has become Buffalo’s first injury casualty of the season, suffering an ankle sprain on Saturday in Tampa Bay that has him listed as “week-to-week” according to head coach Lindy Ruff.
Ennis was injured just 2:15 into the game when he fell awkwardly into the net after being given a push from behind by Tampa’s Ryan Malone while driving to the Lightning goal. The second-year winger, who had been held without a point so far this season, attempted to skate on the ankle during a TV timeout before shutting it down for the night.
Ruff said that he’s already got a plan in place to replace Ennis, who scored 20 goals for the Sabres in rookie season in 2010-11
“We’ll make the adjustments. We’ve got some pieces that we’re going to switch around. There’s guys that can obviously go into that role; Ville (Leino) can go over to the left side. We’re going to try some different things.”
The plan already appears to be taking shape, as Leino skated in Ennis’ spot on the left wing alongside Drew Stafford
and Derek Roy
during today’s practice at First Niagara Center.
“Actually, Ville had mentioned that he’d like to go to the wing, so it’s funny how it works,” explained Ruff. “You’d like to find a line and keep them together, that would be the thing that you would hope most. I’d like to see Roy, Leino and Stafford play together for a while and gain some chemistry. I think that’s the most important part. It isn’t position to position, it’s leaving three individuals together for a while and they develop some chemistry.”
Tuesday’s game against Tampa Bay will be just the Sabres’ second home game at First Niagara Center this season, and it also kicks off a stretch that will see them play seven of their next nine games at home. Ruff says it’s imperative they use this stretch of games to assert themselves as a difficult team to face at home.
“We really got away from our game the last home game, and we talked about that in this morning’s meeting. We need to be the team that wins the majority of the puck battles, and establish that this is going to be an awful tough building to come in to.”
also missed practice for the second time in four days, but Ruff said it was nothing more than a “maintenance day” to rest a pulled muscle. Jochen Hecht
skated on a line with Cody McCormick
and Brad Boyes
during practice, however Ruff was skeptical of his chances to be inserted in the lineup tomorrow for the first time this season.
“We’ll find out more today with Jochen as to whether he can play or not,” said Ruff. “Initially, I would say no.”