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by Erin Pollina / Buffalo Sabres
Ryan Miller

Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller reported feeling some stiffness in his ankle today, following a hit from Brandon Bochenski in last night’s game against the Boston Bruins.

At 10:08 into the third period, Sabres defenseman Nathan Paetsch hit Bochenski in the crease, causing the Bruins forward to fall backwards and clip Miller’s ankle with his skate.

Miller practiced at the Amherst Pepsi Center with the team on Tuesday, stating that while he felt “a twinge” in his ankle, he was able to participate in every drill.

“It’s when I have to get into certain positions as a goaltender ... it was just stiff,” he said. “It’s a really low sprain, kind of below the anklebone. It’s very tolerable. If it were higher up it would be a lot tougher to handle… I got through a whole practice without anything significant the day after. It’s good. I just want to kind of go carefully today and tomorrow, and then evaluate it.”

Head coach Lindy Ruff said he will err on the side of caution when it comes to his goaltender and that a decision would not be made concerning Miller's playing status until tomorrow.

The returns of defensemen Dmitri Kalinin and Henrik Tallinder to the Sabres lineup are getting closer.

“The doctors have indicated both of them should be ready to play by the weekend,” Ruff said.

Kalinin has not played since Oct. 24 after he suffered an MCL injury on a knee-to-knee collision with Carolina Hurricanes captain Rod Brind’Amour.

Tallinder has missed six games due to a shoulder injury. In all, the Sabres have 57 man games lost.

Ruff has also made the decision to put Daniel Paille back in the lineup tomorrow night when the Sabres face the New York Islanders at HSBC Arena. The winger was a healthy scratch for the last two games for the first time this season.  Ruff preferred Mike Ryan's performance in Buffalo’s 8-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings Dec. 6 more so than Paille's.

“Really it came down to I didn’t like what I saw in the LA game,” Ruff said yesterday at the morning skate. “Danny is the type of player that has got to bring energy and enthusiasm to the game, not to point the finger at one player. But he understands his role. Mike Ryan I thought played harder and gave us more in that game and I didn’t feel it would be fair to take him out.”

Paille has recorded 11 points (5+6) in 26 games this season and is ranked third on the team with a plus-five rating. Ryan has five points (2+3) in 21 games played.

“I’ve talked to Danny and the other coaches have talked to him,” Ruff said. “He’s played some real good hockey for us and I think in a couple games he let it slip. With young guys, we don’t want anybody to really become comfortable. His role is a little bit different than other guys’ roles. It’s an energy role for us, he’s got to make sure he’s finishing his checks and he needs to bring that on a consistent basis.

Jochen Hecht did not participate in practice with the team. Ruff cited the winger was “a little beat up” and warranted a day off, but will play in tomorrow night’s game against the Islanders.

Fans attending tomorrow’s game against the New York Islanders are encouraged to bring new or slightly used winter clothing as part of the Community Assist program to benefit the Buffalo City Mission. Items including: hats, gloves, coats, boots, scarves and sweaters will be accepted.

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