Sabres' Skinner is happy with his place in the lineup

Buffalo also sends J.S. Dea back to Rochester

Paul Hamilton
December 04, 2019 - 1:13 pm
Jeff Skinner

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports


Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Recently, Ralph Krueger put Johan Larsson between Jeff Skinner and Conor Sheary. Of course, all the amateur coaches on Twitter howled that the Sabres coach had no clue what he was doing just like they did with Phil Housley, Dan Bylsma, Ted Nolan and Lindy Ruff.

It’s interesting that in three games, Larsson has four points, Skinner has three points and Sheary had a pair goals against New Jersey, scoring for the first time in 20 games.

Fans are convinced that Skinner is furious that he’s not playing on a line with Jack Eichel and is sorry he re-signed in Buffalo. Skinner has 11 goals in 28 games and is on a 32-goal pace. He said with a laugh, “I don’t think I’m really upset. I just want to win games, and everyone here wants to win games, including the coach. He puts out the best lineup that he thinks is going to win the game and as a player, you go out and play and try to help the team win.

“Lines change over a course of a season and we just try to focus on winning.”

Skinner started the season playing with Marcus Johansson and Vladimir Sobotka. Skinner liked being with them, “For me, you just try to find some chemistry with your linemates and work together to get on the same page. But in the end, you have to worry about your own game and what you bring to the table and that line had some success.”

Skinner has talked about how much he enjoyed playing with Sobotka because he’s a smart player that gave support to him and Johansson on both sides of the puck.

As far as playing with Larsson and Sheary, Skinner said, “I think the line’s playing well. It’s a good combination. Obviously Shears and Larry, they work really hard, they’re hard on pucks, they’re quick to battles and they win a lot of battles. For me, I just try to read off them, and hopefully we can keep it up.”

This line spends a lot of time in the offensive zone with the puck. Skinner said it’s because of the way they get in on the other team's defense, “For those two guys, it’s a pretty big strength in their game. Shears, in particular, he’s fast on the forecheck, he’s annoying to play against and he puts a lot of pressure on opposing teams’ defensemen. As the second guy in, it makes your job a little bit easier because they’re under a little bit more stress, and that’s been a positive in our line.”

With Larsson, you know what you’re getting, and that makes it very easy to read what he’s going to do. Skinner said, “He competes extremely hard and he wins a lot of his battles. I think as a winger, when you have a centerman that does that, it’s definitely easier to read, and right now he has a lot of confidence and he’s making some really nice plays with the puck. It’s fun to be on his wing right now.”

J.S. Dea won’t be going with the team to Western Canada has he was sent back to Rochester after Wednesday’s practice. Dea dressed for one game and played 5:53.

Krueger said Kyle Okposo is going on the trip and is still day-to-day. Evan Rodrigues has been cleared and is available to play if needed.

Rasmus Dahlin is still progressing from his concussion, but he will stay behind and won’t play in Calgary, Vancouver or Edmonton.

Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been named ECHL Goaltender of the Month for November. The Sabres' 2017 second round pick was 6-2-1-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

Luukkonen had back-to-back shutouts during the month and is third in the league in goals-against average and fifth in save percentage. Luukkonen didn’t start playing for Cincinnati until November because of offseason hip surgery.


Wednesday's lines:

Olofsson - Eichel - Reinhart

Skinner - Larsson - Sheary (Dea)

Mittelstadt - Johansson - Vesey

Girgensons - Asplund - Rodrigues



McCabe - Bogosian (Miller)

Montour - Ristolainen

Scandella - Jokiharju

Comments ()