📝 by Joel Vanderlaan | AHL On The Beat
Although Scott Sabourin plays heavy minutes and adds a bruising element to the Belleville Senators lineup, he’s not simply an enforcer.
The 6-foot-3 power forward is also sought after for his veteran presence and ability to mentor younger teammates through any circumstance, which is especially valuable in an unpredictable season. Sabourin is a team leader and has donned an alternate captain’s “A” this season. Further, Sabourin has 336 career AHL games under his belt and NHL experience. Moreover, he is a team player eager to leverage his impressive professional resume to assist the organization’s top prospects.
“I’ve been around a while now, I know the league, and I think I have a lot to give to the younger guys,” Sabourin said. “Being the guy that’s been up and down lately, I know what it takes, and in any sense that I can help, I’m happy to do it, whether it’s work ethic or advice. I’m happy to be a leader. We have a lot of great prospects. I think it’s just keeping their heads on straight and remembering that they have to come in every day, and work and don’t take anything for granted.”
For his part, head coach Troy Mann is impressed with Sabourin’s efforts.
“He is a big part of our team,” Mann said. “We’ve had a lot of success with him in the lineup. He brings a lot of dynamics that we like to go with, along with the [Egor] Sokolovs and [Roby] Jarventies of the world. For me, you need his presence in this division. You have a lot of tough buildings. He’s a big part of the team; the guys love him, and we want to show from the coaching side of things that we believe he’s one of our leaders.”
Sabourin has made every effort to slot into the role Mann has assigned him.
“He doesn’t say too much, just a little bit of advice here and there, which I appreciate,” Sabourin said. “He’s put a lot of trust in me, and it’s been a lot of fun getting to play some minutes down here.”
Sabourin noted that he prefers to play a more basic style that helps create opportunities for linemates.
“It’s just simple hockey, playing fast, chipping pucks to space and getting to the dirty areas,” he said.
For the most part, Sabourin leads by example. No one doubts his intensity and commitment to put it all on the line. And Sabourin is a fan favorite, of course. The CAA Arena faithful admire his truculent style. In 22 games with Belleville this season, the Ottawa native has amassed eight points (four goals and four assists) and 39 penalty minutes. He was held pointless in four NHL games with the parent club.
Sabourin has noticed the increased pace of play in the stretch drive.
“We’re getting close to the playoffs, so guys are trying to assert themselves and make it hard to play out there,” Sabourin said. “I thought we have done a great job of answering and putting our best foot forward.”
Most importantly, Sabourin has helped his team win and has the motivation to support his teammates as they continuously improve.
While players with pure skill may get more accolades, Sabourin remains a key contributor who can apply a little sandpaper when needed. It is no wonder his teammates, coaches and the hometown fans love him.