BUFFALO – When coach Don Granato scratched Tyson Jost last week, he said he told the center the Sabres hadn’t lost their belief in him.
Of course, it would be understandable if Jost, a waiver claim in November, thought the worst. The Sabres are his third team since late last season. He knows what it’s like to lose a coach’s trust.
But Granato said he wanted “to reassure him that this decision is not rooted in any lack of confidence in him.”
“Communicating to him right away this is not, ‘Oh, here we go again,’” he said prior to Tuesday’s 7-3 loss to the Nashville Predators at KeyBank Center.
With 14 healthy forwards available last week, Granato tried to keep everyone fresh. So Jost, who played again Tuesday, sat out two games as a healthy scratch.
“That’s the message that I kind of got from the coaching staff, not let this hinder my confidence and keep playing the way that I was,” Jost said. “It’s kind of a numbers thing. It stings, but at the same time, we have a lot of good hockey players in this room.”
Jost, who enjoyed regular duty for four months, said “the feedback I got was all positive.”
“They said they really liked how I was playing,” he said. “I think that’s what was difficult, too, because I wanted to be out there helping the team win and whatnot. It’s fine, it was a decision that they made and I just kept my head down, kept working and got in extra work.”
The Sabres struggled without Jost, losing both games by a combined score of 12-2.
Jost and rookie winger JJ Peterka, both of whom scored a goal in Wednesday’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals, sat out Friday’s 5-2 defeat to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Sabres scratched Jost and winger Vinnie Hinostroza for Sunday afternoon’s 7-0 loss to the Boston Bruins.
Early last week, Sabres winger Victor Olofsson sat out two games as a healthy scratch. Olofsson scored twice Friday.
Sabres winger Jordan Greenway missed Tuesday’s game with an upper-body injury, so a spot opened up. Hinostroza was also scratched again.
The 5-foot-11, 187-pound Jost, the 10th overall pick in 2016, might’ve found a home in Buffalo following stints with the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild. His emergence as the third- or fourth-line center has helped the Sabres fill a big hole down the middle.
“Right when I got in here I was just playing free and got to play my game, which I haven’t really been able to in the past,” Jost said. “I was playing (without) that freedom mentality and making mistakes and whatnot. This coaching staff is awesome at getting guys to that situation. I think that helped, for sure, in just building confidence.
“Once you get in that rhythm, it’s good, you feel like the player that you know you are.”
Jost centered Olofsson and captain Kyle Okposo against the Predators.
Notes: Granato said Greenway, who’s day to day, is “not fit for how we need him to play.” … Granato said goalie Eric Comrie is progressing from his lower-body injury and could be available in a few days. … Rookie goalie Devon Levi’s immigration paperwork hasn’t been finalized, so he hasn’t skated with the team. … The Sabres also scratched defenseman Jacob Bryson (healthy). … Coach Seth Appert told reporters in Rochester that center Brandon Biro, the Americans’ leading scorer, is week to week with a lower-body injury.