Buffalo Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said after practice at First Niagara Center on Monday that he’s ready to return from a lower-body injury that sidelined him against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.
His fellow veteran blueliner Mike Weber, who has been on injured reserve the past seven games with a thumb injury, said he hoped to be cleared by the doctors later today. Monday marked his first practice with the team since sustaining the injury.
“It feels as good as it’s going to feel, I guess, but it feels good so I’m ready to get back at it,” Weber said. “I think that phone call’s going to be today, so we’ll see what’s up. But if it’s up to me, I’m ready to go.”
Sabres coach Ron Rolston, however, said that while he thinks Ehrhoff will be back for the team’s game against the Los Angeles Kings at First Niagara Center on Tuesday, Weber might not be available until the home-and-home series against Toronto this weekend.
“Christian said he’s feeling good, so he’ll be ready and Webby’ll be close. He’s close,” Rolston said. “I doubt that [he’ll be ready Tuesday]. Today was his first day of practice.”
Weber, who was injured on Oct. 26 in Tampa Bay, did not travel with the team for their three-game road trip in California. He said he worked out every day on his own back in Buffalo, skating and working on defensive drills.
“Pretty lonely in this locker room for the last week here with no one here,” he said. “Just some locker room guys and some scouts and things like that helping me out. It was pretty lonely but it’s nice to have everyone back and obviously it’s exciting for me to just get back into a full practice with the boys.”
Weber seemed eager to get back and feels that he can help the team through their recent struggles.
“I think the main focus is just our consistency and how we come out every shift. There are too many lulls and in some cases, I don’t think we’re playing nasty enough,” he said. “We’re not playing desperate enough. So those are the little things that I’m going to try and bring if, hopefully, the doctor gets me cleared here. ”
The Sabres will face the Kings for the second time in six days. Despite losing 2-0 in Los Angeles on Thursday, the team felt they played well against the Kings in even-strength situations. Both Los Angeles goals came on the man advantage. Rolston said they’ll look to build off that game and their 5-4 shootout win in San Jose on Monday.
“I think we talked about it that we thought that we had two solid games there,” Rolston said. “Obviously the power play in L.A. right away put us behind the eight ball in terms of penalties, but in terms of 5-on-5 play, I think both those games were a positive in terms of how we wanted to play and the energy level and the effort that we wanted to play with. A lot of areas of our game are getting better and allowing us to create some more offense.
Rolston shook up the lines at practice Monday.
He had benched the top line of Cody Hodgson, Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis for the final 26:11 against Anaheim on Friday. At practice, captain Steve Ott skated with Hodgson and Moulson.
“Steve will probably be in the mucking it up a little more, but I’m sure we’ll be able to read off him and hopefully have some chemistry and be successful,” Moulson said.
Moulson also said he talked with the coaching staff about the benching and is looking forward to putting in a solid effort against the Kings.
“Obviously I want to help this team win. I had a good talk with coach today, so we’re going to move on from that,” he said. “Obviously in sports you’ve got to put things behind you pretty quickly, so I think just getting the mindset [of being] ready to come work today. Obviously we didn’t we didn’t play the way we wanted to play last game, our line especially. We know we have to be better. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 26 Matt Moulson
25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 8 Cody McCormick – 78 Corey Tropp / 22 Johan Larsson
28 Zemgus Girgensons – 82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn
23 Ville Leino – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
32 John Scott
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 3 Mark Pysyk
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
61 Nikita Zadorov – 4 Jamie McBain
30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth