For the first time since training camp, Zac Dalpe
is back with the Buffalo Sabres. With the team in need of some help at forward, he and Philip Varone
were called up Monday from the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.
They joined the Sabres at practice at First Niagara Center. Varone, who has two goals in three games with Buffalo this year, centered a line featuring Nicolas Deslauriers and Cody Hodgson while also seeing some time on the second power-play unit.
Dalpe skated on the fourth line with Patrick Kaleta and captain Brian Gionta, who is still a few days away from returning from an upper-body injury.
He’s welcomed his new role as a veteran on the Amerks and hopes to bring some energy to the Sabres lineup Tuesday night when they host the Detroit Red Wings.
“As an older guy, I think I’ve learned a lot trying to play that leadership role,” Dalpe said. “It’s been new to me, but it’s been good. I’m just excited to be here.”
With Rochester, Dalpe has tallied 13 points (7+6) through 31 games played this year. He’s been focused on playing a strong game and hasn’t been too concerned that the points haven’t really been there.
“I’ve got points in the past and I haven’t got called up so I think it’s kind of a double-edged sword that way,” he said. “I’m not saying that getting points is a bad thing, but at the same time, I’m just trying to play the right way. Hopefully somebody notices and then the hockey gods will shine on you and give you some points.”
Sabres coach Ted Nolan said this time, the team went with Dalpe over 20-year-old Mikhail Grigorenko because of Dalpe’s experience. Dalpe was originally drafted by Carolina in the second round (45th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft. He signed with Buffalo as a free agent in July.
Chris Stewart missed practice again because of the flu and there’s a chance he won’t be available for Tuesday’s game against Detroit. If he is unable to go, another call-up will be needed from Rochester.
Buffalo received some good news in regards to center Cody McCormick. He’s out of the hospital after being admitted on Saturday with a blood clot in his calf muscle. Nolan said that it’s a good sign but they have yet to set a timetable for his return.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Nolan put the Sabres through a practice that lasted about an hour-and-a-half on Monday. It included a resurfacing of the ice about halfway through and an emphasis staying focused and making smarter plays.
With some younger players like Nikita Zadorov, Zemgus Girgensons and Rasmus Ristolainen playing big roles for the club right now, Nolan wants to make sure their practice habits remain sharp.
Buffalo has also lost seven straight games and is 1-10-1 in its past 12.
“I’ve got a lot of patience and when you’re going through what we’re going through, you have to have it,” Nolan said. “You see some of the results we’re having and some of them are because we’re not paying attention all the time.
“You have to pay attention all the time and if you don’t, those lapses, the beginning of games we don’t start so well and all of a sudden, we don’t have enough firepower to catch up. Attention to detail is very important and that’s what we’re trying to strive for every day here.
“Especially with some of the younger players, we want to make sure we do that all the time. And if we do it all the time, we’ll get better.”
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
The Sabres will honor former goaltender Dominik Hasek before the game Tuesday night by raising his No. 39 to the rafters. Hasek will become the seventh player to have his number retired by the team.
Hasek was notorious for being a fierce competitor in practice and when asked what made Hasek so great, Nolan drew a line from the way Hasek prepared to the way he’d like his team to perform in practice.
“Dom practiced hard all the time. You look at all the great players, they practiced hard all the time,” he said. “I’m not saying everybody’s going to be a Hall of Famer, but that doesn’t stop you from trying to compete like a Hall of Famer.
“I think that was the difference with Dom. He didn’t want anybody scoring on him any time, particularly in practice and that’s why it transferred into a game.”
Fans attending Tuesday’s game are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:45 p.m. for the ceremony. More details can be found here.
26 Matt Moulson – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 63 Tyler Ennis
65 Brian Flynn – 17 Torrey Mitchell – 21 Drew Stafford
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 84 Phil Varone – 19 Cody Hodgson
12 Brian Gionta – 20 Zac Dalpe – 36 Patrick Kaleta
4 Josh Gorges – 57 Tyler Myers
61 Andre Benoit – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
6 Mike Weber – 41 Andrej Meszaros
51 Nikita Zadorov – 24 Tyson Strachan
34 Michal Neuvirth
1 Jhonas Enroth
Did Not Skate: 8 Cody McCormick (blood clot), 82 Marcus Foligno (injured reserve, hand)