Defenseman Andrej Sekera
will replace an injured Jaroslav Spacek this weekend as the Sabres take on the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Montreal Canadiens.
Spacek suffered a sprained shoulder in Monday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs when he was hit into the boards by Nik Antropov in the final minutes of regulation.
"He's doing ok," Ruff said of Spacek. "Obviously he is going to miss some games. We don't know the extent [of the injury]. It is more how it feels day-to-day, but obviously he is going to miss this weekend."
Sekera, Buffalo's third-round choice (71st overall) in the 2004 Entry Draft, made it to the end of training camp this season before being sent down to Rochester on Oct. 3. Ruff stated he reassigned the defenseman to the AHL "just to play."
"I kind of thought it might happen, Sekera said. "But it's better for me to be playing hockey than be just sitting around... I was a little bit sad about it but you have to move on, put your head down and keep working hard."
His determination has paid off already. In six games with the Amerks this season, Sekera has registered four points (1+3). Last season he finished with 19 points (3+16) in 54 games.
This is not, however, Sekera’s first time donning the blue and gold. He spent several games in Buffalo last season as well, enjoying a brief call-up in December to play for an injured Teppo Numminen.
Sekera said the time he spent with the Sabres last season coupled with training camp this year has given him some confidence in the locker room and on the ice.
"I won't be nervous at all. I just want to try and focus on my game and keep it simple," he said. "I have to play like I did in the preseason games... do the small things right, and we will be good."
Ruff also has high hopes for the 2004 draft pick (71st overall), saying he expected up to 15 minutes of ice-time in each game from the defenseman.
"I think he is one guy that played some real good hockey for us in the preseason,” Ruff said. “The initial thought is to use the six guys [on defense].
"Injuries around the league seem to be fairly common right now. You have to get through them, and put some players in different roles.”
Tim Connolly did not practice with the team Thursday at HSBC Arena. Ruff cited a strained muscle in Connolly’s arm as the problem, adding that he expects the center to play in Friday’s game against the Blue Jackets.
“We just kept him away [from the ice today] and had him skate before practice, but he should be fine,” Ruff said.