Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Amerks Players Boosted by End of Lockout

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Rochester: Amerks Players Boosted by End of Lockout
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Before the Sabres brass addressed the media Tuesday, the team's minor league affiliate held practice at the Sports Center at MCC. At the time, many players were eager to find out what their futures might hold in the organization. They're looking forward to the opportunity.

For hockey fans, and a lot of hockey players, it's already been a long, cold winter.

"Every time you'd hear something good, then it would go back ten steps. It was tough to hear that stuff," said Marcus Foligno.

But now that the National Hockey League lockout is over, opportunity will likely come knocking for players like Foligno, left winger for the Rochester Amerks.

"I'm excited. Obviously it was great having a taste last year, and to be back and hopefully make my way back into Buffalo, that's what I'm hoping for and looking forward to and we'll see what happens."

For the first time since the end of the lockout, the Amerks held practice Tuesday. And afterward, reacted to the news that there will be an NHL season, albeit a shortened one.

"I think it's great for the fans and everything. They're excited for the season, but I think the guys are pretty pumped over here," said TJ Brennan, defenseman.

"You got a little more step in your stride, the NHL's back so you're excited. You're definitely excited. You've got a chance to move up and play in the best league possible," Foligno said.

"That was probably our best practice all year, to tell you the truth," said Amerks coach Ron Rolston.

Rolston says the end of the lockout may have carried over onto the ice.

"I think that kind of sparks things. It sparks a lot of enthusiasm, it's kind of the light at the end of the tunnel because guys see enthusiasm because they're playing."

"Overall, I think it's been a positive thing for the mental state of our team," he said.

Just when the parent Buffalo Sabres will start making moves is anyone's guess at this point, but it'll happen soon. A lot depends on when a much shorter than usual training camp begins.

"I know just as much stuff as you guys, so... I don't know," said Brennan.

Players say that will bring opportunity; be it here, or in Buffalo. And joy in knowing the season won't be lost.

"I just know the lockout's over, NHL is back and I'll hopefully get a call," Foligno said.

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