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POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.26.2014 / 12:51 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / THE MORNING SKATE








With a goal against Carolina on Tuesday, Tyler Ennis extended his point streak to three games and has racked up seven points in his past seven games. He’s been one of the Buffalo Sabres’ most productive players of late, but the team will have to see how it fairs without him Wednesday night.

Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan announced after the team’s optional morning skate that Ennis will not play against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., NBCSN) due to what he called “general body soreness.”

“Hopefully it’s nothing too serious,” Nolan said. “Just a day-to-day thing so we’ll be good.”

Ennis’ line with Matt Moulson and Drew Stafford has been relied upon for offensive output. Stafford has recorded 11 points (6+5) in his last eight games, making it his most prolific eight-game stretch since 2011-12.

In his career, Stafford has recorded 51 points (24+27) in 71 games during the month of February (.718 points per game), his highest point-scoring rate of any month of the season.


Jhonas Enroth will start in goal and make his first appearance since returning from the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia earlier this week.

Henrik Tallinder, Enroth’s teammate on silver medal-winning Sweden, will also be back in the lineup. He didn’t play against the Hurricanes as the Sabres decided to give him an extra day of rest after the long flight back to North America.

It’s possible that by next Wednesday, starting goaltender Ryan Miller could be traded away and Enroth could be the team’s No. 1 goalie.

Tallinder thinks Enroth, 25, is up for the challenge if that scenario becomes a reality and playing the Bruins provides a great opportunity to start making his case.

“Obviously I think he wants to just show that he can play against top teams in this League and show that he might be ready to be battling for the first job next year,” Tallinder said. “I think that’s natural for him. He’s at that stage of his career too, where he wants to get that job.”

Enroth, however, is keyed in on the Bruins and what he will have to do well to pick up his second victory of the season.

“It’s a tough team and a pretty big team so they like to bring a lot of bodies in front of the net. For the key for me is probably to fight to see the puck and stay sharp on that part,” he said.


Center Zenon Konopka was scratched Tuesday night as well but said he’s set to play on Wednesday. TSN reported Tuesday that Konopka had finger surgery over the Olympic break and Konopka confirmed that Wednesday morning.

“I don’t know how TSN got a hold of that, but I broke my finger in Minnesota, the fifth game of the year,” he said. “Kept on playing with it and it was bugging me quite a bit. So over the break, we thought it was an opportunity to get in there and clean up the bone.”

Konopka expects the finger to be 100 percent “sooner than later.” While Nolan said on Wednesday that Konopka was held out of the lineup as a precaution, the 33-year-old forward declared himself ready to go. Konopka has talked with the coaches and training staff every morning and feels like he’ll be able to contribute on the ice against the Bruins.

“Today we thought it was a day to try it,” he said. “You love to get back in there. You love to play hockey. So it’s going to be exciting. Always a good rivalry with Boston so it’ll be fun.”

If it turns out Konopka can’t go, Nolan said they’ll dress John Scott as a seventh defenseman and play with 11 forwards.


PROJECTED LINEUP
26 Matt Moulson – 23 Ville Leino – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
82 Marcus Foligno – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
37 Matt Ellis – 24 Zenon Konopka – 8 Cody McCormick

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain

1 Jhonas Enroth
30 Ryan Miller

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 1:31 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / THE MORNING SKATE

There’s only one game on the NHL schedule Tuesday night and it’s happening in Buffalo.

The Sabres take on the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 p.m. at First Niagara Center for a game that was originally supposed to be played on Jan. 7. However, a snowstorm in Buffalo caused the game to be postponed until Tuesday.

Both teams are coming off a two-week break because of the Olympic Winter Games, but some players have gotten more rest than others.

Ryan Miller, Jhonas Enroth and Henrik Tallinder returned from Sochi on Monday and while Enroth and Tallinder will receive the night off, Miller will start in goal for Buffalo.

WATCH: TED NOLAN'S PRESS CONFERENCE

Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan is confident that Miller will be able to overcome the time zone change and play a solid game.

