Olofsson joins the Sabres on the ice for Saturday's practice

The rookie winger is close to returning after missing more than a month with a lower-body injury

Pat Malacaro
February 08, 2020 - 3:37 pm
Victor Olofsson

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

Victor Olofsson has been out of the Buffalo Sabres lineup for more than a month after suffering a lower-body injury on Jan. 2 against the Edmonton Oilers. However, the rookie forward joined the team on the ice on Saturday at KeyBank Center as he continues to near a return to the lineup.

Head coach Ralph Krueger still expects the rookie to miss another week or more as he builds back up his endurance, but the noted that, “for Victor, it’s just getting his mind space back into what he needs to do. I mean, you go from the lack of speed you’re on a day-to-day existence, to the National Hockey League speed, which will come back at him.” Krueger continued, “we need to be patient on this one, but the few practices that we’re gonna find in this week where we have six games in 10 days, every practice will be valuable for him, of course.” Olofsson played nearly 14 minutes before his injury against Edmonton.

Olofsson admitted that he is, “not quite there yet, but it was nice to get the feel of the game again and it’s good kind of have a little bit. I know it’s not much contact, but [to have] a few guys around you, you have to kind of be aware of where you have your teammates and the opponents.” He worked into the team’s 3-on-1 drill, interchanging with Johan Larsson on the wing. He had his greatest success this year while being paired with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart.

Olofsson said he has been skating and working on his strength work while he has been away from the team during the rehab process. “This is something new... I’ve been trying to stay really positive and just look at it as an opportunity to get stronger and come back with a fresh start.” Buffalo could use not only his offense in the lineup, but his fresh legs when he is ready.

Krueger tried to find the positive in the injury, adding that he, “always find these injury situations [to be] opportunities for players if they use them properly. He’s been able to observe the game from the outside, we’ve been interacting with him quite a bit, and I think it’s going to take him even to another level of maturity.” The rookie has 35 points this season, including 16 goals for the Sabres.

The blue and gold skated for less than an hour a day before their meeting with the Anaheim Ducks. Buffalo will be playing their third game in four days and fourth in six days. The schedule does not lighten up until after this Thursday’s tilt with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The defense did not use any consistent pairings during the skate, but the forwards did show a preview of what the combinations could look like for Sunday:

 

Vesey - Eichel - Reinhart

Frolik - Lazar - Joahnsson

Girgensons - Larsson - Wilson (Olofsson)

Skinner - Sheary - Rodrigues

 

The blue and gold also worked on the power play, where the units remained the same as they have been the last several games:

 

PP1:

           Ristolainen

Eichel - Reinhart - Johansson

              Dahlin

 

PP2:

                  Vesey

Montour - Skinner - Sheary

                   Miller

 

The Sabres and Ducks will drop the puck just after 3 p.m. on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network – WGR Sports Radio 550. Pregame coverage with Brian Koziol begins at 2 p.m.

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