Jeff Skinner has been relegated to the taxi squad in Buffalo, not even skating with the active roster on a regular basis. His agent recently spoke with the team’s GM to voice concerns, but Skinner spoke to the media directly today. When asked by Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News whether he would want to be on a different team he was clear:
No. I love being a Sabre. I love the city of Buffalo. I wouldn’t have chosen to stay here if that wasn’t the case, so that answer is simple.
Skinner handled the questioning as professionally as possible, not willing to detail any of the conversations he’s had with head coach Ralph Kreuger. Unfortunately, professionalism isn’t really the issue here, production is. The 28-year-old didn’t score a single goal in his 14 games earlier this season and is still sitting on just 24 points since signing the $72MM extension.
- Jim Rutherford still has “the bug” to work in a hockey front office again, as he explained to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic. The legendary executive resigned his position as GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this year, replaced by Ron Hextall. That transition seems to have been his plan all along, as he tells LeBrun he suggested Hextall to Penguins CEO David Morehouse as his eventual replacement several times both before and after his resignation.
- Auston Matthews has been dealing with a wrist injury for the Toronto Maple Leafs and today was absent at the team’s practice. Head coach Sheldon Keefe listed him as day-to-day but wouldn’t rule him out for tomorrow’s match against the Edmonton Oilers. The team did have some good news as Joe Thornton, Jack Campbell and Jake Muzzin (with a full shield after breaking a bone in his face), returned to practice.