Pu is making the most of his opportunity

Defenseman Marco Scandella misses his second straight day of practice

Paul Hamilton
September 21, 2017 - 12:38 pm

Photo courtesy of Micheline Michaelina

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Cliff Pu survived the first cuts back to junior hockey. Devante Stephens is also still here, but he likely will wind up in Rochester. That is not an option for Pu.

Pu has played center most of his life and has played both between Development Camp and Training Camp. On Thursday, he was on right wing with Kevin Porter and Nick Deslauriers. Pu is pleased to still be here, “It’s exciting to still be here and I’m just looking forward to every day I get here.”

As far as moving to the wing here in camp, Pu said, “Obviously there’s a little bit of an adjustment, but once you get older you want to play all three positions, so the coach can use you in any situation. I played wing in my first year of junior, so its been pretty smooth.”

Of course things are going to be so much different for the 19-year-old than it is in junior. He said, “It’s the pace and the size. Everyone here is pretty big and strong and everyone here is fast. In junior, I’m one of the faster guys there, but here I blend in pretty well and hopefully I can use my speed to my advantage.”

It’s always nice when a talented young player comes into camp knowing to absorb everything he can. Pu has a real good philosophy, “I think I’m just working as hard as I can, keep my mouth shut and ears open. The coaches have been great with me teaching me all the systems, so I’m just keeping my head down, work hard and hopefully earn a couple of more days here.”

After he’s done in junior, Pu has a real chance to be in Buffalo thanks to Phil Housley’s system. Pu’s speed will serve him well. “It’s definitely exciting to see the systems and I think it fits well with my skillset. He likes to play a fast game and I’m looking forward to trying to fit into that one day.”

Housley has kept a close eye on Pu and likes many things, "I love the attitude, but his work ethic is great and he's really working hard. He can see the pace of the game when he's out there and that's something he has to work on, his endurance, but he's had a good camp up to this point."

Pu has played three seasons with the London Knights and Oshawa Generals and has seen huge improvement every season. In his first year, he had nine points in 41 games. In season two, it was 31 points in 63 games and last year he had 35 goals and 51 assists for 86 points.

Phil Housley has talked about how impressed he’s been with him both in the Prospects Tournament and his preseason game against Carolina. The favorable impression has earned him more time in Buffalo while others are back in junior.

Marco Scandella missed his second straight day and won’t play this weekend against Toronto. Phil Housley is still not concerned, "No, I'm not concerned at all, this is all precautionary. He's in a great place right now."

"We want him to feel comfortable when we start getting up for the regular season and he'll get his practices in, I'm not worried at all."

 

Thursday’s lines:

Group 1:

Moulson - Eichel - Okposo

Kane - Reinhart - Pominville

Karabacek - Criscuolo - Bailey

Smith - Cornel - Fasching

 

Beaulieu - Ristolainen

Guhle - Stephens

Gorges - Nelson (Martin)

 

Group 2:

Pouliot - O’Reilly - Griffith

Rodrigues - Girgensons - Moses

Larsson - Josefson - Baptiste

Deslauriers - Porter - Pu

 

McCabe - Tennyson

Bogosian - Antipin (Goloubef)

Falk - Fedun

 

The Sabres travel to the Ricoh Coliseum on Friday to play the Leafs.

Pre-sale tickets for the World Junior Tournament outdoor game are on sale now to Sabres season ticket holders.

Tickets go on sale to the general public Monday at 10 a.m. The prices will follow the dynamic pricing model.

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