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Mark Pysyk Adjusting to Pro Hockey

The NHL lockout prevented Mark Pysyk from working alongside the Buffalo Sabres during the pre-season but despite that disappointment, Pysyk is making the most out of his first season as a pro while playing for the Rochester Americans.

Selected 23rd overall by Buffalo in the 2010 draft, the defenseman has played in all five of the Amerks games heading into Tuesday’s contest with Hamilton at the First Niagara Center. He has one goal and two assists and is minus two.

Pysyk has made the jump from juniors and the Western Hockey league and as is the case with most players, that transition has been eye opening. “Just the first time you go into a corner with a guy that’s five years older than you, it’s a little bit of a different experience” Pysyk said during an interview on WGR.

 “You have to wrap your mind around the fact that every one is one step away from the NHL so everybody is going to be a good player. Each day goes by and I get a little bit more comfortable playing here, playing with men as opposed to kids.”

The 20 year old Edmonton native is playing under the watchful eye of Amerks Head Coach Ron Rolston who said Pysyk has not looked out of place at all, going back to the first day of camp. “He’s been really good. Mark has been really steady” Rolston told WGR.

“ He still has a lot to learn but he’s been very good positionally. He makes great decisions with the puck, everything’s on the tape. He’s one of those guys that just has a knack for stealing pucks and pick pocketing pucks defensively.”

Pysyk had a very successful junior career in Edmonton.  He was captain of the Oil Kings last season and helped them earn a spot in the Memorial Cup, the championship of Canadian Junior Hockey. Pysyk went on to play for Team Canada in the 2012 World Junior Championship.

But he’s already learned that some of the plays a defenseman can get away with in juniors, just don’t work at the professional level. “Guys are so skilled and if you give them any room, they can make a play around you and it’s in the back of your net” Pysyk said. “ In junior if you have a good stick it usually stops most of the plays but here guys just saucer over it and make the play through you so you’ve got to be a lot more physical in the defensive zone.”
The 6-1, 186 pound Pysyk(pronounced PESS-ick) is also getting regular time on the Amerks power play.

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