Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- Here’s your quiz for today, you went to the Amerks opener last October and Brian Flynn was a healthy scratch. Many of you probably didn’t even know who he is. After that night you probably weren’t thinking he’d play 26 games in Buffalo and score six goals and five assists, right? That would translate to 19 goals over an 82 game season. Despite his quick rise due to injuries last season, chances are pretty good he’ll start the season in Rochester again. Ron Rolston said, “He’s in a tough spot right now in a sense fighting for positions so it’ll be a big couple games for him right here.”
One thing I can tell you is the Maine grad is taking nothing for granted, “I didn’t really come in with any expectations of this is how many games I want to try to play in the NHL this year, but I just try to do the best I can do and fortunately I was able to get that opportunity.”
Flynn didn't sulk when Rolston didn't dress him for the first Amerks game. He said, “There was a lot of guys down there, good players and guys like Cody and Marcus who you knew would be on the Sabres so as a rookie you have to earn the ice time you’re going to get so it wasn’t a surprise not to be playing the first night there, but with injuries I got an opportunity. Then, it’s just what you make of it. Fortunately I was able to play well, I think Van was hurt for a little bit so that gave me a chance to play. I started to play well and it’s tough to take a guy out if he’s playing well.”
You’ve heard me say I’m tired of all the small players the Sabres have on the team. That has been addressed through the draft. In the preseason game against the Hurricanes, Buffalo dressed defensemen that are, 6’8, 6’6, 6’5, 6’4, 6’4 and the Mark Pysyk at a generous 6’1. Flynn is one of those small forwards and he worked hard over the summer to gain weight and muscle, “I worked on my skating, my power, I think my power’s the big thing. I tried to put on a little weight and get a little stronger. I was a lighter guy and I need to use my speed to be successful, so I think if I get my feet stronger in my skates and be able to maintain that through an 82 games season, that will help me a lot.” Flynn added, “I got a lot stronger and came into camp in really good shape and hopefully that will help me.”
When a player puts in the work he wants to be noticed. Rolston said, “That’s one of the things we stressed in the year end meeting with him and I think he put a lot of time into that. He’s always been fast, but when he gets down to the corner, to keep strength on the puck and win the battles when it’s 50/50, so we’ve seen that.”
Flynn played mostly with Kevin Porter last year, but in his game the other night he was with Tyler Ennis and Mikhail Grigorenko. He’ll get a few more chances this preseason, but without a few injuries in the next week, he’ll probably have to wait for another NHL opportunity.