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Sharpen Up: January 30, 2017

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Break's over. 

This weekend in Los Angeles saw legends take selfies, Snoop and Bieber sport NHL jerseys and Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin play as linemates for a team coached by Wayne Gretzky. But when it was all said and done, Kyle Okposo was already looking ahead to the remainder of the season for the Buffalo Sabres.

"Obviously we're on the outside looking in and we have a tough road ahead. We've probably got to win seven of 10 the next three segments to really try and get in, cement the chance," he said. 

"That's not an easy thing to do, especially in the East. You see how it is in the East. We're at 49 points, we're tied for last in the conference and we're - what? - six points out of a playoff spot or something like that? That's insane. We can do it. I think we can make that push, but we just have to win games. We have to find ways to win games."

The Sabres are right back at it with practice this afternoon in preparation for their game against Montreal tomorrow. But before we move on to the Canadiens, let's take one last look back at All-Star Weekend.


NHL 100

The weekend started off with the League's unveiling of its top 100 players of the last century, and five Sabres made the cut including four players whose numbers hang in the rafters at KeyBank Center: Tim Horton, Gilbert Perreault, Pat LaFontaine and Dominik Hasek. The other was goalie Grant Fuhr, who played 64 games with the Sabres over parts of three seasons.

Video: Dominik Hasek won Vezina Trophy six times, Hart twice caught up with Perrault to talk about the event, and you can find that interview here.

The full list, which includes written profiles of each player, can be found here.

Also learned on Friday: Dominik Hasek uses a Sabres phone case.

Tweet from @NHL: "Excuse me Mr. Orr, can I grab a photo?" - The Dominator #NHL100


The Skills Competition

Okposo and the Atlantic Division won the Skills Competition on Saturday, and Okposo himself was involved in three events. The highlight of his night came during the Accuracy Shooting Challenge, when he beat former New York Islanders teammate John Tavares in a 1-on-1 matchup.

Video: OKPOSO: Skills Competition

"It's always something that I watched when I was a kid," Okposo said. "Ray Bourque was probably the best of all time at doing it. It's always been an event that I've really enjoyed."

Check out the recap of all three events here.


The All-Star Game

The Atlantic Division lost 10-6 in their matchup with the Metropolitan Division, so Okposo's experience was relatively short-lived. But he did tally an assist in the game with this beauty of a no-look pass to Erik Karlsson on a 2-on-1 rush.  

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: What a pass from Okposo �� #NHLAllStar

Here's Okposo speaking to the media after the game:

Video: OKPOSO: Post All Star Game

You can find a full summary of the game plus Okposo's thoughts on the weekend in Chris Ryndak's game recap.



Amerks well represented in Allentown

Cole Schneider, Justin Bailey and Linus Ullmark are representing Rochester at the AHL All-Star Classic in Allentown, Pa, and the trio put on a show at the Skills Competition on Sunday night. Ullmark stopped eight of 10 shots in the Live Rapid Fire Event and eventually won the Top Goaltender Competition. Schneider won the Accuracy Shooting Competition by knocking down all four targets on five attempts.

Tweet from @TheAHL: Stop, drop and roll

Bailey participated in the Fastest Skater Competition, and while his time of 13.788 seconds placed third on the night, it was still the sixth best in League history.

You can find a full recap of the night here. The AHL All-Star Classic begins at 7 p.m. on Monday night and can be seen live on MSG-Plus.


On Tap

The Sabres will practice in Montreal on Monday afternoon, and will be on hand to provide full coverage. In the meantime, keep an eye out for a new Sabres Prospects Report from Kris Baker.

Buffalo's first game back from the break will be against the Canadiens on Tuesday night, with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. on MSG-B. The puck drops at 7:30.

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