• Ben Blakely

"It's Been Difficult to Find Traction," Eric Staal Talks Sabres Facility Shutdown, Time in Buffalo


Photo By: Sara Schmidle (NHL Getty Images)


BUFFALO, N.Y. --- The Buffalo Sabres were back on the ice Thursday for their morning practice as they prep for Monday's scheduled game against the New York Islanders.

But the focus post-practice was on veteran center Eric Staal. The 18-year NHL veteran spoke with the media after practice, saying the team followed the protocols, but the shutdown is behind them.


"We did what we were supposed to do and this happened and it is unfortunate. But you come to work every day to compete and practice to get better, and we will continue to do the same things building towards Monday," Staal said.


Monday's schedule game against the Islanders will be the first action for the Sabres since their facilities were shut down after their January 31st loss to the New Jersey Devils.




The closure of the Sabres facilites has caused the NHL to postpone six games for Buffalo, while the Devils have had to postpone their past nine games.


But while the finger pointing continues on who is to blame for the outbreak, Staal said the main focus for the Sabres is on what they can control: their game style.


"You wake up every day and you worry about what you can control," Staal said. "Right now it is the ability to come to the rink and have fun while practicing hard and it's felt really good."


Their has been no update as to which of the nine players on the NHLs COVID Protocol list will be available for Monday's game, but their is optimism that some of them may return for Saturday's practice.