Share this article

print logo

With Sabres' captaincy available, O'Reilly sounds like a leader on first day

Ryan O'Reilly knows the Sabres' captaincy is available. While he says it would be an honor to wear the "C," he's not going to campaign for it.

As usual, his words suggest he's a top candidate.

The Sabres struggled with communication last season, and O'Reilly is determined to change that.

"Leadership is a big part, hold everyone accountable, myself being accountable more, have that mentality," O'Reilly said Friday in HarborCenter. "It's all of us together, and speak up when things don't work.

"I think as a group we have to have more dialogue between each other and also with the coaching staff, too. As a group we have to go to them and say, 'OK, we're struggling with this. We need to change and do this.' We have to be confident doing it.

"I think me and a few other guys will take control on that."

O'Reilly was hard on himself during last season's farewell address, saying he wasn't the vocal leader he needed to be. It's clear the 26-year-old wants to take steps to change that.

"Also, too, my own play," said O'Reilly, who had 20 goals and 55 points last season. "I've got to create more. I have to be a little more consistent getting on the board. It's going to start with myself."

New General Manager Jason Botterill and coach Phil Housley say they're in no hurry to name a captain. They'll get a feel during training camp for how guys lead on the ice and in the dressing room.

O'Reilly took a clear first step.

"The mindset of a lot of guys is we're moving in the right direction," the center said. "Whether they do (name a captain) or not, it doesn't really affect us. We made our changes, and we know what we need to do now. I think it's going to be a lot better either way.

"It would be an honor. Obviously, you look at the guys that have worn it in the past in this organization, obviously it's something very special. Letter or not, the stuff that needed to change I think has. That's what we want."

Five Things to Watch as Sabres open training camp

Story topics:

There are no comments - be the first to comment