Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – There was an incident in the ECHL over the weekend that involved Buffalo Sabres goalie Malcolm Subban’s brother, Jordan.
Jordan - playing with the South Carolina Stingrays - was in a scrum involving Jacksonville Icemen defenseman Jacob Panetta. As it went on, Panetta made, what was perceived by Subban to be, a racist gesture.
Because of this incident, Penetta has been released by the Icemen.
Kyle Okposo has been a victim of many racist incidents in his life, and he can’t believe that this is still an issue in 2022.
“I’ve been through that before. I’ve had that feeling, and I can understand the rage that he displayed after, because it cuts you to the core," Okposo said. "It’s a difficult thing that we’re still dealing with things like this in our society.
“I think that the best way to effect change is through people that you know and have real and honest conversations. I think social media is, in a lot of ways, just garbage. There’s so much negativity that gets spread through comments and it’s not real. You wouldn’t say something face-to-face that you’re going to post in somebody’s comments, that’s part of this problem. That you’re just allowed to say whatever you want, and the violence and racist thoughts just perpetuate in that setting. So I think we just need to start talking to people, because it’s sad. I hope we can continue to move forward as a society, because it’s not going to change overnight, and we need to continue to learn how to treat people with respect.”
Sabres head coach Don Granato is very concerned about this issue too, and he plans in speaking to Malcolm Subbam about it.
“He had surgery a few days ago, and obviously I thought about him quite a bit," Granato said. "I’m going to connect with him as soon as I can, but Kevyn [Adams] reached out to him and had a good conversation.
“It is sad, disturbing. I do believe that the rallying of people in unfortunate incidents that happen is really inspiring and motivating, and influential from a league and hockey standpoint.
“There’s issues that have to be dealt with, but it’s a reflection of the person or people. I think the sport is healthy in response, and is healthy in the fact they care, because we all want to do the right things. It’s learning how to do them better.”
Granato, of course, was watching Sunday night and cheering for the Buffalo Bills against the Kansas City Chiefs. He said if he lost Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Playoffs series where his team gave everything it had, he would spend a long time with the "what ifs".
“As a coach, you second guess. It’s your job to second guess what you did. Should I have done this? Should I have done that? Did I communicate to players well enough? Did I not? What did we do in practice? Did it help or did it hurt?," Granato said. "So you’re always taking an inventory of what you did, and you did what you didn’t do.”
Okposo has become a full-blown Bills fan since he lives here year-round. He said they going crazy during the game.
“The last three minutes, we’re cheering, high-fiving and then down-and-back, up again and then down," he said. "It was hard to see the result. You just saw how good of a football game that was. I know how much the Bills and Sabres mean to Buffalo, and I was crushed.”
Okposo is progressing well and returned to practice on Monday in a non-contact sweater. He likely will return on Saturday in Arizona against the Coyotes.
Alex Tuch was given a maintenance day from practice, but Granato said he’ll be fine.
Casey Mittelstadt and Zemgus Girgensons will return to the lineup Tuesday in Ottawa.
Will Butcher is feeling better from a rib injury and practiced fully.
Skinner – Thompson – Jankowski
Krebs – Mittelstadt – Bjork
Asplund – Cozens – Olofsson
Girgensons – Eakin – Hayden
Dahlin – Jokiharju
Samuelsson – Pysyk
Bryson – Hagg
Butcher – Okposo