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.