Jimmy Vesey was back at practice with the Sabres inside LECOM Harborcenter on Thursday and could return to game action this weekend.
The Sabres play back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, on the road against the Washington Capitals then at home against the New York Islanders. Coach Ralph Krueger said the forward is not anticipated to be in the lineup Friday, though the next game remains a possibility.
"He's still day-to-day," Krueger said. "We're just going to assess how he handled the session on his own and then he joined us for some non-contact skating afterwards. But he's not planned on the roster for tomorrow."
Vesey sustained his upper-body injury during the second period of his return to Madison Square Garden on Oct. 24. It was caused by a hit from New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei, one of his close friends on his former team.
"It was pretty innocent, actually one of my buddies was the one that hit me," Vesey said. "I knew he was coming. I just didn't have it in my sights, so I wasn't sure when the hit was coming. I think he just caught me in the perfect spot."
Vesey has skated with recovering defenseman Zach Bogosian in the week since the injury. Though he still needs doctor's approval, he said he has Saturday in his sights for a return to the lineup. After that, the team heads to Sweden for two games against Tampa Bay.
"I'm hoping to try to get in Saturday, depending on how I feel," he said. "I've got to see the doctor to get cleared. But I'm hoping Saturday. If not, definitely Sweden."
Off to Washington
If a peek at the standings wasn't reason enough for the crowd in Capital One Arena to be amped on Friday, the success of their baseball team should add incentive.
The game will be played less than 48 hours after the Washington Nationals earned their first World Series title in franchise history with a Game 7 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday. That excitement should boil over into fans' support of the Capitals, who lead the Sabres by one point atop the NHL standings.
"I mean, a World Series championship city will have a buzz to it and we're going to feed off it," Krueger said. "We're looking forward to it after our first three-day lull since the start of the season. I felt a renewed surge of energy in the group today in practice. There was a lot of speed there.
"We're excited. We know what's coming at us. We know we're going to need to play our best hockey to have a chance and that's all we want to do, is give ourselves a chance in that atmosphere. The World Series, let's feed on that and participate in a great game."
Lines at practice
68 Victor Olofsson - 9 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
53 Jeff Skinner - 90 Marcus Johansson - 17 Vladimir Sobotka
28 Zemgus Girgensons - 22 Johan Larsson - 21 Kyle Okposo
43 Conor Sheary - 37 Casey Mittelstadt - 71 Evan Rodrigues / 13 Jimmy Vesey
Defensemen: 10 Henri Jokiharju, 19 Jake McCabe, 26 Rasmus Dahlin, 33 Colin Miller, 55 Rasmus Ristolainen, 58 John Gilmour, 62 Brandon Montour
40 Carter Hutton
35 Linus Ullmark