|Craig Rivet (Photo: Getty Images) |
It appears the Buffalo Sabres will be without their captain a little longer.
Head Coach Lindy Ruff reported that Craig Rivet will be evaluated in “two-week blocks” with a shoulder injury.
The defenseman missed two games earlier in the season with an upper body injury and was unable to participate in both games this weekend against the Maple Leafs and Devils when the pain flared up again.
“We’ll see where he is after two weeks and if the doctors decide that he isn’t available then it will be another two weeks,” Ruff said. “It won’t be a day-to-day.”
Rivet rejoined his team Monday morning, skating for the first time since he was announced as a scratch prior to Friday’s game against Toronto. While he will continue to participate in practice, Rivet said he will shy away from most contact and physical drills.
“It’s something that I tried to play with,” Rivet said of the injury. “Obviously it was really limiting what I can do on the ice and really affecting my game… the pain issue, you can get through those things but when it makes things that much more difficult for you on the ice you have to take a step back and try to rehabilitate it… see if we can strengthen it up.”
“He can’t play the way he wants to play. That’s his biggest frustration,” Ruff said. “He can’t play a physical game and I understand the frustration there. He doesn’t think he can be a true asset if he has to play a different style.”
It’s not the first bit of adversity the blueliner has endured this season. Rivet was previously out for two weeks in late October after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery - causing him to miss five games.
“We fixed that. Now it’s something else that is bothering me,” Rivet said. “It’s something that we are going to address, something that we are going to take care of and watch closely and hopefully it won’t take too long.”
Paul Gaustad was forced to leave practice early after being hit by a puck on the chin.
Ruff said the centerman suffered a deep gash, and will see a doctor, but should be okay.
“Just one of those fluky accidents,” Ruff said.
Pat Kaleta could return to the lineup this week. The forward is recovering from a neck injury he sustained Nov. 29 in Montreal.
“He’s doing a lot better and I would anticipate that some time this week he will be available to play,” Ruff said. “I don’t know if it will be as soon as Wednesday but I would anticipate that he’s that close.”
Tim Connolly also skated prior to the team’s practice. The centerman has been out since Nov. 12 with a broken rib after he took a hard hit from St. Louis forward Keith Tkachuk.
Ruff said Connolly is improving but “still a ways away.”