Henrik Tallinder hasn’t played a game in 2014, but that will change Tuesday night.
After missing eight games with an upper-body injury, the Buffalo Sabres veteran defenseman said after the team's optional morning skate at First Niagara Center that he’s ready to return to action.
“It’s always frustrating when you’re injured so it’s good to be back with the guys in the locker room and everything that comes with it,” he said.
He sustained the injury on Dec. 29 against the Washington Capitals and while the injury occurred on the first shift of the game, he still played 21:05.
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said that Tallinder will indeed be back in the Sabres lineup against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The coaching staff hasn’t decided what the defensive pairings will be, but it’s likely that they will put Tallinder back with Tyler Myers.
“We just found out this morning that [Tallinder’s] really good to go. From that to here, we haven’t really had a chance to really think about exactly who he’s going to go with,” Nolan said. “Myers seems to be the guy who’s really going right now. It could be a big benefit for him to play with the top guy right at the hop.”
The Sabres will have to make a roster move before the game in order to activate Tallinder from injured reserve.
Mark Pysyk will be a healthy scratch on defense. The Sabres will consider sending him down to play some games during the Olympic break with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. To make sure a young player like him isn’t playing too many games, they’ll sit him down against the Panthers.
“It’s not his play,” Nolan said. “He’s been playing pretty well lately and it’s just he’s younger. There’s a possibility he might go down to the farm team to play during the break, so that’s a lot of games for a young guy to play. It’s more of a precautionary day and rest day.”
It’s possible that Brayden McNabb might also go to Rochester during the Olympics, but Nolan said the front office has yet to make that decision.
Linus Omark will be back for the Sabres as well after sitting out the past two games as a healthy scratch.
Nolan hopes playing Omark on a line with center Cody Hodgson and captain Steve Ott will jumpstart his game.
“If you could watch some of our practices, he’s pretty skilled. He has great vision for the ice, he knows where to go, he knows all the moves, he has everything. But in the games, it just doesn’t transfer,” Nolan said. “We just have to get him to be a little [grittier] and maybe playing with a guy like Steve Ott, that’ll bring it.”
Ryan Miller is expected to start in goal.
Alexander Sulzer and Zenon Konopka are also expected to be healthy scratches against Florida.