Sabres end their bye week with a fast paced practice

February 24, 2017
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The Sabres got back to work after their bye week with a 50 minute practice at Denver University. The pace was fast, but the execution wasn't good after four days off the ice. Dan Bylsma said, “We all looked like we had four days off, but it’s a long, long time to be away from the ice and not practicing and combine that with a little bit of the high altitude here, I mean we just had to get out there and blow some sand off our feet and get a good skate.”
 
Jack Eichel had never had a bye week. He said practice Friday should help them Saturday, “It was fine, it was probably good for us to get in here and get a skate in.”
 
“It wasn’t the cleanest practice, but you can’t really expect that, so it was a productive day for us.”
 
Every coach and player I spoke with on Friday said they were scoreboard watching. Bylsma was no different, “We got a few good games for us. I think being off for five days and teams playing games, there were going to be teams that picked up some points, but we now have an opportunity with three games in four nights and have six points we can possibly gain.”
 
Jack Eichel had his eyes on everything too. He said, “Yes, I was watching it, definitely scoreboard watching on how teams were doing and where we fell.”
 
“We got some help which is good, but now more than anything it just falls on us, just take care of your own business and control what we can control.”
 
Teams are 4-12-4 coming off their bye weeks with Buffalo and Columbus coming off theirs on Saturday and St. Louis on Sunday. Eichel said, “We don’t have any room to drop one off a bye, this is a big road trip for is, these are two games we need to win, so there’s no room for bad play.”
 
Buffalo played 11 games in 19 days during February and Eichel said he used this past week to his advantage, “It’s nice to get a couple of days, but you definitely want to get back at it, especially the way we were playing before the break.”
 
“For me it was nice to get away and relax, just get away from everything. We were going a lot there, so it was a really good couple days off, but I think by the end of it, I was ready to get back on the ice.”
 
Bylsma confirmed that Sam Reinhart and Zemgus Girgensons will both return Saturday against Colorado.
 
Friday’s lines:

Bailey  O’Reilly  Okposo
Kane  Eichel  Reinhart
Foligno  Girgensons  Gionta
Ennis  Rodrigues  Moulson