Sabres' Bogosian and Mittelstadt return to practice

February 14, 2019 - 3:03 pm
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres had their two injured players return to practice on Thursday. Zach Bogosian and Casey Mittelstadt were back, but somewhat limited. Phil Housley wouldn’t rule them out for Friday’s game and said, “Things went great, it was good to see them out there in a regular practice and we’ll know more tomorrow after pregame skate, but it was good they were getting up to speed."

Bogosian got injured against Detroit and didn’t play the Winnipeg or Islander games. He wouldn’t commit to playing Friday, but did say, “It was good, I just tried to fill in in practice today to get a few reps, so I’m just taking it a day at a time, but no word for tomorrow.”

Mittelstadt got hurt in Sunday’s game and was hopeful when he took the morning skate on Tuesday. He said it became apparent then that he wouldn’t be able to go, “I was a little sore after the game and felt better, so I went out there to see how it goes and felt good at first and then it kind of got worse.”

Mittelstadt isn’t afraid to play with some pain, but he said if it affects what he can do, he can’t go out and hurt the team, “I think the most important thing is knowing that you can play your game and not have it in your head. There a difference from having it hurting and being to the point where you’re not yourself, so that’s where we drew the line.”

Before the seven-game homestand started, I felt the Sabres needed to get 11 points. Brian Koziol said they needed 10 while Matt Bove felt nine was enough so we were all over the place. Phil Housley said no goals were set before the seven games started, “It’s a great homestand, but we’d like to get 14, but that’s not the case.

“We don’t set goals, obviously we knew where we stood coming into that homestand and this is the last game and it puts us in a good position at 4-2-1, but it’s going to be tough because New York’s playing some very good hockey right now, but we just continue to focus on the day-to-day process and not looking too far ahead.”

Mittelstadt knew they needed to do well in this homestand. He said, “No, we didn’t set anything, I think you want to win every game and you’re going to approach it that way, so I haven’t really looked at it too much, but if we win tomorrow, it’s definitely caps it off and it gives us some momentum going on the road, so that’s always big.”

Going into Thursday the Sabres are four points out of a playoff spot. With Mittelstadt being such a young player, I wondered if he did a lot of scoreboard watching, “Yes I do, I always check on scores and stuff, so we know how they’re doing, but we’ve got to control the things that we can control and that’s how we play and how we practice and get ready for every game, so the teams above us are playing well, but it’s out of our control, so we just have to go and keep playing games.”

Lawrence Pilut played some right defense in Sweden, but never did in the NHL. Against the Islanders, Pilut moved to the right side while Jake McCabe went to the left. Housley said, “It was really good, I think him and Jake had some really good minutes for us and we just made that subtle adjustment just to see how he’d fit in on that side.

“We had gotten a little too much zone time at times and I think Jake plays a little bit better on the strong side, so we just flipped that to see how Lawrence was going to react.”

 

Thursday’s lines:

Skinner  Eichel  Pominville

Sheary  Rodrigues  Reinhart

Smith  Sobotka  Thompson

Girgensons  Larsson  Okposo

Mittelstadt

 

Scandella  Ristolainen

Dahlin  Hunwick

McCabe  Pilut

Beaulieu  Bogosian

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