“I think the biggest thing is you’re a little bit foggy from the travel,” Nolan said after the team's morning skate. “So hopefully he’ll knock the fog out through the pregame skate today and be real good for us tonight.”


Several Sabres used the break to recover from various injuries and three players who missed the team’s last game in Ottawa on Feb. 6 will suit up against the Hurricanes.

Forwards Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick and defenseman Tyler Myers are all expected to play Tuesday night.

Moulson missed four games with an upper-body injury and will return to a line featuring center Tyler Ennis and right wing Drew Stafford.

“We’ve been having some good chemistry lately and I think adding Matty back in the fold will just improve things,” Ennis said. “I know we’ve had a long break and some time off, so hopefully we can get the rust off early.”

McCormick has been out since Dec. 18 with an upper-body injury. Tyler Myers sustained a lower-body injury on Feb. 3 but is also ready to go.

“We had a ton of injuries before so it’ll be nice to have all the guys around and a full squad,” center Cody Hodgson said. “It’s just also good that we had a couple good days of real good practice and come out ready.”

Zenon Konopka is expected to be Buffalo’s scratch at forward.


One day after being dismissed by Nolan from practice, John Scott will find himself in the lineup. With Tallinder not dressing for the game, Scott will be on the blue line, a spot he spent the majority of his career prior to coming to Buffalo. He said he’ll be paired with Jamie McBain.

On Monday, Nolan wasn’t satisfied with how Scott was performing in practice and sent him off the ice. Scott apologized to Nolan afterward and everything has been ironed out between the two.

“I was perfect with John Scott yesterday. Sometimes in this sport, you have those moments, but it’s forgotten right afterwards,” Nolan said. “He’s in tonight. It wasn’t so much I threw him off [the ice], he just banged his stick and I asked him to stay in [the dressing room] until he cooled down a little bit. So everything’s good.”

Scott said he understands his coach’s stance and what Nolan expects from each player.

“Obviously I wasn’t happy. No one likes getting sent off from practice but I was having a tough practice and maybe overreacted a little bit and got a little upset, but it happens and you move on,” Scott said. “…I know exactly where he’s coming from. He doesn’t want lackadaisical practices and I was terrible yesterday.

“I couldn’t make passes or anything and it was just one of those days where nothing was going right so I understand his decision. I totally get what he’s doing and I would’ve probably done the same thing.”


PROJECTED LINEUP

26 Matt Moulson – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
23 Ville Leino – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
82 Marcus Foligno – 8 Cody McCormick – 37 Matt Ellis

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
6 Mike Weber – 57 Tyler Myers
32 John Scott – 4 Jamie McBain

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

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POSTED ON Monday, 02.24.2014 / 2:39 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS








The Buffalo Sabres practiced again on Monday and, once again, did so without three of their Olympic athletes.

Ryan Miller, Jhonas Enroth and Henrik Tallinder took the same flight home from Sochi according to interim coach Ted Nolan and were expected to arrive in Buffalo at around noon.

Nolan is “banking on” Miller starting between the pipes Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at First Niagara Center. One of the biggest issues the players face upon returning from Russia is the time zone changes.

“Maybe it’ll be like playing at 4 a.m. for him,” Nolan said of Miller. “It’ll be a different challenge, but hopefully he has at least some sleep and he’s somewhat awake at that point.”

However, it’s possible that the plan could change.

Depending on how both goaltenders feel leading up to the morning skate on Tuesday, it’s possible that the Sabres could recall a goaltender from their American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester.

Nolan also said that as of now, they don’t plan on bringing up any skaters from the Americans.

“What we’ve got today is what we’ve got for tomorrow,” he said.

WATCH: TED NOLAN'S PRESS CONFERENCE

With 25 games remaining, Nolan has set some goals for the team moving forward so that they can finish the season on a positive note.

“I think moving forward, setting a strong foundation of where we’re going to go to down the road,” he said. “You don’t win championships like the Chicago Blackhawks do overnight. It takes a little time, it takes some growth and it takes a certain amount of work and commitment by your athletes.”


Matt Moulson, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, knows that it’s possible he could be moved by the time the NHL Trade Deadline rolls around on March 5 at 3 p.m.

