Sabres game vs. Blackhawks postponed to Thursday

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Sabres game against the Chicago Blackhawks has been postponed to 7 p.m. Thursday because of the snowstorm restricting travel on Western New York on Wednesday night, the NHL announced.

KeyBank Center is currently in the portion of the city under a travel ban. More snow is expected in downtown Buffalo tonight.

Amid winter weather advisories and localized travel bans, the team gathered for morning skate and secured hotel rooms near KeyBank Center for players to spend the afternoon before the scheduled 7:30 p.m. puck drop.

“We are sitting and waiting to see what’s going to transpire,” Sabres coach Don Granato said in a video conference with reporters after the skating session concluded around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday. “We’re planning on playing. We don’t have a choice.”

Erie County and City of Buffalo officials, however, hoped the NHL would postpone the game to Thursday.

Poloncarz said he believed the Blackhawks successfully arrived in Buffalo. The game was scheduled to be nationally broadcast on TNT.

Both teams were scheduled to be off Thursday. The Blackhawks have a home game scheduled for Friday. The Sabres play next at home on Saturday.

All of the Sabres players were on the ice for morning skate, Granato said, except for defenseman Mattias Samuelsson, who is day to day with an upper-body injury.

“Our job is to be ready for tonight’s game until otherwise notified by the league, and the city, the county, the state, and all the municipalities,” Granato said. “We are going to go about our business like we would, best we can, without being distracted. But I can tell you it is a completely different feeling than a normal game day.”

The Sabres played Saturday at KeyBank Center before a travel ban took effect in downtown Buffalo, and were back on the ice for a Monday afternoon game after a lake effect storm dropped several feet of snow in the Western New York area. The Sabres played in a nearly empty arena during a travel ban in January 2022.

Granato compared the fluid gameday operations to the 2021-22 season during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve had a lot of practice with this adjustment through Covid, unfortunately,” Granato said. “It feels like that. It’s one of those days you are waiting for the league and city officials to make a decision.”

The Sabres got on the ice earlier than they usually do on a game day, and skated for about 10 minutes longer after not practicing Tuesday. Granato moved a pre-skate video session to later in the day.

“Didn’t think we’d have the focus for that,” he said. “The skate was the priority today. That physical feeling.”

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