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GIONTA: Discussing the NHL bye week

by Brian Gionta @Giostyle21 / Sabres.com

Before the Sabres took off for the bye week, Brian Gionta shared his thoughts with Sabres.com on what the week off has meant for the schedule and how the team was able to get through its stretch of 11 games in 18 days. 

I'm not quite sure how I feel about the bye week yet. I'm kind of on the fence. It compresses the schedule a lot in another areas, so I'm not sure if the five-day break makes up for not having the two or three days we normally have between games every once in a while.

This stretch in February, for example, was up there with the worst I've seen in my career in terms of how busy we've been. Between starting the season late because of the World Cup and then adding the bye week, everything's been more compressed. 

It's kind of like an Olympic year. It's been tight pretty much all year long.

The schedule doesn't change your routine much. But you are playing pretty much every other day, so it's kind of like a playoff schedule. You play a game, and then sometimes you're practicing the next day and other times you're just resting. The turn arounds are quick.

There have been some days where we've taken off from practice, or held optional skates on game days. The rest we do get on those days is huge. Honestly, it helps you stay sharp mentally just as much as it helps physically.

I'm proud of the way our team handled this stretch. We had a tough loss in Vancouver, but we came back and won the next three games. This time of year, we need to respond like that. We don't have the luxury to ease back out of those losses. Nobody was happy with where we sat and how we were playing coming out of the All-Star break, and it's nice to see guys responded.

We need to go into each game from here on out like we need to win it. There are so many teams in this tight race that it can change on a daily basis. Having won three of our last four games, you almost don't want to take a break now. You never want to lose that momentum that you're feeling. 

At the same time, you've got to take rest when you can get it. We'll accept it and then regroup.

We have three games in four days when we come back, so we'll be right back at it.

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