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Sabres' Reinhart on benching: "it was a tough one to swallow"

Posted at 3:24 PM, Mar 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-30 17:58:18-04

Buffalo Sabres forward Sam Reinhart admitted after practice on Thursday that he shouldn't have been late to a team stretch on Tuesday in Columbus but says it was an honest mistake.

According to Reinhart, he woke up in the team hotel and was waiting to go downstairs for an 11:00 a.m. team stretch. Here's the problem -- the stretch was actually at 10:30 a.m., but Reinhart misread the time of the meeting in a text message.

Teammate Jake McCabe called Reinhart and let him know that the stretch was indeed at 10:30 a.m., but by the time he made it to the meeting he was "five or six" minutes late.

As punishment, Reinhart was benched the entire game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

"It's the coaches decision and it's a management decision," Reinhart said Thursday morning. "From my perspective, I would've rather battled it out with my teammates. You know, I don't think five minutes in the morning is going to influence my preparation for a game, but it was a team stretch, and I should've been on time."

Reinhart tried convincing his coaches and management to let him play but was unsuccessful. Just 24 hours before, Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma and General Manager Tim Murray agreed that any player late to a meeting would be sat for an entire game, regardless of the circumstances.

"I tried to let them know that sh*t happens," Reinhart added. "Sorry to swear, I mean I didn't sleep in, You know I just misread a text and when I woke up I thought the times were so different so that's going to happen so it is what it is."

"He shouldn't be happy with it," Bylsma said about the decision. "Going forward it's no different than with the rest of the guys, we're going forward with the situation and Sam's aware of that"

Reinhart's teammates agree that it was an honest mistake and say it wasn't that big of a deal inside the locker room.

"You know I don't think anyone in this room is looking at Sam and upset with him about it," roommate Jack Eichel added. "He's a good kid, he comes to the rink early every day, he's here, he was a couple minutes late for a meeting and that happens."

Eichel himself was late to a meeting earlier and the year and says he learned from it. Reinhart will now have to do the same.

"It was a tough one to swallow," Reinhart proclaimed. "I feel I have been a pretty good team guy the last couple of years but obviously, I wish I could've been competing with my teammates that night."