McCabe felt good in practice

The Sabres defenseman knows they must play better in October

Paul Hamilton
October 03, 2017 - 12:51 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Jake McCabe returned to practice on Tuesday and declared himself 100-percent and ready to play.

McCabe was on a pairing with Victor Antipin and he said they communicated just fine, “It is the first time we’ve played together, but we actually talked a ton out there, we communicated well and I thought the switches in our D-zone went well. I think it’s really coming along for him.”

“For Victor, it’s definitely a new country, a new language, but hockey is hockey. It’s probably different in the KHL or on the Olympic ice, but he’s making great adjustments and he’s going to be a good player.”

The Sabres haven't played since Friday and opening night isn’t until Thursday. McCabe and his teammates are starting to get anxious, “It’s been long, this month has been going on forever, so it’s like, lets drop the puck finally.”

Coaches love to practice, but even Phil Housley feels it’s time to get going, “I think the guys are ready with this long break and that’s why we broke it up yesterday without going on the ice, but we’re excited. The home opener is going to be important.”

Last season with Jack Eichel out, the Sabre started with just one win in six games. In 2015, they only won four of 11 in October. McCabe knows that has to change, “That’s just it, when you start behind the 8-ball like we’ve done, when you’re scrambling for points at the end of the year, they are hard to come by.”

“Yes, we did have injuries in the previous years, but even our starts in this preseason have been very subpar, so that’s something that we really need to dial in here at the start of the season and especially in our first game, make a statement in front of our home crowd that you know we’re coming to play this year and we really have to have a good first 20 minutes to set the tone for us.”

Housley went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals with Nashville last season so he knows what he wants to see, “Everybody wants to get out of the gate in a good way because it sets you up for the second half of the season.”

Zach Bogosian and Justin Falk missed practice on Tuesday. Housley said Falk is day-to-day and will be reevaluated on Wednesday. Housley added that he doesn’t expect him on the ice on Wednesday. Bogosian is day-to-day and according to Housley, making progress and he again said they’ll know more tomorrow.”

Housley felt practice was a good measure for Marco Scandella because he did a lot of battle drills.

Housley tweaked his lines a little bit from Sunday:

Kane - Eichel - Pominville

Pouliot - O’Reilly - Okposo

Girgensons - Reinhart - Griffith

Larsson - Josefson - Nolan (Moulson)


Beaulieu - Ristolainen

McCabe - Antipin

Scandella - Tennyson (Gorges)

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