Sabres' McCabe is questionable for Tuesday's game

Kyle Okposo isn't playing as much, but he has started to produce goals

Paul Hamilton
October 29, 2018 - 4:21 pm

Photo: Sergei Belski - USA TODAY Sports

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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Phil Housley said Jake McCabe has an upper-body injury, but he wouldn’t say if McCabe will be able to play Tuesday. McCabe missed practice which vaulted Rasmus Dahlin up with Rasmus Ristolainen. Nate Beaulieu played with Casey Nelson and Marco Scandella stayed with Zach Bogosian.

Up front, I find it interesting that as Kyle Okposo’s ice-time dwindles, his production increases. For the first six games of the season, the winger played between 14:44 and 20:34. He had no goals and three assists in that time.

In his last four games, Okposo has played 10:12, 11:09, 11:51 and 11:40 and he has three goals and an assist for four points. The former Islander has noticed his ice-time is down, and he’s not sitting on his laurels just because he has goals in three straight games, “I think I can do more with it, definitely some good things, but I think there’s still a lot more.

“I think in the offensive zone especially I can be more dynamic, more of a force. I know I’m not playing that much right now, but the team’s playing well and that’s it, I mean we’re doing a lot of good things, we’re growing as a group.”

When I spoke to Okposo in August, he said he spent a lot of the summer working on his skating. There have been a couple of times this season I’ve noticed that he’s is moving faster. He said, “I think of all of us have the mindset of playing quick, playing fast and it’s not necessarily skating fast, it’s working hard to get in the right spots and as a team we look faster because we’re all in the right spots.”

When Tim Murray signed Okposo to a free agent contract, he said he came to Buffalo because it had a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup than the Islanders. After two seasons of historic losing, Okposo said this year’s team is more like what he was expecting, “Yes I think you could say that, but I think when you come in, you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes and I think that we just had a lot of growing to do as a team and we’re still doing it. You can see the signs and the work that we’ve put into it. We did a lot of things to become a tighter knit group and everybody’s committed to doing the right things on and off the ice and that’s going a long way in our game.”

Okposo has played on a line, at times, with Casey Mittelstadt and sits next to him in the locker room. Phil Housley has spoken about how hard Mittelstadt is working to become a better all around player and Okposo has taken the fellow Golden Gopher under his wing, “I talk to him all the time and I know how passionate he is and I love it.

“I tell him all the time that don’t discount your instincts. He’s such a powerful offensive player in what he can do and at the same time, his play away from the puck and being good defensively, he’s definitely committed to it and he’s going to be a really good player.”

Evan Rodrigues said his wife gave birth to a boy on Sunday. Rodrigues served with Remi Elie as an extra defensive pair in practice. As far as I’m concerned, that was a wasted day of practice for those two as they get nothing out of playing defense. How do either one of the two young forwards get better playing defense in practice? They could've gotten just as much out of being in the gym or watching video. 

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