Sabres' Ristolainen enjoys his battles with Nazem Kadri

March 6, 2018

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - After Rasmus Ristolainen tangled with Nazem Kadri on Monday, the two sat in the penalty box and trash talked each other. It hit Twitter in a GIF and it seems like everybody saw it. Ristolainen also saw it and he said with a laugh, “It looks funny.”

It looked like Ristolainen was telling Kadri they have four more games against each other and then Kadri was telling him it was only three, Ristolainen wouldn’t confirm, “I’m not going to tell you guys what we said, but obviously you can read a little bit of what we were talking about, but it’s just two guys who play hard and doesn’t like each other.”

Ristolainen had a pretty good night against Toronto. He had two shots tipped in by the 3:43 mark of the game and he was nasty and strong playing 25:52. He was active in the offensive zone pinching and getting in deep. He said, “It don’t think it was my best game, but it was pretty good.”

Housley said it’s nice to see, but it’s what he’s wanted to see from the start, “That’s just our system, we want to get our D involved in the offensive zone and they’re a big part of our attack, but I really liked the aggressive play from our D, even if it’s slamming a wall because that’s where you want to play, play in the offensive zone.”

One thing I’ve noticed with Ristolainen is he never seems satisfied when we talk to him. He said he will never be happy with his game, “You never play a perfect game and I’m a young player with still a lot of things to learn and obviously you can always be better and every year I try to take strides.”

The Sabres are 6-5-1 since Jack Eichel got hurt. Now nobody is dumb enough to think this team is better without him. Phil Housley just thinks players know they have to contribute more and in different ways, “We’re rallying around the players that are out. It started in Boston when Jack went down early and the guys just came together. We know that Jack is a huge part of our team and part of the future of this organization, but right now what we can control is how we can prepare for the next game and I think our guys have done a tremendous job of just keeping the game simple, not doing anything cute and making the right plays.”

Housley said that Chad Johnson would start Wednesday against his old team Calgary. He indicated that Robin Lehner would get the start against his old team on Thursday in Ottawa.

Kyle Criscuolo left the Toronto game holding his shoulder. He will be out 4-to-6 weeks, so the Sabres need another center.

With four games in six days, Housley only had eight players skate on Tuesday.