“I think you guys in the media as a whole have been telling me I’ve been getting traded since the first day I got here,” he joked after practice.

Moulson was acquired from the Islanders with two draft picks for Thomas Vanek on Oct. 27.

He said that he’s only going to concentrate on the aspects of the business he can control, which is primarily his performance on the ice.

A native of Mississauga, Ont., he said his experience as a Sabre so far has been a very positive one.

“I’ve definitely enjoyed my time here,” he said. “Like I said before, I think this team is going to be good. I think they have the right guys in place that are going to make this team good and the owners are willing to do anything to have a successful team. I’ve enjoyed my time here. My family’s enjoyed our time here. We’ll see what happens.”


John Scott left practice early. The 6-foot-8 forward has been practicing as a defenseman while Tallinder is overseas.

“He just fumbled the puck a few times in practice and I didn’t like it,” Nolan said. “In order for us to get better here, we have to practice better. He just had one of those moments and I didn’t like it so we sent him off.”

After being dismissed, Scott snapped his stick and stormed off to the dressing room, slamming the bench door behind him.


26 Matt Moulson – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
82 Marcus Foligno / 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 23 Ville Leino – 65 Brian Flynn
37 Matt Ellis – 24 Zenon Konopka – 8 Cody McCormick

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
6 Mike Weber – 57 Tyler Myers
32 John Scott – 4 Jamie McBain

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POSTED ON Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 1:41 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS







With the Olympics just about over, teams are getting back to practice to prepare for the remainder of the NHL regular season. The Buffalo Sabres are no different as they get ready to enter a pretty tough stretch of hockey that begins Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at First Niagara Center.

The game, which was originally supposed to be played on Jan. 7 but postponed due to inclement weather, opens up a three-game homestand over four nights for Buffalo. The team then hits the road next week for three games in five nights against Dallas, Tampa Bay and Florida.

Sabres forward Cody McCormick, who has missed 24 games since sustaining an upper-body injury on Dec. 17 against Winnipeg, is anxious to get back into the swing of things.

“I don’t care if it’s going to be five-in-five. I’ve missed too many games,” he said after practice at First Niagara Center on Saturday. “I want to play. That’s what it’s about right now. My personal feeling is, ‘Let’s play some hockey.’”

McCormick has been a full participant in practice the past two days and has shed a red non-contact jersey in favor of a white one that means he’s ever so closer to returning to the lineup. The team would still need to officially activate him from injured reserve before he can return to action.

Like many members of the team, he was able to use the two-week Olympic break to heal up and he rehabbed his injury to the best of his ability.

“I think everything’s a go, so hopefully – barring any setbacks – I think we’re all set,” he said. “It was something where I could focus 100 percent on it and do everything I had to do to get it to where it needs to be.”

Sabres captain Steve Ott was also able to use the break to rest up and recuperate from any injuries that may have been bothering him. He was also able to spend some time relaxing with his wife and daughter in warmer climates.

“I think every guy in the dressing room and throughout the League probably has a lot of bumps and bruises right around now,” he said. “We’ve played a lot of games in a short period of time and there’s nothing better than to refresh your brain and refresh your body. Just take in the two weeks to get away.”

However, with the upcoming schedule, the next few days of practice are vital for the team when it comes to getting back into a rhythm, especially in terms of on-ice drills.

“After a couple weeks, everyone did something, but there’s nothing like skating to replace or replicate the workout that we go through,” Ott said. “We start right away with a three-in-four situation and it doesn’t get any easier the rest of the way out. We want to be as prepared as possible.”


Buffalo currently has both of their goaltenders, Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth, in Sochi for the Olympics. Enroth, Henrik Tallinder and Team Sweden will face Canada in the gold medal game on Sunday while Miller and Team USA lost on Saturday to Finland in the bronze medal game.

Since Miller will be heading home first, Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said he may lean toward starting him against Carolina. That would likely mean Enroth would play Wednesday night when the Sabres host the Boston Bruins.

With Tallinder also in Sochi, the Sabres have been practicing with five defensemen.

