Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- With all of Cory Conacher's Visa issues worked out, the forward is ready to don the blue and gold for the first time tonight when the Buffalo Sabres host the Chicago Blackhawks.
The former Canisius Golden Griffin was looking forward to making his Sabres' debut on Friday, but the wrong piece of paperwork kept Conacher waiting just across the border in Canada. Conacher was disappointed, but added that "I guess this is a nice debut to make at home here at home, you know, it'll be fun to play in front of this sold out crowd."
"Ever since I came here with Canisius it was a city I fell in love with pretty quick, and it's pretty close to home for me so I'll probably have a lot of tickets to account for in some of these games." Conacher said, "to be able to come to this type of organization, you know, I already felt at home when I walked in, talked to some of the guys, very warming to walk into a room and not be worried about that."
One of the bigger questions on social media this week has why Conacher is choosing to wear number 88 instead of 89, which he wore in both Tampa Bay and Ottawa. The Burlington, Ontario native put an end to the speculation and said that it was out of respect for the career that Alexander Mogilny had in Buffalo that he chose not to wear 89. But before choosing 88, he traded text messages with Patrick Kane to make sure he had no issues with it.
Kane was asked about the exchange and quickly said, "You don't need to be asking me that, that's fine." The two skate together during the offseason at various local rinks. The South Buffalo native added, "he had a good career here with Canisius and, you know, I'm rooting for him. He seems to have had some adversity in the past when he was a younger kid, and he's a hard working kid. I skate with him, he takes the summer ice like it’s a Stanley Cup Final game."
Head coach Ted Nolan said that he expects to use Conacher on a wing with Tyler Ennis tonight. But at the same time, the bench boss admitted injuries have made it difficult to keep a regular lineup. Nolan noted that, "right now it's been...a trying time. We've got a lot of guys in and out of the lineup. You know, [Torrey] Mitchell came in...I liked what I saw in the first period and all of a sudden second period he's gone for a length of time. It's just been a crazy roller coaster ride for a while, so we'll see how it goes after the first period."
Mitchell and Zemgus Girgensons could be back within a week or so, but Chris Stewart could be out for a longer period of time. Jhonas Enroth was the first goalie off the ice today, and is expected between the pipes for the Sabres tonight.
Be sure to tune into the pregame show with Brian Koziol at 6:30 p.m. Conacher, Nolan, and Kane will join him. The puck will drop around 7:40 tonight with the game between the Sabres and Blackhawks airing on the NBC Sports Network. The only place to hear Rick and Rob will be on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550 and wgr550.com.