The Sabres and their fans have a blast at the Skills Competition

January 06, 2019 - 2:53 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres had their skills competition in the arena on Sunday in front of a very nice crowd of excited kids and fans.

The players got to wear new sweaters and have their kids on the bench with them. They also had a lot of fun with the shootout with many impressive moves and trick shots.

The players did get to relax too after having a short practice beforehand. Cater Hutton said, “I think today was great, it was a fun atmosphere getting our families involved and getting the fans to see that other side of us, the softer side because when we’re playing it’s so serious so to have that was a great experience.”

Hutton had his young son Palmer on the bench with him and he said he won’t forget it, “Every time we get to bring him down to the arena and be part of something, I cherish it and he’s still really young so he probably won’t remember, but it’s a great thing.”

Rasmus Ristolainen won the hardest shot competition ripping one at 107 mph. He said he had never been clocked before, “I knew my shot is pretty hard, but that’s all I got today.”

Jeff Skinner didn’t score, but he had the best shootout attempt. He got the puck to balance on his stick, and did three full rotation. I’m at practice every day and I’ve never seen Skinner practice that one, “I just kind of made it up on the spot, I haven’t trained for that, unfortunately it didn’t go in, but I’m just happy I didn’t fall. I didn’t have anything else so I just made it up.”

Casey Mittelstadt pulled the puck back and between the legs before scoring. What made it more difficult was Zach Bogosian and about nine others fired pucks at Mittelstadt as he went in and he still scored.

Tage Thompson had a real nice one where he dove forward on the ice, used his right glove to knock the puck across his body to his stick which was in his left hand and put it into the net one-handed.

If I’m judging, I’d give it to Thompson, but Mittelstadt refused to acknowledge his roommate, “No! No, I don’t want Tommer to have bragging rights” the kid said with a laugh. Mittelstadt added, “He did a good job for sure, the one hand was pretty impressive, so it was fun to watch.”

Mittelstadt went one-on-one with his other roommate Rasmus Dahlin in the puck control relay. To me it looked like a dead heat, but they gave it to Dahlin. Mittelstadt said, “I couldn’t tell, I thought I had him, but I think he just decided he was going to turn it on and when he does that, it’s kind of unfair, but he was the first overall pick so they’ve got to give it to him I think.

“It’s funny that we had to go against each other because living together we get competitive enough, so adding something to it was pretty funny.”

Kyle Okposo won the targets competition taking our all four targets in five shots.

Jack Eichel, Zemgus Girgensons and Casey Nelson were all on the bench, but didn’t take part due to injury. Sam Reinhart missed both the practice beforehand and was not on the bench for the skills either.

Phil Housley did not speak afterwards so there was no update.

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