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by Kevin Snow / Buffalo Sabres

Christian Ehrhoff has been out of the Sabres lineup for the past three weeks, and the team has gone 2-7-2 in his absence. So what does he want to bring to the dressing room when he returns to the ice for tomorrow’s game in New Jersey?

“Maybe I’ll throw a joke out to get the guys going. Try to get the confidence level back up again,” he said with a smile. “It’s been a tough few weeks for the guys that have been playing. I’ll just try to come in and bring some excitement, and maybe give them a little confidence. It’s been a while. Obviously I’m happy to be back. Hopefully we can get out of this hole tomorrow and get a win.”

The team’s confidence has definitely taken a hit since Ehrhoff suffered an upper body injury in Washington on December 30. But despite missing the last 11 games, Ehrhoff still leads all Sabres blueliners in assists (14), points (17) and shots (86).

Getting his big shot back in the lineup will be a boost for a team that has had trouble generating offense. Ehrhoff says he won’t be hesitant to unleash it.

“I always try to use it. We’ll see how many opportunities are there. I’m not going to try and force it.”

Brad Boyes was missing from today’s practice, and Lindy Ruff said afterwards that’s he’s become the latest victim to the flu bug that has been running through the locker room over the past week.

Tyler Ennis skated in Boyes’ spot on a line with Drew Stafford and Ville Leino, and appeared to be moving well. But Ruff said that wasn’t any indication the speedy winger is ready to return from the high ankle sprain he aggravated in Pittsburgh on December 17.

“He’s not gonna play tomorrow. He’ll practice with us again, and I’m pretty sure he’ll be ready for us after the break,” explained Ruff. “We’re going to do some treatment with him over the next five days and make sure that it’s not one game and out again.”

Ennis has already missed 33 games this season because of the ankle sprain, and has produced just five points (3+2) in 15 games when healthy.

TJ Brennan was also absent again today, and Ruff said there’s a chance that it could be more than just a flu bug slowing him down. Brennan was hit in the head by Nik Antropov in Winnipeg last Thursday, and he wouldn’t rule out the possibility that a concussion may be in play as well.

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