Phil Varone was on pace to shatter his previous career high for points in season as a professional. Tough break for Varone, though, because his AHL point total could stay at 33 if he keeps playing well in Buffalo.
Varone, a native of Vaughan, Ont. and the assistant captain of the Rochester Americans, got the call exactly a week ago that he was on his way to Buffalo, and since he has made the most of his opportunities.
After scoring his first goal last night, Varone spoke with The Buffalo News’ Amy Mortiz and broke down his play so far in the bigs.
“I think more in the ‘A’ I try to control the puck around the perimeter and find my teammates,” said Varone of his style with the minors. “Here I need to be a little more simple and that’s why I’m just trying to get to the net more. I’m going to start hopefully feeling more comfortable and making plays with the puck but for right now I’m just going to go to the net and hopefully bang a few in.
“The more games you play the more you’re going to understand what you need to do to create space for yourself and to get open. That’s been my focus right now. Once I get more comfortable I’ll be able to make more plays with the puck.”
The Sabres, definitely not atop the league, are giving shots to their young guns in a down season with hopes of building a team that can win in the future. Varone, if this chance in the NHL is any indication, is a part of those plans. Drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the fifth round of the 2009 entry draft, Varone went unsigned before inking a free agent deal with the Sabres.
Of his first goal, Varone told Moritz that it was good to get the pressure of his shoulders.
The Sabres will head into action again on Thursday when they head to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes, and it will be up to the Desert Dogs to try and stop the red hot Varone.
(Cover image courtesy BuffaloHockeyBeat.com)