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by Erin Pollina / Buffalo Sabres
Craig Rivet (Photo: Bill Wippert)
The Buffalo Sabres blueline is slowly beginning to piece itself back together, as both Craig Rivet and Henrik Tallinder participated in the team’s morning skate today.

Paul Gaustad: Audio 
Craig Rivet:
Lindy Ruff: 

Rivet returned to the ice only a week after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. Expected to be out a minimum of two weeks after the getting procedure done on Oct. 22, the defenseman claims he is “definitely ahead of schedule.”

“It’s going to be slow but each day has been getting better and better,” Rivet said. “I’m feeling pretty good. Just with the skate today, it wasn’t real hard, but a real solid first day and I’ll be looking to improve on that tomorrow.”

Rivet reported that he had been skating for the last two days by himself to gauge the injury.

“It was a little sore, a little weak obviously… only about four or five days after the surgery,” he said. “But things are going well, we’re not going to look too far ahead, we are just going to take it day-by-day.”

“He’s been doing light workouts. Today is just kind of a light skate for him,” head coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ve got to be a little bit careful on how quick we go. They said the minimum was probably around two weeks and it could be as early as that.”

Rivet has three points (0+3) in six games with the Sabres this season, after being acquired in a trade from San Jose on July 4. The 34-year-old Rivet was named the 23rd captain in franchise history on October 8.

Joining him to make an attempt at an early return to the lineup is Tallinder, who also skated for the first time since battling an injury.

After suffering a laceration on his lower leg late on Oct. 25 during the Sabres’ shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche, Tallinder was unable to skate due to the location of the cut on his ankle until today.

With some adjustments to his equipment Ruff said it’s possible the defenseman could make a quick turnaround.

“Henrik might be night-to-night,” head coach Lindy Ruff said. “And it could be tonight [against the Tampa Bay Lightning].

“He is going to go out for warm-ups and if he feels good he will play tonight.”

The Sabres have already recorded a total of 29 man-games lost this season. Rivet has missed three games heading into tonight while Tallinder has missed one game.

Tim Connolly (back) and Paul Gaustad (thumb) have each missed nine games and Jochen Hecht  (finger) has been out for seven games.

Gaustad returns to the lineup tonight after undergoing surgery to repair ligaments in his thumb. Center Matt Ellis is likely to be scratched with the addition.

The morning skate at HSBC Arena today marked the first time since preseason the Sabres have practiced with a full team.

“It’s good to see. We are slowly getting healthy and getting some bodies back,” Ruff said. “Sooner or later hopefully we can get close to being healthy.”
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