The Sabres sent Chad Ruhwedel back to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League to play during the break and he’s one of a few defensemen, including Mark Pysyk and Brayden McNabb, who could be called up in the next few days to fill out the roster.

Nolan said that’s an area president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine and general manager Tim Murray are focusing on.

“I’m quite sure come gametime, we’ll have six,” Nolan said. “Not too sure who it’s going to be, but we’ll have six.”


After practice, Ott was preparing to head out to the Buffalo Zoo as part of his “Ott’s Otters” program. Last month, Ott and the Sabres teamed up with the Zoo to sell a limited number of stuffed otters. The otters, each wearing an Ott jersey, came with a card autographed by the Sabres captain.

The Sabres Store at First Niagara Center sold out of the stuffed animals in one day.

“I was blown away with the success,” Ott said. “We completely underestimated it with the amount of actual stuffed animals that we had but maybe next year we’ll have another round at this, we’ll see.”

All proceeds from the sale directly benefit the Buffalo Zoo.

“It’s just the smallest token since we’re all pretty much animal lovers in this dressing room,” Ott said. “It’s just a fun little project I thought about.”

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POSTED ON Friday, 02.21.2014 / 1:46 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

After a long flight back from Sochi, Ted Nolan was on the ice in Buffalo on Friday to lead the Buffalo Sabres in their first practice in two weeks.

Nolan said he arrived back in Buffalo at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday night and didn’t get much sleep before the team’s practice Friday morning at First Niagara Center.

Zemgus Girgensons, who played for Latvia under Nolan in the Olympics, did not skate, but spoke with the media after practice about his experience. The 20-year-old center said he was proud of what Latvia was able to do in his first Olympic Games.

“We believed in ourselves since the first day we got there and even before, just looking at the paper, I knew that’s the best team Latvia probably has had in a long time,” Girgensons said. “I was hoping we can accomplish something good.”

He likely won’t practice for the next few days as he adjusts to the time change and rests up for the rest of the NHL season.

Nolan said he thinks being around some great players on both Latvia and other teams will be extremely beneficial to his development.

“We had some pretty good leadership on that team so Zemgus being around that, being so young, I think [for] his growth, it’s almost like adding another year on to his experience,” he said.

Despite going 0-3-0 in the preliminary round, Latvia was able to defeat the Swiss in the qualification match to advance to the quarterfinals. They played a tight game against Canada, falling 2-1 on a goal by Shea Weber in the third period.

“The way Latvia played, you could tell they were playing without fear and they were competing,” Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers said. “That’s exactly what Ted asks for you and you could tell Ted was the coach of that team.”

Despite some injuries and risks that have taken place during the tournament, like a season-ending one for John Tavares of the New York Islanders, Nolan believes that the opportunity to participate in the Olympics shouldn’t be passed up.

“I think it’s worth it. You can get hurt walking across the street and slipping on a piece of ice. Those things happen,” Nolan said. “And to say the event is one of those events you don’t want to take a chance, I think it’s worth every chance there is because it’s a world event, it’s a world-class event to showcase our game.”

Myers, Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick, who were all injured prior to the break could all be ready to go when the team faces the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

Myers said Friday morning that he’s back and set to play. Moulson declared himself as day-to-day with a rib injury. He sustained the injury on Jan. 30 in Phoenix.

“I’ve never had a dislocated rib, but that’s what it felt like at the start,” Moulson said. “But luckily it wasn’t that. A little time off came off came at a pretty good time if there ever is a good time right before the break. Lots of time to rest it, so it’s feeling good now.”

Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth are still in Sochi. Nolan said either get the start Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes but will wait to make a decision.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 2:30 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / THE MORNING SKATE

Ryan Miller will start in goal for the Buffalo Sabres in their final home game before the Olympic break Wednesday night but Tyler Myers will not play due to injury.

The game at First Niagara Center against the Pittsburgh Penguins can be seen nationally on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. and will feature 11 athletes headed to Sochi, Russia for the Olympic Games.

