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You Win Some, You Lose Some in COVID Protocols

Just as some players return, others go into protocol.

Buffalo Sabres v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With the way things are going these days, everything is in a state of flux. That includes NHL schedules, and of course, NHL rosters. The Buffalo Sabres certainly know this, as they’ve experienced over the last few days... and weeks, if we’re being honest.

The Sabres recently got back a few players out of the league’s COVID protocols. I wanted to call this a positive sign of things to come, but it feels weird to use the word ‘positive’ right now in the context of this! Anyways.

Recently, head coach Don Granato returned. Zemgus Girgensons & Dylan Cozens came back. We already saw both Jeff Skinner and Vinnie Hinostroza return and score in their debuts.

But just as protocols giveth.... protocols taketh.

On Monday, the Sabres placed Casey Fitzgerald and Kyle Okposo into the league’s COVID-19 protocol. Okposo was actually pulled off the ice during practice, which (in my mind) begs the question, why on Earth was he allowed on the ice with either an inconclusive test OR before his results had come back?

On Tuesday, the Sabres got more bad news as Peyton Krebs, Alex Tuch and Anders Bjork all entered protocol.

Tuch only recently made his Sabres debut. Krebs has been having a great Sabres debut after tearing it up with the AHL’s Rochester Americans before his recall. Bjork’s been a steady presence.

You get some guys back, and you lose others. It’s a tough game to play, and I don’t envy Granato and his staff, who have to try and balance their roster with changes coming daily, or sometimes hourly.

The good news for today, at least, is that the Sabres are still off for a few more days before they return to game action on Thursday evening, so they’ve got some time to figure things out. The bad news, of course, is that we could see more guys drop off tomorrow or Thursday, which would put the roster in further detriment.

Let’s see what happens over the next two days.