PACE PICKS UP ON DAY 2 OF AMERKS TRAINING CAMPNews | 9/27/2011 6:09:55 PM | Dan Peters
The Rochester Americans hit the ice for Day 2 of training camp at the Blue Cross Arena on Tuesday boasting a more extensive group of players than the previous day. A handful of new faces joined the squad, including goaltender Drew MacIntyre, defenseman Shaone Morrisonn and forwards Marcus Foligno, Zack Kassian, and Michael Ryan.
“We were a little better with numbers today,” noted Head Coach Ron Rolston following practice. “It was also a little tougher too because we had ten defensemen and we have to try to get everyone the reps that they need."
When asked what he thought of today’s session overall, Rolston remarked, “I thought it was better. The pace is getting better and guys are still getting used to their gear and the ice amongst other things. For the most part, I think it has been pretty good through the first two days.”
Among the new faces suiting up today was the 20-year old Foligno, who is set to embark on his professional career after completing his tenure with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves. The Buffalo-born winger was selected by the Sabres in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
“It is definitely a learning curve, and you have to take it with a positive attitude,” Foligno said. “I’m excited to be here as it’s a chance for me to develop myself as an NHL player and also for us to be a winning team. It’s great for Rochester and for the Buffalo fans to have Rochester as their affiliate team.”
Foligno will wear No. 71 this season for the Amerks, a number which seems to have run in the family.
“It was my dad’s (former Sabre Mike Foligno) number in Toronto and that’s the number I had in juniors, so I was excited when I got to the rink and had it in my stall.”
His older brother Nick wears No. 71 for the Ottawa Senators as well.
At 6’3”, 227 pounds, the power forward acknowledged that he wants to make his presence felt as a physical force on every shift.
“I need to be a guy that when I hit the ice, the opposing team says ‘Oh no, Foligno is coming.’
I’m not going to be that guy who is going to try to beat five guys by myself, but I have to be energetic, go to the net hard, be gritty, and win battles.”
“We put up back-to-back 100-point seasons out in Portland and we don’t look to do anything different. Our goal is to win a championship and with the rich tradition in this organization. I think we owe it to ourselves and the Rochester Americans logo to put our best foot forward every night.”
Tuesday afternoon’s practice emphasized the transition game from both the offensive and defensive sides of the puck as well as attacking the offensive zone as a unit. The session concluded with a scrimmage, as the players sported either blue or white jerseys designating their respective teams. Foligno netted the lone goal in the competition for the blue side.
“We wanted to get guys reps, and scrimmaging was one of the best ways to do that for all the defensemen to get involved, the lines to get going, and to generate a bit of a tempo,” said Rolston. “We needed to see some of the players too that we wanted to put in scrimmage situations just to evaluate them a little more.”
In reference to line combinations, Rolston added, “We are still in the process and will be constantly juggling things around. There are going to be a lot of possibilities so now it comes down to finding the right combinations and guys that get chemistry together.“
Two skaters (Maxime Legault and Paul Szczechura) are in the process of recovering from injuries and wore red jerseys, while Rolston also pointed out that he expects veteran forward Colin Stuart to join the team on Wednesday when it returns to the practice ice at 10:30 a.m. at Blue Cross Arena.