ENNIS OUT AGAINST SAN JOSE, KONOPKA BACK IN
Buffalo Sabres center Tyler Ennis will not play Friday night against the offensively potent San Jose Sharks.
Ennis did not play on Wednesday against Boston due to some soreness. He participated in the team’s optional morning skate at First Niagara Center on Friday, but the coaching staff decided it was best to hold him out for another game.
“He did a little extra work [after practice],” interim coach Ted Nolan said. “He’s pretty close, but not close enough to play tonight. So hopefully, like I said, it’s day-to-day. He’s a lot better but you probably won’t see him tonight.”
WATCH: TED NOLAN'S PRESS CONFERENCE
Zenon Konopka, however, will be in the Sabres lineup. He had surgery on a finger over the Olympic break and has missed the past two games as the team waited for the finger to completely heal before putting him back in. He took the warmup before the Bruins game but was a late scratch.
Konopka said taking the extra day to recuperate made a big difference.
“As much as I wouldn’t have thought it would, it has,” he said. “Definitely the best I’ve felt was this morning and maybe that’s why you listen to the doctors, trainers and coaches. But it’s one of those things where I was pretty happy with the way it felt this morning.”
The Sharks defeated the Flyers 7-3 in Philadelphia on Thursday. Joe Pavelski recorded a hat trick and Raffi Torres and Logan Couture each scored twice in their returns from injury.
Pavelski, Couture, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are just a few of the talented forwards on San Jose’s roster. Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers is aware of the challenges each player presents.
“I don’t think we want to play any guy differently. I think we focus on things like gap control and making sure we have good defensive sticks,” he said. “It’s just a matter trying to limit their time and space because they have guys that’ll make things happen every shift.”
Couture is one player that Konopka has his eye on.
“He doesn’t get a lot of media on this side, on the East Coast, but he’s an elite player in the League right now. He’s probably their best player,” Konopka said. “You think of Marleau, you think of [Brent] Burns and Thornton, but Couture’s their best player and he’s one special player. We’re going to have to be really on the ball because they have a couple lines that can hurt you.”
Sabres general manager Tim Murray said earlier this week that he’s ready to make some trades to improve the hockey club before the NHL Trade Deadline hits at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said after practice Friday that the front office has “recently” asked him to submit a list of eight teams he would not accept a trade to. Ehrhoff has a limited no-trade clause in his contract.
“It doesn’t mean I will get traded or I won’t get traded, but it’s just part of the business and I’ll focus on the game at hand tonight and do my best for the team,” Ehrhoff said.
Several players including Miller and captain Steve Ott have been the subject of trade rumors. Nolan is charged with the task of keeping his players loose but also focused.
"You don’t want to make light of it, but every day, everyone walks in and says, ‘Steve, you’re still here.’" Nolan said with a smile. "I talked to Tyler Myers on the ice today. His name popped up in the newspapers yesterday and I told him, maybe it’s a compliment on his side because people want him.
"So it’s just one of those things that’s part of our business. But we have to make sure we’re professional about it. We’re all Buffalo Sabres right now and they have to go about their business and work."
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