The Sabres comeback to practice refreshed

January 17, 2018
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - After five days off the players seemed refreshed at Wednesday’s practice. Many players like Evander Kane like having the five day break, but Jack Eichel said he likes playing hockey more than resting, “Yes, but I think it doesn’t really take a whole lot to get mentally refreshed.

“I try to get excited to play hockey every day and for the most part, I do. I could’ve taken just a day or two, but it’s always nice to get a couple of extra ones.”

As the Sabres get into the second half of the season, they’ll be working on improving the power play. Getting one extra goal in a game could help this team win a lot more Eichel said it was starting to get better before the break, “In the last few games, we had been doing a lot of good things. Even in games where we didn’t score, we had some good looks and I think it was going in the right direction, so it should be something that we use as a weapon and not something that gives the other team momentum.”

Phil Housley was home in Minnesota by his wife’s side as she formally announced her run for the U.S. Senate. I know players try to refresh their minds from hockey, but Housley said it’s different for coaches, “Well you’re always thinking hockey and I think for us, after winning that game, you want to continue on, but it was great that we won that game before the break because you could see the energy in our practice, we had really good life out there. I think guys were feeling good about themselves.”

Last season the Sabres were awful coming out of the bye week losing to the two worst teams in the league at the time, Colorado and Arizona. Phil Housley wasn’t here, but he is concerned, “When you get into these bye weeks, the records coming off it aren’t very good. If you look at the teams, there’s not a very high success rate, so we know we’ve got our hands full tomorrow.”

Nate Beaulieu missed practice due to illness and is day-to-day. Brendan Guhle had no chance to be called up thanks to a lower-body injury suffered late in Monday’s game in Rochester. He is also day-to-day. Housley said he feels bad for Guhle, “It’s too bad that he suffered a lower body injury last game, but he’s doing a great job down there and we want him back healthy if he does come up. We don’t want to put any pressure on him and put him in a position not to succeed.

“I really liked what he brought to the last two games, especially in the Columbus game. A lot of times it was him and Jake up on the rush and hey, I’m all for that kind of hockey, especially attacking the game the way he did.”

Victor Antipin is back to full strength after missing close to two weeks due to illness. The Russian defenseman said, “I’m feeling better, I’m good. I was feeling really bad, I lost 10 pounds, but now I have a good appetite.”

Antipin said he wasn’t able to eat for two days, but he’s been able to eat normally again and has gotten the 10 pounds back.

Antipin was a healthy scratch for a few games before he got sick. He said he’s ready to play now and told me what the coaches want him to do better, “They want more skating with puck and be more aggressive.”

 

Wednesday’s Lines:

 

Pouliot  Eichel  Okposo

Kane  O’Reilly  Pominville

Girgensons  Rodrigues  Reinhart

Wilson  Larsson  Nolan

 

Scandella  Ristolainen

Gorges  Nelson

McCabe  Antipin(Falk)

 

The Sabres left for New York after practice and will play the Rangers in Madison Square Garden on Thursday.