BUFFALO – Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said he implores slick center Jack Eichel to have five turnovers a game.
Wait, what? Bylsma really wants the second-year star to give away the puck?
“If he’s not having a turnover, then he’s not trying to do the right thing,” Bylsma explained this afternoon inside HarborCenter. “There’s a time and a place and a situation for those attempts.”
Turnovers, of course, are common. Bylsma said he expects about 100 in a game, 50 for each side.
Still, not every turnover is acceptable. Eichel had a brutal one – he tried to beat three defenders through the neutral zone – that led to Philadelphia’s first goal in Tuesday’s 6-3 win against the Sabres.
Bylsma, who wants to be tougher on his young stars, briefly sat Eichel after that miscue.
“Jack is a star player, no question,” Bylsma said. “But he’s a young player as well. He’s got to learn that. That’s a process we’re going through. Did he miss a few shifts after that play? He did.”
Eichel finished the game with two goals and three points, a response Bylsma liked.
“He understood it,” Bylsma said of the benching. “He understood why. I thought he played pretty inspired and pretty passionate after that point.”
After Tuesday’s loss and a day off, Bylsma had an uptempo practice today.
“The competition and the compete this time of year has to be at a high level,” he said. “We got it handed to us in huge doses in the Philly game.”
The Sabres play Friday in Columbus.