Ryan O’Reilly sat down with Darren Dreger as part of TSN’s coverage of the 2018 World Hockey Championship and gave some insight into his time in Denmark, playing for Canada and other hot topics in the NHL. Among the most interesting moments of that conversation was when Dreger flat out asked O’Reilly to explain his end of the season comments where he suggested he might have lost the passion for hockey and being ok with losing in Buffalo.
When O’Reilly made these comments at the end of the 2017-18 season, it didn’t sit well with Sabres’ fans. Why would the fans who love the Sabres be ok with team captain who has accepted losing? Even though he’d said the opposite, many immediately assumed this was O’Reilly’s way of requesting a trade by the organization. As such, despite how good of a player O’Reilly is, some fans were happy to suggest the Sabres send him out of town if that’s the way he felt.
During the ‘Dreger Cafe,’ segment, O’Reilly tried to explain. “Everything I said, I was being honest. When I look at it, when I reflect on the year, who else can I look at? I’m one of the guys who plays the most minutes and you know, it’s my fault. I want to change, I want to be in Buffalo. I love it there. Obviously, we’re getting the first pick which would be huge. It’s a great city, I want to be there and I want to win. I was being honest and I feel I need to do that more,” O’Reilly said.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 11, 2018
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One of the things O’Reilly wanted to make clear was that he was not suggesting he had any intentions of being anywhere but Buffalo. He loves it there, he’s preparing to play next season there and he’s excited about being part of the solution and not the problem. He believes the organization can turn things around and eventually start winning. O’Reilly suggested, “I think I have a pretty good relationship with the GM (Jason Botterill). If something happens, it happens and that’s hockey. But I plan and am preparing to be in Buffalo – same role and same sort of thing. A lot of rumors happen and speculation for sure and that’s part of the game but I’m focused here on trying to win a World Championship right now and I plan to be back in Buffalo.”
O’Reilly will be one of the more speculated players to move throughout this offseason but it appears, if he has his way, he’ll be staying with the Sabres and welcoming new drafted defenceman Rasmus Dahlin to town.