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Dahlin making strides in return to Sabres following concussion

Defenseman practices, feels 'a lot better,' but doesn't have timetable to rejoin lineup

by Heather Engel / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Rasmus Dahlin isn't ready to return to the Buffalo Sabres lineup following a concussion but he is one step closer.

The defenseman, who has been out since sustaining the injury against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 25, practiced with his teammates for the first time Tuesday at their morning skate ahead of a game against the St. Louis Blues at KeyBank Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, FS-MW, NHL.TV).

"I feel a lot better," said Dahlin, who will miss his eighth straight game. "It's good to be back with the boys. They were on a road trip so I was home alone and it was boring. It's good to have them back."

Dahlin, who leads Sabres defensemen with 16 points (one goal, 15 assists) in 24 games, has been skating for a couple of days. There's no set timeline for his return, with other steps still to be cleared before that can be considered.

"He hasn't passed the necessary tests yet, so he's non-contact in practice right now," coach Ralph Krueger said. "As it is with these types of injuries, it's day to day still. At least it's good to see him with the group today."

While it's been tough not being able to play, Dahlin has made the most of his time as a spectator.

"The first game I was sitting in the press box. It was my second game live, watching the game, so it was pretty weird," he said. "But this stretch had been really helpful for me. I've been learning a lot from watching the game and not playing it, so it's been good and bad."

He's been antsy as waiting to re-join his teammates. Roommate Casey Mittelstadt said "he's been bouncing off the walls at home." 

"I woke up this morning at 6:30. I was nervous, it felt like Christmas," Dahlin said. "Good to be back. I was really happy to skate with the boys today."

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