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Thompson returns to practice ahead of matchup with Hurricanes

Notes from Tuesday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Tage Thompson was back on the ice for practice Tuesday after taking a maintenance day on Monday to rest an upper-body injury. 

Sabres coach Don Granato said the team will likely make a decision on the availabilities of Thompson, forward Dylan Cozens, and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson on Wednesday morning prior to their game against the Carolina Hurricanes at KeyBank Center.

Samuelsson has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury. Cozens sustained an upper-body injury in Winnipeg on Thursday and did not play the following game in Minnesota. Both have been full participants in consecutive practices.

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Girgensons to miss Nashville trip with non-COVID illness

Notes from Friday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Zemgus Girgensons missed practice on Friday and will not travel with the Sabres for their road game in Nashville due to a non-COVID illness, coach Don Granato announced. 

Girgensons fell ill overnight after skating 11:30 for the Sabres against Winnipeg on Thursday. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen previously missed Buffalo's game against Seattle on Tuesday due to an illness.

"We want to make sure there's nothing filtered to other guys," Granato said regarding the decision to hold Girgensons back in Buffalo. 

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Thompson excited for All-Star nod, hopes for teammates to join him

Fans can send additional Sabres players by voting now through Jan. 17

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Don Granato watched how Rasmus Dahlin gained confidence after participating in his first NHL All-Star Game last year. He sees the same potential for Tage Thompson - a scary thought for a player who already has 30 goals less than halfway through the season.

"[Dahlin] goes into the All-Star Game, he's around all the high-end talent in this league and he's closer to realizing that this is his peer group if he keeps working and doing the things that he's done," Granato recalled Friday. "I think that would be the same effect for Tage."

Thompson was announced as the Sabres' representative for the All-Star Game on Thursday night, when the NHL revealed initial eight-man division rosters comprised of one player from each of the league's 32 clubs. The final three players (two skaters, one goaltender) on each roster will be decided by a fan vote, which is active now through January 17. 

•   Vote Sabres at NHL.com/Vote

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'That's a sign' | Thompson, Sabres reflect on emotional win in D.C.

Players continued to express support for Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin following practice on Thursday

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Tage Thompson walked into the visiting dressing room inside Capital One Arena and quickly learned about the numerical significance of what he had just done - scoring his third goal of the game, and his 30th of the season, exactly three minutes into overtime against the Washington Capitals.

The Sabres had walked into the arena that night wearing T-shirts that read "Love For 3," the jersey number of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin. 

"I'm a big believer in God and I think that's a sign," Thompson said. "I don't know if you can make up something quite like that. I think prayer is a powerful thing, and that's really all you can do in this situation. That's what we're going to continue to do."

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Practice Report | Girgensons' hustle play helped seal win vs. Red Wings

Notes from Friday's practice at LECOM Harborcenter

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Zemgus Girgensons pounced on a chance to clinch a victory as he raced down the ice during the third period on Thursday, gaining ground on speedy Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin with each stride. 

The Sabres, perhaps feeling the affects of a 10-day break, had seen their five-goal lead dwindle to two against a Red Wings team that had completed a four-goal comeback in Pittsburgh one night prior. The Red Wings had been pressuring with an extra attacker at the time of Girgensons' foot race with Larkin. 

Girgensons not only won the race to the puck in the corner of the offensive zone, he then outmuscled Larkin for possession and found linemate Kyle Okposo for a much-needed, empty-net goal. The Sabres celebrated an emotional 6-3 victory a few minutes later. 

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Entering break on hot streak, Sabres look forward to second-half growth

Notes from Thursday's practice at LECOM Harborcenter

by Katelyn Kardaman @BuffaloSabres / Sabres.com

The Sabres had an early practice at LECOM Harborcenter on Thursday morning, just a day after finding out that their Friday matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning was being rescheduled due to impending inclement weather in Western New York.

Sabres captain Kyle Okposo and teammates will now embark on a short holiday break to spend valuable time with family and friends, before returning for a morning skate on Tuesday ahead of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

"We're bummed we don't play Friday, there's no question," Sabres coach Don Granato said. "We love playing, but it's rescheduled. We'll get that game back, obviously. So now you look at it and you say the break is good."

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Practice Report | Comrie progressing in recovery from lower-body injury

Notes from Tuesday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Eric Comrie skated again on Tuesday and is progressing in his recovery from a lower-body injury, the goaltender told reporters following practice at LECOM Harborcenter.

Comrie joined the Sabres for their three-game road trip out west and began practicing with the team last Thursday. He sustained his injury in Ottawa on November 16.

The Sabres have not set a timetable on his return to game action. Comrie said he feels close to 100 percent from a health perspective but is working towards returning to game speed.

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'He was amazing' | Breaking down Tuch's late PK in win over Coyotes

Notes from Sunday's practice in Las Vegas

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

LAS VEGAS - Alex Tuch stepped over the boards for a crucial penalty kill with the Sabres protecting a one-goal lead during the third period against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. He lined up to the right of Tage Thompson, who took the opening draw on the left dot in the defensive zone. 

What followed was a 31-second exhibition of speed, strength, and willpower that Sabres coach Don Granato deemed to be as impressive a shift as any he had seen all season.

"I've not seen as dominant a performance from an individual this year watching through the league," Granato reiterated inside T-Mobile Arena on Sunday.

"He was amazing, up and down the ice and past 30 seconds when you'd normally have fatigue, he was still overpowering guys to get a job done. It was skill-based, and it was based out of determination to just be better than the competitor."

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Practice Report | Jost prepares for return to Colorado

News and notes from Wednesday's Sabres practice

by Katelyn Kardaman @BuffaloSabres / Special to Sabres.com

After practice Wednesday, Buffalo Sabres coach Don Granato reflected on the moment he received dozens of text messages following the news that the Sabres were claiming Tyson Jost off waivers. 

"When we acquired him, my phone lit up with people talking about what a great person he is, what a talented hockey player he is, and he's certainly showed that," Granato said. "He just fits right in with these guys." 

Through his first 11 games, Jost has helped the Sabres to a 6-3-2 record since being claimed from Minnesota on November 19. 

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'It's a great barometer' | Thompson joins Dahlin, Cozens with NHL honor

Notes from Monday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Tyson Jost was briefly teammates with Tage Thompson during the 2017-18 season, when the San Antonio Rampage served as a joint AHL affiliate for the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues.

Jost and Thompson had both been selected during the first round of the NHL Draft one year prior - Jost to the Avalanche, Thompson to the Blues. Jost only played five games with the Rampage, but it was enough for him to notice the potential his 6-foot-6 teammate, then only 20 years old. 

"You could tell he had a ton of skill and a ton of potential," Jost recalled Monday. "It's great to see that he's living up to that and flourishing. Hard worker too, so he's deserved everything, all the accomplishments that he's gotten so far. I'm happy for him." 

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