On Thursday, the AHL announced that due to COVID-19 protocols affecting the Rochester Americans, their game Friday against the Cleveland Monsters would be rescheduled for a month from now. Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News reports that the Americans have one confirmed case of COVID-19 and there is fear that there could be more. John Vogl of The Athletic, meanwhile, reports that while the team is in the protocol, the AHL players are currently unavailable to the Buffalo Sabres, Rochester’s NHL affiliate.
That puts a lot of pressure on the group at the NHL level, especially when dealing with injuries. Jack Eichel has left the Sabres for a second opinion on his neck injury and now Dylan Cozens
is being evaluated for the injury he sustained Thursday night. Riley Sheahan was back between Taylor Hall and Sam Reinhart on the Buffalo top line. Rasmus Ristolainen was also absent, though that is believed to be a maintenance day after he logged more than 23 minutes in each of the Sabres last two games.
Situations like this are part of the reason why a taxi squad was created this season, but it’s not like the Sabres are overflowing with NHL options. Their taxi squad already included only three skaters, and one of them – C.J. Smith – was rotating in at practice. Buffalo lost again Thursday night and will play Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. If they don’t win, it would be a 10-game losing skid.