The Sabres skated for more than an hour Thursday at HarborCenter and there was one conspicuous player missing: Jack Eichel.
Coach Phil Housley made sure to douse any alarm bells sounding that Eichel was absent, pointing out that the team's star center was one of several players simply taking a maintenance day for minor bumps and bruises.
Eichel will not be making the trip to Oshawa for Friday's preseason finale against the New York Islanders. Nor will Johan Larsson, Rasmus Ristolainen, Marco Scandella and Conor Sheary
"They've got some minor ailments," Housley said. "They're all day to day. Just precautionary. ... We're erring on the side of caution."
Eichel played fully in Tuesday's Hockeyville USA game in Clinton and spoke to reporters afterward, before getting the night off for Wednesday's 5-1 loss in Pittsburgh.
Sheary, whom the Sabres hoped would return to practice today after suffering an upper-body injury the first weekend of camp, was held off the ice again. Also missing were Larsson (foot injury Wednesday night in Pittsburgh) and the top defense pair of Scandella and Ristolainen.
Ristolainen is nursing an upper-body injury and Housley decided not to take him on the trip Wednesday after he skated with the team in the morning.
The Sabres were hoping to use much of their regular-season lineup for Friday's game. Now, that will not happen.
"In a perfect world, we'd like to have our team together for this next game," Housley admitted. "But the circumstances are that we don't. It's unfortunate but we just have to deal with the schedule."
The team is off Saturday and returns to practice Sunday, to hone in on preparation for next Thursday's season opener against Bostoni.
The roster was pared to 32 players earlier in the day as goalie Scott Wedgewood, defensemen Will Borgen and Taylor Fedun and forwards Rasmus Asplund and Victor Olofsson were sent to Rochester. There are 18 forward and 12 defensemen left in camp, along with goaltenders Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark.