Ryan O'Reilly will represent Team Canada soon. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly: ‘I’ve lost the love of the game multiple times’

BUFFALO – Years of losing has beaten down Ryan O’Reilly so much the center said he lost his love for hockey at times as the Sabres trudged to a 31st-place finish this season.

“We’re stuck in this mindset of just being OK with losing,” O’Reilly said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I feel too it’s really crept into myself. Over the course of the year I lost myself a lot, where it was just kind of get through, being OK with just not making a mistake, and that’s not winning hockey at all and it’s crept into all of our games. It’s disappointing, it’s sad.

“I feel throughout the year I’ve lost the love of the game multiple times and just need to get back to it because it’s eating myself up and eats the other guys up, too. It’s eating us up, it’s tough.”

That, of course, sounds like a player who would like to be moved. O’Reilly, 27, is two seasons into a seven-year, $52.5 million contract.

But O’Reilly said he doesn’t want to leave after three seasons in Buffalo.

“No, I really want to be part of the solution here,” he said. “I love this city, I love it here, I call it home. There’s some good pieces, but it’s a big change I need to make mentally. I’ve said this so many times that I got to be a lot better and I sound like a broken record, but I’m going to stick with it, I’m going to keep trying.

“If something happens and I move, then obviously it’s a change they decide to make. But I want to win here, it’d be special here. It’s a great city, they deserve a winning team.”

O’Reilly believes playing for Team Canada at the upcoming World Championship in Denmark will ignite more passion.

“We all need to get better right away,” he said. “For a lot of us and myself, it’s getting time away from the game. For myself, I’m getting ready to go play overseas, I’m excited for that, it’s a great opportunity. It’s been a while since I had that kind of excitement in myself that it’s like I got a chance over here to go win something.

“It would be nice to get that back and hopefully I do and can carry that over into next year, that fresh, excited mindset.”

Sabres coach Phil Housley said he didn’t feel O’Reilly “lost his passion for the game.”

“That could be a direct result of the position we’re in,” he said of O’Reilly’s words.

3 thoughts on “Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly: ‘I’ve lost the love of the game multiple times’”

  1. O’Reilly suffers from what an old hockey coach used to say ” if you don’t want to be part of the solution you’re part of the problem”. Ryan simply flat out just said he’s had it with Buffalo. He doesn’t want to put his heart and soul into this team and it shows. Time after time after every losing game O’Reilly would give the ‘ol “I have to get better”. Better at what ? He never goes into specifics. Perhaps he should have said he needs to be a better leader. Better at confronting and almost cajoling (younger) players to give it everything they have every play. Now the Sabres may not be the most talented team but by God they shouldn’t get outworked almost every game. And the embarrassing home record there should be no excuse from any Sabres players or coaches.
    No it’s time to shed players who just simply don’t get it. Players like Girgensons, Larsson, Pouliot they have no clue what it takes to win consistently.
    Housley should needs to be under the microscope also. He just will not keep players accountable. But then again Housley wasn’t like that as a player. I get it. He want’s to keep a positive atmosphere. But there’s nothing positive about laughing a happyslapping down the hallway in between intermissions of a losing game or even prior to games after losing the last game. That’s not just on the “core” players Eichel, O’Reilly, Ristolainen it’s on the coaches.

    1. Wow? I read what he said twice. The 2nd time because of you interpretation. I did not get that same interpretation as you did. Not one bit. I read a guy speaking openly and honestly about himself. That is a sign of maturity. But you on the other hand seem to be fitting him into you’re own narrative. Brutal honesty is what he used and you obviously missed that or are blind to a player being forthright? My God, he said a few times how he loves it here. But in you’re interpretaion you are calling him a liar without saying it directly.

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