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SYLVESTER'S BLOG: KENNEDY

Wednesday, 09.09.2009 / 2:25 PM / Blogs - Kevin Sylvester
By Kevin Sylvester  - Sabres "Hockey Hotline" Host
Tim Kennedy (Photo: Bill Wippert)
I spent Labor Day this year the same way I spend it every year - at a family picnic.

It’s a great way to catch up on summer happenings and wish all the kids well for the school year.  It’s also when the men in the family huddle about the upcoming football and hockey seasons. I take part, but not as actively as perhaps I should.

The discussion on the upcoming football season was brief.  That’s what zero touchdowns in five pre-season games will do in Buffalo.

With the season moved up due to the Olympics, there was plenty of talk and excitement for the Sabres.  After I explained why few trades have happened in the League (too many big contracts), and trying to explain why the NHLPA fired Paul Kelly (good luck finding someone better), I was asked if South Buffalo’s Tim Kennedy had a real shot to make it? 

I simply said yes. 

Tim Kennedy does have a real shot to make it and appears to have the right attitude about it.  I spoke with him today after practice (you can see some clips here on Sabres.com) and he knows it’s there for the taking. 

He will have to be a two-way center, with a slant to the defensive end.  Lindy Ruff has to be able to trust him on the ice and with the puck.  It means some simple play and not trying to force things on offense. That will be a shift for a player that was an offensive machine at Michigan State averaging a point per game his final two seasons, and was named to the AHL All Rookie Squad last year with Portland. 

So why do I think he can do it? 

Kennedy is a good skater and displays determination in his game.  He made the transition from the wing to center last year and made it look easy given his post-season honor.  The fact alone that he embraced the move last year is an indication that he’s coachable and willing to do what it takes to make it.  Kennedy is also 23 years old, mature enough to not take this opportunity for granted and fit in the locker room.

Making the team will not be easy.  As a matter of fact, I’m not sure whom he would bump out of the lineup.  The injury to Adam Mair (who will miss at least six weeks after hip surgery) leaves a little more room for Ruff’s roster.  The competition will be fierce for Kennedy with Nathan Gerbe, Cody McCormick, and Matt Ellis each going for that spot and perhaps one more. 

It’s a competition Tim Kennedy is ready and waiting for.

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