Sabres' Okposo is questionable due to illness

October 12, 2017

San Jose, CA (WGR 550) - Phil Housley made changes on his forward lines and on his defense, but there may be more tonight against the Sharks. Kyle Okposo missed the morning skate. Phil Housley said the winger is under the weather, but could play in the game.

That put Matt Moulson on the right wing this morning with Ryan O’Reilly and Evander Kane. If Okposo plays, Moulson will likely sit out along with Victor Antipin.

In the last two losses to the Islanders and the Devils, both Robin Lehner and Chad Johnson were pulled. Buffalo has the third worst defense in the league with a 4.54 goals against and .865 save percentage. Only Pittsburgh and Winnipeg are worse.

Lehner is at 3.21 and a .908 save percentage. He said, “Every time a new coach comes in everybody expects, oh wow, everything looks great and it does, it does look great.”

“I think Housley’s a great coach, I think he’s trying to implement the right things, but lines are going to have to gel and if people like it or not, it’s a process,” Lehner said. “We want to get results, it takes a little time, but then again, it’s not OK.”

“These games we’ve been playing, it’s not been a system thing, it’s been a little bit lack of effort, it’s been some bad mistakes at the wrong times mixed in with not getting the good save at the right time.” “People can blame whoever they want, I don’t really care, but until we fix those areas and until we all get on the same page, we’re not going to get wins.”

Josh Gorges has been a healthy scratch in the first three games, but he’ll play tonight. He said it’s been hard, he knows he has to be professional about it, “It’s how you perceive the game every day, it’s how you come to the rink every day and it’s not an easy thing to do. When you’re not in, it sucks, but to come to the rink and mope around and to feel sorry for yourself doesn’t do me any good and it doesn’t do any of my teammates any good.”

“You come to the rink, you be professional, that’s my job, that’s what the team has asked of me and when the time comes, be ready to go and show what you can do and hopefully make an impression.”

Phil Housley thinks Gorges can help settle things down, “I think having that experience helps and I think it’ll help Jake because anytime we can communicate as partners, it helps.”

Antipin sits as he gets used to playing in the NHL. Housley said, “He does a terrific job of using his feet and I didn’t see it as much in the second or third games. He’s got to use that mobility to his advantage, he’s got to take charge, he has to want the puck and it was more of a trickledown effect if anything.”

“There’s a lot of guys that were nervous, so he’ll be back, we just don’t know when that’s going to be.”

San Jose comes in with home losses to Philadelphia and Los Angeles. The Sharks gave up nine goals in those two games. Martin Jones played in both games and will start tonight against Buffalo.

All World defenseman Brent Burns isn’t off to a good start. He has no goals and one assist and in minus five.

Join Brian Koziol for the pregame beginning at 9:30 when he’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Robin Lehner and Josh Gorges.


Tonight’s lines:

Kane  O’Reilly  Okposo (Moulson)

Girgensons  Eichel  Pominville

Pouliot  Larsson  Reinhart

Nolan  Josefson  Griffith


Scandella  Ristolainen

Beaulieu  Tennyson

Gorges  McCabe