Pat Kaleta was back at practice Tuesday afternoon.
Patrick Lalime was not.
Head Coach Lindy Ruff said the netminder had a “hip situation” that kept him off the ice and will be reevaluated tomorrow.
Kaleta, however, is expected to be in the lineup Wednesday night in Atlanta after being free of symptoms for the last two days.
Montreal doctors first reported that the winger suffered a concussion Saturday night following a controversial hit from behind by Canadiens’ Maxim Lapierre. Ruff said Tuesday he was unsure what the real diagnosis was.
“It’s in that gray area,” Ruff said, addressing whether or not the injury was a concussion. “As long as he’s had a good day he’s cleared to play.”
Ruff also pointed to previous head/neck injuries that Kaleta has had, causing him to miss 24 games this season, which could have led to a misdiagnosis.
“You have to separate whether the pain is coming from the neck or a concussion,” Ruff said. “Our doctors here have more experience here with Pat than the doctors in Montreal have… you have to take that into account too.”
“I know how my body feels and I know what I can handle,” Kaleta said. “I feel great and I wanted to come back in the Montreal game but it wasn’t right. I was reevaluated, did everything I needed to do… tomorrow is going to be a big day for me.”
The Sabres will take on the Thrashers on Wednesday night for the fourth and final time this season. They will also be looking for their first win against the team since Jan. 18, 2008.
The last four times the teams have met, Buffalo has lost in a shootout; including all three match-ups this season. The Sabres are 15-12-8 all-time against Atlanta.
“We really have to play exactly the same way except maybe just eliminate one more mistake in the game. From a playing standpoint - what we gave up, what we generated, where we were at in the game - we made a couple of mistakes late that we have to avoid. Otherwise the game was right there for us,” Ruff said. “We don’t have to change anything. We eliminated a lot of their opportunities and a lot of their game and we’re going to try to do the same.”
The NHL announced that defenseman Teppo Numminen was named as a nominee for the 2009 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, after battling back from corrective heart surgery last season.
“Well deserved,” Ruff said. “Teppo is first-class. He’s gone through a lot as a player, as an individual, with what he’s dealt with, with his heart. He’s an example for all our young players, a very positive guy that knows how to prepare and how to play and how to stay ready. We needed him. The fact of the matter is he has been able to play this long because of all the preparation he’s put in through his career.”