The Buffalo Bills were, once again, one of the least injured teams in the National Football League this past season, as far as total players and games lost by them to due injury.
Their Buffalo counterpart on the ice, however, hasn't been so fortunate. The Buffalo Sabres are one of the most injured teams in the National Hockey League this season.
According to the website mangameslost.com, the Bills led the NFL over the entire regular season in fewest number of man-games lost due to injury. Meanwhile, the Sabres had the most man-games lost due to injury and health protocols, as of Feb. 10.
This is nothing new to the Bills. Two out of the past three regular seasons, they played the fewest number of total players overall in regular season games. Buffalo only used 61 players this past year, and a remarkably low 57 total players in 2019. The one year over that time they did not lead the league, in 2020, they still finished in the top-10 in fewest number of players used, with only 69.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott, who were both hired for their positions in 2017, have made it a point of emphasis to incorporate as much sports science and health and performance-data and resources to help keep their players healthy and recover as quickly as possible. They’ve also spoken numerous times about the importance of communication between the front office, coaching staff, training staff, doctors, and players.
The Bills also spent $18 million to build a new 41,000 square-foot performance and training center directly inside the footprint of their practice facility. It opened in the spring of 2019, which just-so-happens to coincide with when those injury numbers began reducing drastically.
Kevyn Adams has been the general manager of the Sabres for a little less than two years. While making an appearance Thursday night during Sabres pregame coverage with Brian Koziol and Paul Hamilton on WGR, Adams said he’s been going through the process of understanding more about the injuries to his club, what’s gone into them, and will do a deeper dive once the team gets into the offseason.
One way he is going to do that is to reach out to his colleague on the football side of things and discuss what the Bills have done over the past few years, to see if there’s anything he can take away from that and incorporate with his own organization, albeit in a different sport.
“Absolutely. It’s funny you bring that up,” Adams told Hamilton when he was asked if he is going to reach out to Brandon Beane. “I just had a meeting on that yesterday and I’m going to call Brandon. It’s on my to-do list to pick his brain. It is interesting to me they had the least amount [of injuries]. So I just want to ask some questions.”
Obviously, both clubs are owned by the same people, Terry and Kim Pegula, which makes it a lot easier to reach across the aisle and have these sorts of discussions. But it also benefits Adams that he and Beane are already friends.
“A hundred percent,” Adams reiterated about talking to Beane. “Brandon and I have become good friends. We talk a lot. We bounce ideas off each other, and I think, for me, it’s an incredible resource to have someone that’s had so much success in a lot of different ways in the things that he’s done, and just pick his brain. So I’m definitely going to have that conversation.”
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