BUFFALO, N.Y. [WKBW] — Jeff Skinner had made his point clear.
On Friday afternoon he was asked point-blank by Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News: Would you prefer to be somewhere else? Would you prefer to be with a different team or a different coach?
Skinner, without hesitation, responded.
"No. I love being a Sabre. I love the city of Buffalo. I wouldn't have chosen to stay here if that wasn't case, so that answer is simple."
Skinner, despite his $9 million per season cap hit, has found himself watching the last three Sabres games as a healthy scratch. For the first time since sitting, Skinner spoke with reporters on Friday following Sabres practice.
"The most important thing is to keep moving forward and having a positive attitude, and working hard while trying to get better," Skinner said. "I've watched a lot of hockey games and played in a lot of hockey games, obviously, and I don't think you can learn anything extra by not being out there. But obviously, this situation is maybe not that straightforward in the fact that lessons being learned is maybe more of a vague concept."
Buffalo Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger, the man who decided to sit Skinner, wouldn't say for sure if the Sabres forward will be back in the lineup this weekend. Based on the line combinations from practice, it would appear to be a safe bet Skinner would return to the lineup. But as we've learned time and time again, it's not safe to assume anything.
"I feel that Jeff has managed this time period extremely well, very professional," Krueger said Friday afternoon.
Krueger wouldn't get into the specifics of what he was looking for from Skinner but said all players need to adhere to the principles they expect the team to follow. Skinner, who has been held without a goal in 14 games and has only one assist said all he can do now is focusing on helping the team win games.
"All I know is, for me, I'm trying to help the team win as much as I can," Skinner added. "That's my main focus. Obviously the coach is trying to win games too and I think we can agree on that. For me, that's my number one focus, which is helping the team win and that's what I'm going to continue to do as much as I can."