Miller (United States), Zemgus Girgensons (Latvia), Jhonas Enroth (Sweden) and Henrik Tallidner (Sweden) will represent the Sabres in Sochi as well as interim coach Ted Nolan, who will be behind the bench for Team Latvia.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are sending seven players to compete in the games including captain Sidney Crosby (Canada), who will also serve as the captain of Team Canada; Chris Kunitz (Canada); Evgeni Malkin (Russia); Jussi Jokinen (Finland); Olli Maatta (Finland); Paul Martin (U.S.) and Brooks Orpik (U.S.).

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Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is the head coach for Team USA and Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato is on his Olympic staff.

Miller is vying for a starting role with Team USA and has another opportunity to show Bylsma first-hand what he can do.

However, he’ll be without Myers, one of the Sabres ice-time leaders, in front of him.

Myers will miss the game with a lower-body injury he sustained in the second period Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers.

“It doesn’t look very good for tonight,” Nolan said. “We’ll see. Hopefully he’ll be ready tomorrow.”

Nolan said he won’t make any changes at forward, so Zenon Konopka and Ville Leino will be healthy scratches for the second straight game.


Chad Ruhwedel, a healthy scratch against the Oilers, will be back in on defense. Against Pittsburgh, which leads the Eastern Conference, Ruhwedel is going to try and simplify his game.

“Stay within yourself. Stay within your own game,” he said. “For me, it’s being sound defensively and getting the puck out of the zone, making a good first pass. That’s what I’m going to try to do tonight.”


Crosby enters the game having been held scoreless in back-to-back contests for only the second time all season and for just the third time in 92 games dating back to the beginning of last season.

NHL.com: MILLER VS. CROSBY FEATURE

The Sabres would like to keep Crosby off the scoresheet, but historically, have had a lot of trouble doing so. He’s collected at least one point in 22 of 24 games against Buffalo and is currently on a 16-game point streak against the Sabres that dates back to Dec. 29, 2007.

He has nine goals and 17 assists over that span. He’s also recorded points in each of his 13 visits to Buffalo (8+12).

Crosby leads the League with 75 points (27+48) and the Penguins are the highest scoring team in the East. Nolan will look to bring the battle to them.

WATCH: NOLAN PREGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

“I think sometimes, if we’re too careful, that’s when you get hurt,” he said. “If you want to sit back and try to play a strong defensive game against a pretty potent team, you’re playing a little bit afraid, you’re sitting back a little too much versus you have nothing to lose.

“Let’s just try to attack them as hard as we can and force them and take our chances in the offensive zone. We still have 100-something feet to make up for that one mistake.”


After the game, the Sabres travel to Ottawa for a game Thursday night against the Senators. Then the team is off until they play again on Feb. 25 against Carolina.

Some players nursing injuries will take the break to heal up and Drew Stafford, who has missed time with an upper-body injury, hopes the team can go into the break on a high note.

“Coming back from Colorado, we wanted to have a little bit of a response against Edmonton. Unfortunately it didn’t work out the way we wanted, but I thought the effort was there,” he said. “We’re just going to try and carry that battle, compete, into tonight against one of the top teams in the League and hopefully give them some sort of run for their money.”


PROJECTED LINEUP
17 Linus Omark – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
84 Philip Varone – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
32 John Scott – 37 Matt Ellis – 82 Marcus Foligno

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
20 Henrik Tallinder – 5 Chad Ruhwedel
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 2:56 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

Sabres interim coachTed Nolan received some potentially good news regarding the status of defenseman Tyler Myers on Tuesday.

Myers, who left the team’s game on Monday with a lower-body injury, may be ready to play Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Myers did not participate in practice Tuesday morning at First Niagara but Nolan said that the prognosis wasn’t as serious as they thought after the game.

“It’s a lot better than we thought. It’s more of a day-to-day situation. He was moving around pretty good today and hopefully he moves around real good tomorrow [so] he gets to play,” Nolan said. “He could play tomorrow.”

Miker Weber also missed practice but Nolan thinks he should be able to play as well and Chad Ruhwedel, a healthy scratch against the Oilers on Monday, will be in the lineup as well.

