It's a fair assumption that, when the Buffalo Sabres take the ice in lavender sweaters for Hockey Fights Cancer Night prior to their game against Carolina on Saturday, nearly everyone on the ice or in the stands will be able to call to mind a person in their life who's been affected by the disease.
Phil Housley, for example, will think of his mother. MaryLee Housley was 59 when she passed away from glioblastoma in 2000.
"She's the one that used to bring me to the rink," the Sabres coach recalled. "My brother (Larry) and I are one year apart, my dad would bring my brother to the rink and my mom would bring me to the rink and just a great supporter.
"I still can remember her ringing that cowbell back in the day and just showing her support. She loved to come to the games and she was a great person to lean on."
Video: PREVIEW: CAR at BUF (11/18/17)
Hockey Fights Cancer Night, hosted in partnership with the Courage of Carly Fund at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, is part of the NHL's annual initiative to raise money and awareness toward cancer research.
It also serves as an outlet for players to honor their loved ones who have battled the disease.
READ: A message from Karin Housley
"Cancer affects everyone. I'm no exception," Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella said. "I lost my dad a couple of years ago, so it's a special night for me. Everybody knows somebody who's been affected. It's a big night and I'm just going to play hard tonight."
Scandella's father, Francesco, passed away following a bout with prostate cancer in 2015.
"I just think about him every day," Scandella said. "He taught me everything I know. He was just a great example for me on how to be a man, so I just take that with me and I play with that every game and try to make him proud."
The lavender jerseys that the Sabres will wear during warmups will be available at auctions.nhl.com immediately following the game, and autographed Hockey Fights Cancer hats will be available for $20 at KeyBank Center. All fans in attendance on Saturday will receive a commemorative lavender scarf.
If you can't make it to the game, coverage on MSG-B begins at 6:30 p.m. with the GMC Gamenight Pregame Show. You can also listen live on WGR 550, with puck drop set for shortly after on 7 p.m.
Slowing down the Hurricanes
Video: Phil Housley Pregame
The Sabres were disappointed with the way they handled the speed of the Detroit Red Wings in a 3-1 loss on the road on Friday. They'll have to do better against the Hurricanes, another team that has the ability to fly up and down the ice.
"They're a very fast team and they like to get the puck to the net," Scandella said. "They're kind of a sneaky team. They don't have superstars per say but they have a lot of really good, effective players that play the game hard, play the game honest. We're going to have to take away time and space."
The Sabres did not skate Saturday morning, but Housley did hold a team meeting at KeyBank Center.
"We've been put in this position before and had a great response," Housley said. "You look at last night's game, it didn't sit well with me. I don't think it sat well with them. Hopefully we can come out, have a strong first period and respond in the right way."
More time for Criscuolo
With so much of the game having been played on special teams on Friday, Kyle Criscuolo was limited to just 6:56 of ice time in his NHL debut. According to Housley, that ice time wasn't a reflection of his play.
"In those minutes, I thought he was our best effective player," Housley said. "He played well in his own end, finishing checks, bringing energy. He had a scoring chance in the second period. We're going to try and find some more ice for him."
Despite the limited ice time, Criscuolo was able to record two shot attempts and two hits against the Red Wings.
Rodrigues, Nylander play in Rochester
Evan Rodrigues and Alexander Nylander both returned from injury and played for the first time this season in Rochester's 4-2 win over Hartford on Friday. Rodrigues had been out since the preseason with a hand injury, while Nylander sustained his injury during the Prospects Challenge in September.
Rodrigues appeared to be on a track to make the NHL roster with his play in the preseason, and Housley said his reassignment to Rochester was partially a matter of regaining his timing.
"It's going to take time," Housley said. "When you miss that much time in camp and moving forward in the regular season, you have to find your timing back. That's one of the reasons why we brought him down."
In other injury news, Housley said that forward Jacob Josefson and defenseman Zach Bogosian both continue to skate on their own but remain week-to-week.
9 Evander Kane - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
67 Benoit Pouliot - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
25 Seth Griffith - 22 Johan Larsson - 29 Jason Pominville
28 Zemgus Girgensons - 51 Kyle Criscuolo - 17 Jordan Nolan
6 Marco Scandella - 41 Justin Falk
19 Jake McCabe - 82 Nathan Beaulieu
4 Josh Gorges - 93 Victor Antipin
31 Chad Johnson
40 Robin Lehner