Physical strength, of course, is just one small reason the Sabres brought the Seals in to instruct their prospects. The four-day camp is designed to teach them about all the rigors of professional hockey.
“The physical side of it, you’re going to get in great shape working with them,” center Cody Hodgson said. “More importantly, the mental side, you see some of the stuff they go through, the attention to detail they take to do their jobs.
“Hopefully, (we) take some of that and relate it to our job as well. We have a lot of respect for them – even more appreciation now.”
Foligno added: “It makes you understand how to push your mental ability, and how you can … teach your body that you’re not tired and to get out a couple more reps. Today we learned what it was like to be a Navy Seal and how hard you have to work.”
Their day was only beginning once they left the beach, though. The prospects still had on-ice sessions, and the first one featured three first-round picks – Grigorenko, Zemgus Girgensons and Joel Armia, the 16th selection in 2011 – practicing in Buffalo uniforms for the first time.
For Sabres fans giddy about the future, watching the forwards Monday offered a glimpse into what it might look like.
The 18-year-old Girgensons, a physical center the Sabres moved up to nab 14th last month, has planned on attending the University of Vermont, where he’s currently taking summer courses. The Latvian’s AHL-eligible, however, and he’s considering turning professional.
“Nothing’s been clarified yet,” Girgensons said. “We’ll see what happens after camp.”
While Girgensons is seeking advice, he insists “it’ll be just my own decision.”
“I’ve asked a lot of people about it,” he said. “I’m not going to say what are their thoughts. … The decision I make is going to be what I want.”