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Sabres Notebook: Lehner's tribute to Trump, Ennis joins injured list & more

Robin Lehner answered questions about regular playing time and splitting this weekend's game with Anders Nilsson.

Then came the question about his mask.

The Buffalo Sabres goaltender had a new mask at practice Thursday morning in KeyBank Center. The theme was in honor of Veterans Day and the Military Appreciation Night the team has planned for Friday's game with the New Jersey Devils.

"It's Army Night tomorrow and you know I'm not American. I appreciate the military and what all these guys do," the Swedish Lehner said, then smiled to add, "I got a little support for my man Trump here. It's going to be a fun night."

At the base of the back of his helmet, Lehner has the name "Trump" in block letters with a small picture of the president-elect.

"I just like him a lot," Lehner said when asked what he admires in Trump. "I think he's going to make a lot of change."

Later approached by a reporter, Lehner said he was not going to talk politics.

And Sabres coach Dan Bylsma wasn't going to talk much about it with the media during his press conference on Thursday.

"I've never had a personal stance on politics in the locker room," Bylsma said. "We've talked about it as a group. We've talked about it in back rooms. We talked about it" Tuesday "morning. There's not any division in the discussion. It's just a discussion of politics of America electing a president who is running. It's not really a division. There's not animated sides to it. Politics, we coach our team. We're not coaching politics. We're not getting involved in that when it comes me coaching my team."

Any discussions about politics in this election cycle have been "nothing different than I've ever had before in previous elections or previous times in our country," Bylsma said.

But  what about that Robin Lehner mask?

"I appreciate you trying to dig around and stir this one up for me," Bylsma said when asked directly about Lehner's new mask. "But there's not been any discussion about it. We talked about the election no different than any other time and in terms of his helmet, it's his right to put that on there. He's got other things on there as well that he's honoring and paying tribute to. He's got Trump's name on the back there so it's his right to do so."

For the record, there are only seven American born players on the Sabres roster with 10 Canadians and three players from Sweden with one each from Latvia, Russia and Finland.

 

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Political affiliations aside, the Sabres are in dire need of good medical care this season.

Chalk up Tyler Ennis to another long-term injury. The forward had surgery on his groin Thursday morning. He missed Wednesday's game against Ottawa and played just over seven minutes in the previous game against the Bruins in Boston. The Sabres said Ennis will be out weeks. This after Ennis missed significant time last season with a concussion.

"It’s disappointing for Tyler," Bylsma said. "This is a situation he’s been dealing with for a little bit over the past little while, days maybe a week. ... He’s been struggling with it but it got worse the last few days, few games to the point where in the Boston game I pulled him from the third period. I didn’t play him in the third period because of where he was at pain-wise and being able to skate and push."

In other injury news, Ryan O'Reilly and Dmitry Kulikov missed practiced. Bylsma said they were both day to day and did not disclose their injuries.

Nicolas Deslauriers remains out with a knee injury and Bylsma said it would be two weeks before a further update was available on his situation.

Jack Eichel caused a brief social media stir with news of him skating on his own Thursday. The Sabres confirmed that Eichel did skate, but that it was light and part of the progression in his return from a high ankle sprain. They said he was still weeks away from being back in the lineup.

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The Sabres are still looking to find their groove at home. With the shootout loss to Ottawa on Wednesday, the Sabress are now 1-3-1 in KeyBank Center. They face a New Jersey team just coming of a shootout win against Carolina. The Devils (6-3-3 overall) are on a two-game win streak.

 

 

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