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by Kevin Snow / Buffalo Sabres

Lindy Ruff is on the verge of receiving three late Christmas presents, and the first one is going to come in the shape of a six-foot-eight defenseman.

Tyler Myers said today that his broken wrist is fully healed, and he could return to the lineup as early as Friday in Carolina. Myers has missed Buffalo’s last 19 games after injuring his wrist against Phoenix on November 19.

Myers has been skating for a few weeks now, but his ability to shoot and stickhandle progressed a little slower than he expected. He’s confident that he’s now ready for game action.

“It’s as good as it can be. The good thing is I know I can’t do any damage to it. I have that peace of mind so I can really bear down on pucks,” said Myers. “The little aches and pains, I’m definitely not taking as serious now that I know it’s healed. It’s just a matter of these next couple of practices getting ready for Friday. Then hopefully by Friday I’m ready to go.”


The fact that Myers is a possibility for Friday is something that Ruff didn’t expect just 24 hours earlier.

Ruff thinks that getting the green light from the doctors yesterday eased some of the fears that Myers may have had upon his return.

“He got the green light yesterday and it mentally put him in a good place. The day before he wasn’t shooting the puck like that. I think he was tentative in the sense that he didn’t know if it was healed or not. I think he gave it a real good test today, so there’s obviously a possibility he could go.”


Next on Ruff’s wish list could be the return of forwards Ville Leino (foot) and Tyler Ennis (ankle).

Leino has missed the past nine games since suffering a foot injury on December 13 against Ottawa, while Ennis has been on the shelf for seven games after reinjuring his ankle in Pittsburgh on December 17.

Today’s was Leino’s first full practice, and he didn’t look out of place during any of the skating or shooting drills. Leino was smiling from ear to ear when he spoke to the media afterwards, and said he is targeting Saturday (vs. Winnipeg) or Tuesday (at Toronto) for his return.

“I feel good. I’ve been doing a lot of conditioning and I feel pretty strong out there. There’s no pain in the foot so I’m getting close.”


While Ruff is thrilled about finally getting his lineup almost to full strength, he remains cautious about rushing either player back.

“In Ville’s sense, to get him back and get him in a full practice is important. Tyler obviously has been there, we’re just waiting on a little bit of strength.”

Jason Pominville, Jochen Hecht and Brad Boyes were all absent from today’s practice at First Niagara Center. Ruff said he used the extra day between games to give each player a maintenance day. Pominville is still feeling rundown after being sick the past few days, while Hecht has been experiencing some soreness from his previous lower body injury. Boyes left practice early on Monday after tweaking his ankle, but was able to get through last night’s game without any problems.

Rookie blueliner Brayden McNabb was today named to the Western Conference All-Star roster for the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic. The game will take place in historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Monday, January 30.

McNabb, who is currently on recall to the Sabres, has appeared in 19 games for the Amerks this season, recording 10 points on one goal and nine assists to go along with a +5 rating and 16 PIMs.  His lone goal on the season, which was the first of his professional career, was the overtime game-winner in a 6-5 victory over Syracuse on Nov. 6.

The 20-year-old was recalled to Buffalo on Nov. 26 and has remained with the parent club ever since.  At the time of his recall, McNabb was leading all Amerks defensemen in scoring and currently ranks third on the team.  In 16 games with the Sabres, McNabb has recorded one goal and three assists.  A native of Davidson, Saskatchewan, McNabb made his NHL debut on Nov. 26 versus the Washington Capitals and scored his first NHL goal/point on Dec. 26 against the Capitals. McNabb is currently on a two-game point streak (0+3) after posting his first career multi-point game (0+2) last night against Edmonton.
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