Tyler Myers is waiting for the phone to ring.
The 6-foot-8, 219-pound Buffalo Sabres defenseman faces a phone hearing Monday afternoon with the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit on New Jersey Devils center Dainius Zubrus in Buffalo’s 2-1 win Saturday night.
Myers received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head at 7:02 of the third period. Zubrus remained in the game and practiced with the Devils on Monday.
“I don’t want to say too much until I have my phone call, but it’s one of those plays where [I was] being aggressive and I came out of it with a phone call,” Myers said after practice Monday at First Niagara Center. “So we’ll see what happens.”
Myers was suspended three games in March 2012 for checking Scott Gomez into the boards from behind.
The Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.
With Henrik Tallinder already out with an injury, the Sabres will have to lean on their depth on the blue line to eat up some minutes if Myers is suspended for any length of time.
“Every team has injuries and every team has to cover up for one another,” Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. “But when you lose big parts of your team, it means players have to play that much smarter.”
Sunday was a good day for Rochester Americans defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. He scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give Team Finland the gold medal over host Sweden at the World Junior Championship.
It’s the first time Finland has won the tournament since 2006.
“They’re probably pretty excited. It’s a big, huge thing for our country,” Sabres forward Ville Leino, a native of Finland, said.
READ KRIS BAKER'S WJC RECAP
Members of the Sabres organization were obviously pleased to see Ristolainen, the team’s top pick in 2013 (eighth overall) step up to decide the game.
“Ristolainen, that’s a pretty big goal for him. When you’re that age and when you score a big goal with your peer group, you get to the next level. He did his country proud and did us proud,” Nolan said. “When you’re a big player, you make big plays. Now the fans here and the organization have something to really look forward to.”
Nolan said that Ristolainen will return to the Amerks now that the tournament is complete.
Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov won the bronze medal. Grigorenko led Russia in points, recording five goals and three assists in seven games. He scored to help the Russians beat Canada in the third-place game.
What did Nolan think of Grigorenko’s performance at the World Juniors?
“There were some mixed reviews. That’s the problem with some young players – that consistent factor. He played great at moments and not so well at other moments,” Nolan said. “Certain players take a little bit longer to get that [consistency]. We have some players in this League that are like that so that’s what development’s all about. Once he gets that [consistency as part] of his arsenal, he’ll be a great player for us.”
WATCH TED NOLAN'S PRESS CONFERENCE
Grigorenko will return to Buffalo, but may not suit up for the Sabres in a game anytime soon. Nolan and president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine will meet to discuss Grigorenko’s future once the 19-year-old center returns to North America.
Nolan said they’re leaning toward sending Grigorenko back to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League so that he can work on developing the consistency that may be lacking from his game.
“It’s up to our organization to try to correct that. You don’t correct it by just giving things to players like that,” he said. “You make them earn it and you watch them do it on a consistent basis for a consistent amount of time. You don’t just do it for a week and say, ‘Hey, we’re all fixed now.’ It’s going to take some time to correct it.”
Zadorov will return to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, where he will compete for the Memorial Cup later this year.
Leino has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury but practiced with the team again on Monday. He worked as a member of the fourth line with John Scott, Zenon Konopka and Matt Ellis.
“I was pretty good. Going day-to-day, but I’m feeling better every day,” Leino said. “Tomorrow, we’ll see in the morning how it feels, but I’m feeling good and as long as it’s like that, I’m happy with it.”
There’s a chance he may not be ready for the team’s home game Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 p.m. Nolan said the coaching staff isn’t going to rush Leino back into the lineup.
“For only his second time in about seven days, eight days skating, he looked pretty good today but we didn’t push him to a point where we’re going to really going to aggravate his injury a little bit,” Nolan said. “We’ll give him one more day, we’ll push him a little bit tomorrow and we’ll see how he reacts to it. But he’s more on a day-to-day basis now than before.”
26 Matt Moulson – 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 – 23 Ville Leino – 37 Matt Ellis
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 3 Mark Pysyk
6 Mike Weber – 57 Tyler Myers
44 Brayden McNabb – 4 Jamie McBain
52 Alexander Sulzer
30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth