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by Rob Crean / Buffalo Sabres
Derek Roy spoke with the media on Monday for the first time since suffering a torn quadriceps tendon when he crashed awkwardly into the boards during Buffalo’s Dec. 23 game versus Florida.  Roy, who leads the Sabres in scoring on the season with 35 points, is expected to be sidelined for four to six months.

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When describing the injury, Roy said that when it initially happened, he was not aware of its severity.

“I felt a sharp pain, and skated around and then I’m like ‘I might want to get off the ice right now.’  Then once I started walking on it, it’s a little different when you’re walking and putting pressure on it.  I came to the room and they couldn’t really figure out what was going on, then they spotted that the tendon was gone.  I went for the MRI the next day and found out that it was a partially torn tendon and that I needed surgery,” Roy said.

Roy was performing at a point-per-game clip at the time of his injury with 10 goals and 25 assists through 35 games, which marked the best start of his career.  While the 27-year-old expressed frustration at having perhaps his most productive season come to a halt, he was also disappointed about not being able to contribute for his teammates.

“Watching the guys play and wanting to be there and wanting to be in the battle and wanting to be there with the guys every day, it’s a really tough feeling, especially at this time” he said.  “I’ll be here supporting them, for sure.”

With his rehab process set to begin, Roy would not rule himself out for the entire season if things go well.

“I’m even shooting for the end of this season,” he said.  “We don’t want to hurt it or overkill it, but we’ll try to speed it up.  Hopefully we can make the playoffs and I’ll be there to help out.”

The Sabres’ 2-1 overtime win at Phoenix on Saturday marked the midway point of the 82-game regular season.  Through 41 games, the defending Northeast Division champions have posted a record of 18-18-5 for 41 points, placing them 10th in the Eastern Conference and eight points out of the final playoff spot. A 4-0-1 record over the last five games has the team poised for a second-half push toward a playoff berth.

“(The .500 mark) is not where we want to be, we want to be better than that,” said Jason Pominville, who has recorded six points in the last five games.  “But getting there is the first step and now it’s moving on and getting above it and keep climbing.”

Buffalo’s uphill climb toward a playoff spot over the second half of the season will be more difficult with Roy lost to injury.  However, a surging Drew Stafford has carried the offense in recent weeks.  He is currently on a four-game point streak (four goals, three assists) and has registered 14 points (10 goals, four assists) over the last 12 games.  His 10-goal outburst featured two hat tricks and two game-winning goals, including the overtime winner at Phoenix.

“I think it’s a collective effort with everyone kind of stepping up,” said Stafford.  “Vanek is scoring some big power play goals for us, Jochen is on a pretty good hot streak, so I think it’s a collective effort from everyone that definitely helps with a guy like Derek absent.”

“I think if you looked at it 15 games ago and said if you could get (to .500) by 40 (games) you’d be happy,” said Head Coach Lindy Ruff.  “Right now we’re happy that we’ve gotten to that (.500) mark.  Our focus now is to just keep pushing ahead.”

Mike Weber did not practice Monday after missing Saturday’s game due to an injury.  Ruff said that the injury occurred Thursday at San Jose when Weber blocked a shot and called his status “day-to-day.” Ruff added that Weber was not ruled out for Tuesday’s game against the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers.
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