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Lazar 'good to go' for Thursday's opener

Okposo still day-to-day; No decision yet on Quinn

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Curtis Lazar returned to practice Wednesday and is ready for Thursday's season opener against the Washington Capitals, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. Lazar had missed the past two practices with a lower-body injury.

Kyle Okposo remained absent and is considered day-to-day. Krueger said his status for the game against Washington will be re-evaluated on Thursday morning.

"Curtis Lazar is good to go," Krueger said. "He had a really good skate, is feeling the best he's felt in training camp thus far. So, the medical team did a really good job and he's back in the fold."

The Sabres took a step toward their regular-season roster prior to the skate, assigning five players to the taxi squad: forwards Rasmus Asplund and Casey Mittelstadt, defensemen William Borgen and Brandon Davidson, and goaltender Jonas Johansson.

That said, as a nod to the fluidity of the roster this season, the practice group did not necessarily reflect those transactions. Asplund and Borgen skated with the main roster. Rookie Jack Quinn, who remains on the roster, skated with the taxi squad at LECOM Harborcenter.

"Right now, the full focus is on the roster for tomorrow and trying to figure out the health situation around players," Krueger said. "… Lots of options. We haven't made a final yet on Jack, but he's done a really good job staying with us. He did skate with the taxi squad today."

Video: TRAINING CAMP REPORT

Here's how the Sabres lined up.

Forwards

4 Taylor Hall - 9 Jack Eichel - 72 Tage Thompson
68 Victor Olofsson - 12 Eric Staal - 23 Sam Reinhart
53 Jeff Skinner - 27 Curtis Lazar - 74 Rasmus Asplund
13 Tobias Rieder - 20 Cody Eakin - 24 Dylan Cozens

Rotating in: 38 Riley Sheahan

Defensemen

19 Jake McCabe - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
26 Rasmus Dahlin - 62 Brandon Montour
33 Colin Miller - 10 Henri Jokiharju
44 Matt Irwin - 3 William Borgen

Goalies

35 Linus Ullmark
40 Carter Hutton

 

Preparing for no fans

Video: AFTER PRACTICE: Krueger

The Sabres will play for the first time without fans when they host the Capitals Thursday, a situation they simulated through their intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday. As such, Krueger said he expects a short acclimation period for his players.

"I think it will take a minute to just kind of get acclimatized to that," Krueger said. "But psychologically, we're ready. We've spoken about it a lot and it is a reality that we were a part of in the playoffs. Now, we didn't play in the playoffs, but there isn't a player who didn't watch multiple playoff games and kind of got used to what that means.

"In the end, we know our fans, the Sabres fans will be watching. They'll be glued to their TV sets and they'll be supporting us. In that vein, we want to be playing. We want to be playing knowing the fans are not live but they are connected to us as we begin the challenging season ahead."

 

Up next

The Sabres host the first of back-to-back games against the Capitals on Thursday night. Coverage on MSG begins at 6:30 p.m. with puck drop set for 7.

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