BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - 14 wins in 52 games was not the plan heading into the 2017-2018 season. After an offseason filled with change and optimism the Buffalo Sabres are in the basement of the NHL for the fourth straight season.
At practice on Monday players were visibly frustrated on the ice, slamming sticks into the boards and hanging their heads when shots were missed and passes were botched. After the nearly hour-long session was over two buzzwords from previous years were once again uttered -- accountabilty and leadership.
"Yeah, the accountability is important," Jack Eichel told reporters. "We need to get to the point where if you're going to step up and say something you need to backup your actions and back up your words with actions and obviously not feel bad calling somebody out or stepping up and saying something and not feeling uncomfortable. It's all part of it and I think it's all part of maturing. I think we have a lot of young guys, myself included, but I think it's a part of growing up and becoming a pro and learning that it needs to go on every day and if something is not there then obviously you need to step up and say something and do something to change it."
Sabres head coach Phil Housley was also asked about accountability 15 minutes later and said he believes his team should be farther ahead at this point in the season.
You have to respect the brutal honesty from Robin Lehner. The #Sabres have a lot of problems but for the majority of the season he's been solid, especially these last four games @WKBWpic.twitter.com/nP8jbyYb9r
"I think that the players in there, they mean well, they want to do well," Housley added. "We all have to change and it's something that I'm continuing to learn throughout the season because I haven't been here a full season."