The team is finally trending in the healthy direction.
First, Jack Eichel is back on the ice with the team. That bears repeating. Jack Eichel is back on the ice with the team.
The franchise centerpiece made his first appearance with team since his injury in practice October 12, the day preceding the season opener. The injury had a recovery time of 6-8 weeks. It occurred six weeks ago Wednesday, so he’s right on schedule. He is clearly making progress, while skating as an extra and participating in some drills. He skated fluidly and there didn’t appear to be any lag in his speed or on his edges or turns.
“It’s nice to get out there with a bunch of other people instead of myself,” said Eichel, who has been skating solo for more than a week. “That’s what you miss the most when you’re hurt. You miss playing but you miss your time with the guys, being in the locker room at the same time as them, just being around them. It’s tough to not be on the same schedule as them. It’s nice to get back in the swing of things.”
“Teams go through lulls in the season, that’s why it’s 82 games. You don’t score goals for a couple of games and everyone is jumping on the fact you’re missing guys and what’s wrong with the team and everything like that. It was big for us to get that win against Pitt and it was a good win for us against Calgary to score four goals. There’s a lot of ups and downs in a season. For us, it’s just trying to rattle off wins when you can. It’s important not to get into those losing streaks like we did. We don’t want to lose games consecutively. That’s how you take yourself out of the picture quickly. We’ve got to start adding the wins up.” –Jack Eichel
Meanwhile, Ryan O’Reilly was back on line drills between Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo. He’s expected to play tonight against the Detroit Red Wings after missing the last five games with an oblique injury.
Bylsma said that Bogosian and Deslauriers are still “a long ways away” from returning. “Zach, I think three weeks today in his four-to-six-week range. Same thing for Nic.”
As for Kulikov, Bylsma said “I’d like to say there was an update on him. We’ve been on day-to-day but it’s more like a week-to-week time frame right now.”
With ROR, a crucial center, back in the lineup, the lines balance out considerably better.
In practice this morning, the lines were:
The Sabres host the Detroit Red Wings tonight, going for their third straight win. Puck drop is 7:05 p.m. EST.