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Sabres get back to work, expect 'emotional response' in Calgary

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

CALGARY - Coming into the season, the Sabres used honest conversation as a means toward rebounding from a last-place finish. They diagnosed what needed to change, opened the floor for players to speak and focused on learning to ride the waves of an 82-game season. 

They had that experience to lean on when they came to work at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday, where they broke down what went wrong in a 7-2 loss in Edmonton the night prior.

"I think it's just more of being honest with each other," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "Obviously, we didn't like the way we played. To move forward, sometimes you've got to take a step back and look at what's going on. 

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Thompson practices on top line with Eichel nearing return

Forward remained on a line with Skinner and Eichel at practice on Thursday

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Jack Eichel said he felt back to 100 percent following a full practice at Harborcenter on Thursday. 

Sabres coach Phil Housley wouldn't go so far as to confirm Eichel for the team's game in Carolina on Friday, but he was encouraged by what he saw during the hour-long practice.  

"I thought he did quite well, a pretty high-tempo, bump-and-grind practice," Housley said. "It's good to see him out there. I thought he did a good job today."

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Eichel, Girgensons return to practice with Sabres

Housley says both forwards' playing status will be determined Tuesday

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

It took until about halfway through their practice at KeyBank Center, but Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel was back on the ice with his teammates on Monday for the first time since aggravating an upper-body on New Year's Eve.  

Eichel skated as an extra defenseman during the latter portion of practice in addition to taking reps on power-play drills. He stayed on for an extended session with rehab and development specialist Dennis Miller after practice concluded. 

Sabres coach Phil Housley said Eichel's status for the team's home game against New Jersey on Tuesday will be decided in the morning. The same goes for Zemgus Girgensons, who was a full participant in practice for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury on Dec. 22.

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Pilut adjusted on the fly in win over Panthers

Rookie defenseman tallied assist, had plus-3 rating in 4-3 victory

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

All things considered, Thursday turned out to be a pretty good day for Lawrence Pilut. 

Pilut left Buffalo's morning skate knowing he'd back in the lineup after sitting out two games as a healthy scratch. He was named to the AHL All-Star Classic in the afternoon, then tallied his fourth NHL assist as part of a plus-3 night in the Sabres' 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers.

That's not to say any of it came easy. The rookie defenseman used his time off to watch and learn from his teammates, part of his continued education in learning the North American game. His coach was pleased with the way he responded after exhibiting rust early against in his return. 

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Rodrigues gets chance on top line with Eichel nursing injury

Forward skated with Skinner and Reinhart on Wednesday

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

With Jack Eichel nursing an upper-body injury, the Buffalo Sabres were left to press on without their captain for practice at Harborcenter on Wednesday. 

Sabres coach Phil Housley said he expects Eichel's absence to be short-term but added that he'll have more definitive word on Thursday. Eichel left the team's game against the New York Islanders on Monday after skating 2:42 in the first period. He had been absent from practice the day prior. 

In the meantime, players emphasized that filling in for Eichel will take a full-team effort. 

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Sabres turn the page, look ahead to matchup with Islanders

Okposo, Rodrigues swap lines at practice; Wedgewood assigned to Rochester

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

With another key Eastern Conference matchup awaiting them on Monday, the Sabres came to work at Harborcenter Sunday morning and put their overtime loss to Boston in the rearview mirror. 

It's been mentioned as a point of emphasis throughout this season, the importance of staying even keel through the highs and lows of an 82-game season. Alternate captain Zach Bogosian said they kept that same mentality after letting a one-goal lead slip away late against the Bruins.

"I think the guys' spirits were up," Bogosian said. "Obviously we're not happy with the result last night but that being said, we can't get better today worrying about yesterday. We've got to make sure we're pushing forward. Today's a brand-new day. We're looking forward for tomorrow."

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Reinhart carries point streak into rematch with Capitals

Forward holds the NHL's longest active streak at 11 games

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

WASHINGTON, D.C. - When the final horn sounded on the Washington Capitals' 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital One Arena on Wednesday night, Alex Ovechkin's 14-game point streak officially came to an end.

Sam Reinhart stepped onto that same ice for practice on Thursday as the new owner of the NHL's longest active point streak. Reinhart has tallied at least a point in each of his last 11 games, the longest such stretch of his career and the best by a Sabre this season.

The stretch has brought his season total to 34 points in 35 games. He's already surpassed his 82-game assist total from last season (25) and is four helpers away from matching his career-high (30 in 2016-17). His 11 multi-point games this season are already a career-high. 

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Sabres release statement regarding Patrik Berglund

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

The Buffalo Sabres today announced that forward Patrik Berglund has been suspended indefinitely by the organization due to failure to report to the team. There will be no further information or comment at this time.

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Okposo, Sheary believe they can build off performance vs. Coyotes

Line centered by Mittelstadt broke through with goal on Thursday

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Kyle Okposo barreled into Los Angeles Kings defenseman Derek Forbort in the corner and knocked the puck along the boards to Rasmus Dahlin, pinching down along the half wall. He went to the net-front on a shot attempt from Casey Mittelstadt, then won another battle with Forbort in the opposite corner.

As Okposo drove to the net, Forbort was called for hooking. Jack Eichel scored seven seconds into the ensuing power play, sparking the Sabres come-from-behind victory over the Kings on Tuesday. 

It all started with that shift from Okposo, Mittelstadt and Conor Sheary, who brought that same intensity into their game against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. 

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Eichel has embraced leadership role, on pace for career year

Sabres captain making impact on and off the ice

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

It wasn't too long ago that Jack Eichel was an 18 year old beginning his NHL career, carrying the weight of being the No. 2 overall pick for a franchise that had experienced two straight last-place finishes. His defining quality off the ice might have been his sense of humor, which he wasn't afraid to show. 

Nowadays, Eichel is the 22-year-old captain of a team with another uber-talented 18 year old on its roster. That sense of humor is still there, but listening to Rasmus Dahlin describe Eichel on Wednesday offered a glimpse into how things have changed. 

"He's very serious," the rookie defenseman said. "He's passionate about the game and a great leader. Great guy and sick on the ice, of course. … He's a leader. I think he was born a leader. He's the guy who needs the 'C.'"

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