The Sabres needed a practice wakeup call from the coaches

March 22, 2018 - 2:10 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - It’s bad enough that the Sabres have had so many half efforts to no efforts this season. Wednesday against Arizona was one of them, but it’s worse when we see no response to start practice the next day.

In Thursday's practice, Assistant coach Davis Payne had to tell some players to stop coasting and then Phil Housley had to stop practice. Housley said, “I just thought that we weren’t doing what I told them to do which was a simple execution play, so I just tried to get their attention and I thought the execution from that point was good.”

That’s all fine and good, but this team has played 73 games this season and they shouldn’t need coaches on them to make them execute. Housley agrees, “It’s very surprising, but it reminds us that you have to come prepared to play whether you’re playing the best team in the league or you’re playing one of the lower teams and you can’t take anything for granted.”

Phil Housley knew they weren’t happy and it started with their video session, “I think when we reviewed the game it was very quiet in the room, so I hope that they’re angry, I hope that they are upset.

“Sometimes we take three steps forward and then take one or two steps back and for me, I’ve been pretty honest with the group and I’m pretty fair on judging the game if we’re competing and we have great effort and yesterday that wasn’t the case, it was lack of.”

Jack Eichel said of course he’s not in a good mood after that game, “When things are going right everyone’s probably looking around for the answer and your mood’s down.

"The coaches are here to push us and that’s their job, so nobody is really in a good mood today, so it’s never easy coming to the rink on days like this, everyone’s mood is in the dumps and is sucks to be honest with you. We’ve continued to make the same mistakes so frequently this year and I really don’t know what else to say.”

There were some Montreal writers in town wondering how the players react to the fan negativity in this town. Eichel doesn’t blame the fans one bit, “I think they have a reason to be negative, you know, what have we really put on the ice as a product for them this year?

“We don’t score goals, we really haven’t made coming to the game worthwhile, so can you blame them? No you can’t.” Eichel added, “This is the third year that I’ve been here and we haven’t put a steady product on the ice for them and it’s frustrating for us because they’ve been so loyal and they’ve continued to come here and continued to support the team and continue to be positive. I think that’s probably the hardest part.”

Chad Johnson didn’t practice, but Housley said he does not have a concussion, they just kept him off. Linus Ullmark will start Friday against Montreal with Robin Lehner backing him up.

Zemgus Girgensons came back to practice and likely will play Friday. Rasmus Ristolainen and Marco Scandella missed practice for maintenance days.


Thursday’s lines:


Wilson  O’Reilly  Reinhart

Girgensons  Eichel  Pominville

Bailey  Rodrigues  Baptiste

Nolan  Larsson  Okposo


Guhle  Nelson

Beaulieu  Falk

Gorges  Antipin

Pouliot  Griffith

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