20240119 Practice Web

Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson were back on the ice for practice on Friday while forward Dylan Cozens and defenseman Erik Johnson were absent.

The playing statuses for the four players – all of whom are considered day to day with upper-body injuries – will be determined Saturday ahead of the Sabres’ afternoon matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, coach Don Granato said.

Defenseman Henri Jokiharju is also considered day to day with soreness, though he did participate in practice on Friday.

“The decisions will be made in the morning on the lineup because we have three or four guys who are right on that cusp,” Granato said.

Skinner, who leads the Sabres with 17 goals this season, has missed the past four games with his injury. Samuelsson has missed two games since taking an elbow to the head from Vancouver defenseman Filip Hronek last Saturday, which forced him to enter concussion protocol.

Neither player has been ruled out for the game against the Lightning.

“Samuelsson was pushing hard today, which was nice to see,” Granato said. “So, now, it’s more of a decision now does he have enough in him to get ready to go.”

Cozens sustained his upper-body injury during the third period against San Jose on Sunday and did not play in Buffalo’s 3-0 win over Chicago on Thursday. Johnson was injured on a hit into the end boards by Blackhawks forward Philipp Kurashev, who was assessed a five-minute boarding major.

Jokiharju’s soreness is the product of a blocked shot in the game against the Blackhawks. He was originally going to have a maintenance day Friday but practiced through it.

“He had a really good day, so that was nice,” Granato said.

Here's more from practice on Friday.

Don Granato addresses the media

1. Here’s how the Sabres lined up for practice:


9 Zach Benson – 72 Tage Thompson – 89 Alex Tuch

53 Jeff Skinner – 37 Casey Mittelstadt – 77 JJ Peterka

28 Zemgus Girgensons – 12 Jordan Greenway – 22 Jack Quinn

71 Victor Olofsson – 19 Peyton Krebs – 21 Kyle Okposo

50 Eric Robinson


23 Mattias Samuelsson – 26 Rasmus Dahlin

33 Ryan Johnson – 25 Owen Power

78 Jacob Bryson – 75 Connor Clifton

10 Henri Jokiharju


1 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

27 Devon Levi

2. Jacob Bryson was recalled from Rochester on Thursday and remained with the Sabres for practice on Friday, skating on a defense pair with Connor Clifton.

Bryson played nine games with the Amerks since his assignment on Dec. 19. He had only played three games with Buffalo this season prior to that, with the Sabres carrying eight defensemen on their roster for much of October and November.

Granato praised Bryson on Friday for how the defenseman has handled the ups and downs of the season and for how he responded to what was a challenging campaign in 2022-23.

“Lots of times in life we learn more from a negative experience than a positive one, unfortunately, and Brys was challenged quite a bit last year,” Granato said. “He looked within himself to resolve it and become better because of it. I think we have a much better player.

“We obviously added some guys to our team over the summertime, Erik Johnson being a real key for us on the penalty kill and Clifton giving us some grit and Brys kind of got squeezed out a little bit there. So, he’s played the games in Rochester because he needed games. But, in my mind, he’s a better player than he was a year ago.”

3. The Sabres host the Lightning at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. The team will host its annual Kids Takeover Day, with the first 5,000 kids in attendance receiving a youth-sized Sabres bucket hat. Find more information here.