Sabres' Rodrigues was shocked he wasn't playing

October 08, 2019 - 3:05 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Many were surprised when Evan Rodrigues was one of the healthy scratches for the first three games. An upper-body injury to Conor Sheary is going to give Rodrigues a chance to play Wednesday against Montreal. The forward said he was shocked he wasn't playing, "Yes, definitely. It's not a situation I thought I'd be in, but it happened, so now I just put my head down and keep working."

Rodrigues of course wasn't happy to be sitting, but Ralph Krueger said he handled it like a pro. "Evan's been outstanding, he's the one that said to me, somebody is going to be in this spot all season long, but he took it really well, he stayed active, he's been working hard, but he's been nothing but supportive to his teammates and to the process."

Rodrigues has been around long enough to know that he can't go out against the Canadiens and try to do too much. He said, "I'll just bring the same work ethic and effort that I always do and just play my game. I'm confident in my ability."

Rodrigues has never played a NHL game with Jimmy Vesey, but he knows him very well because they work together in the summer. Rodrigues thinks they can get an immediate chemistry, "I think so, I skated with him all summer in Boston and he has a real good shot, so I'm just going to try to find him in an open area."

From Vesey's point of view he said, "I think he's a very skilled player, he has a lot of poise when he has the puck and I thought we had a good practice, so I hope that carries over into the game.

"I think he can bring a lot to our lineup and I'm looking forward to playing with him."

Vesey acknowledged that they have never played together in Buffalo, but he thinks there can still be an immediate chemistry, "We have some familiarity, we know each other pretty well, not only getting to know each other in the summer, but playing against each other in college for three years."

Vesey played at Harvard while Rodrigues was at Boston University.

Rodrigues already has a chemistry with Casey Mittelstadt because they played together a lot last year. Mittelstadt is looking forward to it, "He plays well with the puck and can make plays all over the rink, so he brings a lot, I've played with him quite a bit and we'll try to pick up where we left off."

Mittelstadt got to know Rodrigues the minute he walked in the door. He said, "It's huge, even back to when I first got here a couple years ago, those six games I played with him, so he's probably the guy I'm most familiar with along with Shears and Okie, so I'm excited, it's going to be good to have him."

Whether it's Rodrigues or Conor Sheary on the wing, Mittelstadt still feel his line needs to be better, "I think overall as a line, we've got to be a little harder on pucks and get pucks into their end and play in their end.

"We're all pretty good at hunting the puck, so once we have it, we have to try to hang on to it and make plays and we should be fine."

Tuesday's lines:

Olofsson Eichel Reinhart

Girgensons Larsson Okposo

Vesey Mittelstadt Rodrigues

Skinner Johansson Sobotka

McCabe Ristolainen

Dahlin Miller

Scandella Jokiharju


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