RE BACK!

Thursday, 07.23.2009 / 4:20 PM / Blogs - Beyond the Boards
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
We’ve been on a one-year hiatus, but Beyond the Boards is back.

I wanted to kick off the blog now with the new site design being released and make an introduction.

I’ve been a feature / news writer for the Sabres for the past two seasons and began traveling with the team last year on selected  road trips. I’ll keep you updated when training camp gets underway and throughout the season, providing practice recaps, injury reports and other anecdotes I find.

For now, here are some leftover thoughts from Development Camp as we head down the stretch to Training Camp:

1. Equipment Manager Rip Simonick gave Marcus Foligno a unique souvenir on the final day of camp. Rip said he found the original Sabres jersey belonging to Marcus’ father Mike Foligno and presented it to him in the locker room following the last scrimmage - a neat gift for a son to have.

2. Mike Weber has drive. Period. Every time I talk to him I’m impressed with how badly he wants to be in the NHL. Obvious, I know. But the consensus from scouts / coaches / teammates is that Weber is one of, if not the hardest working  players  in the locker room - and it shows. I remember Sabres Director of Amateur Scouting Kevin Divine mentioning how Weber blew him away in the interview at the NHL Combine the year he was drafted and it was probably a deciding factor when the Sabres made their selection. He should be interesting to watch in training camp .  

3. Igor Gongalsky was a surprise for me. The 22-year-old winger was a free-agent invitee to the camp and had some great hits throughout the week. He spent the majority of the 2008-09 season in the ECHL with the Fresno Falcons and Stockton Thunder, netting 10 goals, 20 assists and 138 PIMs in 53 games before getting called up to the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. There’s a good story about him on the ECHL Web site. Check it out by clicking here.

4. Like everyone else, I was disappointed that a sore foot prevented Zack Kassian from participating in the camp. He had mentioned the friendship he has with Pat Kaleta, and I wondered if he would leave a similar impression at the camp. Kaleta was asked to tone it down after his first year when he lambasted a few teammates with some big hits. Both are products of the OHL Peterborough Petes and both were drafted by the Sabres for their physical play. Again, should be interesting to watch at training camp.


5. Finally, a former Sabres prospect found a new home this week. Defenseman Mike Funk was signed by the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. The British Columbia native will most likely play for their AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Funk appeared in only 13 games for the Portland Pirates last season due to injury problems.

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