The Buffalo Sabres were forced to postpone six games after a weekend series with the New Jersey Devils in late January, but the club has slowly returned to health and will play their first game in two weeks against the New York Islanders at the Key Bank Center on Monday.
Forwards Taylor Hall, Tobias Rieder, Dylan Cozens, Curtis Lazar, and Casey Mittelstadt, defensemen Jake McCabe, Brandon Montour, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Rasmus Dahlin and head coach Ralph Krueger were on the league’s COVID Protocol. Five players (Hall, Rieder, McCabe, Montour, and Dahlin) took the morning skate and expected to be in the lineup, and Krueger is expected to be behind the bench vs. New York.
Hall indicated over the weekend that he tested positive for the virus, but did not encounter any symptoms, while Rieder, Montour, and McCabe all were positive and had symptoms that lasted a few days.
“(I was) focusing on trying to just get healthy, that’s the biggest thing. A big group like that got it, guys weren’t feeling too good or (were) symptom-free. I had symptoms, so wasn’t feeling the best throughout the whole time but it’s over with now.” Montour said. “I think everyone’s excited to be back play(ing). It’s been over a week now and every time one of us who had symptoms or was positive, guys are excited to see them back in the rink.”
Krueger said that he had moderate-to-severe symptoms, but feels back to normal after taking to the ice for club practice on Sunday and again on Monday.
“I feel good to go. With the strong support around me, it makes it easier where they’ve done an excellent job.” Krueger said. “I felt really good in the skate today, in meetings this morning with coaches and interacting with players here and there. (I) feel ready to go, so hopefully, we’ll just take it a step at a time.”
The Sabres are currently tied for last place in the East Division with the Devils with 10 points(4-4-2) and have three-to-four games in hand on the rest of the division, but the NHL has not announced the rescheduled dates of the six games postponed against the Islanders, Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins.