The Buffalo Bandits had their first preseason workout together Sunday at the First Niagara Center. The first thing the players did was to look around. Their locker room was remodeled in the offseason as part of the Sabres' reconstruction of the area. The new look does have some orange in it, and is circular without any crannies so that everyone can look at everyone. The equipment has a new home too.
Then the players took a glance at who else was around. They probably noticed the amount of talent that had turned out. At one point in the workout, assistant coach Rich Kilgour addressed his half of an intersquad game. He said the squad had the makings of a pretty good team, and that it was made up of only half the roster.
Kilgour was certainly right. The demise of the Boston Blazers has again scattered good players around the league. With the NLL down to nine teams, about 23 more players won't be able to find work in January. When Darris Kilgour addressed the team at the start of the workout, he made that point by telling each player to look at a teammate. Chances are that one of them would be cut in a month. Ouch.
After some drills, the players played a full scrimmage for about 40 minutes. The media was allowed to sit behind one of the benches for a session. That's a very interesting experience. The line changes come off extremely smoothly through good communication about when one player comes off. It's a bit of a fire drill, but it works. I had the odd feeling I should tap a player on the shoulder and say, "Next man out there," but resisted the temptation.
We're less than three weeks away from the open practice. Some questions might be answered by then.
--- Budd Bailey