The Buffalo Sabres confirmed what most suspected. Kyle Okposo suffered a concussion in Thursday's game in Ottawa and will be out indefinitely.
Okposo was in a freak collision with Senators forward Bobby Ryan 1:56 into the second period. Neither saw the other coming and they skated directly into each other. Both hit the ice, with Okposo attended to by trainers then skating slowly to the dressing room.
"It's awful," forward Ryan O'Reilly said Friday morning as the team had meetings but did not practice. "I didn't see the hit but you see him on the ice after. You're just praying that it isn't anything big. But it's a tough bounce. He's been through a lot but hopefully he'll be recovering and back with us soon."
It's the second straight concussion at the end of the season for Okposo. Last year he missed the final six games with a concussion and was taken to the neurointensive care unit at Buffalo General Medical Center after having a severe reaction to medication.
Even so, Sabres coach Phil Housley seems hopeful that Okposo could return to the Sabres before the end of the season.
"I thought he looked really good last night on the flight home so we'll just have to go day-to-day with that and see where he's at," Housley said, referring to the Sabres return from Ottawa after Thursday's 4-3 shootout win. "From my personal knowledge, just seeing him last night, I thought he was in a good place. Obviously there's things that can happen down the road but from my perspective he was in good spirits so that was a good sign."
With the injury to Okposo, the Sabres recalled Justin Bailey from the Rochester Americans late Friday. It's his second recall this season after scoring two goals with an assist in seven games for the Sabres in October. In his third pro season, Bailey has seven points (four goals, three assists) in 47 NHL games.
It started when he was a 16-year-old kid playing hockey for the Peterborough Petes in the Ontario Hockey League. Zach Bogosian would be one of the players making trips to local hospitals. It's a popular community service event among athletes from all sports. But something about it pulled at Bogosian, particularly the families dealing with cancer.
He knew he wanted to get involved in charity work, to use his platform as a National Hockey League player to raise money for organizations doing the heavy lifting when it comes to treating cancer. But he was a hockey player and didn't know anything about setting up and running his own foundation.
Seven years into his NHL playing career and after the death of his grandmother from cancer, Bogosian was ready to jump in. And now Zach, the pro hockey player, and his wife Bianca, the retired pro soccer player, are using their athletic platforms to run the Bogo Bunch Foundation and raise money for various organizations that deal with cancer treatment, research and patient care.
The latest, The Zach Bogosian Kancer Jam, will be held on the floor of KeyBank Center Saturday after the Buffalo Sabres host the Vegas Golden Knights. The Kan Jam tournament will feature 64 fundraising teams (two people per team) with proceeds going to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Fans can register or donate to the cause on the fundraising platform Crowdrise.
The foundation has become a family affair, with Bianca doing much of the work during hockey season. And while the foundation was started before the birth of their daughter, Mila, she has certainly given the couple a new perspective on health.
"We're blessed to have a healthy daughter," Bogosian said. "We're able to see what we have and know we're very fortunate and in a position to help out other people. We look at it together as a family. The foundation started before Mila was born but as she has come into our lives, it's opened our eyes to what life is really about."
Bogosian suffered an injury in practice in January and the team announced later that month the 27-year-old defenseman would undergo hip surgery with an estimated recovery time of four to six months, rendering him on injured reserve for the rest of the season.
At times like this, it can be beneficial to be married to another elite athlete. His wife, Bianca D'Agostino, played three seasons of professional soccer, including losing a year to a partially torn ACL, and finished her career as midfielder for the Boston Breakers in the National Women's Soccer League.
"The funny thing is she knows when to leave me alone," Bogosian said. "I think it is a plus that my wife played professional soccer. I think she understands the commitment I made and she respects that. She knows that family is first, but that hockey is very close second."
The college free agent signings have begun as the Rochester Americans signed forward Myles Powell and defenseman Jake Linhart to amateur tryout contracts.
Powell just finished his collegiate career at RIT, notching 105 points (45 goals, 60 points) in 149 career games with the Tigers. He is the 10th player in RIT's Division I history to record 100 or more points.
Linhart completed a four-year career at the University of Wisconsin with 60 points (15 goals, 45 assists) in 142 games. He had career-best 17 assists and 23 points during the 2016-17 season.