Sabres' Cozens is looking forward to his first NHL action

September 16, 2019
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Dylan Cozens will play his first NHL game as the Sabres open the preseason at Penn State against the Penguins.

We all know it’s an exhibition game, but I thought Cozens might be nervous, “No I don’t think so. I’ve been here in main camp just being around the guys and I’ve become comfortable here, but it is so exciting just being out there with other top guys and people I looked up to growing up, so it’s going to be exciting.”

Even though he’s only 18, Cozens still thinks he has a chance to make the team this year. He’s shown very well in the Prospects Challenge and at training camp, but he has to be careful not to try to do too much to impress, “I can’t be going out there trying to dangle everyone and turning pucks over. I’ve got to simplify especially at this level at the start of the season.”

The thing that could hurt Cozens trying to make it this year is at 18, he still is going to get bigger and stronger. He has noticed that in camp, “I’ve learned the strength and speed these guys have and I know I’m still young and it’s going to come with time and I know I need to get stronger and faster and quicker in everything I do.”

Ralph Krueger will be doing a lot of evaluating during the preseason. As far as Cozens first game the head coach said, “This is a lot different than the rookie games. If you look at Dylan’s opportunity to be in this group, he will get a little power play time and we’ll give him an opportunity to play his game and show his tools and what we’re looking for is simplicity. I thought in the rookie camp sometimes he was trying to be a difference maker every time on the ice and he doesn’t have that pressure here, so keep it nice and simple and have fun.”

This preseason just isn’t for the players. Krueger hasn’t been behind a NHL bench in a while and he hasn’t coached with most of his staff, so these six games will help work the kinks out, “Let’s be honest, I haven’t been a head coach for a while and I’m looking forward to using these six games to get our bench operating in the way we need to operate, how much teaching are we going to do where? I’m bigger on creating flow and energy in a game than I am on over teaching there.

“We know some of the rule changes too dealing with the coaching challenges now, there’s a whole new risk involved and also the use of technology on the bench and that’s changed since I was on a NHL bench.”

The group Rasmus Ristolainen has been skating with is the group going to Happy Valley. They’re all playing except for Ristolainen, but Krueger said he and Marcus Johansson won’t play in the first two games, but will play later in preseason.

Carter Hutton gets the call in net, but Jonas Johansson will likely play too.

 

Monday's Lineup:

Sheary - Eichel - Vesey

Skinner - Rodrigues - Lazar

Girgensons - Larsson - Oglevie

Elie - Cozens - Thompson

 

Dahlin - Jokiharju

Scandella - Miller

Gilmour - Nelson

Hickey

 

Hutton

J. Johansson

 

Our coverage gets underway at 6:45 with the pre-game, then Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray have all the play-by-play action.