Kyle Okpso (21) battles San Jose’s Brent Burns on Saturday afternoon. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Short break gives Sabres chance to rest

BUFFALO – Thanks to a load of games – the Sabres and six other teams have played an NHL-high 12 contests – a rare four-day break materialized early in the schedule.

The 3-7-2 Sabres don’t play again until Thursday in Arizona. So this morning, fresh off Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 home loss to San Jose, the Sabres enjoyed a lighter practice, focusing on skill.

“Today was kind of meant to be more a little bit more of a fun day, just do some skill stuff,” Sabres winger Kyle Okposo said inside KeyBank Center.

They closed it with a shootout competition that had players cheering and smiling.

“It’s not easy when you’re not winning games,” Okposo said. “It can be a drag coming to the rink, and it’s going to be a long year if that happens. You got to try to find ways to stay positive, because … what’s going to turn this around is guys not playing from a place of frustration and a place of negativity.”

The four days also present an early opportunity to rest. The Sabres have Monday off.

“No. 1 I think is rest,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said of the break. “We’re tied with the most games played up to this point. So it’s a good time to get a break, a good time to change the mood after a disappointing loss (Saturday) and just try to reset and get fresh for the week ahead.”

Okposo said: “It’s a time to reflect on what’s happened so far.”

In other news, five Sabres – Evander Kane, Robin Lehner, Ryan O’Reilly, Rasmus Ristolainen and Marco Scandella – had maintenance days today, Housley said.

Lehner’s wife, Donya, just gave birth to a baby girl, Zoe.

One thought on “Short break gives Sabres chance to rest”

  1. This team reminds me of the Oilers 4 years ago. They have a few star players but no depth up front and a below average defense.
    Some how they need to build the defense to an above average group of players, Tampa got a potential stud d man for a decent winger. The problem is those deals come around about every 5 years or so.
    And if you rely on drafting then you better finish in the bottom 3 to get something special. Not sure the teams two star centers are fine with that.
    When you are a low scoring team with a not great defense, it will be another long season and this time the blame will fall on the players.

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