The Sabres are back to practice trying to figure out their own arena.

February 5, 2018
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres know the situation they’re in and they know it’s from their own doing. Buffalo is 6-17 in one goal games this year and that number would be a lot higher if you took out empty net goals. Jack Eichel is frustrated by it, he said, “It’s part of it. You want to get to the next level and the team that we want to become has to find a way to win those games.”

St. Louis scored late on Saturday and went home with a 1-0 win. Eichel said, “That’s a mature, veteran team that’s been together and been doing it for a while and that’s why they’re good.

“We need to find a way to start doing that.”

The players on this team are frustrated. They have said many times that they all say the right things, but nothing changes, so why is that? Why can’t the players on this team follow through with what they say? Eichel said, “The accountability, that’s important and for us, you need to get to that point that if you’re going to get up and say something, you need to back up your actions and you need to back up your words with actions and not feel bad calling somebody out, it’s all part of maturing, it all part of growing up and becoming a pro and learning that it needs to go on every day and if something’s not there, then you need to step up and say something and do something to change it.”

Phil Housley came into a situation where it would be impossible to know how bad things were in the room. You have to be around your team to know how they react both on and off the ice. Housley said, “When you only have 14 wins, there are a lot of things that need to be addressed and one of those is culture and we have to continue to find a way to change it.”

In my mind Jason Botterill has to make massive changes if he’s going to clean up the locker room. Too many of these players have failed under multiple coaches. Housley said, “That has to be evaluated on a day-to-day basis and certainly after the year, but I think the players in there, they mean well, they want to do well, but we all have to change and it’s something that I’ve continued to learn throughout the season because I haven’t been here a full season.”  

Housley was asked that after 52 games, shouldn’t the players have it by now? The head coach said, “Yes, I think they should, but we continue to pound the message.”

Robin Lehner only gave up one goal to the Blues, but still lost the game. He said, “I hate the situation, I hate what we have to go through because it’s our own fault and I hate that we disappoint our fans, rightfully so, but all we can do is work and ignore you guys and stick together as a team.

“When it turns it’s going to feel great and it’s going to feel real good for the fans when this turns around and I really hope that it’s going to happen for this organization. With or without me, with or without whoever, change is probably going to happen, but this organization and this team deserves better.”

 

Monday’s lines:

 

Kane  O’Reilly  Okposo

Girgensons  Eichel  Reinhart

Wilson  Rodrigues  Pominville

Pouliot  Josefson  Nolan

 

Scandella  Ristolainen

Falk  McCabe

Beaulieu  Nelson

Gorges  Antipin

 

The Sabres play the Ducks on Tuesday. Anaheim plays in Toronto on Monday.