DON STEVENS BLOG: WHAT A WEEKEND FOR THE AMERKS
Blogs | 11/28/2011 5:06:29 PM | Don Stevens


It had all the ingredients of being a disastrous weekend for the Amerks, but turned out to be something to be proud of.   With 10 players missing (six on recall to the Sabres and four more injured), the team pulled out two victories.  There were so many highlights it’s hard to keep them all straight.

Congratulations to Derek Whitmore on an outstanding four-goal performance Saturday, plus a goal on Friday, which has earned him AHL Player of the Week honors.  The local Rochester product was already a fan favorite, and performances like that one will endear him even more.  He now leads the team with 10 goals, 16 points and 74 shots.   That fourth goal Saturday against Hamilton might’ve been the most impressive.  I couldn’t believe the speed he generated breaking down the right wing and cutting in on the net.   That was a BIG TIME goal.

Congratulations to all the “recalls.”  It was a GREAT night for the organization on Saturday as the Amerks beat Hamilton 5-3 and “Amerks West” beat the Washington Capitals 5-1.  All the talk in Buffalo was about how well the call-ups did.  

Congratulations to T.J. Brennan, who scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game.  But there’s something I’m even more impressed with for him.  Monday around noon, I heard someone on the ice at The Blue Cross Arena, so I went out to see who it was.  Brennan was on the ice by himself, working quite hard.  He had just been sent down by the Sabres.  Now most players would’ve pouted for a day or two, and would’ve shown up for practice Tuesday.  But he was on the ice and when I talked to him, he was smiling from ear to ear.  Needless to say, he’s extremely happy to have had his first recall.  That attitude is going to earn him a lot more recalls.

Congratulations to Zack Kassian.  In his first NHL game, he recorded an assist.  In his second NHL game, he recorded his first NHL goal.

Congratulations to Paul Szczechura, who tallied two assists in his first game as a Buffalo Sabre.

Congratulations to Corey Tropp.  He has already seen 10 games with the Sabres (1+1=2).  And to Brayden McNabb for playing his first NHL game and fitting in extremely well.

Congratulations to Amerks coach Ron Rolston and his staff for doing so well in, what I consider, their toughest test of the season so far on Saturday against Hamilton.

The word “PRIDE” comes to mind at this point.  I think the players and coaches are really starting to take “pride” in the team, and I think the fans are becoming quite “proud” of what this team is doing.  Because of the schedule, December will be the next big test.  Let’s hope we still feel the same way at the end of the month.

I’VE BEEN SO FORTUNATE

Not only do I get to witness what some of these players do today, such as Whitmore’s performance here Saturday night, but I’ve been lucky enough to see some of them before they ever started skating.  My oldest son, Scott, played in Rochester during the Rory Fitzpatrick, Derek Sylvester, Brian Gionta, Marty Reasoner era.  Then my youngest son, Steve, grew up with locals like Steve Gionta, Derek Whitmore, Ben Laing (Amerks equipment manager) and so many others.

I remember when we first arrived in Rochester and went to Scott’s first practices and games, my son Steve and Steve Gionta were running around the rinks barely out of diapers… neither was skating yet.  So may of them have done so well over the years. What a privilege it is to have witnessed the growth of these fine young men.

Saturday night against Albany, Steve Gionta was wearing the “C” for the Devils.  We all know his brother, Brian, is the Captain of the Montreal Canadiens, and Ryan Callahan is the Captain of the New York Rangers.   It just shows you the quality of the young players being produced here in Rochester.    I don’t really know for sure, maybe you could correct me if I’m wrong, but is there any other city that can boast of two NHL team Captains?  And especially the captains of two such prestigious franchises?   

ONLY A FEW HOME GAMES IN DECEMBER

Since there are only four home games in December, it might be a good idea to get your tickets for all of them now.   There’s Friday (12/2) against Houston, Friday (12/9) against Albany, Wednesday (12/21) against Lake Erie and Friday (12/30) against Hamilton.   And while you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up some tickets to use as gifts and stocking stuffers!

MY WORKOUT UPDATE

So last time I told you about running 3.5 miles non-stop for the first time.  It took about 42 minutes.  A few days later, I went to the Perinton Recreation center.  They have an indoor track which is certainly easier than running outside.  I was able to run four miles in 38 minutes.  Look out Olympics… here I come.  I wonder if I should order my plane tickets for London yet?