The Sabres and Penguins face off at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The game can be seen nationally on NBCSN.

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The team’s plan is to send Ruhwedel to Rochester during the Olympic break. He may or not return to the Sabres once they resume play on Feb. 25.

Nolan said Ryan Miller will start against Pittsburgh and may even start in Ottawa on Thursday.


For Miller, the Penguins game is another chance to impress Team USA coach Dan Bylsma, who will be behind the Pittsburgh bench.

“I have to perform at a high level. In hockey, it’s always [about] how you perform,” he said. “I felt like I played a decent game in their building last time and I just want to show that I can be consistent and do it again. Plus it’s a game where I need to bounce back. I was on the bench last game and it’s not very fun.”

Miller was pulled after the second period Saturday afternoon in Colorado after the Avalanche scored five goals on 27 shots. He’s looking to rebound against the highest-scoring team in the Eastern Conference.

WATCH: RYAN MILLER INTERVIEW

“It’s a good team to show off against,” Nolan said. “Pittsburgh is probably one of the most explosive teams in the National Hockey League and Ryan’s probably one of the best goaltenders in the National Hockey League. So he’s going to have a pretty good pretest before the Olympics,” Nolan said.

Miller said he hasn’t received any indication as to what his role on the national team will be, but is preparing like he is going to play every game.

Henrik Tallinder will represent Team Sweden along with goaltender Jhonas Enroth. While Tallinder is looking forward to traveling to Sochi, his focus right now is on the Sabres’ two remaining games.

WATCH: HENRIK TALLINDER INTERVIEW

“You want to get going, but at the same time, you have to focus on your job,” Tallinder said. “Every game, we have to approach it like it’s do or die. Every game now, it’s a battle for us to make sure we’re ready for every game.”


Zemgus Girgensons, who will play for Team Latvia at the Olympics, practiced at center once again and will remain there for the foreseeable future after Nolan had some conversations with general manager Tim Murray.

“I was kind of flip-flopping back-and-forth when I first got here. I put him at center ice because I thought he would be real good [at] center ice. Then you talk to some people and you have that thought, that maybe he’s a power forward. It kind of switched my mind a little bit too,” Nolan explained.

“But then Tim comes in, who’s had a tremendous amount of experience in looking at this. So we kind of go back to sometimes your initial thoughts are probably some of the best. We’ll try him at that position.”


17 Linus Omark – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agositni – 23 Ville Leino
84 Phil Varone – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
82 Marcus Foligno – 24 Zenon Konopka – 37 Matt Ellis
Red, Non-Contact: 8 Cody McCormick

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
20 Henrik Tallinder – 4 Jamie McBain
32 John Scott – 5 Chad Ruhwedel

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

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POSTED ON Monday, 02.03.2014 / 1:49 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / THE MORNING SKATE

Drew Stafford will return to the lineup Monday night and Jhonas Enroth will start in goal as the Buffalo Sabres prepare to take on the Edmonton Oilers at 7 p.m. at First Niagara Center.

Linus Omark will be in the lineup against his former club as well, playing on a line with Stafford and Tyler Ennis. Buffalo acquired the 26-year-old forward from Edmonton for a conditional sixth-round pick in December.

The Sabres played another team with a talented crop of young forwards in the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday in Denver. After a 7-1 defeat, Buffalo is looking to come out with a better effort.

“Playing against Colorado the other night, [that was] one of the best forward performances that we’ve played against, I think,” Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers said after the Sabres’ morning skate. “With looking at [Edmonton’s] lineup and knowing some of the guys on the other side there, they’re young and have a lot of good team speed up front. I’m sure it’s a similar-type game that they’re going to bring and we’re going to have to be much more ready than we were the other night.”

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Stafford, who said he’s ready to go after missing four games with an upper-body injury, said that against Edmonton, it’s important to stay out of the penalty box.

“Against these guys, they probably feed off their offense and their power play if they get going,” he said. “Skilled players, they more chances you give them, the more opportunities they’re going to get and that’s something we’re going to try and control.”

