Even with some healthy bodies on the way, the Buffalo Sabres have added a few more names to their injury report.
Marcus Foligno will be back in the lineup Tuesday night when Buffalo hosts the Detroit Red Wings at First Niagara Center. Chris Stewart, Torrey Mitchell and Christian Ehrhoff will be gametime decisions.
Two Sabres sustained concussions in their game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
Chad Ruhwedel was hit in the head by Philadelphia Flyers wing Zac Rinaldo early in the third period and was forced to leave the game. Rinaldo was given a match penalty for hitting Ruhwedel, was ejected by the game and faces a hearing with the NHL on Monday.
“The League will take care of that,” Nolan said after practice on Monday at First Niagara Center. “They’ve seen the same thing we’ve all seen so I’m quite sure they’ll do what’s required.”
Goaltender Nathan Lieuwen took a shot to the head from Flyers forward Jay Rosehill late in the game as Rosehill cut across the crease. He finished the game, but did not feel well enough to speak with the media afterward.
Lieuwen has a history of concussions that nearly derailed his career back when he played junior hockey.
The Sabres medical staff will treat both cases with extreme care and caution.
“Whether it’s your first or your second, concussions are very serious,” Nolan said. “And that hit to Chad’s head last night, there’s no place for them in the game. You’re not just talking about knocking a player out for a couple weeks or maybe six months, you’re talking about altering his lifestyle. It’s a very serious thing so we’ll be very cautious with it for sure.”
Lieuwen joins Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth as goaltenders that are done for the season. Matt Hackett will start for Buffalo on Tuesday, but they’ll have to find another backup goaltender.
The Sabres have dressed seven different goaltenders already this season with five different netminders making starts.
Ehrhoff was hit in the right ear with the puck as the Flyers game wrapped up and immediately skated to the dressing room. It took about 40 stitches to piece the ear back together and Nolan said it doesn’t appear he sustained any other head injury.
Ehrhoff will be a gametime decision against Detroit.
Nolan said that Foligno will be back in on Tuesday, which is somewhat surprising considering the original prognosis had him missing the rest of the season. Foligno fell in front of the net on his first shift in St. Louis on Thursday and was in noticeable discomfort. He had to be helped off the ice and did not return to the game.
However, Sunday morning, he was skating with the team in Philadelphia.
“It feels really good,” Foligno said on Monday. “It’s kind of almost back to normal. It feels good enough to play so hopefully I’ll be able to play tomorrow. Just somewhat more of a bone bruise. I think I just jammed it up pretty good. It was a scary incident and even in that moment, you want to take caution and make sure that the knee’s good.”
He said the way he fell and allowing his body to take most of the impact helped lessen the potential damage that could’ve been done.
“If I would’ve fallen on my knee, it would’ve been a lot worse,” he said. “I’m lucky that I dodged a bullet.”
Mitchell told the media after practice that he feels like he’s ready to play after missing 10 games with an injury. He said something didn’t feel right in midway through the game on March 16 but played through it. He’s skated in Buffalo the past few days.
He’s been on the injured list twice since Buffalo acquired him from the Minnesota Wild on March 5. He got hurt blocking a shot in his first game with the Sabres and missed six games.
Mitchell is looking forward to finishing the season off on a positive note.
“You want to come in and make an impression right away and I wasn’t able to do that because I got hurt,” he said. “But there’s an opportunity with four games left to try and show my stuff.”
Stewart met with doctors after practice and the results of that medical visit will play a big role in whether or not he’ll be ready for Tuesday.
Zenon Konopka was on the ice with the team for practice. He said he sustained a lower-body injury in the team’s game on March 23 in Vancouver and that the five-and-a-half-hour flight to Montreal the next day didn’t help his situation. As a native of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., he’d like to be back in the lineup before the season ends.
“Obviously playing in Buffalo’s a dream come true, so you don’t want to finish the year not playing. So it’s pretty important for me,” he said.
Nolan said that Drew Stafford skated on his own on Tuesday, but he probably wouldn’t be ready until at least Thursday when the Sabres play the Rangers in New York.
Defenseman Tyler Myers has been out of the lineup since the March 16 game against Montreal when he collided with the goalpost after being tripped in front of the net.
“He hasn’t skated in a while, his injury’s pretty significant, so we’ll go week-by-week with him,” Nolan said.
But with only one week and four games left, time may not be on Myers’ side to get back in.
Buffalo practiced with only four defensemen during practice. John Scott filled in on the blue line along with Jake McCabe, Rasmus Ristolainen and Jamie McBain.
Mike Weber did not skate on Monday, but he is expected to play against the Red Wings.