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Sharpen Up: March 10, 2018

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The Sabres host the Vegas Golden Knights for the first time ever at KeyBank Center this afternoon. It's a 1 p.m. faceoff so we hope you join us for a Kids Day Game

But if you have to stay home, it's basically a Kids Day Game on our broadcast, too. Members of the Academy of Hockey, including former NHL players Kevyn Adams and Matt Ellis, will be present on the broadcast throughout the game to break down plays and join in on the intermission discussions. Academy members will also be on hand to talk about the importance of development and programs that are offered.

That'll start on the GMC Game Night pregame show at 12:30 p.m. on MSG.

Here's what you need to know.


Video: Game Preview vs. Vegas


Friday's news and notes

Video: Sabres Now (3/9/18)

The team announced yesterday that Kyle Okposo is out indefinitely with a concussion. The Sabres alternate captain collided with Senators forward Bobby Ryan during the second period of Buffalo's 4-3 shootout win in Ottawa on Thursday. 

From the Ice Level Practice Report… 

"It was an unfortunate play, they just ran into each other," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "… I thought he looked really good last night on the flight home, so we'll just have to go day-to-day with that, see where he's at."

The collision was particularly unsettling given Okposo's history with head injuries. He missed the final six games of last season with a concussion, when a negative reaction to sleep medication sent him to intensive care.

He addressed his recovery from that injury last summer in a blog for

Video: After Practice: HOUSLEY

"It's awful," alternate captain Ryan O'Reilly said. "I didn't see the hit, but you see him on the ice after and just praying he's OK. It's a tough bounce. He's been through a lot, but hopefully it's a speedy recovery and he's back with us soon."

Housley said that the concussion Okposo dealt with last season hasn't given the team any extra cause for concern at this point. 

"I don't think so," he said. "From my personal knowledge, just seeing him last night, I thought he was in a good place. Obviously, there's things that can happen down the road. But from my perspective, I thought he was in good spirits, so that's a good sign."

Bailey recalled

The Sabres are dealing with quite a few injuries so yesterday evening, they called up forward Justin Bailey, who has five points (4+1) in his last five games with the Amerks.

We'll see if we can find out where he'll slot into the lineup when Phil Housley addresses the media later this morning.

Today's matchup

From the Game Notes

  • This is the second of two meetings between the Sabres and Golden Knights this season.
  • Last meeting: Vegas defeated Buffalo 5-4 (OT) in Las Vegas
  • This is the second game all-time between Buffalo and Vegas.


  • The Sabres enter today's game with a 13-4-0 record all-time in the first home game against teams that joined the league via expansion after 1970. The last such game was a 2-1 loss vs. Columbus on Jan. 23, 2001.


  • Sam Reinhart has totaled 25 points (10+15) in his last 24 games.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 24 points (6+18) in his last 31 games dating back to Dec. 29. Ristolainen's 24 points during that span tied for seventh among NHL defensemen entering play Friday.
  • Ryan O'Reilly has recorded 13 points (3+10) in his last 13 games.
  • Jason Pominville has totaled six points (2+4) in his last six games.
  • Marco Scandella has scored four goals in his last 10 games.


And more from the Ice Level Practice Report… 

The Golden Knights sit atop the Pacific Division with 91 points and just 15 games to go.

While their success as come as a shock to some, O'Reilly said he hasn't been all that surprised.

"Not really," he said. "You look at the players they have, the depth they have. They're bringing on all these guys, a lot of them are coming from successful teams. They're all veteran players I think have been around. When you bring a group like that together, you kind of see … how consistent they are and how they've found a way to work. 

"I didn't maybe expect then to be at the top, but you expect them to at least be competing every night. What they've done is very impressive."

Credit cards now accepted for 50/50 sales

The Sabres announced yesterday that, as a result of a new state law that was spearheaded by two local state legislators, the Buffalo Sabres Foundation 50/50 Raffle is now able to accept credit cards for ticket purchases

Fans can use a credit or debit card to purchase tickets starting with today's game. Credit cards will be accepted for Sabres and Bandits home games at the 50/50 kiosks located on the 100 and 200 levels, as well as the suite level. 

The Sabres were one of the lead advocates for change in the state's gaming laws, which ultimately resulted in the passage of the Charitable Gaming Act of 2017.

The new measure, which was sponsored by Senator Pat Gallivan and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, allows non-profit organizations in New York State the ability to accept credit cards for the purchase of raffle tickets. It was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo last December.

"The Charitable Gaming Act of 2017 will not only allow us to raise more dollars for Western New York charities, but it also addresses a customer service issue, as our growing number of fans who rely on electronic forms of payment will now be able to participate in our 50/50 raffle," said Rich Jureller, President of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation. "We are truly grateful for the efforts of Pat and Robin in getting this initiative enacted. We are very optimistic that the new law will allow us better serve the charities we support."

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