Before re-aggravating an injury on Jan. 18 that had kept him out for four games earlier last month, Stafford had put up five points (3+2) in four games.


Ville Leino and Zenon Konopka will be scratched at forward.

“We have to make some changes. Things didn’t go so well last game so when that happens, change is evident,” Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said.

Leino has nine assists in 37 games this season, but has yet to find the back of the net.

“On his side, he had played in spurts. He hit a couple goal posts and he’s just missing here, just missing there,” Nolan said. “When those things just keep missing, you look at the overall picture, [it looks like] that he’s not playing very well at all. But truth is, he has played in spurts and he must didn’t click in.

“Drew, he comes back and boom, pucks go in for him. So if that happens with Ville one day, you never know what you have.”

WATCH: TED NOLAN PREGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

Chad Ruhwedel
will be the team’s healthy scratch on defense. Nolan, however, said that he’s actually been impressed by Ruhwedel’s play of late.

“As I mentioned to Chad this morning. Don’t read into any of it,” Nolan said. “As I mentioned to the players, you just worry about your own play and let all the other outside factors, you don’t know why you’re not playing – but it has nothing to do with his lack of play. He’s played pretty well. So there’s other things behind it.”


Captain Steve Ott did not participate in the morning skate. Center Cody McCormick, who is on injured reserve, skated with the team and for the first time since sustaining his injury on Dec. 17, did not wear a red non-contact jersey.


PROJECTED LINEUP
17 Linus Omark – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini
84 Phil Varone – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
32 John Scott – 37 Matt Ellis – 82 Marcus Foligno

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain

1 Jhonas Enroth
30 Ryan Miller

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POSTED ON Sunday, 02.02.2014 / 3:16 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

Coming off a tough 7-1 loss Saturday night in Colorado, the Buffalo Sabres shook up some of their lines at practice at First Niagara Center on Sunday.

Drew Stafford is set to return to the lineup Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers from an upper-body injury that’s kept him out for the past four games. He skated on a line with Tyler Ennis at center and Linus Omark on the left wing.

Stafford sustained an upper-body injury on Jan. 2 in Minnesota and missed four games because of it. In his first four games back, he recorded three goals and two assists. He re-aggravated the injury on Jan. 25 in Columbus and has been out ever since.

He’s hoping he can pick up right where he left off.

“I felt as though I was getting going and unfortunately, a little bit of a setback and then another setback as well,” he said after practice. “Dealing with those two setbacks, it’s tough, but at the same time, you just have to keep at it and back now, hopefully, finish strong here before the break. And then it would be nice to get on that break as well and make sure it’s totally 100-percent feeling good.”

He may have been ready to go against Colorado, but the team decided to give him a few more days to make sure he was 100 percent. He took some bumps in practice Sunday afternoon from 6-foot-8, 259-pound forward John Scott.

“You never know what can happen, but at the same time, it helps your mindset a little bit, it puts your mind at ease when you battle against a not exactly small human being like John Scott,” Stafford said. “He was my tester. If I can do well against him – at least somewhat well – he was kind of throwing me around like a rag doll a little bit like that, but it’s feeling pretty well.”

Getting back a player like Stafford who’s capable of producing points should help ease the loss of leading scorer Matt Moulson, who could be out until after the Olympic break after sustaining an upper-body injury Thursday night.

“Right now we haven’t got enough depth to lose a guy like Drew and Matty at the same time. At least we get one of them back,” Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said.


Omark has been a healthy scratch the past three games and Nolan said the 26-year-old forward will play against his former team on Monday. The Sabres acquired Omark from the Oilers on Dec. 19 for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Omark is feeling a little extra motivation heading into the game.

“I would be lying if I said, ‘No.’ But of course, it’s going to be a fun game,” Omark said. “I know a lot of guys on that team, so hopefully we can win.”

Jhonas Enroth will start in goal against the Oilers. He is 1-10-5 this season, but isn’t thinking much about personal wins and losses.

“I just need to prepare myself and get ready,” he said. “Obviously I can’t score any goals or anything like that so I just need to focus on my job and that’s to try to save as many pucks as possible.”


