The Buffalo Sabres will be without Tyler Myers for the next three games. The defenseman received a two-minute penalty on Saturday for illegally checking New Jersey Devils forward Dainius Zubrus in the head. The NHL Department of Player Safety then scheduled a phone hearing with Myers for Monday and later announced that they had handed down a three-game suspension.
He received two for the hit and an extra game for being a repeat offender. He was suspended three games in March 2012 for boarding.
Initially, Myers didn’t think he would receive three games this time around.
“I was pretty surprised but there was a conversation after the phone call where he explained that it doesn’t matter what type of hit it is anymore. If there’s any contact to the head, it’s going to be 2-5 games,” he said after practice Wednesday at First Niagara Center.
“I liked the fact that on the phone call that everyone recognized that it wasn’t my intention to target his head. After I saw the video, it’s clear that there is contact to the head. Fortunately he’s OK and came back into the game and there are no problems there.”
WATCH: TYLER MYERS INTERVIEW
Buffalo will also be without Henrik Tallinder on Thursday when the Florida Panthers come to town.. Myers plays an average of 21:46 per night, second on the team. Tallinder is sixth, playing 19:20 each night on average, so other defensemen will have to play bigger roles for the Sabres.
Defenseman Mike Weber said they’ll have to look down the lineup to play key minutes on the penalty kill as well.
“Those are two guys that play a lot of minutes so guys are going to have to step up and play those minutes,” Weber said. “I think with that, stepping up in the right situation, you’re not going to replace a [Myers] with the offensive abilities that he has. Someone’s got to step up and just play solid minutes."
Center Cody Hodgson skated with the team for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury on Dec. 19 albeit in a red non-contact jersey.
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan hopes Hodgson will be able to return to the lineup soon.
“Right now it’s up to Cody. We’re going to see how he feels,” Nolan said. “Today was the first day he practiced with the team. He said he felt great some hopefully he feels like that for a couple days in a row. And if he does that then hopefully we’ll get him in.”
Ville Leino, who has missed two games with a lower-body injury. “Also skated in a non-contact jersey and the Sabres staff will continue to evaluate in throughout the week.
The Sabres were back on the ice after having their game Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes postponed due to incliment weather.
"You don’t want to put anyone in danger. Fans coming to the game, the workers coming to the arena to work, all those [people]," Nolan said. "The game of hockey is nice to watch, but we need to make sure we do it where everybody can get there safely."
A make-up date as yet to be announced.
Jhonas Enroth was expected to start that game and Nolan said he will play Thursday night against Florida.
Ryan Miller will have some company at the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month. Miller was named to Team USA on New Year’s Day and on Tuesday, three of his teammates were announced to national rosters.
Tallinder and Enroth will represent Sweden. Zemgus Girgensons will play for Team Latvia under the guidance of Ted Nolan, who also coaches the Latvian team.
WATCH: JHONAS ENROTH INTERVIEW
Miller was especially happy to hear his fellow netminder had been named to the Swedish team and said he would look forward to a potential goaltending duel against Enroth and Sweden.
“It’d be cool. It’d be definitely unique,” Miller said. “It’s not something many teams that I’ve seen have a chance to do. We’ll see how it works out, but it’d be nice.”
26 Matt Moulson – 63 Tyler Ennis – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
9 Steve Ott – 22 Johan Larsson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
17 Linus Omark – 65 Brian Flynn – 82 Marcus Foligno
32 John Scott – 24 Zenon Konopka – 37 Matt Ellis
Red (Non-Contact) Jerseys: 23 Ville Leino – 19 Cody Hodgson
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 3 Mark Pysyk
44 Brayden McNabb – 4 Jamie McBain
6 Mike Weber – 52 Alexander Sulzer
57 Tyler Myers
30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth