(Buffalo, NY) -- Notes from Tuesday's practice at KeyBank Center
JJ Peterka wore his excitement upon joining the Sabres on Tuesday morning, so much so that even COVID protocols could not contain his smile.
"The guys were all joking when JJ walked through the doors this morning, you could even see the smile with the mask on because his cheeks flared out," assistant coach Matt Ellis, wearing a big smile himself, said.
Peterka was still smiling when he met with the media, nearly an hour after practice had wrapped inside KeyBank Center. His parents happen to be in town from Germany, having made the trip for the holidays. They will be in attendance for his NHL debut against New Jersey on Wednesday.
"When I got to training camp, I was already, like, so excited," he said. "And being back here, I'm super happy."
The Sabres recalled Peterka alongside Peyton Krebs and Arttu Ruotsalainen to fill out their roster for Wednesday's game. Ellis said none of the five forwards in COVID protocol (Vinnie Hinostroza, Zemgus Girgensons, Jeff Skinner, Dylan Cozens, and Mark Jankowski) are expected to be available.
Ruotsalainen returns after beginning the season in Buffalo. For Krebs and Peterka, it is a chance to experience the NHL amid strong campaigns with the Amerks. Both players seem lined up for big opportunities. Peterka skated on a line with Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch, who is also expected to make his Sabres debut on Wednesday. Krebs centered Brett Murray and Kyle Okposo.
Peterka, 19, began to turn heads with his World Juniors performance last year, when he tallied 10 points in five games for Germany. He continued to display his dynamic scoring during his first NHL training camp, burying three goals in five preseason games. Ultimately, the Sabres opted to have him shoulder a top role in Rochester to begin the season, the same line of thinking they employed with fellow high draft picks Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Jack Quinn, and - upon acquiring him from Vegas on Nov. 4 - Krebs.
It can be easy to think ahead when you consider the ages of the prospects in Rochester. Krebs and Quinn are 20. Peterka is 19. Krebs admitted he's thought about the potential of a long future together.
"You want to create those relationships," he said. "You hope that you're here, all of us, until we're all 30 years old, 35 years old. We're kind of around the same age, so our families can grow and be together, which would be really cool, for sure. Getting to know all those guys as we start to trickle in to play in Buffalo or Rochester, it's exciting and we're cheering for each other, for sure."
Source: (NHL.com - December 28th, 2021)