Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for Buffalo Sabres goalie Devon Levi, as he awaits for his immigration status to be finished. While the young netminder can’t practice with the team, he did take to the ice once practice was officially over on Thursday.
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Sabres head coach Don Granato and the organization doesn't have any control over this, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
“I do want to get him out there, and it’s unfortunate for him because he’s so ready to go," said Granato after Thursday's practice. "The hope is that today it’ll clear and we can move on, but that would’ve been a nice practice to have him in today.”
In other goalie news, Craig Anderson missed Thursday's practice for a maintenance day, while Eric Comrie declared himself ready to play whenever the coaches want to use him.
Comrie has now recovered from his second injury of the season. His whole season has been inconsistent, which has led to some frustrations.
"The first little bit we go through a bunch of injuries, and then I get injured, come back, start feeling good, then that 10-goal game happens and get hurt again," said Comrie on Thursday following practice. "You’ve just got to stay positive and stay in the process.”
Comrie feels there have been times this year where he felt good, but then something else happens.
“I felt really good in practice the day before the Dallas game, but that’s hockey," Comrie said. "The funny thing was that game was 5-3 with 11 minutes left and we had a chance, but then it went off the rails. I feel like I’m playing good hockey. My reactions are sharp and pretty dialed in.”
The 10-4 Dallas loss was a complete breakdown from goalie, to the defense to the forwards. Comrie made 39 saves in that game, but the team gave up 49 shots. He said it was good early on.
“It was strange, because I stopped the first four breakaways, and that felt pretty good. Then they just started scoring and they just wore us out,” Comrie said.
This current collapse by the Sabres has been a complete and total collapse. Comrie says they win as a team and lose as a team.
“It really is everything right now," he said. "I think you look at the games, goalies want to stop pucks, defensemen want to not give up 2-on-1s and breakaways. Yes, players want to score on every shot, so it’s all of us as a team. We’re a team, we’re collective as a group, and we want to be better as a group together. We’re struggling as a group, and we’re going to succeed as a group.”
As Granato and his staff search for answers to get this team to play like they did before the pressure of the playoff race got to them, they tried to reinforce different concepts in Thursday’s practice.
“We’ve been, for a lack of a better term, stubbing our own toe," Granato put it. "A lot of the skate today was simple, and a lot of it was speaking to coaches yesterday. Video review was about the self-inflicted errors that have increased immensely to the point where we’re making it too hard on ourselves, and too easy on our opponents. The work and focus to limit those is really essential, at this point. It goes with playing tight. You start forcing things, and that’s probably a high volume area that needs to be cleaned up for us to get back to feeling good about how we’re playing.”
Jordan Greenway was also at practice on Thursday, but isn’t ready to play yet with an upper-body injury.