The Buffalo Sabres blueline is slowly piecing itself back together.
Defenseman Nathan Paetsch was cleared to play and is expected to join the team for its’ home-and-home series against the Ottawa Senators. Jaroslav Spacek and Dmitri Kalinin may not be far behind.
“They are both skating. I don’t believe we are going to get them in the next day or two, but we could get them maybe in three or four days,” Lindy Ruff said. “It is a day-to-day type of thing. If it feels better we could get them back.”
Kalinin (shoulder) and Spacek (chest) were both sidelined March 10 during the Sabres 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.
Ruff said upon rejoining the team, the defensemen could return to the lineup within one day of practicing if needed.
“Desperate times, desperate measures,” he said.
Paetsch, meanwhile, practiced with the team for the first time Sunday since suffering a concussion March 12 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
An elbow to the jaw from Georges Laraque left the defenseman motionless for several moments in the contest and Paetsch was unable to return until symptom-free from the injury.
“There are obviously steps and levels you have to take regarding concussions,” Paetsch said. “It took some time and it was a very frustrating injury but I feel good and I’m finally ready to go.”
Although young, the 24-year-old could provide some needed experience to a depleted blueline.
“On the offensive side of it, Nathan can jump into the rush a little bit more and add a little bit there," Ruff said.
“Part of our system is we need a fourth guy involved in the run. For a period of time now we haven’t had that. I think we’ve done okay without it but he is one of the guys that you would like to be involved.”
With Paetsch’s return, Michael Funk was reassigned to the AHL Rochester Americans.
Funk played four games during his second stint with the Sabres.