(WGR 550) – The thoughts of Western New York have been on fallen Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin, as he remains in a Cincinnati hospital trying to recover from going into cardiac arrest twice on Monday night.
Players from the Bills and Sabres know each other, go to each other’s games, have a lot of friendships and care about each other. Playing a hockey game in Washington against the Capitals on Tuesday couldn’t have been easy.
Buffalo came from behind in the third period, and it was Tage Thompson winning the game in overtime to complete his hat-trick of the season.
With the emotions of the last 24 hours, only general manager Kevyn Adams spoke after Tuesday's game. He, of course, was emotional about what happened Monday night in Cincinnati regarding Hamlin.
“Our thoughts, our hearts and our prayers are with Damar and his family and the entire Bills organization,” said Adams at the top of his postgame press conference.
Buffalo won a thrilling game on Tuesday, and was able to provide an escape for a hurting community.
“This is something that makes the game itself secondary," Adams admitted. "It was a tough day for all of us, and as a community, we care about each other in Buffalo. In these organizations, we care about each other, and our players felt that this morning.”
Adams didn’t want to say much about the game itself, and that is totally understandable. It really means nothing in the scheme of things right now.
“We talked as a group this morning, and we have such good people in our locker room," Adams did want to say. "It wasn’t feeling right, and it didn’t feel like a normal game day. So I wanted them to know that they’re such an important part of our community and the fabric of what Buffalo is all about.”
The idea for the pregame t-shirts that said, “Love for 3” came from captain Kyle Okposo and the rest of the players.
They just wanted to show that we’re thinking about them.
The players in that room are much better equipped to handle these things than they used to be thanks to the leadership of Okposo, Zemgus Girgensons and Craig Anderson.
“They’re a mature group," Adams said. "Even though we’re extremely young, we have great leadership in the room. There’s an emotional connection to the city from our team, and we just wanted to go out and put our best foot forward."
Okposo is consulted on many things, because his opinion is very much respected.
“We met as soon as he got up with myself, 'Donny' [Granato] and Nicole [Hendricks, Sr. Director of Communications]. I talk to Kyle so much, personally, because he has so much of an understanding of what our group feels and where they’re at. I lean on him a lot," Adams said. "But what comes through is how much they care about the people of Buffalo, and they know there are a lot of people thinking about a lot more important things than a hockey game. But let's go out there and try to do our best.”
Their best was their eighth win in 10 games on the road.
The team is off Wednesday and will host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.