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by Brian Wheeler / Buffalo Sabres
Jaroslav Spacek (photo: Getty Images)
Shooting the puck has been a problem for Jaroslav Spacek. 

Not in a game mind you, Spacek has missed his last 10 starts, but when it matters even more, during workout sessions where his performance determines when he can return to game action.

The 34-year-old blueliner is trying to battle his way back into the Sabres lineup in time to make a difference in the playoff race.  Spacek suffered a chest injury on March 10 against the New York Rangers and has been sidelined since.

"The last two days, I've been feeling much better than I felt before," said Spacek.  "I had to take shots to see how it would feel to play.  I took a lot of shots today and I'll see how it feels tomorrow."

Spacek said he was experiencing some soreness following practice but that the discomfort wasn't something that he couldn't work his way through. 

One timers, in particular, are causing him the most trouble.

"The situation is what it is," said Spacek.

No date has been announced as being the defenseman's target date of return.

Adam Mair and Daniel Paille were both excused from practice on Wednesday.  Mair for personal reasons, and Paille for an upper-body injury.

"We don't know if it's muscular," said head coach Lindy Ruff of Paille's injury.  "He's getting it looked at and we'll see where he's at.

"He was in discomfort last night and that's why we changed the lines around a little bit."

Paille played just over nine minutes on Tuesday night, taking just one shift in the third period.  As a comparison, he was averaging more than 13 minutes in his previous 74 starts.

Lindy Ruff spoke on the helplessness of watching Buffalo's playoff fate possibly being decided by someone other than the Sabres Wednesday night.

"I don't think I'm nervous.  That's going to be what it's going to be.  I'm cheering pretty hard ... but nervous isn't the right word for it.

"It's a bad feeling [not being in control].  We've put ourselves in a bad spot."
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