Instead of looking ahead to a Saturday matinee against the Detroit Red Wings, the Buffalo Sabres spent Friday afternoon cleaning up the aftermath from a 6-5 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Sam Reinhart and Phil Housley each arrived for practice knowing reporters would ask them to clarify their postgame comments from Thursday, when Reinhart seemed to blame goaltending for the team's struggles and Housley, in response to a Buffalo News reporter asking if the defensemen were good enough, said: "That's Jason's job," referring to General Manager Jason Botterill.
Reinhart and Housley backtracked on those remarks Friday. First, following a 30-minute practice in HarborCenter, Reinhart said he misspoke at the beginning of his postgame interview and texted both goalies – Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton – to apologize.
Then, Housley addressed the elephant in the room before a reporter could even ask a question.
"For the record, I misunderstood a question yesterday," Housley said. "I took it as if there were any players coming up from Rochester and that’s Jason’s job. ... Jason and I talk on a day-to-day basis about our team, but I have total faith in our D core that they can get the job done. They’ve proven it in the past. They’ve put us in this position, and we’re going to correct the mistakes."
The scene inside the home dressing room was unusual Thursday night. Jack Eichel, whose failure to hit the net led to the eventual game-winning breakaway goal, was fuming and shouldered the blame. Evan Rodrigues, typically chipper no matter the result, was irritated.