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Sabres banged-up but not broken

Tuesday, 04.26.2011 / 2:41 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer / 2011 ECQF: Philadelphia-Buffalo Live Blog

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2011 ECQF: Philadelphia-Buffalo Live Blog
Sabres banged-up but not broken
The Buffalo Sabres could be missing a lot more than just forwards Tim Connolly (upper body) and Jason Pominville (lower body) for Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal round match against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff did confirm that either Patrick Kaleta or Mike Grier would be sidelined but was mum on the status of defenseman Jordan Leopold. According to the Buffalo News, Kaleta is "definitely" out with an apparent hand injury. Grier and Leopold, meanwhile, are listed as game-time decisions.
Lindy Ruff Buffalo Sabres, coach

Meanwhile, Jochen Hecht (upper body), who hasn't played since March 29, and Andrej Sekera (upper body) remain questionable despite the fact they did skate on Tuesday.

"I'm getting better every day," Hecht told reporters after Tuesday's practice. "Am I playable? It's a close call. It's nerve-wracking sitting out. It would make it a lot easier on my nerves just to play. It's definitely hard to watch."

There is some positive news: center Derek Roy returns to the lineup following a four-month absence with a quad injury. Roy claims to be 100 percent, which is good since Ruff expects him to "do a lot."

"Between the regular season and playoffs, there's another notch there where it's got to be quicker and faster," Ruff said. "The intensity is a lot greater, so things are going to have to happen quicker. It might take him a few shifts, but I think he's up to the task.

"We need him to do a lot. We need him to step in and be a big player. It's tough. He hasn't been in a game in four months, but we're ready to give it a go."

Ruff is looking forward to Tuesday's Game 7 against the Flyers.

"We've kind of wrapped our arms around this underdog status and we've been beaten up and lost a lot of players and I think the players' mindset is great," he said. "We have no pressure. We just have to go out and play. These guys have given everything they can give me for 4-1/2 months and battled through adversity. I expect the same (Tuesday). It's a one game showdown and we're looking forward to it."

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Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals