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Sabres assign Bogosian to Rochester

News and notes from Saturday's practice

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian cleared waivers and has been assigned to Rochester, the team announced Saturday. 

Bogosian made his season debut on Nov. 24 following a long recovery from offseason hip surgery. He appeared in 10 straight games beginning that night but has since been scratched for 17 of the team's last 26 contests, including seven of the last eight. 

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said the move was an organizational decision but spoke positively of his interactions with the defenseman. 

"The work together with him, he's a professional and a really good spirt and a good guy," Krueger said.

Video: AFTER PRACTICE: Krueger

Bogosian, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, has been a member of the Sabres for parts of six seasons. Injuries have limited the 29-year-old to 243 games in that span, including 65 contests last season. 

In spite of his injuries, Bogosian was a prominent figure in the dressing room (he served two seasons as an alternate captain) and worked actively to give back to the community through his BOGO Bunch foundation and Tickets for Troops program.  

"Honestly, I do have the organization and the team to thank for the relationship I was able to create by being here with him," Sabres captain Jack Eichel said. 

"… Obviously, we play a game and everything but at the end of this, whenever the two of us are done playing, he'll be a lifelong friend of mine. … There's not many people in the world that I'm closer with. We have a really special relationship."

The Sabres recalled John Gilmour to round out their group of seven defensemen prior to Saturday's practice. Krueger said the decision was based on both Gilmour's comfort with the group - he broke camp with the Sabres in the fall and appeared in four contests - and wanting to allow Lawrence Pilut, who was assigned to Rochester on Friday, to continue appearing in games. 

The Amerks play tonight in Syracuse, then host Utica tomorrow afternoon. 

 

Injury Report 

Marcus Johansson was back at practice after missing Thursday's win over Columbus with an upper-body injury. The Sabres were without forward Michael Frolik (illness) and goaltender Carter Hutton, who was out for a maintenance day.

Krueger said the team is optimistic about Frolik's availability for Sunday's home game against Toronto. Here's how the team lined up in his absence: 

68 Victor Olofsson - 9 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
53 Jeff Skinner - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 43 Conor Sheary
90 Marcus Johansson - 27 Curtis Lazar - 13 Jimmy Vesey
28 Zemgus Girgensons - 22 Johan Larsson - 21 Kyle Okposo

62 Brandon Montour - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
19 Jake McCabe - 10 Henri Jokiharju
26 Rasmus Dahlin - 33 Colin Miller
58 John Gilmour

34 Jonas Johansson 
36 Andrew Hammond

 

Bring on the Leafs 

Video: SABRES IN :50

Johansson acknowledged the added intrigue behind Sunday's matchup, which is the season series finale between the Sabres and their cross-border rivals. The Maple Leafs go into their game in Ottawa tonight occupying third place in the Atlantic Division, eight points ahead of the Sabres. 

It's a tall order, sure. But the Sabres have maintained their game-by-game approach and, after winning their past two games, hope to keep chipping away at the deficit with a win tomorrow. 

"This is a big game for us," Johansson said. "It's starting to be that time of year. Every game is big, and we want to make a push and see where it takes us. Tomorrow is huge. We kind of have to look at it with a little bit of a playoff mentality and go out and give it everything we got. That's how you got to see every shift in every game now."

The Sabres are 1-1-1 against the Maple Leafs this season. Their one win came at KeyBank Center on Nov. 29, when Jack Eichel scored two goals and an assist to fuel a 6-4 victory.

"The emotions will automatically be there because it's Toronto and the environment should be a good one," Eichel said. "It's an important game for both sides. Obviously, we're trying to find points any way we can and put ourselves in the best position moving forward and they're the same way. We've just got to be ready to play. We know it's going to be a tough night."

Coverage of Sunday's game on MSG begins at 6:30 p.m. You can also listen on WGR 550, with puck drop set for 7.

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