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by Brian Wheeler / Buffalo Sabres
Beyond the Boards is written by the Buffalo Sabres Website Manager, Brian Wheeler. Joining the Sabres prior to the 2003-04 season, Wheeler is the main contact and content editor for He has worked in the NHL, NFL, AHL and NLL over the past 11 years.  Click here to send him an email.

Teppo Numminen (photo: Getty Images)
Teppo Numminen's first day back at practice with the Buffalo Sabres had nothing to do with practice.  

He wasn't even under the same roof as the other players.  But didn't mean that the veteran defenseman didn't take a large first step to returning to the Sabres lineup.

For his inauguration back into the squad, Numminen remained at HSBC Arena Thursday to do physical testing.  After nearly a full-season layoff, the Sabres are treating the blueliner's return as if it's Day One of training camp all over again.  

Both team and player are working their way, cautiously, towards the ultimate goal: game readiness.

"Tomorrow, he'll do his on-ice testing," said head coach Lindy Ruff.  "We're just at an evaluation process and we're going to go step-by-step.

"I can anticipate where he's at [physically].  He hasn't played or practiced for basically six months, so I know that's going to be at a low level.  I just don't exactly where it's going to be."


Listen to Lindy Ruff talk about Numminen and the process of his return.

Ruff Interview  
Ruff would not give an estimation on Numminen's potential timetable until he "sees a couple of days of what the numbers actually are."  

"He has been doing some exercise - it's been light exercise - but riding the bike versus skating or other conditioning work is a lot different, especially as intense as it is this time of year."

Ruff anticipates Numminen will take part in tomorrow's pre-game skate with the team after completing his on-ice testing.
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