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Bailey hopes to bring speed and energy in Anaheim

Okposo out again; Johnson in net

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

ANAHEIM - When Justin Bailey was reassigned to Rochester toward the end of training camp, Phil Housley stressed the fact that he and general manager Jason Botterill had been happy with Bailey's performance in the preseason. He was simply a casualty of a numbers game. 

Housley and Botterill passed that same message along to Bailey when they met with him upon his reassignment, telling him to work on the details of his game and earn his way back. 

"In years past, two training camps ago, I think the message wasn't the same," Bailey said. "For me it was great to hear that they felt like I gave them everything I could in training camp and going down there, I didn't have any regrets. It was all positive and something I could build on right away."

Video: Pregame: HOUSLEY

Bailey went down and scored two goals in three games with the Amerks, and with the Sabres in need of some speed as they search for their first win, he was recalled on Sunday morning. He'll be in the lineup when the Sabres meet the Anaheim Ducks this evening. 

"We needed a little shot in the foot right now," Housley said. "Hopefully his speed and energy will be effective for us."

Housley did not announce who will come out of the lineup to make room for Bailey. Kyle Okposo will miss his second straight game due to an illness, but the remaining 13 forwards and seven defensemen will all take warmups. 

Bailey automatically injects a unique combination of speed and size into the lineup. In Rochester, he's worked on using that skillset to gain possession in the offensive zone.

"I'm in on the forecheck a lot, I think I'm either arriving right when the D does or right before," Bailey said. For me, it's getting over pucks, making sure if I'm getting to the puck first I'm getting over and holding onto possession rather than getting hit and losing it. I'm just trying to focus on that.

Video: Pregame: BAILEY

Chad Johnson will start in net for the Sabres, who are playing the second leg of their first back-to-back set of the season. Buffalo lost 3-2 in Los Angeles on Saturday night.

"We addressed that this morning, all the things that are stacked against us," Housley said. "Travel, third game in four nights, short rest time. We've addressed that. We just need to be really smart with our game.

"We need to use our energy to the best of our ability, and that means our puck management has to be really good."

Coverage begins with GMC Gamenight on MSG-B at 8:30 p.m., or you can listen live on WGR 550. The puck drops at 9 p.m. 

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