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Numminen: From Doubtful to Optimistic

Tuesday, 05.30.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Numminen: From Doubtful to Optimistic
Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff was all smiles during his team's morning skate on Tuesday.

What had Ruff so cheery when his team trails the Carolina Hurricanes three games to two in the Eastern Conference Finals? The prospect of getting one of his best defensemen, Teppo Numminen, back in the lineup for Game Six.

"He feels better today," said Ruff. "We're encouraged again. I'm past the doubtful stage now and moved to optimistic that he will be able to play tonight."

Numminen, who has missed Buffalo's last four games after suffering a pulled groin eight minutes into Game One of the best-of-seven series, will remain a game time decision, using the warm-up skate as a barometer for his injury.

If the pain and limited mobility that he has experienced over the past week persists, he will miss his fifth consecutive game. If not, he will play.

After skating fluidly during a couple of different drills and some on his own, the veteran is hopefully that the worst is behind him.

"It was sore yesterday, so I guess it comes and goes," said Numminen. "But its feels great this morning. Hopefully after the warm-up, it will still feel good and we'll be good to go."

"If he doesn't feel any pain and is able to perform at a high enough level, push himself hard enough in the warm-up, he'll play," Ruff said.

Although his team is attempting to force its third-round series to a Game Seven, Numminen cannot force himself to into the lineup. By game time, he will know whether or not the injury will make playing feasible.

"That type of injury you can play or you can't," said Numminen of the all or nothing condition a groin injury presents. "The time has gone by and hopefully it's healed."

According to Ruff, the ultimate decision will be Numminen's as he is the only person that knows his limitations and extent of the injury.

The 37-year-old defenseman has played in 65 career playoff games - scoring nine goals and 19 points - over his 17-season career, but had never made it out of the first round until now.

"I feel much better than I did a couple of days ago, and hopefully, we're there," said Numminen.

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