Sabres Practice, Adams Addresses Media
The Buffalo Sabres are on the ice! For the first time in 7 days the boys are together for a practice skate, some of the boys anyway. Coach Ralph Krueger was absent from the skate as he is still in protocol.
The lines looked like this.
Ullmark Hutton Johansson
The ability to have a practice is the good news. The bad news, as you can see, is the inability put together four forward lines.
The Sabres have a game scheduled in 6 days. February 15th to be exact. This game has not been postponed as of yet. The message I receive from this is that the team expects to be able to ice a full roster on that date.
There must be an expectation within the organization that the players currently participating in the NHL's covid protocol program will be cleared by game time. This means they'd need to have two negative test results within a 48 hour time frame between now and then.
This leads me to believe that the better part of the Sabres players in protocol are there because of contact tracing versus positive test results. To recover from just a mild case of covid-19 takes around two weeks. Most of the Sabres players who are benched have entered the protocol program within the last week or so. If they actually had covid-19, their chances of being ready to play on the 15th would be minimal and unreasonable. For everyone's sake, let's hope that game doesn't get postponed.
Following today's practice, Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams held a press conference. His approachable and mild mannered style are truly a welcome change from the last couple buzzards filling that role. He's so much more comfortable dodging questions that it almost feels like he explained something.
In addressing the health of the individuals within the Sabres organization, Adams did explain that he's had a serious conversation with assistant coach Don Granato who had a life threatening case of strep just over a year ago which kept him off the bench for several games. Granato, was at practice today which is a good sign.
The GM also said there is a small group of staff members now in the protocol but he declined to name names and say how many.
Adams also says he has been in frequent daily contact with coach Ralph Krueger who had given the Sabres permission to release his covid-19 status. Adams did not go into details about the coach's symptoms but he did say that he trusts the Sabres' medical staff is giving the coach a high standard of care.
When asked about player morale, Mr. Adams gave the party line in saying that morale is good and everyone is staying positive and looking forward to getting back on the ice.
Questions also arose about the decision to play New Jersey in the game that apparently resulted in the covid spread among the Buffalo skaters. The GM explained he spoke to NJ and NHL brass before the Saturday game and everything looked good to go on all sides. With that, there was no conversation about the game scheduled for the following Sunday against the same team.
Regarding the placement of Sabres players into protocol, one can't help but wonder if Buffalo's Contact Tracing Officer potentially identified the Devil(s) responsible for the spread. Then, after closely reviewing the game, put Sabres who had close contact with the Devil spreaders into protocol.
It should be noted that the two linesmen officiating that weekend's Sabres/Devils super spreader back-to-back event are also now in protocol. Yet, the NHL still claims it has no definitive proof that covid is being transmitted during the game.
The other major topic Adams covered was in essence about how much more the league can take. In saying he's been advised that he is "not a doctor", Adams merely told the press that there are many voices being heard on this topic and basically its day to day.
The NHL's upper body injury is day to day. At least we get to talk about hockey. Today's full Kevyn Adams presser below.