Sabres return to practice for first time in more than a week

Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres gather around assistant coach Steve Smith in Tuesday’s practice.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – For the first time in more than a week, the Buffalo Sabres returned to the KeyBank Center. General Manager Kevyn Adams spoke to the media and kept a very positive attitude about the team coming back after more than a week off.

“The spirit of the group is really strong right now and I sense a relief to be back in our building and to be able to go on the ice and practice and I also sense an opportunity for this group to pull together and to say this is challenging, this happened, it’s unfortunate, but we’re going to rally together,” Adams said.

It was a much different look at practice. Nine players and coach Ralph Krueger weren’t there because they’re on the COVIDlist. Assistant coach Steve Smith ran practice. Kevyn Adams said Krueger was symptomatic with his positive COVID test last week, but wouldn’t say when he’d return to the bench.

“I’ve talked to him multiple times every day,” Adams said. “I feel very comfortable that he’s being looked after from our doctors and trainers. We’ll have to see yet where we go from here as we get into next week. We certainly hope that Ralph’s asymptomatic and comes out of hte protocols and he’s ready to go.”

Fans are upset with how this situation played out, but Adams avoided discussing any frustration among the team.

“I think you have to be careful a little bit on the word frustrated,” Adams said. “We are in an incredibly challenging situation world wide. This is evolving and changing. There’s different strain and everyone is doing their best to manage this and keep up. I think the important part is learning and understanding what happened and we still don’t have all the information exactly how this all played out.”

He also focused on taking the right steps to avoid a similar situation down the road.

“…how do we not let this happen again and what can we do differently and what can anyone that was involved do differently and then how do we rally around this as a team?” Adams said.

When it came to the players still practicing, Adams said they were worried about their teammates in protocol, but they could use this as a way to come together. 

“This is about us rallying together and bringing ourselves as a group into caring about each other and saying man, these guys that aren’t with us right now we got to support them, we got to get healthy, we got to really pull together in this fight as a Buffalo Sabres organization together and our fanbase and just kind of use that so that’s what I’m more interested in rather than looking back and being frustrated or upset it’s more about lets move forward and let’s do this together,” Adams said.

Now the Sabres get ready to play 46 games in 82 days, something Adams said becomes a new type of grind. It starts Monday, February 15th, against the Islanders at home.

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