Sabres stress importance of fast start this season


Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9) skates during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Edmonton Oilers, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Just one day left until the Sabres and the Washington Capitals drop the puck on brand new season. It’s the first of only 56 games, and a lot of teams cannot afford to fall behind since there isn’t as much time to catch up.

“I think it’s just taking it a game at a time,” winger Tage Thompson said. Obviously our schedule is pretty compact and we’ve got a lot of games back to back and a lot of games in a short amount of days so I think not looking too far ahead, just focusing on the now and making sure we are taking it a a game at a time, day at a time is going to give us our best chance. And then having a short memory. If you’re running into a rest rough patch throughout the season, they are going to happen, you’re going to face some losses and I think just blocking that out and moving forward is going to be a big thing as well”

In talking with the Sabres earlier this week, they said the importance of that fast start is the same no matter how long the season is. Their biggest focus is on the day-to-day and taking it one step at a time and dealing with potential setbacks throughout the year.

“You always want to get that energy out of the starting gate, so I think that philosophically that doesn’t change,” head coach Ralph Krueger said. “What’s important is with all the distractions that we have in this new environment or things we don’t have, like the fans. It’s being able to focus on what we can control, what we can influence within that framework of the game. That continues to be the way that we are going to operate. Keeping the picture small, focusing on the next task, dealing with setbacks if they come, when they come in a constructive way so that’s a given. Right now the picture I have to tell you it’s just on Thursday and nothing else and it’s getting smaller and smaller and smaller.”

Buffalo’s had a solid start each of the past two seasons. They won four of their first five games last year and three of their first five the year before. The puck drops on a brand new season at the KeyBank center Thursday at 7 o’clock against the Washington Capitals.

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