Tyler Myers took part in the Buffalo Sabres optional morning skate on Tuesday and will play against the Nashville Predators at 7 p.m.
The 6-foot-8, 219-pound defenseman fell awkwardly into the corner near the end of the first period of the team’s last game Sunday night. He skated off to the bench and into the locker room in a good deal of pain.
“I didn’t feel too good but once we figured out what was going on, I felt a lot more comfortable,” Myers said on Tuesday. “We made sure there was nothing damaging about it and got it stabilized a little bit and got back out there.”
He said he’ll be ready to go against Nashville. The Sabres currently have six defenseman available with Alexander Sulzer out with a lower-body injury so interim coach Ted Nolan is happy the injury wouldn’t sideline Myers.
“That was a scary little twist of the ankle there and knock on wood, nothing serious happened,” Nolan said.
Sulzer was on the ice for the morning skate and said he’s close to being ready. Nolan said on Friday that Sulzer’s injury could keep him out for as long as two weeks. However, he may be back sooner than that.
“I felt surprisingly good and I got some work done in the end there with [assistant coach] Teppo [Numminen],” Sulzer said. “We’ll see how it is tomorrow and if it looks good, I’ll probably be back in Thursday.”
The Sabres are also hampered by injuries to their forwards. Zemgus Girgensons, Torrey Mitchell and Chris Stewart are all out with lower-body injuries.
Nolan said that Mitchell could be ready to return soon and Girgensons would likely be back soon after that. However, Stewart’s injury, sustained when he collided with Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback on Thursday, could keep him out for the rest of the season. Nolan set the timetable on Stewart’s recovery at 4-5 weeks.
“I'm quite sure we probably won’t see him for the rest of the year,” Nolan said.
Jhonas Enroth will start in goal against the Predators and Nolan said that they’ll work on a schedule with goaltending coach Jim Corsi to deterimine when Michal Neuvirth will get some playing time.
“You pencil it in because it’s always subject to change depending on who’s hot and who’s going at the right time,” Nolan said. “But right now, we’ll go with Jhonas tonight and we’ll have a little game plan set going forward.”
In the five games since the Sabres traded starting goaltender Ryan Miller to St. Louis, Enroth and Neuvirth have combined to stop 186 of 196 shots, posting a .949 save percentage and a 2.02 goals against average.
Tonight will be Drew Stafford’s 500th NHL game. Stafford will become the 30th player to appear in 500 games as a member of the Sabres. Stafford, who scored the Sabres’ lone goal on Sunday, has 13 points (7+6) in his last 14 games. He hasn’t played three games without recording a point since Dec. 31 to Jan. 15.
Matt Ellis will log his 300th NHL game tonight, including 230 as a member of the Sabres.
Nolan was asked again about his contract situation with the team. He said on Monday that he’s leaving negotiations in his representative’s hands. In his update on Tuesday, Nolan said that with Sabres general manager Tim Murray in Florida for League meetings, they’re waiting to hear back but Nolan hopes to have something in place soon.
“I’m hoping. Tim’s probably tied up in the general manager meetings and he didn’t get back to my representative yesterday, but hopefully it’ll be ironed out real soon,” Nolan said.
88 Cory Conacher – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
82 Marcus Foligno – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 23 Ville Leino – 65 Brian Flynn
32 John Scott – 24 Zenon Konopka – 37 Matt Ellis
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 5 Chad Ruhwedel
6 Mike Weber – 57 Tyler Myers
20 Henrik Tallinder – 4 Jamie McBain
1 Jhonas Enroth
34 Michal Neuvirth