Sabres' Okposo misses practice, but will play Saturday.

January 19, 2018
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The first time Nick Baptiste was called up it didn’t go well in the four games he played. With Jacob Josefson injured and Kyle Okposo missing practice for a maintenance day, Baptiste got the call for Friday’s practice.

Phil Housley said Okposo will play on Saturday while Baptiste is a possibility.

Housley may want to take Baptiste to Calgary on Sunday if Josefson isn’t ready. He said, “I just think he’s doing the things that they’re telling him to do, he’s heavy and tenacious on the forecheck, he’s really strong down low, he’s getting to the net more and he’s creating things offensively, so that’s why he’s up here.”

This season in Rochester the winger has played 34 games scoring just seven goals and 17 points. He said the reason is because his game has changed, “They haven’t changed my role, I think it’s finding a way to play at this level and if you’re not scoring, you provide physical play, speed and helping in my D zone, so I think not changed my game, but developed my game.”

Baptiste is anxious to show Phil Housley and Jason Botterill that he can play in this league. He said, “I just have to use my speed, be physical, do the things that I did down there that got me up here. I need to play the way that they’ve been preaching to me to play which is being two-way and being hard on pucks.”

Baptiste has scored three goals in 18 NHL games. He believes if he does the things he just mentioned, offense will come his way, “One hundred percent, yes, just take care of my end first and I think with that comes offense.

“It’s the National Hockey League, right? You can’t expect to come in here and just score a bunch of goals all of a sudden, I’ve got to find a way to stay in the lineup and do those things to eventually move myself up the depth chart and be a guy who is here for the long term.”

Baptiste skated in Okposo’s spot on the wing with Jack Eichel and Benoit Pouliot.

Housley said Josefson and Nate Beaulieu both skated on their own and are close to getting back to practice.

The Sabres host Dallas on Saturday. Join Brian Koziol for the pregame at noon when he’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Jason Pominville, Ryan O’Reilly and Nick Baptiste.