For the residents of “Banditland” it was their first chance to see the many new faces on the Bandits roster. New general manager, Steve Dietrich, has kept the team’s core intact from last season but has brought in several new players through the draft, trades and free agency.
One of those newcomers that could have an impact is forward Nick Cotter, who was signed as a free agent in October. Cotter sat out the 2012 season after being selected by Philadelphia in the dispersal draft. Before that he played three seasons with Boston where he compiled 43 goals in 41 games.
Dietrich has been impressed with Cotter since the beginning of training camp. “Nick’s a guy we brought in as a free agent to fill some spots for camp,” said Dietrich, “the guy has done everything we’ve asked him to do and now the guy has gone out and earned a spot.”
Dietrich will be busy this week as he needs to make final roster cuts by Thursday, December 20.
Luke Wiles was back at camp for a second week since ending his holdout and signing a new contract. Wiles is ready to help turn around a team that finished a disappointing 7-9 last year and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
“I think we need to really work on from last year is our preparation before games and our preparation at halftime,” said Wiles, “I feel like a lot of times last year we’d come into the half and everybody would be joking around and then halftime would be over and it didn’t ever feel like we made adjustments.
Buffalo was shutout in the second half of the last year’s playoff loss to Toronto after taking a 6-2 lead into halftime.
Here is more from Dietrich, Wiles, Steenhuis and Darris Kilgour: