Hockey never sleeps! Even on Thanksgiving.
Sabres fans, you got what many of you have asked for. Due to injuries to Brad Boyes and Patrick Kaleta, 20-year old Zack Kassian (It’s pronounced “Cash-un”, for the last time!) has been recalled by the big club.
Kassian (6’3″, 228 lbs), who has been on, or near, the top of countless Buffalo Sabres’ prospects lists, will make his NHL debut Friday night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. The hulking winger, who many see as the “next” Milan Lucic (boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! I thought I’d keep the sentiments rolling from last night), has amassed 7 goals and 7 assists, with 17 penalty minutes and a plus 2 rating in 18 games for Rochester of the AHL. While showing good hands and playmaking ability, there is talk that the former 2009 first round pick’s (13th overall) physical game has been mediocre at best. He has been involved in one fight down on the farm, and according to those close to the situation with the Amerks, he hasn’t laid any opposing players out with those bone-jarring, borderline dirty, open ice hits he is legendary for.
On Wednesday afternoon, while in a discussion with a “source” whether or not calling up Kassian for the Bruins game was a good move (I said it was not), I had trusted information relayed to me that Kassian was “in awe” of the NHL level of play, and it’s players, during his time in Sabres camp this fall, and that he wasn’t expected to be recalled at all this season.
Obviously someone, or something, changed their minds 18 games in.
Is the kid ready? I said in the preseason that I thought Kassian needed a full year in the minors because of suspect skating and decision-making, and that a guy such as Marcus Foligno (who was in the First Niagara Center press box Wednesday night, along with Amerks teammates Brayden McNabb and Joe Finley, cheering on recent call-up TJ Brennan), looked more mature and NHL-ready.
We shall see Tomorrow night in southern Ohio whether or not number 54 is up to the task.
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