Nolan also decided to practice with more size at the center ice position. Zemgus Girgensons practiced in the middle on a line with Philip Varone on the left and Brian Flynn on the right. All three have played center this season, but for now it looks like Girgensons will pivot that line.

“He’s almost like a natural center iceman,” Nolan said. “He likes to skate and with our injury count right now, it’s a great time to test him. He’s very comfortable in that position. That’s where he grew up playing so we’ll probably put him in that position and see how he does.”

While Girgensons will likely play center for Team Latvia under Nolan’s watch at the Winter Olympics, his move back there with only three games to go before the break only has to do with putting players in position where they can best help the Sabres succeed.

“We’re thinking about what’s going to make this team better,” Nolan said.


Enroth, who will play for Team Sweden at the Olympics, broke in some new gear at practice Sunday. He wore a new glove, a new blocker, new pads and a new mask that celebrates his native country.

“The pads and the gear are really good these days so it just needs one or two practices and then they’re ready to go so they’re fine,” he said.

Ryan Miller is also breaking in some equipment for Team USA. He’s donned his new Olympic mask and a new red, white and blue blocker for two straight practices.

He and Enroth spent some time at the end of practice comparing equipment at center ice.


Ville Leino and Marcus Foligno worked as the fourth forwards on different lines at practice. In addition to doing their own line work with Cody McCormick – who skated in a red non-contact jersey – Leino was in white with Steve Ott, Cody Hodgson and Matt D’Agostini while Foligno was in gray with Scott, Zenon Konopka and Matt Ellis.

17 Linus Omark – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 27 Matt D’Agostini – Ville Leino
84 Phil Varone – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 65 Brian Flynn
32 John Scott – 24 Zenon Konopka – 37 Matt EllisMarcus Foligno
Red Non-Contact: Cody McCormick

10 Christian Ehrhoff – 5 Chad Ruhwedel
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber – 4 Jamie McBain
52 Alexander Sulzer

30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth

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POSTED ON Friday, 01.31.2014 / 3:05 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com / BEYOND THE BOARDS

DENVER – The Buffalo Sabres could be without their leading scorer until after the Olympic break.

Left wing Matt Moulson left the team’s game Thursday night in Phoenix with 6:05 to play in the third period after taking a whack with a stick to his upper-body.

At the team hotel in Denver on Friday, Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said that Moulson could be out until the NHL schedule resumes on Feb. 25. Buffalo plays four more games before the Winter Olympic break.

The Sabres are set to play the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday at the Pepsi Center at 9 p.m. EST.

“It doesn’t look like it’s really too, too serious. If he’s a fast mender, you never know,” Nolan said.

The Sabres are not only losing a valuable scorer, but a leader on the team as well.

Moulson is tops on the team in goals (15) and points (33) through 51 games this season. With Christian Ehrhoff out of the lineup due to an illness on Thursday, Moulson served as an alternate captain in his stead.

“He’s really buying into what we’re doing here and he’s leading the team. He wore an ‘A’ on his sweater last night for that reason,” Nolan said. “Right now, it’s going to be a big loss for us, but like every other team, someone has to step up. There will be an opportunity for someone else.”

The team will look to Brian Flynn to fill Moulson’s shoes on a line with Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons. Flynn had been up and down the lineup the past few games, playing with Philip Varone and Marcus Foligno as well as with Zenon Konopka and Matt Ellis.

“He can go from the fourth line up to your top line. He’s very versatile so we could look at the possibility of putting him in there for a game or two,” Nolan said.

Drew Stafford will miss his fourth game in a row Saturday night with an upper-body injury. Ehrhoff might be ready to play against Colroado.

The team did not practice Friday morning, but had a stretching session at the hotel. After a late flight to Denver from Phoenix, Nolan talked with the trainers and medical staff and felt it was best to keep the team off the ice.

“Today was one of those days that if we only had a little more time, I’m quite sure we would’ve practiced. But with the team getting in so late and the games so numerous, rest is a little bit more important right now,” Nolan said. “…It’s a normal day except we didn’t hop on the ice for a half hour.”

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SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82