The Sabres went through a thorough workout at the Pepsi Center in Amherst on Monday, but the most exciting activity happened before the team even took to the ice.
Injured center Tim Connolly skated in a rigorous, individual workout for the first time this season.
Lasting for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, Connolly's workout shows progress in recovering from an injury that has sidelined the playmaker for 51 games this season and foreshadows his potential return to the lineup.
"He's progressing and we hope he continues to progress," said head coach Lindy Ruff. "It is encouraging. He's had some workouts where he's been at max heart rate and there haven't been any setbacks."
Ruff estimated Connolly's potential recovery period to be between six to eight weeks, barring any speed bumps in the road, but no exact date when that timeline would begin or end has been determined.
With an eight-month layoff, the Syracuse, NY-native will need extensive, physical conditioning to return to game-ready status. Ruff said Connolly's skating sessions will become an every-day event from now on.
"From a conditioning standpoint, you can guesstimate where you'd be if things keep progressing, and I can throw that out there," said Ruff regarding the six-to-eight week timetable. "It could be sooner. It could be later.
"[The timetable] is based on him looking like he could be symptom free and that is based on him skating today."
Connolly had a career year for Buffalo last season, tallying 55 points (16-39) in the regular season.
He was having an even better postseason with 11 points (4+7) in eight playoff games before an open-ice check by Ottawa Senator's left-winger Peter Schaefer in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals ended his season.
Post-concussion symptoms from the Schaefer collision have kept Connolly sidelined for the duration of the Sabres 2006-07 regular season to this point.