The Sabres want the opener to get the season off right

October 4, 2018
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - It’s opening night for the Buffalo Sabres. Head coach Phil Housley has been around this league for 35 years, but he still gets excited for it, “Yes, of course I do, especially with the group that we have this year. I’m really excited for them because they put a lot of work into it and let’s face it, we have a lot of new people in that locker room, the vibe’s been really good, the work and effort has been there, so I’m excited to see how we’re going to respond tonight.”

Housley has changed around the locker room a little bit. It’s brighter and there are many pictures from the past hanging above the lockers. Part of the problem in recent years is players haven’t respected the crest. Many couldn’t care less about the history of this team and wouldn’t know who Gil Perreault is if they fell over him. Housley thinks respecting the Sabre crest and the history of this team is important, “Yes I think it’s important because a lot of guys put a lot of time and effort into this organization to bring it where it was. They had a lot of great success in earlier years and I think they should realize that the guys that bled for this jersey are important, so we just want to pay respect to them.”

The Bruins got pasted in Washington on Wednesday 7-0. You have to believe they’re going to be coming in angry for this game. Housley said, “We understand and have to respect where they’re coming from, but at the same time, we can control what we can control and we’re making it about us.

“We understand where they’re going to be, they’re going to be desperate and they’re going to have a response, but we can control what we can control and we’re going to try to play our game.” 

Jack Eichel knows the Bruins will be ready, “It’s a good test for us tonight, they’re going to be ready to go after playing in Washington last night and not getting the outcome that they wanted, but it’s going ot be a good environment and I’m excited.”

This will be Eichel’s first game as captain of the Buffalo Sabres and he said he’s going to be the same person, “I don’t want to change too much, I am who I am and I want to continue to develop and grow, but I want to stick to my identity of who I am as a person and just try to be a good leader.”

Things seem to be different in the locker room with all the change that’s gone on. Eichel said that’s what’s needed, “The team’s getting closer, guys are getting out of their comfort shell and I think we’re trying to build relationships and that’s what’s going to be most important for our season.” A good example of that is Eichel was the first one on the ice Wednesday to talk to the newest Sabre, Remi Elie. Eichel has gone out of his way to make new players feel comfortable.

The question is what is different? Eichel said, “I think we’re more focused, I think we have more of an idea of what we want to do and accomplish. I think we had a better start through camp and I thought as a group we’ve come a bit closer, so I think where we are now as compared to the last few years I think we’re in a better spot.”

Carter Hutton gets the call in goal for his first game as a Sabre. Last season with St. Louis, Hutton was 17-7-3 with a 2.09 goals against and .931 save percentage.

Lines for the game:

53 Skinner - 9 Eichel - 23 Reinhart

43 Sheary - 10 Berglund - 72 Thompson

17 Sobotka - 37 Mittelstadt - 21 Okposo

28 Girgensons - 71 Rodrigues - 29 Pominville

 

6 Scandella - 55 Ristolainen

19 McCabe - 26 Dahlin

82 Beaulieu - 8 Nelson

 

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pre-game show at 6:00 live from (716) Food and Sport when they’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin.