The Buffalo Sabres took the ice for the first time in 2012 this morning and are looking to get a few regular contributors back into the lineup soon.
Both defenseman Tyler Myers
and winger Tyler Ennis
participated in today’s practice and while they aren’t ready for action quite yet, both said they’re feeling better and getting closer.
Myers, who has been out since Nov. 23 with a broken wrist, worked out as the extra defenseman but took regular repetitions in 5-on-5 drills with the rest of the team.
“I take another CAT scan tomorrow morning,” Myers said. “We’ll know a little bit more there, if I can start leaning on my stick a lot more, start engaging in physical play. I think today was its best day.”
Although the initial diagnosis was four-to-six weeks, Myers said he expected it to take extra time to heal.
“In my experiences in the past with broken bones, I’ve always taken a little bit longer,” Myers said. “It’s always frustrating not being able to get out there, but at the same time I’m staying positive. I feel good on the ice so I’m close.”
Ennis has been out for the last six games after injuring his ankle. He missed 17 games earlier in the season with the same injury. He says now that while there is some concern that it could become a nagging problem, pain is normal and he’s feeling better every day.
“It’s kind of tough to balance the cautiousness and the anxiousness to get back in the lineup,” Ennis said. “I’m feeling good, but last time I was feeling pretty good, too. It’s just kind of a weird thing. I just need to keep doing the same thing. Ice it, work on it, skate on it. Just do everything I can to push myself, too. You don’t want to take any extra time off that you could be playing.”
Ruff said that it’s going to be up to Ennis to decide when he will return to the lineup.
“He’s close. I talked to him today. That’s one of the ones where only the player knows and he doesn’t feel he’s quite ready yet,” Ruff said.
Forward Brad Boyes
, who missed 13 games earlier this year with an ankle injury of his own, fell near the half-wall during a drill towards the end of this morning’s practice. He got up in some discomfort and skated to the bench where he sat for a few minutes before heading off to the dressing room. Ruff said he hopes that it isn’t serious.
“Boyes just tweaked his ankle for a second and it’s one of those where it could just be a stinger but we’ll have to wait and see,” Ruff said. Jason Pominville
also left practice early with an illness but Ruff expects him to be fine for tomorrow night’s home game against the Edmonton Oilers.
The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers face off in the fifth Winter Classic today, the seventh outdoor game in NHL history. Derek Roy
, who played in the first Winter Classic here in Buffalo, remembers having some jitters before that game in 2008.
“It was great. You felt nervous and in a lot of NHL games, you just go in and you don’t feel nervous because it’s just pretty much the same thing. But to see 70,000 people and to play outdoors and to know it’s nationally televised is great,” Roy said. “It was a great experience. I had butterflies in the stomach going to [Ralph Wilson Stadium] that day and it was snowing. It was a great experience and it was fun.”
Defenseman Robyn Regehr
participated in the second Heritage Classic last season in Calgary when he was a member of the Flames. Initially, he says, he wasn’t looking forward to it.
“When I first heard about it, I thought, you know what, I’m not too excited because as a kid I played outside and there were some really cold days out there,” Regehr said. “They were enjoyable, but your hands and your feet were freezing and things like that. But you still had a smile on your face. I wasn’t sure what the ice conditions were going to be like and all that. For me, I was kind of lukewarm with the idea.”
However, as the game approached and he was able to get out to McMahon Stadium the day before the game, his feelings changed.
“The stadium was right near where we lived and I got really excited. It was a great event and I highly recommend it for anyone whether it was a player or a fan or anything. The experience is fantastic,” Regehr said. “For me, it brought back all those memories of as a kid playing outside, playing on the road, playing in outdoor rinks and things. It was a great experience.”
TODAY'S FORWARD LINES AT PRACTICE:
-Jochen Hecht-Pominville. Nathan Gerbe
-Roy-Drew Stafford. Matt Ellis
-Paul Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta. Cody McCormick
-Boyes-Luke Adam. Ennis and Zack Kassian
skated as the extra forwards.
Myers, Regehr, Jordan Leopold
, Mike Weber
, Marc-Andre Gragnani
, T.J. Brennan and Brayden McNabb
participated on defense. Ryan Miller
and Jhonas Enroth
manned the nets.