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Sobotka out 4-6 weeks for Sabres with lower-body injury

Forward hurt in Global Series; defensemen Bogosian, Scandella return to practice

by Heather Engel / Independent Correspondent

Vladimir Sobotka will be out 4-6 weeks for the Buffalo Sabres with a lower-body injury.

The forward was injured on a hit by Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov at 14:20 of the first period in a 3-2 loss at the 2019 NHL Global Series in Stockholm on Friday. He did not play the following day in a 5-3 loss to the Lightning.

Sobotka has three points (one goal, two assists) in 16 games this season.

Buffalo recalled forward Curtis Lazar from Rochester of the American Hockey League. He has nine points (four goals, five assists) in 11 AHL games this season.

"If you look at Sobotka being out and the role that he had on the team, the stabilizing factor and the experience he brings, we felt that was more important," coach Ralph Krueger said. "We really liked Curtis in training camp so the way he executed and the kind of role he seems to be able to give us, we'd like to test him in that situation. … we felt Curtis was the best fit."

Forward Marcus Johansson did not practice Tuesday because of an undisclosed injury and is day to day.

"We're going to take a look at him tomorrow morning and then make our decision," Krueger said. "We don't expect it to be long-term. It's really just something we're being careful about."

Johansson, who signed a two-year contract with the Sabres on July 6, has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 17 games.  

Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Marco Scandella returned to practice. Bogosian, who missed all of training camp, skated for the first time with his teammates after recovering from offseason hip surgery and a setback during his recovery. He is week to week.

Scandella, who's been out since sustaining a lower-body injury against the New York Rangers on Oct. 24, is day to day. He could play when the Sabres, who are 0-4-1 in their past five games, host the Carolina Hurricanes at KeyBank Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-CR, NHL.TV). 

"It was great to see [Scandella and Bogosian] out there," Krueger said. "To have nine defensemen in an NHL practice is extremely unique and the competition will be stiff, but we're just going to take it a day at a time; otherwise you're spending time and energy on something that you don't need to. So, at the moment, I see it as a positive and we like the options that we have."

Bogosian had been skating on his own for the past month but was still involved in team meetings from the get-go.

"It's important to be part of the group, even if you're in the lineup or not," he said. "We're all going through everything together -- wins, losses, what have you. We're a tight group in here. Anytime you can at least have something to do with the group, it's something I felt is really important to be a part of."

It's been a long road back for the veteran defenseman, who last played March 23 at the Montreal Canadiens and credited his family for the role they played in helping him get through it.

"It's really been a learning experience. I found out a lot about myself," Bogosian said. "It's something … it's kind of tough to put into words how it feels to go through something like that unless you've been through it. To sit here and try to put it into words would probably give a disservice to everything I've been through and the people who have helped me out so much."

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