Columbus, Ohio (WGR 550) – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played the Buffalo Sabres first preseason game and Craig Anderson and Malcolm Subban split the second. With that in mind, my educated guess would be that Eric Comrie will see his first action on Wednesday in Columbus.
Comrie was the Winnipeg Jets backup goalie last season and he’s said he’s enjoyed getting to know his new teammates here in Buffalo, “I’m getting to know this group of guys and seeing how tight we are, we’ve had a night where we got together and watched the Bills game and the Bills won pretty easy, they have a good team, so we had a lot of fun watching them and just spending time together has been a great thing and it was really good for me to come early and get to know everybody.”
Comrie has bounced around from city to city in his hockey career, so he knows what it’s like to try to integrate into a new city. The goaltender said he’s enjoyed hanging out in Buffalo so far, “This city is a pretty easy spot to get acclimated to. The people here are fantastic walking around talking to them and I’ve gotten to see how big of a sports town this is, even going across the border to get my Visa, people were like, ‘Wow, we’re so excited for the team this year,' so seeing this stuff makes it exciting for me.”
Comrie has to get used to a new team and new communication with the defensemen. He said it’s a process, “You just have to keep building reps and reps and reps and it’s all about getting as much time in the net as you can and it just takes time and experience.”
Comrie is no longer a younger player, but compared to 41-year-old Craig Anderson he is.
The newcomer said it’s been quite an experience, “It’s been great, he’s a funny guy, I mean just today, I was almost crying laughing with Subby (Malcolm Subban) and Andy talking about gear, so just getting to know them has been fantastic. We haven’t been on the ice in the same group so I haven’t gotten to know him a ton, but so far it's been great.”
Last year Comrie paired with Connor Hellebuyck in Winnipeg. He said he’s always learning from goalies he’s with, “I like to think of myself as a student of the game, I think the game, I watch the game, so you watch different guys so I look and think, this is what Connor does well and this is what Andy does well and I’ll and see how can I take something and then add it to my game like Andy, the way he reads the play is unbelievable where Helly is so good in positioning and also at reading the plays.”
Comrie was not going to wrestle the starting job away from Hellebuyck, but here, he’s going to be given every opportunity to become the starter. He said, “There is a better opportunity here, but there are also a lot of goalies fighting for that spot, so I just go out there and take care of what I can control and it’s about going out there and earning it every single day.”
Before practice on Wednesday the Sabres sent three players back to their junior teams.
The Sabres bring a 2-0-0 preseason record into Wednesday's game against the Blue Jackets.
Join Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray for all the play-by-play action starting at 7 p.m. ET. I will also be live in Columbus joining Brian Koziol throughout the game.
***Photo: Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres)