What’s another rookie in the lineup?
Sabres coach Ron Rolston said after practice at First Niagara Center on Thursday that Ville Leino is out indefinitely with a cracked rib and that rookie Johan Larsson will step in to pivot the team’s second line Friday night in the home opener against Ottawa.
Leino sustained the injury early on in the team’s 2-1 loss in Detroit on Wednesday. He did not skate with the team on Thursday.
“It happened in the first period, probably about three or four shifts in,” Rolston said. “It was just sore and obviously overnight, it seized up and had it checked.”
Tyler Ennis will slide over to the wing to make room for Larsson. Steve Ott will be on the other side. Larsson was a healthy scratch against Detroit and Rolston said he’s very excited to see what the young center can do.
“He’s got a good opportunity. I like everything about him. I like his attitude, the way we works, his preparation,” Rolston said. “He’s a good detail player, but this will give him a good opportunity to play with some good players and show us what we can do.”
Larsson, acquired as part of the package from the Minnesota Wild at the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline for Jason Pominville, has played in only one NHL game. He’ll join Mikhail Grigorenko, Zemgus Girgensons, Mark Pysyk, Rasmus Ristolainen and Brian Flynn as players in the lineup with less than 30 NHL games played.
“[Larsson is] another young guy in the lineup and I think it’s a good thing because I think he’s ready and now it’s just gaining those experiences in the League like our younger players did last night,” Rolston said. “He needs to be put into game situations and get in there.”
Marcus Foligno was a participant in practice for the first time since straining his upper-body in an exhibition on Sept. 22. Still wearing a red non-contact jersey, he was able to work out in some drills with the team.
He said there’s a slim chance he’ll be able to play this weekend against Ottawa on Friday and in Pittsburgh on Saturday. It’s more likely he’ll be ready by the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Rolston agreed with that assessment.
“Being able to shoot and stickhandle and kind of get power on your shot is good. Right now, I’m day-to-day. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow,” he said.
Forwards: Tyler Ennis, Brian Flynn, Marcus Foligno, Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko, Cody Hodgson, Patrick Kaleta, Johan Larsson, Cody McCormick, Steve Ott, Kevin Porter, John Scott, Drew Stafford, Thomas Vanek
Defensemen: Christian Ehrhoff, Jamie McBain, Tyler Myers, Mark Pysyk, Rasmus Ristolainen, Henrik Tallinder, Mike Weber
Goaltenders: Jhonas Enroth, Ryan Miller
Did Not Skate: Joel Armia (broken hand), Ville Leino (cracked rib), Corey Tropp (broken jaw), Nikita Zadorov (lacerated finger)