BUFFALO – All signs point to Sabres winger Kyle Okposo returning from a concussion for Monday’s home tilt against the Nashville Predators.
“I would think so,” a smiling Okposo said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I practiced with a line, practiced on the power play.”
Still, Okposo, who said he has been cleared to play, wouldn’t officially say he’s back.
“I don’t know, you guys make up your own mind,” he said, still smiling.
Okposo, who has missed three games, will almost certainly play Monday. He probably just didn’t want to jinx anything.
“All signs looking like a go,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said.
After practicing at defense Friday, Okposo skated at right wing this morning beside center Evan Rodrigues and Seth Griffith.
These final weeks have meaning for Okposo.
While Okposo had recovered from the scary concussion he suffered late last season in time for training camp, he started slowly. The 10-year veteran eventually caught fire offensively, although his minus-29 rating is one of the NHL’s worst.
Okposo said he has endured a “down year,” compiling 11 goals and 38 points in 65 games.
“I got a personal number I’d like to hit with goals, assists, points and shots,” he said. “It’s been a real struggle personally for me this year.”
In other news, the Sabres sent winger Justin Bailey back to Rochester Americans today. Housley said they might recall the Williamsville native again soon. Bailey must serve a one-game AHL suspension, meaning it’s likely a paper transaction.
Bailey has looked impressive in recent games, showcasing his speed and scoring a goal.
“He’s just got to continue to do what he’s doing, definitely using his speed, being a little bit heavier in the battle,” Housley said. “When he’s first on the forecheck, he creates a lot of things. I just liked that goal. He was down there early, getting a lot of hits. I like the way he shoots the puck.”
In other news, defenseman Casey Nelson, who missed Saturday afternoon’s 5-3 win against Chicago with a lower-body injury, practiced today and could play Monday.
Housley also said winger Zemgus Girgensons is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.