A Step in the Right Direction

Captain Kyle Okposo stands next to his alternate captains, Rasmus Dahlin(left) and Zemgus Girgensons(right). Source: Photo from the Buffalo Sabres

By Colleen Meosky

The hockey season has arrived, but in Buffalo, is that good or bad? The Buffalo Sabres have been the laughingstock of the National Hockey League for the past decade, missing the playoffs eleven seasons in a row. However, this year’s roster seems far more promising than it has been lately, not only in terms of depth but also attitude. Coach Don Granato’s group appears to be a tight-knit team of players who work hard on the ice and go to Bills games together afterward. While it’s never safe to predict the playoff teams during the season’s puck drop, it looks like Buffalo fans will at least see entertaining hockey this year.

Once Buffalo’s preseason ended, the organization hosted a family skate for the players, welcoming their loved ones onto the ice at Keybank Center. While there, general manager Kevyn Adams announced that veteran Kyle Okposo has earned the title as the 20th captain in franchise history, supported by alternate captains Zemgus Girgensons and Rasmus Dahlin. While this is hardly surprising to anyone who followed the team last season, it is exciting nonetheless. No Sabres wore the “C” on their jersey this past season as the organization picked up the pieces from the very public and turbulent split with former captain Jack Eichel, who was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights last November. 

The naming of Okposo as captain is a sigh of relief for many, delighted to see the team being led by a caring neighbor and advocate in the community. Kyle Okposo has been especially compassionate following the tragedy of the 5/14 mass shooting, being vocal about the necessity to support the East Side and taking hands-on action to help grieving families. Okposo paid his respects to the victims, leaving flowers at the memorial on Jefferson Avenue and speaking with members of the community. 

Commenting on his new title, the winger emphasized that his role will remain the same saying, “I’m just going to continue to be myself.” Okposo essentially acted as captain in a room desperate for good leadership, so it’s an honor well-earned. 

Now that head coach Granato has a full season under his belt and Kyle Okposo has basically had the same, it seems that the team has found some long-desired stability in leadership, which should elevate Buffalo’s play this year as the young roster continues to develop.